For the four remaining teams in the NFL Playoffs, the season continues, but for 28 teams -- including the Patriots, unfortunately -- the offseason has already begun, with the first steps involving preparation for the 2011 NFL Draft. Scouting the draft prospects is already underway in Orlando, at the East-West Shrine game, a post-season all-star contest.
It's a chance for players like Delaware's Patrick Devlin, Navy's Ricky Dobbs and Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor to showcase their skills in one last game in front of NFL scouts (you can view the complete rosters here).
Via our own Jaguars blog, Big Cat Country, who is at the practices, this is who the Patriots had their eyes on (via Pats Pulpit):
Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU
David Carter, DE, UCLA
Cheta Ozougwu, DE/OLB, Rice
Caleb Schlauderaff, OG, Utah
Alex Green, HB, Hawaii
Justin Taplin-Ross, FS, Utah
Contain your excitement. Not much there, but, it at least gives an idea of what Bill Belichick and company may be targeting come April. From that short list, Barksdale is the big name.
At 6'5" and over 315 lbs, Barksdale has great size, having been a stalwart on the right side of LSU. Barksdale has shown good short area speed for a man of his size, and is a pretty solid run blocker, although he is still raw as a pass blocker. He certainly has potential, and could go as high as the second round with a good pre-draft season (although the 3rd to 4th round looks more likely).
Head over to Pats Pulpit for more analysis and reaction the players the Pats are reportedly scouting.