Welcome to the Patriots Prospect Preview, the only place to find college football prospects worth keeping your Patriots-happy eye on throughout the season. Let’s jump into Week 4.

The idea behind this series has always been to highlight possible areas of need for the New England Patriots.

The only problem is that new needs seem to arise every day. The Patriots are suddenly very thin at cornerback, and issues on the offensive line have persisted throughout the early portion of the season. That doesn’t mean new things won’t pop up at some point throughout the year, though.

That’s why we’ve decided to take a step back and look at one player from each offensive position this week, just to get ourselves warmed up for whatever comes next in New England.

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Devin Neal (#4), RB, Kansas
Week 4: vs. BYU (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN)

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If you take one look at the Patriots’ current running back room, it remains clear they wouldn’t mind adding a change-of-pace back. It looked like they might have one in Pierre Strong Jr., but a disappointing rookie campaign in New England led to him being traded to the Cleveland Browns for tackle depth.

The Patriots are now left with Rhamondre Stevenson under contract for next season, and that’s pretty much it. That’s why we decided to take a look at a running back who could fill a third-down role and have the upside to be New England’s next top back.

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Devin Neal is having the best year of his already-prolific career at Kansas, scoring six touchdowns and accounting for 434 yards on 48 touches this season. He’s improved as a pass catcher each season and has the size to be relied on as an every-down back. The hope is that he doesn’t rise out of the Patriots’ range.

Connor Colby (#77), IOL, Iowa
Week 4: vs. @ Penn State (7:30 p.m. ET on CBS)

There are few programs that have Bill Belichick’s attention like Iowa, with longtime friend Kirk Ferentz running the program and supplying the Patriots with a few contributors over the last few seasons.

In 2023, Connor Colby is probably the best option.

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Colby stands at 6-foot-6 and has started for three seasons, picking up snaps at both tackle and guard. He’s strong. He’s versatile. He comes from a familiar program. Check, check and check.

Cade Stover (#8), TE, Ohio State
Week 4: @ Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET on NBC)

There are few players in the country who feel more like Patriots than Cade Stover, who has made starts in the Rose Bowl at tight end and linebacker in his time with Ohio State.

Stover is kind of a throwback, with early returns in 2023 pointing toward him being one of the top tight ends available in the 2024 NFL Draft. He’s one of the best blockers in the country at that position and already has three catches of 35 yards or more on the season. He’s a versatile option for the Patriots, who could enter next season with no tight ends under contract.

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Graham Barton (#62), OT, Duke
Week 4: @ UConn (3:30 p.m. ET on CBSSN)

There are few offensive linemen in the country who have had better production than Graham Barton.

The guy hasn’t given up a sack since his sophomore year.

He’s made starts at both center and tackle and has kept Duke quarterback Riley Leonard upright throughout their time together. We’re just moving down the list when it comes to tackles at this point, and Barton is up next.

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Jimmy Horn Jr. (#5), WR, Colorado
Week 4: @ Oregon (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC)

It was only a matter of time until we got to one of Deion Sanders’ stars at Colorado.

Jimmy Horn Jr. might be the Buffaloes’ best player who isn’t named Hunter or Sanders, accounting for 26 receptions, 247 yards and two touchdowns through three games. He’s Shedeur Sanders’ top target for a reason, too, possessing legit NFL speed and agility. He’ll probably be a Day 3 pick, which the Patriots haven’t minded using on Deion Sanders’ disciples.

Sam Hartman (#10), QB, Notre Dame
Week 4: vs. Ohio State (7:30 p.m. ET on NBC)

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That’s right, we’re talking quarterbacks.

The Patriots have had a rough time trying to find a No. 3 QB behind Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe this season, cycling through the likes of Matt Corral, Ian Book and Will Grier in a two-week span. In Sam Hartman, they could be looking at a guy who pushes for a No. 2 spot.

Hartman has won wherever he goes, and a victory over Ohio State could put him on the map as a potential starting option in the NFL. Either way, the Patriots could very well have interest.

Featured image via Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports Images