New England Patriots' 2014 Scouting Combine Stock Report
Bill Belichick and the rest of the New England Patriots contingent at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine will be the final judges on how the prospects performed come May, but public opinion on some of the Patriots' possible targets has already started to turn north or south.
While the stock of draft prospects doesn't fluctuate wildly in actual NFL front offices, as it does in the general public—they have a much clearer picture of a prospect than those in the media—the combine can certainly turn some heads and perhaps change some minds.
Here are eight prospects that may have helped or hurt themselves in the eyes of the Patriots at the combine.
Stock Up: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
C.J. Fiedorowicz, an in-line tight end not known for his speed, surprised many with a solid 4.76-second 40-yard dash time and a 7.1-second time in the three-cone drill. The three-cone time was good enough to place him first among all tight ends.
Fiedorowicz put up 25 repetitions on the bench press after measuring in at over 6'5" and 265 pounds. That size and athleticism combination surely perked up the attention of any New England Patriots scouts in attendance.
Fiedorowicz continued his solid performance in positional drills, showing off his above-average hands and body control.
While he may still be on the outside of the top-50 prospects, looking in, Fiedorowicz solidified himself as a Day 2 pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
Stock Down: Jace Amaro
While C.J. Fiedorowicz helped himself with a strong combine, former Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro—once thought of as a first-round lock—disappointed with his weak performance.
Amaro wasn't expected to run a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash, but his official 4.74 time was slower than anticipated. Perhaps more concerning for the New England Patriots was his very poor 7.42 time in the three-cone drill, which was more than three-tenths slower than that of Fiedorowicz.
Amaro's shaky combine didn't end when the stopwatches were put away, either. He had a few drops during positional drills, which—combined with his nine-inch hand size—might give some teams pause before pulling the trigger on drafting him.
At this point, Amaro should be considered a fringe first-rounder.
Stock Up: Xavier Su'a-Filo, OL, UCLA
Gil Brandt of NFL.com gave former UCLA offensive lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo some high praise before the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine:
This year, the player who I believe will make the biggest jump is UCLA OG Xavier Su'a-Filo.
Su'a-Filo has an interesting backstory, having served a two-year Mormon mission that split up his college career. He started 13 games at left tackle for the Bruins as a freshman in 2009 (becoming the first UCLA player ever to start from Day 1), was gone for the next two years on the mission in Florida and Alabama, then returned to become UCLA's full-time starter at left guard. He gave up his final year of college eligibility to enter the draft.
Su'a-Filo, who is scheduled to work out with Group 2 on Friday, will have an opportunity at the combine to show off his athleticism and speed, which should be enough to land him in the first round of the draft. Right now, most teams have assigned him a second-day grade, but he'll move up.
Su'a-Filo didn't disappoint. He weighed in at 6'4" and 307 pounds and was able to run an official 5.04 40-yard dash. He had a decent 7.60 three-cone time, and his 4.44-second performance in the short shuttle placed him near the top of the list of offensive linemen who had performed the same drill.
If the New England Patriots wanted to draft a guard early, Su'a-Filo gave them a great reason to make him their selection.
Stock Down: Louchiez Purifoy, CB, Florida
Former Florida cornerback Louchiez Purifoy failed to deliver on the athleticism that many thought he'd bring to the combine.
Purifoy disappointed with a 4.61 official 40-yard dash time and a paltry six repetitions on the bench press, which was the fewest among defensive backs. He also did not complete the three-cone drill.
In a season that was highlighted more for his off the field issues than his play on the field, Purifoy needed to have a good showing in Indianapolis, but that didn't happen. After starting the year as a top-10 player on Mel Kiper's big board, the chances that Purifoy will now be drafted within the top 100 are becoming slim.
The New England Patriots have had an affinity for Florida players in the past, but don't expect Purifoy to be a Patriot this fall.
Stock Up: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
If the New England Patriots were in awe of Jamie Collins' explosiveness at the 2013 combine, they have to be taking a shine to former Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier.
Shazier—who measured 6'1" and weighed 237 pounds—didn't run the 40-yard dash. However, his 42-inch vertical leap, explosive 10'10" broad jump and 6.91-second three-cone time certainly left an impression.
If the Patriots want to move on from free agent Brandon Spikes and get quicker at the linebacker position, Shazier would be a good fit. With Mike Vrabel as one of Shazier's former coaches, he should have a leg up as a rookie.
Shazier was considered by many to be a fringe first-round player going into the combine. However, his good performance in Indianapolis will make it tough for 32 teams to pass him on Day 1 of the draft.
Stock Down: Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn
Dee Ford had a chance to silence critics and secure a spot on Day 1 of the 2014 NFL draft at the combine. Unfortunately, he created more questions than answers, as Andrew Lawrence of SI.com explains:
Early impressions, though, have been mixed. At the Senior Bowl coaches raved about his quick first step and passion for the game -- "It really pops out," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley gushed back in January -- but remain puzzled over his future position. At first glance, Ford seems too small to set the edge from the defensive end spot, too stiff-hipped to handle the coverage responsibilities at outside linebacker.
Just when it looked like he might address some of those concerns at the NFL scouting combine on Monday, Ford pulled out of his scheduled morning workout, citing a doctor's note expressing concern over a 2011 procedure to fix a herniated disc in his lower back.
If Ford isn't able to work out before the draft, teams will have a hard time justifying using a high draft pick on a medical risk, however talented he may be.
Stock Up: Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Receivers that measure 6'6" and weigh 225 pounds just aren't supposed to run the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds, put up 21 repetitions on the bench press—more impressive with his 34-inch arms—and show off a 32.5-inch vertical.
Fans of the New England Patriots might laugh, but another Rutgers prospect might be on the way to Foxboro. Former Scarlet Knight Brandon Coleman has the size to be a dominant threat in the deep passing game and the red zone.
If Bill Belichick wasn't interested in Coleman going into the combine, he has surely taken notice of Coleman's rare skill set now. Plugging him in across from Aaron Dobson—with Danny Amendola in the slot—would be a sight to see.
Stock Down: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
The running back position has been fighting a losing battle against devaluation—there were zero first-round ball-carriers selected in 2013—for some time. Former Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey didn't do his position any favors with his subpar combine performance.
The 5-9, 207-pound back's staggeringly slow time will certainly drop his draft stock, though he plays much faster than this workout indicates. He's an instinctive, determined runner with good quickness whose soft hands and grit as a pass blocker make him a weapon on all three downs.
A 4.70 40-yard dash isn't a death sentence for a running back, but it certainly doesn't help Carey's case. If the New England Patriots had thought about drafting him as insurance for Stevan Ridley's and LeGarrette Blount's potential departures in 2014 and 2015, respectively, his speed might make them think twice.
All combine times and figures courtesy of NEPatriotsDraft.com.