|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
2010 stats: 49 tackles, 12 pass breakups, 5 interceptions
If Johnny Patrick was on a team in the SEC, Pac-10, ACC or Big Ten he would be closely chasing LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara for the No. 1 cornerback spot in the country. Instead, Patrick is seldom talked about when discussing the top corner’s in the 2011 class.
Patrick’s size is similar to most NFL defensive backs, but it’s his style of play that separates him from the rest. Patrick plays angry, with a chip on his shoulder every single down. One of Patrick’s strengths is his help in run support, it seems like he actually enjoys coming up and helping in the running game. Patrick is a reliable tackler who possess solid technique.
Looking at his game as a whole, Patrick doesn’t have too many weaknesses. Patrick’s biggest knack might just be that he’s under-the-radar. Louisville is rarely on national television, so many people around the draft circuit aren’t too familiar with Patrick’s production for the Cardinals.
At Louisville, Patrick started for four seasons where he improved each year. Last season Patrick posted a career high with five interceptions, two of which came in the final regular season game against Rutgers. Off the field Patrick does carry some baggage. This past summer he was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor following an argument with his girlfriend, where he allegedly threw her on the ground after she attempted to take his phone to see his text messages.
Patrick is projected to be drafted around the second round, but don’t be surprised is someone snags him late in Round 1.
In Sports of Boston’s latest mock draft, we had Patrick going to the Patriots in the second round. What Patrick brings on the field is really what the Patriots currently lack at cornerback. 2010 first rounder Devin McCourtey looks to have finally broken the bad-spell the Patriots have had in drafting cornerbacks in years prior, and Leigh Bodden is coming off his season-ending injury, but New England doesn’t have much depth after that.
Kyle Arrington filled in nicely for Bodden last season and says he expects to push Bodden to start in 2011, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston. But, how high is the Hofsta alum’s ceiling? Although he is solid, what we see is what we get with Arrington.
With a virtually non-existent pass rush, the Patriots secondary is asked to do a lot. Instead of covering opposing receivers for four to five seconds, McCourtey and co. has had to work even harder. Patrick’s angry style of play should ignite the secondary and help form one of the league’s best units.
It’s hard to believe that the Patriots would draft yet another cornerback, but because of the inconsistency with guys like Jonathan Wilhite and Darius Butler, they might not have another choice. If New England can handle Patrick’s past off the field problems, he would be a great addition to this secondary.
Note: Patrick was brought in for a private workout.
Follow me on Twitter: @M_Marcantonio