Bill Belichick has a longstanding relationship with former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, so it comes as no surprise that the Patriots are interested in some of his prospects at the University of Kansas.
The Patriots were present at Kansas’ pro day last week, and as it turns out they stuck around in Lawrence, KS, to privately work out a trio of Jayhawks on their own, according to NFL.com.
Quarterback Dayne Crist, defensive end Toben “Tobenchukwu” Opurum and safety Bradley McDougald were the three players that apparently piqued the Patriots’ interest.
Opurum is a quick, strong pass rusher, who hasn’t been given much attention as a prospect and might be available as a rookie free agent after the draft. McDougald, on the other hand, is quick and athletic but still has room to grow as a pure pass defender. He will probably come off the board late on the third day.
Crist is the most high profile of the three, although he didn’t have a great senior season at Kansas after transferring from Notre Dame. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw just four touchdowns to nine interceptions before losing his starting job during his only season with the Jayhawks.
During his lone full season as a starter (2010) in South Bend, Ind., Crist led the Irish to an 8-5 record and a victory in the Sun Bowl over Miami. He completed nearly 60 percent of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, establishing himself as the future at the quarterback position. But head coach Brian Kelly benched him early in Week 1 of 2011, forcing Crist to transfer ahead of the 2012 season.
Each of the three are lower level prospects, but the Patriots clearly trust Weis’ judgement.
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