2012 Patriots Draft Big Board

Here’s the 2012 Patriots Big Board. These are draft prospects I like and think fit the Patriots style of play, roughly in the order I value them.

All comments, criticism, advice welcome. I make no claims of being a scout. This is simply a fun exercise for myself to find quality applicants for the New England Football Machine. I’ll allow this list to go as high as 50, so I’m still looking, but the goal as it was last year is to nail as many Pats picks as possible. Hence slots won’t be wasted on positions that aren’t glaring needs.

Here is the 2011 Big Board.

Here is our 2012 Patriots-only mock draft.

  • posted 4/2
  • updated 4/4
  • updated 4/8
  • updated 4/11
  • updated 4/12
  • updated 4/20
  • updated 4/23
  1. Morris Clayborne, CB, LSU: Devin McCwho?
  2. David Decastro, G, Stanford: I know we already have a mauler, what a dream it would be to have two.
  3. Fletcher Cox, DE, South Carolina: Versatile defensive lineman prospect who could contribute to the Pats immediately as an interior rusher while developing the strength and technique to play the other line spots. Reminds be somewhat of Cameron Jordan last year and that scares me, but I think Cox is the better prospect.
  4. Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia: Great size and length, good guard prospect with experience at tackle. Surprising agility for a big man, and would fit in well with the rest of the Monster Squad. A potential long term solution at right guard would be an excellent hole to fill this year.
  5. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama: Long corner prospect, who could potentially be moved to safety. Would bring some needed talent, size and playmaking ability to the back end of the Pats defense.
  6. Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina: Gilmore intrigues me as a potential safety conversion guy, especially given the safety class this year. He has all kind of Pats potential factors (durable, hard working, soft spoken). If he doesn’t have the corner speed he could go to safety, but overall a solid and popular Pats mock draft pick and rightly so.
  7. Michael Brockers, DE, LSU: Brockers is still an ascending prospect, but in the exact mold of what the Patriots need most: versatile defensive lineman with the size and strength to do a number of different things. Brockers had a great year in 2011 as a Sophomore, and in the words of one scout “played with great passion”. If he puts that passion into being a professional football player he could be a dominant, versatile force. Plus he is a clean prospect off-field and injury-wise.
  8. Kendall Reyes, DT, UCONN: A popular Pats mock draft pick who’s a two-time captain who could develop the strength to two gap, but already has the speed for interior rush.
  9. Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska: Versatile corner described as “feisty”. Physical and tough, he can play inside or outside, and would give the Pats a solid man-coverage corner. The only question is does he have the FBI to play for BB.
  10. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: Not the outside speed demon some might be hoping for, but has size/strength like Vincent Jackson, a known Patriots favorite. The Pats used to look for physical receivers like David Givens and Floyd seems like he could be in that mold, while also giving NE an outside receiving threat.
  11. Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama: On paper Upshaw doesn’t have the ideal size for a Patriots OLB nor does he have the measurables that will wow anyone, but when I watch him play he looks like a Patriot. He’s assignment sound, strong at the point of attack and can get after the passer enough to be a threat. I was consistently impressed by his discipline and instincts. He plays the way the Patriots want their defense to play, regardless of his measurables.
  12. Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State: Ideal Patriots-type when you look at intangibles, hard worker who’s versatile. 20.5 career sacks. Like Upshaw, he’s a slightly undersized tweener. Upshaw might be a little tougher than him, but McLellin is very athletic in a way that none of our current outside linebackers are. Let’s remember Ninkopoop isn’t exactly ideal size either, and he’s definitely not the kind of athlete McClellin is.
  13. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: Scrappy, intelligent and a hard worker. There are some injury concerns but Konz strikes me as a guy who could be tempting to the Pats if he falls to the late-20s. His value could be affected by how secure the Pats feel about Dan Connolly and his future at center. Reinforcing the interior offensive line has to be a priority this year.
