NEPD Staff Writer: Dan Hope
The New England Patriots were back to their old tricks on Thursday night, trading out of the first round while getting a very healthy return package in the process. The Patriots traded the No. 29 overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for the Nos. 52, 83, 102 and 229 overall selections.
That trade leaves the Patriots with two picks in both the second and third rounds, and eight total picks in the 2013 NFL draft. Formerly restricted by their lack of picks in the draft, the Patriots now have the freedom to find value on the board as it plays out, with plenty of picks available to address their needs.
That leaves the Patriots with plenty of options. Will they trade up at all to take advantage of some of the great falling talent, or will they trade down again to add picks in the middle of Day 3? Will the Patriots address their biggest needs at wide receiver and cornerback early on Day 2, or will they have their sights set on other talent on the board?
Let’s take a look at possible scenarios for each of the Patriots’ four Day 2 draft picks, within the context of a full mock draft for both the second and third rounds.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
34. San Francisco 49ers (from Kansas City Chiefs): Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
35. Philadelphia Eagles: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
36. Detroit Lions: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
37. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders): Jonathan Cyprien, SS, Florida International
38. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
39. New York Jets: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
40. Tennessee Titans: Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE, Florida State
41. Buffalo Bills: Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
42. Oakland Raiders (from Miami Dolphins): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama
PROJECTED TRADE: The Carolina Panthers trade the No. 44 overall pick to the New England Patriots for the No. 52 overall and No. 102 overall selections.
44. New England Patriots (from Carolina Panthers): Robert Woods, WR, USC
Having traded down and picked up three additional selections in the process, the New England Patriots can now afford to make a move up the board if one of their desired targets is still available as the second round progresses. They should strongly consider doing so if USC’s Robert Woods is still available in the middle of Round 2.
Previously projected to the Patriots at the No. 29 overall pick of my final mock draft, Woods is a perfect fit for the New England Patriots. He is a worthy first-round talent whose terrific hands, sharp route-running, fluid open-field running ability and body control make him arguably the most complete wideout in the draft class.
The Patriots have a major need for an outside playmaker at wide receiver, and Woods would fit the bill. A terrific intermediate receiver who also has the versatility to line up inside in the slot, he is a great fit for the Patriots’ offense. With the division-rival Buffalo Bills sitting in position to snag him with the No. 46 overall pick, the Patriots would be smart to move up while still having the chance to draft him.
Having received the No. 102 overall pick in the trade with the Vikings, the Patriots can afford to give a draft pick up for a player as valuable as Woods in the middle of Round 2. Meanwhile, the Panthers are likely candidates to trade down in Round 2, as they do not own a third-round pick.
45. San Diego Chargers: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
46. Buffalo Bills (from St. Louis Rams): Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
47. Dallas Cowboys: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
48. Pittsburgh Steelers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
49. New York Giants: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
50. Chicago Bears: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
51. Washington Redskins: Bacarri Rambo, FS, Georgia
52. Carolina Panthers (from Minnesota Vikings via New England Patriots): Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
PROJECTED TRADE: The Miami Dolphins trade the No. 54 overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for left tackle Branden Albert.
54. Kansas City Chiefs: Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
55. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
56. Seattle Seahawks: Jamie Collins, DE/OLB, Southern Miss
57. Houston Texans: Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
58. Denver Broncos: Corey Lemonier, DE/OLB, Auburn
59. New England Patriots: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Patriots need a pass-rushing 3-technique defensive tackle more than they need another nose tackle, but Hankins’ value would be tough for the Patriots to pass up late in Round 2.
There are many similarities between the games of Hankins and Vince Wilfork: like Wilfork, Hankins is a big, powerful, run-stuffing nose tackle who has good quickness for his size. He does not have the pass-rushing skill that the Patriots need at the defensive tackle position, but he would provide strong depth behind Wilfork and could line up alongside him as a run defender.
