Monday, April 28, 2014

Patriots Draft Needs

            New England Patriots Draft Needs

Team Picks: Rd1 #29, Rd2 #62, Rd3 #93, Rd4 #130, Rd4 #140, Rd6 #198, Rd6 #206, Rd7 #244
Tight End:

·         The Patriots have only three TE’s on the roster and two of them aren’t really legitimate receiving threats. The Hooman is a solid #3 TE but as of now he’s the #2 TE on the depth chart. D.J. Williams hasn’t been anything in the NFL and most likely won’t be. That’s not even the biggest issue with the Pats tight end spot either. Gronk cannot stay healthy and his status is in question for the upcoming season. We don’t know how much time he will miss and even when he gets back he could easily get hurt again. The Patriots need to target a legit TE in this draft. Troy Niklas, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jace Amaro or C.J Fiedorowicz are the four ‘legit’ TE’s in this draft that the Patriots can possibly pick to help sure up the TE position for the future.  
Defensive Tackle:

·         This has been a Patriots need, in my opinion, for a while now. Yes, the team has 5 or 6 (whether you view Armstead as a DT or not) defensive tackles on their roster, but honestly only 3 of them I would feel comfortable with out there on the field. If Tommy Kelly and Wilfork can both come back to be some form of what they used to be, and Siliga continues to progress, then the Pats DT situation will be fine. Even if that happens, Wilfork and Kelly are both in their mid-thirties and will need rest, which I don’t want to see Vellano or Chris Jones provide. The Pats need to look for the DT of the future in this draft. Whether it’s possible studs (Louis Nix or Ra’Shede Hageman), or sleepers (Daquan Jones, Will Sutton, Dominque Easley, or Ego Ferguson), the Patriots need to draft a DT high at some point in this draft for the future.
Pass Rusher:

·         Huge Need. The only argument needed to defend this is to show some game film from last year’s AFCCG and Super Bowl. The Patriots did not lay a finger on Manning and he picked them apart, while the Seahawks on the other hand, were all over him and look how that turned out for them. Getting to the quarterback makes the DB’s jobs much easier as well. The Patriots have a budding star in Chandler Jones, but an aging vet in Ninkovich. Both guys play way too many snaps in a season, which could be a good explanation as to why both don’t maintain consistent pressure. If the Patriots can find a solid rusher who can spell these guys and Michael Buchanan takes a huge leap, then the pass rush will be looking pretty. There are A TON of possible DE/OLB options in this draft, but my favorite talents that are possible for the Patriots are: Kony Ealy (Rd1), Kareem Martin (Rd2-3), Jeremiah Attaochu (Rd1-2), and possible sleeper: Aaron Lynch (Rd5-7).  
Strong Safety:

·         This is another position that has been a need for years now too. Since Rodney Harrison left, the Patriots have tried to replace his hard hitting presence with draft busts Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung. They already have an All-Pro FS in McCourty, but it would be nice to really sure up that back end with a hitter. Now, the only 4 safeties I want to see taken are HaHa Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor (both Rd1 fallers if so), Deone Bucannon (Rd2), or Dezmon Southwell (Rd4-7). That’s it. If it’s not one of those four, then I would rather ride with Duron Harmon/Tavon Wilson and Pat Chung battling it out for the SS role.
A Hybrid Defender:

·         This is a position that Belichick covets. A player that has the speed of a safety, but a little size to play linebacker as well. He tried to find this in Adrian Wilson just last offseason, but we quickly found out that he was way past his prime. This draft has some players who could fit the bill to play the hybrid that BB is looking for. Ryan Shazier (Rd1), Telvin Smith (Rd2-3), Christian Kirksey (Rd4), Kevin Pierre-Louis (Rd5-6) or even small school player Jordon Tripp (Rd3-4) could all be candidates for the hybrid role. If the Pats can land Shazier in Round 1 or Smith in 2 or 3 then they would have a player who can make an immediate impact on defense with BB playing them all over the field.
Wide Receiver:

·         Many want to see a WR drafted high, and I’m not against it either. The WR group as a whole is very talented and if the Patriots can land a playmaker like Marquise Lee, Brandin Cooks or Odell Beckham in Round 1, they would be in business. If they can’t land a stud WR though, I don’t see the need to waste a pick on a project type WR. So, unless the player can make an immediate impact I don’t really want to see him.
Offensive Line:

·         The interior line had a very rough season in 2013 and needs to improve greatly. The Pats brought back Wendell, who struggled most. His roster spot isn’t a guarantee and the Patriot could look into drafting a center (Marcus Martin Rd2-3, or Weston Richburg Rd2-3) to compete for the job. Also Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly aren’t getting any younger so a guard could be drafted for the future as well. The draft is deep at OG so it’s not a rush to take one early unless the Pats can land a Xavier Su’a Filo (Rd1-2), Zach Martin (Rd1), Joel Bitonio (Rd1-2) or Gabe Jackson (Rd2-3) then you could have a potential star down the road.

The Patriots are in a position where, if they can find 2 or 3 players who can come in immediately and contribute (as Jones and Hightower did their rookie years), they can get over a huge hump and possibly win the Super Bowl for the first time in a decade.

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