Draft: Burning Questions, Hot Answers

Want to know about some of the players in the coming draft, then why not ask someone who has 35 years of experience evaluating them? Scout.com's NFL expert, Tom Marino, stopped by to answer your questions. Get exclusive feedback from an NFL scout on defensive backs and linebackers, and which teams might trade up for the Pats pick. Tom's top 5 linebackers are inside.

Question: How high is Zack Bowman, CB, Nebraska going to get drafted? I read his article on nflpa.org (thanks for posting the link JS) and saw how the Pats have shown interest in him. He seems to be moving and running exceptionally well in workouts. If he can get back to pre-injury form he could be a huge steal.

Tom Marino: You are absolutely right-on with your opinion. I saw Zack in an early season game this year vs Wake Forest and it was obvious at that time that he was not yet ready to play at a high level. Prior to his injury in 2006, I thought this guy had top two round draft potential, but after seeing him I had some real questions. My game notes:

Athletic corner with size, speed and match up potential on the outside, but has not recovered from a knee reconstruction sustained early in the 2006 season. Struggled with direction chance, was inconsistent with his plant and drive and had big problems with double moves (has a very high center of gravity). Just wouldn't or couldn't pull the trigger (just fast enough not to get there). Appears to have come back too fast and is not playing with confidence or near his playing potential. Might take a late round flyer on this player based on his size and speed, with the thought that he might well be two year's away from contributing. Low risk high reward potential.

It's a very important position (can't have enough of them) and the Patriots are now very thin at the position. Might well go sooner. Great question and thoughts on the matter. Hope I was able to answer it to your satisfaction.

If the Pats wish to trade down in the first round, which teams do you think are the most likely candidates to want to move up to the 7th pick?

Tom Marino: It's hard to say, but I think the Patriots will remain at number 7 unless the player they are looking at with that pick was taken prior to their selection. It's hard for me to believe that they would pass on a an outside pass rusher or one of the top three corners.

I would think the Browns for one would like to move up into the pick, but really don't have a lot to offer the Pats in terms of value.

In recent years, some small school DE/OLB's have been getting drafted in the 2nd thru 4th round area, guys like Chris Gocong, Dan Bazuin, and Zak DeOssie. Are there any similar small school DE's that we should keep our eyes on in the first few rounds as possible Patriot OLB's?

Boston College DE Mathias Kiwanuka

Tom Marino: Vince Redd from Liberty U in Lynchburg , VA might well be that type of player. He was one of the top three prep defensive players in the country and played at the U. of Virginia . He was dismissed from the squad last year after his second positive test and played the 07 season at Liberty . He wasn't as dominate a player as one would have expected at this level of play, but he has some unbelievable physical tools!!! At his workout last week he vertical jumped over 40", is just under 6' 6" and his arm length is over 36 inches.

I gave him a mid to late third round grade, but don't be too surprised of somebody pulls the trigger on him sooner. Physically he looks a little like the BC DE/LB that the Giants drafted # 1 [Mathias Kiwanuka], but this player might well have more upside.

Hi Tom, does the upside on Rodgers-Cromarte make up for his lack of experience? Is he worth the 7th pick or should he be the first corner taken?

Tom Marino: I really like this player, but I'm really not sure I would take him with the 7th pick in the draft. My notes on him are as follows;

First impressed me with his Penn relays effort in 2007. Is a great looking athlete with speed to burn. Didn't think early on he was very physical or tough, but improved greatly over the season. Gets people on the ground, but wasn't a drive through, wrap up tackler. Pedal and turns were smooth and I felt he could flip his hips and go. Like his plant and drive and showed good ball skills. Was impressed with Senior Bowl efforts (game and practice). Late 1st or top of the 2nd consideration.

Who would you rate as the best Sam LB in the draft (3-4) Who would you rate as the top Mike type in the
draft (3-4)

Tom Marino: In regard to inside backers, I liked the following in this order:

Keith Rivers USC
Jerod Mayo Tennessee U
Curtis Lofton Oklahoma U
Beau Bell UNLV
Ezra Butler Nevada U

Are more college teams going to a 3-4 defense?

Tom Marino: Not sure about the college game. Saw a lot 50 defenses last season (a lot like the 3-4 pro concept. Have a great Holiday and check back with any future question you might have.

If you have questions for Tom, be sure to ask them in the INSIDER'S LOUNGE (exclusive for members of Patriots Insider.com)

Tom answered more questions in the Lounge, be sure to see what others are asking and get Tom's thoughts on likely top draft targets of the Patriots. (Ask Tom)

Patriots Insider Top Stories