Earlier on Wednesday, the Patriots' "free-agent fit" at the safety position was explored. The thought was that the Patriots could benefit from adding a bigger, harder-hitting safety.
If the team doesn't do so in free agency, it could look to the draft, and the question was asked to Steve Muench of ESPN's Scouts Inc.: Beyond projected first-round pick Calvin Pryor of Louisville, who are the top bigger safeties this year?
Muench, who contributes to ESPN Insider's NFL draft blog, shared his thoughts:
Washington State’s Deone Bucannon
At 6-foot-1 and 211 pounds Bucannon posted an impressive 4.49 40 at the combine and he was explosive as he was fast. That shows up on tape where he’s a violent striker who doesn’t need much momentum to deliver big hits that stop backs in their tracks . He needs to show better discipline in coverage at times but he’s a proven playmaker with the long arms and big hands to make a similar impact in the NFL. He projects as a Day 2 pick.
Baylor’s Ahmad Dixon
The 6-foot and 212-pound Dixon is a heavy hitter with the frame and length to develop into an effective in the box safety in the NFL. It’s somewhat of a surprise that he didn’t bench 225 more than 14 times in Indianapolis because he shows good strength taking on blockers on tape. The downside is he is just adequate in coverage. He has average range, he’s a little tight in his hips and he’s not a playmaker. He projects as a mid-round pick.
LSU’s Craig Loston
The thickest of the three at 6-foot and 5/8 of an inch and 217 pounds Loston is s a downhill run-stopper who takes sound angles and uncoils on ball carriers at the point of contact. He also has the potential to get stronger, as he looked like he could develop his upper-body strength at the Senior Bowl weigh-in and benched 225 a below average 14 times at the combine. He’s more of a ballhawk than Dixon in coverage but like Dixon he has average range and limited man cover skills. Plus there’s enough in his injury history to be concerned about his durability. He projects as a mid-round pick.