- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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The process of scouting football players is analogous to a puzzle; it involves many different pieces that must come together to form a singular evaluation.
The Senior Bowl is one piece of the puzzle for the Patriots personnel department in their preparation for the upcoming draft, and just concluded with the South squad upending the North team 21-16.
It’s still extremely early in our look at the April draft, and one game is a miniature sample size to make a strong judgment off of. We’ll dive much deeper into many of the prospects we saw today and try to assess how they could fit into the Patriots’ plans, continuing at the Combine in February and in following Pro Days around the country.
Keeping in mind that these aren’t final evaluations or based on anything more than a one-game viewing, here’s a quick overview of one offensive and one defensive player from the Senior Bowl who flashed ability and has us wanting to learn more.
Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Colleague Mike Reiss noted Goodwin in his earlier post relating to the game, and mentioned his unique speed that allowed him to be a downfield threat. I also saw Goodwin make defenders miss on the perimeter in the quick passing game, something the Patriots didn’t have a ton of this season. For example, a few years back, Deion Branch was effective in taking “laser” screens (throws to him on the sideline at or near the line of scrimmage) and turning them into first downs. Goodwin’s elusiveness stood out, and could be effective on such plays.
Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer. We saw Poyer not only on defense, but also as a kickoff returner on special teams. But truth be told, it was Poyer’s defensive effort that caught our eye, as he showed good reactive athleticism, a solid trigger out of his backpedal, and good ball skills. He was a first-team All-American this past season, finishing with six interceptions and two sacks. The Patriots have a big decision to make on free agent-to-be Aqib Talib, but losing him would leave the team thin at a position that has been a concern in recent seasons. The Patriots could use more playmaking cornerbacks to beef up the secondary, and Poyer has a track record of finding the football.