NEPD Editor: James Christensen
What are they going to do with all those picks?
I do expect the Patriots to move around on day two of the draft – perhaps even trading some picks into the loaded 2014 NFL Draft – but for the purposes of this mock draft, I’ll keep the picks as is.
Second Round = #52 Overall (From MIN)
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee (SCOUTING REPORT)
After adding multiple picks on day two and an early pick on day three, the Patriots can swing for the fences on a few of these picks. Hunter certainly qualifies as a “homerun” receiver.
He is a huge target at 6’4″ and knows how to leap and go after the ball. He suffers some drops at times, but he provides the vertical threat that the Patriots so desperately need.
If the Patriots want a safer option here, Robert Woods and Quinton Patton are much safer picks – both could certainly be gone by this pick though. The Patriots do have enough picks to move up a little – perhaps into the low 40’s – in order to get their guy.
Second Round – #59 Overall
Margus Hunt, DE, SMU (SCOUTING REPORT)
Speaking of swinging for the fences, Margus Hunt is a boom / bust pick at the end of the second round. He’ll be a 26 year old rookie, but is an absolute freak of an athlete.
At 6’8″ and over 275 pounds, Hunt has a physical presence that is hard to miss. However, he does disappear times on the field. If the Patriots can harness his ridiculous speed, functional strength and work ethic, this could be a big win for them.
Hunt is also a very clean prospect off the field. A former Estonian track and field athlete, Hunt enjoys playing the piano and is a quiet, humble person.
If Tank Carradine tumbles a little down the board, don’t be surprised to see the Patriots use some of their new-found draft capital to move up and take the talented former Mustang.
Third Round – #83 Overall (From MIN)
Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State (SCOUTING REPORT)
Wheaton is a very safe pick here for the Patriots – as safe as it gets when New England picks a receiver anyway. He runs great routes, has enough speed to get down the field, and will contribute on all three levels of the field.
I’ve described Wheaton as a faster Deion Branch before and I think he can develop that sort of chemistry with Tom Brady quick enough to contribute as a rookie in New England.
Third Round – #91 Overall
Tyrann Mathieu, CB/ST, LSU (SCOUTING REPORT)
Emphasize his strengths. Hide his weaknesses. That is what a defensive coach has to do with his players and there is no better example than looking at the diminutive Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger is under-sized but his contributions to the Patriots could be huge.
You can’t play Mathieu outside – he is too short and doesn’t have good enough recovery speed. He is strictly an inside corner that can also rush off the edge like Kyle Arrington.
Mathieu projects as a core-four special teamer (KR, PR, Kickoff, Punt) that can contribute immediately as a nickel cornerback. I think the Patriots would see him as an upgrade on Marquice Cole.
There are enough issues with Mathieu to drop him off any team’s board, but it is hard to watch his tape without envisioning him playing for your team.
Other high-reward players the Patriots could target here: Marcus Lattimore (RB, South Carolina), Trevardo Williams (OLB, UConn) and Sanders Commings (CB/S, Georgia).