The New England Patriots ascended upon four pro day workouts over a two-day span in their own backyard this week, making sure to evaluate prospects from all levels of collegiate football.
On Tuesday, Patriots college scouting coordinator Brian Smith and national scout Dujuan Daniels made the trek out to the tiny campus of Merrimack College, a DII school with an enrollment of 3,700 students before making their way over to Chestnut Hill. On Wednesday, Smith was joined by scout D.J. Debick at UConn and the two would then head to a regional pro day organized by agent Joe Linta.
The following are some of the top players from the circuit, who the Patriots either met with formally or informally.
Obi Melifonwu, DB, UConn
The star of the tour was Melifonwu, who stood on his numbers from the combine but did run the short shuttle, three-cone and sixty-yard shuttle and looked impressive doing so. Next, the Massachusetts native showed off remarkably fluid hips, a smooth backpedal and the freakish athleticism he has become suddenly famous for in positional work. “Now everybody knows my talents and knows my abilities,” Melifonwu said after the workout. “They know I can play different positions and help a team out.” After this performance, it would not be surprising if you see ‘Obi’ trending on day one of the NFL Draft.
John Johnson, DB, Boston College
With New England in the market for secondary help, they made sure to check out yet another highly rated defensive back in Johnson. Much like Melifonwu, teams are split on whether the two will play cornerback or safety at the next level. Johnson possesses great ball skills, to go along with the ability to cover lots of ground and excellent size at 6-1, 205 pounds. “Some teams said, John you’re not a safety get that out of you’re head, you’re a corner,” Johnson informed Metro US. “Other teams ask me what I like best. I’m a defensive back and I got to be ready to do both.” After his combine performance and workout, Johnson is projected as a top 100-overall selection.
Josh Hill, Edge, Merrimack
Just three teams (49ers; Broncos) in the entire league showed up to see the little-known small school standout, with the Patriots being the only organization to send two scouts. A defensive end in college, Hill measured 6-2, 252 pounds and is viewed as an undersized 3-4 outside linebacker. He’ll most likely have to fight his way onto a roster as an undrafted free agent. “I had good feedback, I felt good, I felt smooth in all my drills, I felt fresh and fast,” Hill stated. “It was a good day for me today.”
Zach Voytek, OL, New Haven
Over 40 prospects worked out during the four events but no player boosted their draft stock more than Voytek, who impressed at the College Gridiron Showcase back in January. The four-year starter stood in at 6-4, 313 pounds, ran 5.35 in the forty-yard dash and had a solid overall workout.