The New England Patriots worked out three top draft prospects on Monday in UCLA Bruins defensive end Datone Jones, Florida State Seminoles defensive end Cornelius “Tank” Carradine, and Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton. This news comes to us from a source close to the Boston Herald’s extraordinary beat guy Jeff Howe (this guy has reported so much info on Pats pre-draft visits, so he deserves major props).
The Patriots are in the market for a defensive end, and wide receiver looks to be one of their top needs heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. Let’s talk about Patton a bit to knock out the wide receiver end of things. A few readers of the site have chimed in and stated that they want to see the Pats strengthen the defense in round one, and then take a guy like Patton in the late second-round. And you know what? That sounds like a good plan to me. Patton is a solid, all-around wide receiver who is pretty good at everything and not great at any one thing in particular.
Although Patton does not stretch the field vertically, he can line up inside and outside and is a solid route-runner with good hands. He can also go downfield when needed, so it isn’t like he is some restricted possession receiver either. Patton has off-the-charts intangibles, above-average speed, excellent route-running, and he is a mix between Brandon Lloyd and Reggie Wayne in some scouts’ eyes. The focal point of the offense for Louisiana Tech, Patton is faster than some people give him credit for being. I would definitely be a fan of seeing him in a Patriots uniform after being drafted in the second- hopefully he can last a little longer until there.
Tank Carradine’s visit on Monday is no surprise, as the Pats have been heavily linked to the quality FSU pass rusher. He had an excellent season before tearing his ACL, and Carradine is easily one of the best pass rushers in this draft in terms of talent if you cut out the injury concerns.
UCLA’s Datone Jones is a really intriguing pass rushing prospect, because he has the ability to beat you inside and outside with his mix of quickness and strength. The Bruins received plenty of pressure from Jones, and he has what it takes to threaten for a top 20 pick. I doubt he ends up there, but he will almost certainly be off the board before the second-round (or, at least, very early in the second) due to his pass rushing prowess and large amount of workouts in the pre-draft process. If the Patriots don’t take Jones, then I bet the Atlanta Falcons will snap him up.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.