Round 2 (48)- Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
If the draft were held today Randle would be available at pick 48, but might not be by the time the actual draft rolls around. He is someone who is flying a little bit under the radar, but that may change after the combine. He is one of the biggest receivers in the draft and would give the Patriots the size and vertical threat they lacked on the outside.
Randle is a a much better athlete than he is given credit for and truth is he was hurt severly by the LSU offense. If he was in an offense like Justin Blackmon was at Ok. St. we could be talking about Randle in the top half of the first round. Whether it’s Randle or another WR I expect them to pick one here or at 63.
Round 2 (63)- Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
Hosley isn’t a CB we have talked about a lot when connecting possible players to the Patriots. After doing some more film study I think Hosley is a really good fit for what the Patriots do. He is a ball-hawking CB who plays really well in zone coverage. He has some of the quickest breaks on the ball of any CB in the draft not name Janoris Jenkins.
The thing that separates Hosley from other zone cornerbacks for me is I actually think he will excel in man to man as well. He plays with an attitude and swagger and just doesn’t get pushed around. He is about the prototypical size of a Patriot CB. Hosley also has some of the best footwork of any CB in the draft. He is able to locate the ball in the air and make plays on it. He is able to plant and redirect really well. He is a player who just has a nose for the ball and is successful and reading the QB eyes.
I expect Hosley excel in the 3-Cone drill which is something the Patriots weigh heavily when evaluating CB. Hosley did a “Sports Science” spot on ESPN which I found fascinating. He has a 76″ wingspan which certainly makes him play bigger than he is.
* I think it’s extremely important the the Patriots used 4 picks in the first 2 rounds to add play-makers to defense and a WR. If they come out the second round with a DE, S, WR, CB they will be in good shape.
Round 3 (94)- Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
This is a tough pick to project. I would like to give them an OLB here but none truly stand out at this point in the draft. The past two seasons we have seen the Patriots double dip at both the TE and RB positions, essentially rebuilding both positions with youth.
Smith is a player who probably won’t go as high as he should just because he isn’t flashy. In 2004 when the Patriots were rebuilding their safety position we saw them draft two safties in Guss Scott in the 3rd round and Dexter Reid in the 4th. Smith is a smart, steady player who won’t make many mistakes. He’s exactly the type of player the Patriots need to add to their secondary.