The Patriots had a private workout this morning with Louisville cornerback Johnny Patrick, who is viewed by some analysts as an early-round pick in April's NFL Draft. ESPN's Scouts Inc. rates him as the eighth cornerback in the draft.
A private workout doesn't necessarily indicate genuine interest. More than anything, it's part of the Patriots' standard information-gathering process. By the time the draft arrives, the Patriots will have met personally, or had a private workout, with anywhere from 100-200 prospects.
From a reporting standpoint, the private workouts provide a springboard to learn more about the propsect the Patriots are spending time with.
In Patrick, he has played a lot of football -- 46 games, with 40 starts -- over the last four seasons at Loiusville. The Pro Football Weekly 2011 draft guide calls him a "good-sized (5-10, 191), durable, fluid, field-fast corner with natural cover skills to shadow receivers and good tackling ability." PFW also notes some off-field questions that Patrick is sure to be asked about.
The Patriots struck it big with Devin McCourty last year and they also have veteran Leigh Bodden -- who had a solid 2009 season -- returning after missing last year because of injury. Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite and Tony Carter are also on the depth chart.
Bill Belichck has said in the past that cornerbacks are a lot like pitchers in baseball -- you can never have enough of them, especially the way the league is geared toward more passing.
Perhaps Patrick is the next cornerback to join the Patriots' mix.