2007 Draft: Patriots Conduct Private Workouts

The New England Patriots made an early splash in free agency. One thing they still need to do is to evaluate talent from the college ranks. Southern Florida is a place that hosts a loads of the type of talent New England is looking for, which is why they're conducting private workouts with some top players today in preparation for April's NFL Draft.

Profile: LB, Jon Beason, Miami, 6'-0.5", 237 lbs

The New England Patriots have a private workout scheduled with University of Miami linebacker Jon Beason today according to a report in the Boston Globe, adn confirmed by Scout.com. Beason, one of the top ranked linebacker prospects in the Draft, has been the object of desire by a number of teams looking for an impact player on defense.

Since speaking with the Patriots at the NFL Combine, Beason has been the subject of speculation in numerous NFL Mock Drafts as the guy that the Patriots will take with one of their first round selections. The 6-foot-1, 237-pound playmaker is the third-best OLB in the Draft according to Scout.com.

The addition of Beason -- who has been likened to another former Miami linebacker Jonathan Vilma -- would be a big boost to a Patriots linebacker group that hasn't had a significant investment of youth in years. Beason, led the Canes with 66 tackles (44 solo), 1.5 sacks and one interception last year on their way to the MPC Computer Bowl.

In New England, Beason would likely move to inside linebacker. He would also need to put on some weight to hold up against the bigger, stronger offensive blockers than the ones he faced in Miami.

Tedy Bruschi, who has manned the inside position for 11 seasons, is only 6-foot-1, but carries himself at 247 pounds, a weight Beason should have no trouble putting on.

Miami LB J. Beason (Photo: CanesTimes)

Beason did not work out at Miami's Pro Day (March 3rd) and was expected to setup workouts closer to the April Draft. He did weigh in at 229 pounds, 8 pounds less than his Combine weight, which raised some flags. The Patriots have been watching Beason as he recovers from a knee injury.

Beason Combine Interview:

 

Meriweather Will Also Workout

Patriots will also work out Beason's teammate, safety Brandon Meriweather. Another potential first-round pick, Meriweather has had up and down grades since the last season.

Profile: S, Brandon Meriweather, Miami, 5'-10.5", 195 lbs

Second only to Beason in team tackles for the Canes last season. Meriweather recorded 57 tackles (37 solo), 1 sack, 1 interception and eight passes defensed.

Although slightly smaller than the ideal size for safeties at the next level, Scouts were impressed with the 5-foot-10.5, 195-pound hitter.

"He really helped himself," wrote NFL Draft analysis. "[Meriweather] Displayed impressive cover skills, and if he interviews well at the combine and his background checks out Meriweather could be selected surprisingly early."

The New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, and the Carolina Panthers all spoke with him at the Senior Bowl, while more teams, including New England took a closer look at the NFL Combine.

Miami safety B. Meriweather 2007 Senior Bowl (Photo: Miller Safrit)

 

Meriweather's official bio describes him as follows: (edited)
"Perhaps the best safety in college football heading into the 2006 season..." a "Hard-hitting defensive back who won a starting role at strong safety in spring 2005…" It continued adding complements which addressed his size "Has a compact frame but can lay a hard hit on opposing receivers...His athletic ability and cover skills helped him develop into a top safety...Has exceptional closing speed."

The Patriots could use a playmaker in the deep secondary, but there are issues to consider before deciding if his athletic ability is enough to draft him.

The biggest concern about Meriweather was his behavior in the Florida International - Miami football game, which turned into a near-riot on the field. Meriweather was in the middle of the braw caught on camera trying to stomp on several opposing players who were on the ground. The University suspended him for one game for his participation. The behavior came after an incident prior to the season when Meriweather was in the papers for pulling a gun out of his pants and taking three shots an assailant. Although he was not found to have broken any laws at the time, his behavior raised concerns early on.

Update:
PatriotsInsider.com has learned that defensive tackle, Kareem Brown also participated in the workout held on campus. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was present. For more on Brown, read his profile page here: Kareem Brown Profile. ( more articles )

 

Other Maimi Draft Prospects:

PosPos
Rank
RatingNameYrHt/Wt/40
DENRBaraka AtkinsSR6-4/275/-
OLB3Jon BeasonJR6-0.5/237/4.78
DTNRKareem BrownSR6-4/315/-
WRNRDarnell JenkinsSR5-10/190/-
S6Brandon MeriweatherSR5-10.5/195/4.51
PNRBrian MonroeSR6-1/210/-
WR23Ryan MooreSR6-2/217/4.54
RBNRTyrone MossSR5-9/230/-
TE1Greg OlsenJR6-6/254/4.45
CNRAnthony WollschlagerSR6-4/290/-

Follow this and other Pre Draft visits and/or workouts in the Insider's Lounge where insiders provide regular updates and analysis on who the Patriots are interested in.

Talk about it with fans on the Patriots Draft Board

 


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