2nd Round (48)
Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt (Scouting Report)
Even with Ras-I Dowling hopefully returning to the active list in 2012, it is hard to deny that the Patriots need some more talent in their defensive backfield.
Hayward is simply a guy that I want playing for my football team. He fits what the Patriots look for size-wise, and has the attitude, coverage skills and football smarts that will get him in the lineup quickly.
At Vanderbilt, Hayward made an obscene amount of plays – totaling 15 interceptions and 21 pass breakups over his last two years in the SEC. If Hayward could improve his hands, he might have had 25 picks. If he can bring that sort of ball-hawking ability, the Patriots will continue to win the turnover battle.
Hayward does tend to get a little hands-y down the field. He’ll need to clean that up before he starts drawing flags in the NFL. However, his skills in zone coverage should make Patriots scouts and coaches stand up and take notice.
Chase Minnifield (CB, Virginia), Jayron Hosley (CB, Virginia Tech) and Stephon Gilmore (CB, South Carolina) are other 2012 Cornerbacks that could also fit the “Bill” here.
2nd Round (50 – via Chicago)
Cam Johnson, DE/OLB, Virginia (Scouting Report)
Johnson is not a dip-the-shoulder speed-rushing outside linebacker. If you’re looking for the Patriots to draft one of those early, you might be waiting for a while.
What Johnson can do is set the edge with his long and strong body, adding some good lateral movement skills to boot. As I mentioned, this is not Demarcus Ware, but Johnson does have the tools to be an 8-10 sack guy at the next level without giving up much against the run.
Johnson looks decent dropping in coverage and is a sure tackler. His 6’4″ / 265 lb body would be a nice addition to the New England front seven.
Chandler Jones (DE, Syracuse), Andre Branch (DE, Clemson) and Ronnell Lewis (DE, Oklahoma) are other 3-4 OLB’s that might be available here.
2nd Round (63)
Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa (Scouting Report)
The Patriots have lacked a true outside receiver threat, other than the aging Deion Branch perhaps, since Randy Moss left town. While Marvin McNutt is not similar to Moss at all, he has the size (just under 6’3″ and 215 lbs) and hands to give Tom Brady a nice target on the outside.
He made some incredible sideline catches at Iowa as well as showing no fear going across the middle. He is a willing blocker and a team captain to boot.
McNutt is a former quarterback who reads coverages well – a pre-requisite for the intricate sight adjustments that the Patriots offense calls for. I think McNutt could hit the ground running as a rookie in New England.
Marvin Jones (WR, California), Joe Adams (WR, Arkansas) and TY Hilton (WR, FIU) also could get some looks at this spot.
Click on page 3 for rounds three through seven.