Mark Herzlich, linebacker, Boston College. I don’t believe he’s going to be signed by anyone just to be a good story. A former first-team All American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Herzlich clearly knows how to play. If there is anything athletic shortcoming, Bill Belichick will find ways to avoid exposing it yet I expect his play last year to be more of an example of a great athlete recovering from a significant surgery. Belichick likes smart, hard-working leaders. Herzlich’s leadership ability is going to get him the job. Plus, NFL Network’s Pat Kirwan said he would have been a first round pick if he had come out before he got cancer. While he will get lobbying to come to Minnesota – another place where the staff wants leaders – by ACC-IMG training cohort Christian Ponder, I expect him in Foxboro well before the 27th. Prediction: New England Patriots.
Ricardo Lockette, wide receiver, Fort Valley State. The Jaguars have drafted a lot of small-school talent and may be able to use that and their own lack of wide receivers (Mike Thomas’ 820 yards is the highest single-season total of any current Jaguars player). Lockette’s breakaway speed (4.37 40) and solid skill set would be well-utilized in shootouts against Houston and Indianapolis. I think, however, that Bill Belichick has had some time to reflect on his lack of explosive receivers. Prediction: New England Patriots.
Noel Devine, running back, West Virginia. Noel Devine can be a spark plug for a team looking for 10-12 plays and some big returns. The NFC West now has two coaches whose familiarity and connections with draft picks are unparalleled: Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh. However, the Seahawks have Leon Washington and the 49ers have Kendall Hunter. I suspect the team that gives Devine a chance is looking for big plays. There is no team with more questionable RB depth in the NFC than the Chicago Bears. Martz would love a dazzling change-of-pace back – Devine finished 4th all time in rushing yards for Big East players – but I think Devine’s agent wants to place him somewhere the O-line is more settled and platoon is more of the mentality (Forte took 237 of the 363 carries, about 2/3rds, they also have a lot of faith in Taylor, though Taylor only averaged 2.4 yards on 112 carries). The Rams’ new coordinator Josh McDaniels would love to have him and Spagnuolo has talked about divvying up the carries more generously. Prediction: St. Louis Rams.