Patriots Scouting Talent At All Star Game

The college All Star game known as the Senior Bowl drew the attention of plenty of NFL people who were interested in seeing the players up close. Scouts from every NFL team, including New England kept a close eye on the action. Charlie Bernstein reports on the Patriots interests from Mobile.

Although the AFC Champs don't have their usual Army of scouts and coaches in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, the smaller caravan arrived on Tuesday and they were busy scouting talent. One of the players who made the Patriots scouts jot down notes at a feverish pace was Ohio State center Mike Brewster. At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, Brewster used his size and strength to dominate the North Team's defensive tackles in nearly every drill. A player that Brewster reminds many of is former Buckeye and current New York Jets center Nick Mangold.

How would he fit in New England? Mike Brewster looks the part of an immediate starter and he can stabilize the interior of the Pats line for years to come. If he's as good as Mangold, New England will be able to run the ball more effectively and keep pressure off Tom Brady.

Potentially looking to upgrade their wide receiving corps, the Pats were all over Arizona wideout Juron Criner and Iowa's Marvin McNutt. Criner has good size at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and uses that size well. Hardly a burner, the former Arizona Wildcat uses his long wingspan and to shield defenders to make catches. Criner appears to be a possession type of receiver on the next level as he lacks top end speed. Criner was solid on Tuesday as he made a few highlight reel catches including a one-handed snag on a ball thrown behind him.

How would he fit in New England? Juron Criner is a big possession receiver that can make big plays with his body. Picture him as more of a Marques Colston type who can make a big play by not gaining much separation assuming the ball is placed in the right spot.

McNutt, a former quarterback who became Iowa's all-time leading receiver had a stellar Tuesday. He showed an ability to use his body to shield off defenders and catch the ball purely with his hands. McNutt isn't overly speedy, but he runs precise routes and catches everything thrown his way. He appears to be the most pro-ready receiver in Mobile and his 40-time will determine whether he gets selected as high as the late-first round or as low as the top of the third.

How would he fit in New England? Marcus McNutt could become very good friends with Tom Brady almost immediately as he runs great routes and has big, strong hands. McNutt will be able to test defenses while opening up the underneath for a player like Wes Welker to be effective.

A player which turned everyone's head during the South Team practice was Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Dwight Bentley. The Patriots were one of many scouts scurrying to greet Bentley after his stellar Tuesday. Bentley showed great route recognition and exploded to the football. Although slightly undersized at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Bentley kept from getting boxed out by some receivers that were as much as seven inches taller than him.

How would he fit in New England? Dwight Bentley would be an immediate starter as a Patriot. We know that isn't saying a ton with the current state of their secondary, but Bentley can play at a very high level.

Another player on the Patriots radar is Boise State safety George Iloka. As receivers are looking more like basketball players, the trend of taller defensive backs is becoming more evident and a player like George Iloka fits the bill. At 6-foot-3, 216 pounds Iloka has the size to dislodge receivers from the football and he showed an ability on Tuesday to react well to the football as he scored an interception in 11-on-11 drills. Although the Patriots already dominate the AFC East, a player like Iloka could prevent jump balls to players like Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson and Andre Johnson in the postseason.

How would he fit in New England? Geoge Iloka would be a special teams contributor immediately while he works his way into the lineup. Iloka reminds many of Seahawks Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor with his size and range.


MORE DRAFT COVERAGE
Draft News
Senior Bowl Coverage (dozens of articles)
NFLPA Bowl coverage

Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

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