- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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With the NFL draft closing in, ESPNBoston.com is narrowing its list of prospects that it projects as the best fits for the Patriots at areas that seem likely the club could target:
Player: Blidi Wreh-Wilson
Listed height/weight: 6-foot-0, 195 pounds
Scouts Inc. rank: 5th (scouting report)
Draft projection: Late first round/early second round
Why he’s on our list: Having quality depth at cornerback is critical with all of the spread passing attacks prevalent in the NFL. The Patriots, for example, were in their sub defense (5 or more defensive backs) on 57 percent of the defensive snaps in 2012. While the top of the depth chart looks solid with Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington, with Ras-I Dowling still looking to break through, the fact Talib is on a one-year deal could create a larger need down the road. The Patriots don’t always draft for immediate need and this could be one of those cases with Wreh-Wilson, who has all the intangibles the Patriots generally seek.
Recommended link: Dan Dibacco of the Erie Times News recaps how Wreh-Wilson got a modest start in his football career.
Key stat: Played in 45 career games; totaled just one interception in his final season.
Workout stat: Timed in the 4.4 range in the 40-yard dash.
Steve Muench of Scouts Inc.: “It’s never a bad thing to be four-year starter and two-time team captain as is the case with Wreh-Wilson, whose blend of work ethic and talent is impressive. As far as the off-season evaluation process is concerned, there’s a lot to like about the way he competed at the Senior Bowl. While he ran a much slower second 40 at the combine, he ran in the 4.4s on his first try and he reportedly ran in the same range if not a little faster at the Pro Day. Far more importantly, the tape backs up the quicker times. He appears more than fast enough to turn and run with NFL receivers on film. At 6006 and 195 pounds, he has excellent size for a corner. Taller corners can struggle to sink their hips and change directions quickly but he shows above average fluidity and balance for his size. Plus his route recognition and ability to anticipate breaks are better than average so he’s almost always under control. Here’s why he’s not a lock to go in the first round. He intercepted just three passes over the past two years and he may never be a playmaker at the next level. While he recorded a 36-inch vertical jump and he has 32-inch arms, he has small hands (8.5) for a corner prospect. In addition, he is a touch faster than quick and though he recovers well he can allow some separation when receivers make crisp breaks at the top of their stems.”