- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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In the days leading up to the NFL draft, ESPNBoston.com will identify players who project as solid fits for the Patriots:
Player: Arkansas WR trio (Joe Adams, Greg Childs, Jarius Wright)
Position: Wide receiver/returner
Listed height/weight: Adams (5-foot-10, 5/8, 179 pounds); Childs (6-foot-3, 219 pounds); Wright (5-foot-9, 5/8, 182 pounds)
Scouts Inc. rank: Adams (11th); Childs (27th); Wright (12th)
Draft projection: Adams (Third round); Childs (Middle/later rounds); Wright (Third round)
Why they’re on our list: It is rare to scout three “draftable” receivers from the same school. Arkansas ran a pro-style offense and all three targets showed they can handle some of the complexity they’ll likely be dealing with in the NFL. The Patriots appear well-stocked at receiver in the short-term, but the top of the depth chart is filled with 30-somethings and thus it wouldn’t be surprising if the Patriots invest in developing a prospect at the position. Also, with Wes Welker potentially in a one-and-done scenario with the franchise tag, it’s possible the club might be thinking of a future slot receiver (Adams & Wright could qualify). Adams and Wright also offer potential value as returners.
Recommended link: A Cotton Bowl preview, written by Robbie Neiswanger on Arkansasnews.com, spotlights how the three receivers all came to Arkansas with the hope of helping the turn the program around with then-coach Bobby Petrino (link here).
Key stat: Adams (NCAA-high 4 punt returns for touchdowns in 2011); Childs (limited to 21 receptions in 2011); Wright (12 receiving touchdowns in 12 starts in 2011)
Workout stat: Adams (after saying he wanted to run a 4.2, clocked a 4.55 in the 40 at combine); Childs (reportedly clocked a 4.41 time in the 40 at Pro Day); Wright (impressive 38-inch vertical leap at combine)
Steve Muench of Scouts Inc.: "Let’s start with Adams. At 5-foot-10 5/8 and 179 pounds, he didn’t run as well as expected (4.55-40) at the combine but that’s actually right around average for receiver prospects and he plays fast on film. While he’s an unpolished route runner, he’s quick enough to separate working out of the slot and he’s a shifty open-field runner that can make defenders miss whether it’s after the catch or on punt returns. Speaking of punt returns, he took four to the house last year. At 5-foot-9 5/8 and 182, Wright also projects as a slot receiver. He hasn’t produced in the return game like Adams. On the other hand, he catches the ball more consistently than Adams, and though there’s room for improvement, he’s farther along as a route runner. He’s also faster, running a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine and he’s a threat to run away from defenses when he gets a seam after the catch. Childs has the best speed-size ratio of the three and his stock is headed in the right direction following a strong performance the week of the East-West Shrine game, followed by impressive workouts. At 6-foot-3 1/8 and 219 pounds, he ran a 4.55 in Indianapolis and reportedly cracked the 4.4s at his Pro Day. He also has the long arms and big hands to come down with 50-50 balls downfield. However, he sustained a right knee injury in 2010 and didn’t really look like he regained his form until late in the season. The other concern when it comes to Childs is his ability to separate from man coverage on short-to-intermediate routes at the next level.”