As we did last year, here’s our Patriots-only mock draft. Below you’ll find my favorite players that fill what I see as the biggest needs for the Pats. I don’t project trades though obviously there will be some, especially to round out their picks in the 5th/6th/7th rounds this year. Some of these guys might be reaches, but even with the trade downs I see them as fits.
The players I select are based on what I see as the biggest needs and the approximate value at the selection spot. I describe the immediate and specific role on the team in detail, and I believe each of the six players below would make the Patriots a better team.
While I might’ve been able to see potential for a trade up with last year’s class (Aldon Smith, JJ Watt), this year I just don’t see an available player in the 10-20 range that would be worth the cost of two first round selections. If anything I see them trading out of the first round completely before doing that, though a move from the late 20s to the early 20s cannot be completely ruled out, especially if the price tag is a first and a third.
Before we begin I must say that the biggest need for the Patriots overall is pass defense and all of the defenders I have selected would make an impact there. When was the last time the Patriots got grounded and pounded to a loss? 2009 against the Ravens maybe?
I’m no longer concerned with finding 5-techinique defensive ends who can two gap. It’s time to start upgrading the important positions of the modern NFL: the interior rush, the nickel and dime backs, the back end/over-the-top safety, and even a couple designated pass rushers. Unlike the old NFL, being able to play passing downs is paramount and far more definitive of a three-down player. In simple terms, give me aggressive guys who pose problems in the passing game first and foremost.
Our Patriots-only mock comes after the jump:
From CBS Sports:
Irvin, who had 22.5 sacks his last two seasons for the Mountaineers, is regarded as a solid 3-4 end “rush” linebacker prospect, with some teams rating him as high as the second round. Irvin was particularly forthcoming about his background, which included him dropping out of high school and eventually earning a GED, and was one of the players most often mentioned after the combine as having had tremendous interview sessions. - Len Pasquarelli, The Sports Xchange
Some guys to keep an eye on here. Fletcher Cox intrigues me (and many Pats observers) most because of his ability to provide some inside pass rush, a huge area of need as I see it.The question with him is can he anchor effectively.
I need to take a little deeper look at the other guys to see how diverse they could be in the Patriots scheme.
Good scout breakdowns of 50 draft prospects. After reading this I feel even more sure the Pats will trade back with one of their first rounders.
Football Outsiders looked at the draft report cards of 11 draft writers and analysts and compiled composite scores for each NFL team. Here’s how the Pats did:
New England Patriots
GPA: 2.76 (17th overall)
Standard Deviation: 0.955
Highest Grade: A+ (Brown)
Lowest Grade: D (Caplan)
Comments: Acquiring first- and second-round picks in 2012 was enough for Brown to overlook New England passing on its most pressing need in this year’s draft. Caplan (D) and Byrne (C-) were less forgiving.
The Patriots had the third highest deviation between their collective scores which shouldn’t be all that surprising. Just consider that line between people who think you should draft your needs in order of your picks, and people who think you should take the best player available at slot regardless of need.
Here’s the latest from Walter Football, with the Colts, Steelers and Packers ranked ahead of the Pats…
4. New England Patriots (14-2) - Previously: 2.
MAY 11 UPDATE: What the hell happened during the draft? It’s almost like Bill Belichick logged into Bodog and bet his entire bank account on “Will New England address its front seven in the first five rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft? No +1,500.”
MARCH 16 UPDATE: When I was buying a house, my friend and real estate lawyer asked me if I planned on getting married anytime soon. When I told him no, he replied, “Good. Don’t get married.”
I didn’t understand why he said this until I saw Tom Brady’s pony tail. Poor Tom. I think we now know who wears the pants in that household.
As for the actual team, I’m concerned about Brady’s offensive line. Stephen Neal just retired and Matt Light is a free agent. Bill Belichick needs to make sure that he protects the pony tail at all cost.
Anyone else find it ironic that on March 16 they’re saying the Pats should protect Tom Brady at all costs, then they take the left tackle of the future at 17, and now Walter cant’ figure out what the hell happened because they should’ve addressed the defensive front seven? Whaaaat?