New England, as readers know by now, has been checking out linemen from the Senior Bowl and the Shrine game. They also looked at the defensive secondary when they spoke with Kelly Jennings from Miami. The latest confirmation is a player who could help the team on the defensive line.
Dusty Dvoracek, a high-motor hard-working player with a load of upside, also spoke with New England's scouting staff at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Al. The 6-foot-3, 298-pound lineman has been part of the Sooners' lineup four of the last four seasons. Although he had an incident that prevented him from finishing his senior season, he was able to make amends and return for an extra year to finish his career on a positive note against Oregon in the Pacific Holiday Bowl.
The Patriots are familiar with Dvoracek from his history with a number of players and coaches the team has regular contact with. He played in the Sooners' appearance for the national championship game against the LSU Tigers in 2003 that were led by former Belichick disciple and good friend Nick Saban at the time. Dvoracek (seen here) is fighting off a block by backup guard Billy Yates when Yates was at Texas A&M.
Oklahoma DT Dusty Dvoracek tries to get past Texas A&M's Billy Yates
The thing with Dvoracek is his attitude. He has expressed remorse for the altercation that ultimately led to his suspension from the team in 2004. His coaching staff has had positive things to say about him since his return, and he appears to have made the most of his opportunity. He was a key part of the Sooners defense that pressured opposing quarterbacks throughout the Big-12 earning him Consensus All-Big-12 honors in his last two seasons. He has focused on his schooling earning All-District VI Academic and All-Big 12 Academic honors.
In his freshman year, Dvoracek played alongside Roy Williams and Rocky Calmus who helped the No. 10 Sooners sack Arkansas QBs nine times and hold the Razorbacks to a mere 50 yards in their 10-3 victory in the 2001 Cotton Bowl.
Dvoracek played a key role in Oklahoma's victory over Washington State as the Sooners defense smothered the Cougars' running attack in the 2002 Rose Bowl. The No. 8 Sooners defeated the No. 7 Cougars 34-14.
#94 Dusty Dvoracek
Seen here yelling at LSU center Ben Wilkerson, Dvoracek could have been better served focusing on the game. Although the final score was close (LSU won 21-14), Dvoracek managed only one tackle albeit for a 1-yard loss.
The Patriots met with Dvoracek at the Senior Bowl when they also met with other defensive linemen (see related). The word from scouts, who saw Dvoracek in Mobile, is that the kid looks like a beast. He's big, thick and built like a brick house.
Notes from TFY Draft Preview on Dvoracek's practices in Mobile:
Monday Practice Notes: Looked explosive and fast all day. Played very hard from start-until-finish. More of a first move lineman who struggled getting off blocks all day.
Tuesday Practice Notes: Plays with great intensity and reckless abandon. This is both a positive and negative as it is always nice to have a player who is relentless, but it also causes Dvoracek to be sloppy in his assignments, often finding him out of position. Did show a nice dip and rip to get off double teams. Tries to work the offensive linemen's hands. Not much of a pass rusher overall.
Wednesday Practice Notes: The best way to describe Dvoracek's play is "relentless futility". Continuously works as hard as he can on every single play. He's loud, vocal, and tenacious. The problem lies in the fact that he is never a factor in any play.
Thursday Practice Notes: Strong and quick off the ball, but lacked any type of pass rush.
Analysis: A two down defensive tackle at the next level. Dvoracek is an intense player who works very hard on the field. He is big, strong, and quick; but lacks any type of pass rush or even a consistent ability to get off blocks. The questions Dvoracek had to answer most importantly were about his attitude first and foremost; but his week on the field was nothing more than average.
With the proper technique, Dvoracek's motor will enable him to succeed in the NFL. The type of intensity he brings is something many other candidates lack. He never gives up, but is less successful than he should be with the type of talent he has.
Should the Patriots decide he can be part of the team, he should be a significant upgrade over what they have had backing up Vince Wilfork in the past. For now, it's a matter of Dvoracek proving he has the ability to improve his technique so it can match the intensity and physical talent he already possesses.
Other teams have the Oklahoma defender on their radar, including the Washington Redskins who also met with the lineman in Mobile. Others considered to be in the running are teams with coaches who are members of the Bill Belichick coaching tree, the Browns and the Dolphins.
Will Dvoracek be picked by the Patriots? Anything's possible one insider told us.
Other Prospects: Patriots Draft: Senior Bowl Conversations