Round 3, Pick 29 (No. 91 overall): Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
Once Short came off the board, my sights immediately turned to LSU’s Bennie Logan as a potential fit with one of the Patriots’ third-round draft choices. Logan may have still been available when the Patriots took the clock again eight picks later, but having already missed out on Short, the Patriots did not want to take that chance and added a much-needed interior pass-rushing defensive tackle.
Personally, I do not rate Logan far behind Short, and he has among the highest upside of all the interior defensive linemen in this draft class. Logan is not as explosive or physical as some of the class’ top defensive tackles, but he is an athletic and active interior penetrator who could be developed into a playmaker next to Vince Wilfork on the Patriots’ defensive line.
An upgrade is needed over Brandon Deaderick and Kyle Love in the starting lineup, and although he may not necessarily provide that instantaneously in 2013, I confidently believe Bennie Logan can be a big upgrade in time.
Round 4, Pick 5 (No. 99 overall): Tony Jefferson, FS, Oklahoma
Having already landed my two third-round targets in Hamilton and Logan, the plan was to trade down from this early fourth-round spot and pick up additional Day 3 selections. However, when a trade the Patriots believed would happen failed to come through as New England came on the clock, there was no choice but to make a selection.
Having addressed the team’s three greatest positions of need, the rationale became one of value early in Round 4, which led the Patriots to Oklahoma free safety Tony Jefferson, who could end up going as early as Round 2 in the actual draft. Jefferson is a rangy, hard-hitting safety who could provide depth and give the Patriots another playmaker on the back end.
While I am happy about the value I got in Jefferson, and think he could be a steal as a fourth-round draft choice, this is the move I like the least in hindsight. The Patriots should have been more aggressive in trying to trade this draft pick, but even had they stayed on the clock, better possibilities with need considered may have been Michigan State defensive end William Gholston, William and Mary cornerback B.W. Webb or Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins.
Round 5, Pick 25 (No. 151 overall): Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
Given the uncertainty of the Patriots’ personnel at wide receiver for the 2013 season, the Patriots wanted to come away from this draft with two playmakers. Having targeted a very promising talent in Washington State’s Marquess Wilson, I traded Round 6, Pick 21 (No. 179) and Round 7, Pick 12 (No. 202) to move up to the late fifth round to ensure the chance to select him.
Moving up for Wilson is taking a chance on a risky player. He is a very talented downfield receiver who tracks the ball well downfield, has very good body control and good size and athleticism. Wilson’s draft stock, however, has been compromised by character concerns, including his decision to quit the Washington State football team with three games remaining in his senior season due to issues between him and coach Mike Leach.
Wilson could be this year’s Vontaze Burfict: he has the talent of an early draft pick, but could fall as far as being undrafted due to red flags about his effort and coachability (he has no arrest record). I believe, however, that Wilson could end up being a steal if coached well in the right system, and think that putting him under the guidance of Bill Belichick on a wide receiver-needy team could have great results.
Wilson may still have been available at pick No. 179, but with four picks in the final two rounds, the decision was made that it was worth moving up to ensure being able to draft the player coveted rather than hoping Wilson fell. The Patriots could have stayed put and still gotten great value on a receiver in Round 6 or 7 with Eastern Washington’s Brandon Kaufman or Elon’s Aaron Mellette, who both slipped through the cracks as small-school players and went undrafted, but Wilson has higher upside as a potential starter.
Round 7, Pick 20 (No. 210 overall): Chris Jones, DT, Bowling Green
Round 7, Pick 29 (No. 219 overall): Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State
With the Patriots’ two remaining seventh-round picks, the focus was all about finding value in players who would have been well worth selections multiple rounds earlier. Fortunately for the Patriots, I was able to add two players who could be answers to areas of needs while getting great value.
Chris Jones is overlooked because of his small-school background, but he is a skilled interior defensive lineman who is a quick penetrator and can be another option for the Patriots to challenge Logan and their returning defensive tackles as an interior pass-rusher and defensive tackle.
Johnny Adams had a bit of a disappointing senior season, but he was getting first-round consideration leading up to this season for a reason. While his measurables aren’t special, he is a physical, disciplined and instinctive cornerback who would have a chance to compete for immediate playing time in the Patriots’ secondary.
Both Jones and Adams have fourth-round grades on my board.
Overall Draft Takeaway
In part due to both value and strategy, the Patriots used this draft to double up on players at the team’s three greatest positions of need (cornerback, under defensive tackle, wide receiver), getting good value on players at those positions with their first three and last three picks of the draft.
That draft plan, however, has its shortcomings. The Patriots did not address the need for offensive line depth, which could become a need for a starting right tackle if they lose Sebastian Vollmer as an unrestricted free agent. I also failed to add a coverage linebacker or at least depth at the position.
It wouldn’t be fair to objectively grade my own draft, but overall, I believe that this is a draft class that would really help the Patriots shore up three major need areas, have a more complete roster in 2013 and add value across the board.
You can view full Mock Two results at MockOne.net, and also sign up for a shot at being selected to mock for your favorite team in the future. Let me know what you think of the draft I put together for the Patriots!