Patriots Interview Next Gen Receivers

The New England Patriots spent time during the weekend looking over receivers at the NFL Combine. With David Givens, Tim Dwight and Andre Davis headed towards free agency, New England will have to find a way to rebuild their receiving corps. Some of the players they've talked to at the Combine should fit in nicely. One prospect told Scout.com that Rodney Harrison is a friend of his -- convenient if he should have to play against him on Sundays.

With Wide receiver David Givens heading towards free agency this Friday, the New England Patriots reportedly were taking a close look at several receiver prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine this week.

The Cleveland Browns reportedly are among the teams eager to speak with Givens, who caught a career-high 59 passes in 2005, good for 738 yards and two touchdowns. The Browns are apparently considering Givens as a replacement for Antonio Bryant, who is expected to depart as a free agent. The Browns are coached by former Patriots Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel.

One prospect the Patriots have spoken with is Maurice Stovall, a 6-foot-4, 217 pounder who played at Notre Dame under former Patriots Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis. Scout.com ranks Stovall the No. 7 receiver in the draft and reports that the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers have also shown interest. The Patriots' representatives at the Combine, held in Indianapolis, met with Stovall on Friday.

Stovall is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second. The Patriots have the 21st pick in the first round, and wide receiver could be a top priority if Givens goes elsewhere. The Patriots have no viable replacement on hand for the 6-foot, 215-pounder, who has been with the team for four years.

In his final season with the Irish, Stovall caught 69 balls for 1,149 yards and 11 touchdowns. In an interview published in Patriots Football Weekly he noted that he has benefited from playing in Weis' pro style offense. "As an individual player, I think just basically it helped put me in position to make plays and showcase my talents and abilities," Stovall said.

In his Combine interview, Stovall sounded upbeat about the prospect of playing for Weis's old team. "Definitely, because I think of the type of offense that I was in with Coach Weis basically it's what the whole entire New England Patriots offense is now," Stovall said.

Other wide receivers contacted by the Patriots are Michigan's Jason Avant and LSU's Skyler Green.

Avant , 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, is ranked No. 8 among rookie wide receivers by Scout.com. He caught 161 passes for 2,176 yards and 13 touchdowns as a three-year letterman, including 82 catches for 1,007 yards and eight touchdowns in 2005. He is a two-time candidate for the Biletnikoff Award and a two-year starter. He is tied for third in career receptions, 10th in receiving yards and tied for 12th in receiving touchdowns in Michigan history.

Scout.com reported that Avant told the media that he played both cornerback and safety in high school. He considers Patriots' safety Rodney Harrison a friend, which could come in handy should he end up lining up against the all-pro on the field some day.

Green, at 5-foot-9 1/2, 192 pounds, caught 32 balls as a senior in 2005, good for 268 yards and no touchdowns. His most productive season was as a sophomore, when he caught 48 passes for 519 yards. The Dolphins, Bears, Vikings and Rams have also expressed interest in Green.

Scout ranks Green No. 16 among receiver prospects. He would join a long list of players advancing to the Patriots from LSU, including defensive linemen Jarvis Green and Marquise Hill, CB Randall Gay, RB Kevin Faulk and practice squad LB Eric Alexander.


Related: Stovall's Profile || Avant's Profile || Green's Profile || WR 40 times || WR Draft Rankings


John MacKenna is a regular contributor to Patriots Insider. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by searching for "John MacKenna" or


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With Wide receiver David Givens heading towards free agency this Friday, the New England Patriots reportedly were taking a close look at several receiver prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine this week.

The Cleveland Browns reportedly are among the teams eager to speak with Givens, who caught a career-high 59 passes in 2005, good for 738 yards and two touchdowns. The Browns are apparently considering Givens as a replacement for Antonio Bryant, who is expected to depart as a free agent. The Browns are coached by former Patriots Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel.

One prospect the Patriots have spoken with is Maurice Stovall, a 6-foot-4, 217 pounder who played at Notre Dame under former Patriots Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis. Scout.com ranks Stovall the No. 7 receiver in the draft and reports that the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers have also shown interest. The Patriots' representatives at the Combine, held in Indianapolis, met with Stovall on Friday.

Stovall is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second. The Patriots have the 21st pick in the first round, and wide receiver could be a top priority if Givens goes elsewhere. The Patriots have no viable replacement on hand for the 6-foot, 215-pounder, who has been with the team for four years.

In his final season with the Irish, Stovall caught 69 balls for 1,149 yards and 11 touchdowns. In an interview published in Patriots Football Weekly he noted that he has benefited from playing in Weis' pro style offense. "As an individual player, I think just basically it helped put me in position to make plays and showcase my talents and abilities," Stovall said.

In his Combine interview, Stovall sounded upbeat about the prospect of playing for Weis's old team. "Definitely, because I think of the type of offense that I was in with Coach Weis basically it's what the whole entire New England Patriots offense is now," Stovall said.

Other wide receivers contacted by the Patriots are Michigan's Jason Avant and LSU's Skyler Green.

Avant , 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, is ranked No. 8 among rookie wide receivers by Scout.com. He caught 161 passes for 2,176 yards and 13 touchdowns as a three-year letterman, including 82 catches for 1,007 yards and eight touchdowns in 2005. He is a two-time candidate for the Biletnikoff Award and a two-year starter. He is tied for third in career receptions, 10th in receiving yards and tied for 12th in receiving touchdowns in Michigan history.

Scout.com reported that Avant told the media that he played both cornerback and safety in high school. He considers Patriots' safety Rodney Harrison a friend, which could come in handy should he end up lining up against the all-pro on the field some day.

Green, at 5-foot-9 1/2, 192 pounds, caught 32 balls as a senior in 2005, good for 268 yards and no touchdowns. His most productive season was as a sophomore, when he caught 48 passes for 519 yards. The Dolphins, Bears, Vikings and Rams have also expressed interest in Green.

Scout ranks Green No. 16 among receiver prospects. He would join a long list of players advancing to the Patriots from LSU, including defensive linemen Jarvis Green and Marquise Hill, CB Randall Gay, RB Kevin Faulk and practice squad LB Eric Alexander.


Related: Stovall's Profile || Avant's Profile || Green's Profile || WR 40 times || WR Draft Rankings


John MacKenna is a regular contributor to Patriots Insider. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by searching for "John MacKenna" or

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