With four Day 2 picks, the Patriots can afford to make a value selection, and adding depth for Wilfork with a tremendous talent this late in the draft would be a hard opportunity to pass upon. Additionally, the Patriots are likely to get positive recommendations from two Belichick comrades at Ohio State: coach Urban Meyer, who is a well-noted friend of Belichick, and Mike Vrabel, a former Patriot who is now the Buckeyes’ defensive line coach.
60. Atlanta Falcons: John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
61. San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern State
62. Baltimore Ravens: Kiko Alonso, ILB, Oregon
63. Kansas City Chiefs: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
64. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
65. Detroit Lions: Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
66. Oakland Raiders: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
67. Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
68. Cleveland Browns: David Amerson, CB/FS, North Carolina State
69. Arizona Cardinals: Dallas Thomas, OT/G, Tennessee
70. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
71. St. Louis Rams (from Buffalo Bills): Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
72. New York Jets: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
73. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
74. Dallas Cowboys (from Carolina Panthers via San Francisco 49ers): Phillip Thomas, FS/SS, Fresno State
75. New Orleans Saints: Brandon Jenkins, OLB/DE, Florida State
76. San Diego Chargers: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
77. Miami Dolphins: B.W. Webb, CB, William & Mary
78. Buffalo Bills (from St. Louis Rams): Trevardo Williams, OLB, Connecticut
79. Pittsburgh Steelers: Keenan Allen, WR, California
80. Dallas Cowboys: Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers
81. New York Giants: Sio Moore, OLB, Connecticut
82. Miami Dolphins (from Chicago Bears): Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
83. New England Patriots (from Minnesota Vikings): Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
The New England Patriots need depth at the cornerback position, and should be looking for a cornerback with the upside to develop into a starter to take over should the team lose Aqib Talib as an unrestricted free agent following the 2013 season. Given that, Southeastern Louisiana’s Robert Alford would be a player well worth taking a chance on in Round 3.
Alford is an athletic cornerback who plays with physicality, is instinctive and has great ball skills. He is a tough projection from the FCS level, as he does not have great size, has medical concerns (Crohn’s disease), and had his intelligence questioned by his own collegiate defensive coordinator in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Even with all of those risk factors, he has high talent and upside and could turn out to be a steal if developed properly.
84. Cincinnati Bengals: Reid Fragel, OT, Ohio State
85. Washington Redskins: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
86. Indianapolis Colts: Brian Schwenke, C, California
87. Seattle Seahawks: Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
88. Green Bay Packers: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
89. Houston Texans: Chris Faulk, OT, LSU
90. Denver Broncos: Kevin Reddick, ILB, North Carolina
PROJECTED TRADE: The New England Patriots trade the No. 91 overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the No. 112 and No. 126 overall selections.
91. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from New England Patriots): Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
After trading up once on Day 2, it would be expected that the Patriots would trade down at least once later on Day 2 to get more picks back in Day 3. A potential trade-down partner could be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have two fourth-round picks and could package them to move back up into Round 3.
There are a few potential options who would be attractive for the Buccaneers here in a trade up, including Michigan State defensive end William Gholston, but one player the Buccaneers could strongly consider at the No. 91 overall pick is LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.
Mathieu is one of the draft’s most polarizing prospects, and could really go anywhere from Round 2 to Round 7, but with the Buccaneers likely continuing to be in the market for cornerback talent even after acquiring Darrelle Revis, they could be a team to take a shot at moving up the board and take the flier on Mathieu, who has proven playmaking ability and intriguing athletic upside, but also has had serious issues with marijuana, both leading to and following his dismissal from LSU.
If the Patriots stay put, they are certainly a team that could consider Mathieu here in Round 3 as well. Another possibility for the Patriots could be Ohio State defensive end John Simon, who would add pass-rushing depth, is a good fit for the Patriots’ defense and like Hankins, could come with the recommendation of Meyer and Vrabel.
92. St. Louis Rams (from Atlanta Falcons): D.J. Swearinger, FS, South Carolina
93. San Francisco 49ers: Quanterus Smith, OLB/DE, Western Kentucky
94. Baltimore Ravens: Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
95. Houston Texans: Michael Buchanan, OLB/DE, Illinois
96. Kansas City Chiefs: William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
97. Tennessee Titans: Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State