  14. Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin: Tough, gritty interior lineman who will need some time to develop. Dependable and “no-nonsense”. I am always intrigued by these Badger offensive linemen. I wonder if this is the year BB grabs one of them.
  15. Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia: Playmaker in the slot. Plays bigger than frame. Hobbs/Arrington mold. Won Hornung Award for most versatile player in college football. Kickoff returner.
  16. Mark Barron, S, Alabama: It’s a thin safety class this year, and while Barron isn’t an ideal free safety-type fit that could balance out Chung, he’s big and tough in the box,  and fairly instinctive on the back end. Yes, we have Chung, but Barron could allow him to play back a little more, and we all know how many games Chung has missed over the last two years. My gut feel is that a team looking for an answer to Gronkandez will snap him up a little higher than they should.
  17. Dontari Poe, DL, Memphis: Big, raw mass of a man that is willing to work. Never rule out the Pats on athletic freaks (see Solder/Cannon). Having a big inside presence like Poe would really make life difficult for opponents and force them to deal with two athletic forces inside. His production doesn’t overwhelm from a numbers standpoint, and I get a boom or bust feeling with him, but his ceiling under Wilfork’s wing would be amazingly high.
  18. Reuben Randle, WR, LSU: There’s a theme of big receivers in this year’s class and Randle is one of them. Another popular Pats mock draft pick Randle is described as a hard worker and savvy route runner. Could be a prime pick at the bottom of the first round.
  19. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: Wright is a tough, fast wide out who lacks size but has everything else you want. A four year starter, described as “top competitor who gives full effort on every snap”. I don’t know what it takes to mesh with TFB but this guy would give it everything he had, and he’s dripping with explosive talent. Yes please.
  20. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers: Sanu’s savvy, and from a building a team perspective he’s the kind of pick you know exactly what you’re getting with. BB surely knows him well after scouting McCourty and being attached to Greg Schiano’s hip at the league meetings in Florida. He can be a threat in a number of different ways (in the backfield, in the slot, outside) and he’s 6-2, 215. Even with the Pats recent additions at WR they still lack size and Sanu is another big, athletic receiver that is prevalent in this year’s draft class.
  21. Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: I’m torn on Smith. He looked good at the combine and has impressive size and better than average speed at a position of Pats need. I just am not sold that he’s an instinctive difference-maker and might be limited in his effectiveness in the New England system. But there’s a lot to like. Again, a potential anti-Gronkandez for someone willing to reach.
  22. Jerel Worthy, DL, Michigan State: Worthy isn’t a class Pats fit, but he would bring some quickness and versatility to the interior line, both areas of need.
  23. Billy Winn, DL, Boise State: Winn interests me because he can play a number of spots on the line and has some interior power like Mike Wright had. May not be ideal at any position, but has the demeanor to fit in and do a number of things. Violent in the trenches, also a former wrestler/power lifter.
  24. DeQuan Menzie, CB, Alabama: Started 20 games for Alabama, but doesn’t have the measurables the NFL likes. Sound familiar? He’s physical and aggressive and could be a mid-to-late rounder with potential to play special teams and slot.
  25. Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall: Great measurables and his leadership qualities. Not completely sold he’s a fit at OLB, but he has the make up of a Patriot and his pass rush skills can’t be ignored. Might be a better 4-3 upfield DE, that drops his value for NE.
  26. Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia: An intriguing prospect with many connections to Belichick. Good tackler, and has a diverse football background in a lot of positions, including kick return ability. Has good length, somewhat reminds me of McCourty.
  27. Chandler Jones, DL/OLB, Syracuse: I like Jones’ length, and while I’m not convinced he has the athleticism to play OLB for the Pats, he’s an interesting prospect. Physically he has the tools, but could he put it all together to play the Elephant role? Maybe. Todd McShay really likes his upside.
  28. Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia: Irvin has some off-the-field questions, but he seems like he has the personality to really flourish in New England. He’s undersized but the ferocity of his play makes up for it. A true athlete who could potentially make an immediate difference on passing downs.
