NEPD Editor: James Christensen
Here are the top fits for the Patriots in this game.
Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State* #88 (6’5 / 255) (#9 TE Rankings)
The Patriots love tight ends. If Escobar declares for the 2013 NFL Draft, he is one of the more intriguing prospects in the class.
He has fantastic natural athletic ability, good hands, runs good routes and is an absolute terror to cover in the red zone. He isn’t the blocker that Rob Gronkowski was coming out of college, but he has improved during his time at San Diego State.
Escobar has the talent and skill-set to contribute as either a “move” or “F” tight end like Aaron Hernandez or as an all-around “Y” tight end like Gronkowski.
Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State #2 (5’10″ / 190) (#10 CB Rankings)
McFadden is one of the top cornerback prospects you may have never heard of. He isn’t the biggest guy, but his speed and agility could bump him up to day two of the NFL Draft.
Rarely does a draft weekend go by without the Patriots investing in at least one defensive back. With Ras-I Dowling’s injury problems, the uncertain future of Aqib Talib, and Devin McCourty’s excellent play at safety, New England could be in the defenisve back market again come April.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU #47 (6’4″ / 270) (#7 DE Rankings)
Ansah is one of the more dynamic athletes in the 2013 NFL Draft class. He has received the standard Jason Pierre-Paul comparisons due to only having played football the last three years along with his ridiculous athleticism.
NFL teams will be looking for Ansah to contribute in a variety of ways. His speed and freak ability allows him to play 3-4 OLB and 4-3 DE, while his strength and quick first step allow him to dip inside and rush from the interior.
Bill Belichick would have a great time finding ways to employ Ansah in the Patriots hybrid scheme, allowing him to rush from the interior, exterior, drop into coverage, and generally wreak havoc from the “elephant”, defensive end or interior rush positions. Look for Ansah to be a day one pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
He is our 1st round pick for the Patriots in our latest 2013 NFL Mock Draft.
Kyle Van Noy, OLB/ILB, BYU* #3 (6’3″ / 235) (#5 LB Rankings)
Van Noy has been over-shadowed at times by the more flashy Ansah, but he is ever bit the nightmare to contain. He gets off blocks, can rush the passer, hits well and has a knack for getting his hands on the football.
With the skill-set and athleticism to play OLB in both the 3-4 and 4-3, Van Noy’s versatility would be very attractive to the New England Patriots if he were to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Other Prospects to Watch:
Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU
Braden Hansen, OL, BYU