PHOTO: Connecticut Huskies quarterback Dan Orlovsky throws against the Toledo Rockets' in the third quarter of the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, Monday, Dec. 27, 2004. Orlovsky threw for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Huskies 39-10 win over Toledo. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Connecticut Prospects Intrigue Scouts
UCONN players expected to be first draftees in a decade
By Chris Goodhue, Patriots Insider
The Patriots have made it their mantra the past few years to find quality talent under the radar screen. There is one such player in their backyard that they have their eye on. University of Connecticut inside linebacker Alfred Fincher, who hails from Norwood, MA has piqued the interest of the defending Superbowl Champs.
Fincher is a 62, 240-lb. prospect who since becoming the Huskies starting inside backer as a sophomore has registered 347 tackles in 3 years including 33 for loss. This past season, the schools first at the Division 1-A level, he led the Big East with 140 tackles, as well as 12 for loss, and two interceptions. He was also named an All-Big East selection at middle linebacker.
He impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl accumulating 3 solo tackles and an assist in limited action. Although at UConns Pro Day on March 24 he didnt participate in most of the sprints and lifting exercises, Fincher ran a 4.68 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
The Pats arent the only one impressed by this local product. I like him, I think he might be in the second round, said Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who attended Uconns Pro Day. He woke up a lot of people down at the Senior Bowl. A sociology major, Fincher will graduate from UConn in May at the ripe old age of 21.
In addition to Fincher, another local UConn prospect the Patriots may be looking at is defensive lineman Tyler King. The 66, 262-pounder is the son of ex-Patriot linebacker Steve King. He is from North Attleboro and attended Bishop Feehan. Despite playing in only 6 games, he recorded 13 solo tackles and 4.5 sacks. He broke his leg in a September loss to Pittsburgh, but returned to be named UAW Lineman of the Game at the 2005 Motor City Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.
King registered a 4.63 40-time at Pro Day, and bench-pressed 225 pounds 22 times. I just wanted to prove to everyone what Im capable of, today was D-Day for me, said King. It was do or die for me, but I think I proved to everyone Ive still got it.
When Fincher, King, or quarterback Dan Orlovsky get selected in the NFL Draft, that player will be the first UConn Husky to be drafted since Paul Duckworth was taken in the sixth round of the 1994 draft by Green Bay.
RELATED: Prospects working out for scouts include: Alfred Fincher, Billy Irwin, Tyler King, Ryan Krug, Maurice Lloyd, Dan Orlovsky, Justin Perkins, Matt Cutaia, Keron Henry, and Sean Mulcahy ('04), O'Neil Wilson
NOTES: Tyler King Defensive end is the son of ex-New England Patriots linebacker Steve King... Dan Orlovsky was originally projected to become the highest drafted UConn player in 2005, Fincher appears to have surpassed him...WR, O'Neil Wilson, is a former Husky who now plays in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes...Sean Mulcahy originally saw time in training camp with the Browns last season, returned for another workout. He was unable to play last season for medical reasons.
QUOTE TO NOTE: Minnesota Vikings Ted Cottrell when told that LB, Alfred Fincher considered himself a sleeper in this year's draft: "Sleeper? Heck no," Cottrell responded. "Alfreds not a sleeper, everyone knows that, and if they dont theres something wrong with them."
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Special thanks to the UConn Athletics Department for providing additional materials for use in this article