  29. Jayron Hosely, CB, VT: Smart, feisty and aggressive with kick return/punt return potential. Came out early so under the radar early in the process. But a good overall Pats-type DB. Potential to contribute immediately as a slot corner.
  30. Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State: Seasoned, athletic and tenacious center. I really like his size given the Patriots struggles keeping the middle of the pocket intact for TFB to step up.
  31. Ben Jones, C, Georgia: Solid center prospect who played over 40 career starts in the SEC. Leader. Not flashy but a solid pick who would compete for time right away.
  32. Markelle Martin, Safety, Oklahoma State: I really like his physicality and closing ability on the back end. Could be a prime mid-round safety target in a weak safety class. In theory he has everything the Pats like and need if he could live up to his scouting reports.
  33. Derek Wolfe, DL, Cincinnati: Relentless worker and “the spark plug of the defense”, position in NFL tough to project, but could be a 5-technique if he improves his anchor. Still, a tough, highly competitive DL with a good first step.
  34. Brandon Taylor, S, LSU: Team captain and three-year SEC starter. More of a strong safety type, but great leadership qualities and tough player.
  35. Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas: Adams would bring some real explosiveness to the Pats return games, something they badly needed in 2011. If he could develop with Brady as a WR while earning a roster spot via special teams he could add a dynamic versatile presence on offense in coming years.
  36. Christian Thompson, FS, SC State: A favorite of Wes Bunting, Thompson has good speed and the athleticism to develop on the back end. NFP has him as their 2nd ranked free safety.
  37. Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama: Similar to the mold of Wilfork, Chapman can hold his ground against the best of them. Question is how versatile he is, can he be more than just a NT?
  38. Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas: Solid character prospect who’s “immoveable” by a single blocker. Projects to a 5-technique in the Patriots defense.
  39. Malik Jackson, DE, Tennesee: Developmental 5-tech, with some scheme versatility. Will need time to develop, but has the physical tools. Saw time all over the defensive line on passing downs. Has work to do, but has the frame to grow into a beast.
  40. Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State: Physical, aggressive and diverse. Definitely reminiscent of the Law Firm in both his dreads and running style.
  41. Tramain Thomas, S, Arkansas: A 3-year SEC starter who wasn’t invited to the combine? Pats alert! Undersized, and often over aggressive, but a smart back end player who has range and can make plays on the ball.
  42. Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly: Jackson fits the mold of Pats corners from yesteryear, with also some return ability.
  43. Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana: Good size, long arms, ability to play press. Will need time coming from a small school, but looks like he would add a missing element to the Pats secondary.
  44. Cam Johnson, DL, Virgina: Relentless worker who plays with violence, he plays the way the Pats like, but it’s a struggle to project exactly where he would fit. Scouts feel he might be too stiff for OLB, but he can bring it as a pass rusher and could develop as a sub-rusher.
  45. Lucas Nix, OG, Pittsburgh: Good athlete with a mean streak. Consistent and durable, time at right guard.
  46. Ryan Miller, OL, Colorado: Miller is 6’7” but projects inside to guard. The Pats surely got a great look at him while scouting Solder. He’s played inside and outside at Colorado. Great size, athleticism.
  47. Kelcie McCray, S, Arkansas St.: Former high school QB with good size and range. Some questions about how physical he is, but a possible back end/special teams guy available in the mid rounds.
  48. Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas: Before tearing his patellar tendon Childs looked like a prime WR prospect. If he can get back to full health he could be an excellent value pick on Day 3. Tall and physical, but also understands his role in an offense that is similar to the Patriots. Doesn’t hurt that he had great chemistry with Ryan Mallett either.
  49. Buddy Jackson, CB, Pitt: Jackson never started at Pitt, but was an explosive kickoff returner who played some sub package defensive back.
  50. Desmond Wynn, G, Rutgers: Started 24 straight games at LG, also has experience at RG.
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