nfl draft

A look at the Patriots’ last three picks

Alfonzo Dennard of Nebraska in action at the NFL Combine on Feb. 28, 2012.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Alfonzo Dennard of Nebraska in action at the NFL Combine on Feb. 28, 2012.

A few quick thoughts on the final picks of the Patriots:

DB Nate Ebner, Ohio State (sixth round)

- A former rugby standout, Ebner hasn’t played a ton of football, but if you watch his rugby highlight film, you know he’s a mad man who could be a terror on special teams.


- Once he’s given time to learn the game, it wouldn’t be a surprise if his role expanded. Ebner is obviously unafraid of coming up and tackling. That kind of talent could lend itself well playing as a linebacker or safety in subpackages.

- He had a great pro day workout with 4.54, 39-inch vertical, broad jump of 10-8 (Chandler Jones had 10), a short shuttle of 4.04 and a three-cone drill of 6.59. That’s top-notch athletic ability.

CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska (seventh round)

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- Obviously a value pick since Dennard had a first- to third-round grade before he was ejected from the Capital One Bowl, and arrested for punching a cop during a bar fight a week ago.

- If he keeps his nose clean, Dennard has starter ability. He can play press man coverage all over the field. Not the tallest guy, but his outstanding vertical jump (37 inches) allows him to match up with bigger receivers.

- Has the skills to matchup in the slot, or because of his muscular frame, he could be moved to safety.


- Bill Belichick worked him out when he spoke at Nebraska. The Patriots obviously think the reasons for his drop were legitimate because they could have taken him much earlier.

- By taking him in the seventh round, the Patriots won’t have to bid against other teams who aren’t comfortable spending a draft pick on a character risk. For the Patriots, there’s zero risk in this pick and it could pay off big. Has the type of talent to help the team immediately

WR Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern (seventh round)

- He was the team’s only offensive selection.

- Ebert (5-10, 194, 4.41) is in the same mold as Wes Welker and Julian Edelman -- good, tough slot receivers with quickness. If Welker doesn’t get a new contract, 2012 will be his final season with the Patriots. Edelman will be a restricted free agent after this season.

- Ebert was very production at Northwestern (75 catches, 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns). Good football player who runs good routes.

- Ebert also has special teams ability and that will help his chances at making the team.

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