Belichick, Patriots workout Auburn RBs and DTs, won't draft TE Williams in first round
|Cameron Artis-Payne's 1,608 rushing yards last season were third most in Auburn history|
As predicted earlier today, running back Corey Grant scorched the track in the 40, running times under 4.3s. As is usually the case, pro-day times are all over the place but the consensus had Grant at 4.27. His other marks were equally competitive, as Grant touched 37 inches in the vertical, 10-7 in the broad and 22reps on the bench.
I'm told the Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots have shown great interest in Grant, who has sealed himself as a late-round pick.
The Patriots have also shown a lot of interest in Auburn's "other" running back, Cameron Artis-Payne. The fast-rising ball-carrier stood on his 40 time from the combine but ran the shuttle and 3-cone today (still awaiting times). During drills, he was quick-footed and caught the ball exceptionally well. Expect Artis-Payne to solidify himself as a top-100 pick.
Those are fantastic numbers by Grant, who shined in a backfield committee at Auburn following the departure of Tre Mason. Grant wasn't invited to the combine, but clearly has at least the physical talent to play at the next level. Interestingly enough, his teammate Artis-Payne has drawn comparisons to Pats runner Jonas Gray from scouts.
However, Belichick wasn't just looking at running backs. Again, per Pauline:
Once the group workout was complete, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick worked out defensive linemen Angelo Blackson and Gabe Wright. Keep an eye on Blackson, who ran in the low 4.9-second range today after timing a hand-held best of 4.98 seconds at the combine. He's a large (6-4.5, 318) athletic tackle who really doesn't get the credit he deserves in part due to the way Auburn used its linemen.Wright has a nice blend of power and explosiveness, giving him potential as an up-field penetrator at the next level. He could go in Day Two of the draft. Blackson has received less attention from scouts so far, but possesses the bulk to take on double teams and intriguing atheticism for a man his size.
Pauline's notes from the day also have a revealing nugget regarding the Patriots intentions with their first round pick. According to his source, every team from picks 26 to 32 would consider Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams in the first round except New England, Dallas and Indianapolis. It's not particularly surprising, given Rob Gronkowski's massive presence atop the tight end depth chart in New England.