NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
With the 2013 NFL Draft less than one week away, it’s time to take another look at which prospects the New England Patriots may consider with each of their five selections. Player availability at each pick is determined by the rankings provided by FRX.
1.29. CB Jamar Taylor, Boise St. (FRX: #41 overall prospect, $889)
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has historically leaned towards cornerbacks with superior measurables, especially emphasizing the 40-yard dash and three-cone drill. Jamar Taylor, a senior cornerback from Boise St., has an ideal combination of measurables in those two categories, having recorded a 4.37-second 40-yard dash and 6.82-second three-cone drill at the NFL Combine. Plenty of teams in the last first round have been looking into him, which means he is likely to be selected on the draft’s first day.
2.59. WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon St. (FRX: #74 overall prospect, $576)
This pick could very well be a toss-up between a wide receiver such as Wheaton and a cornerback such as Connecticut’s Blidi Wreh-Wilson; in this case, Wheaton gets the slight edge because of New England’s heavy pre-draft emphasis on the wide receiver position. A legitimate burner, Wheaton would add another dimension to New England’s offense; he can also contribute on reverses, in the slot, and down the sidelines, where his body control is excellent. His ability to gain yards after the catch should appeal to the Patriots.
3.91. DE John Simon, Ohio St. (FRX: #105 overall prospect, $469)
Defensive tackle/defensive end ‘tweeners Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Deaderick are average reserves at best, and with both entering the final years of their contracts, New England could be looking for a younger replacement. John Simon played both defensive tackle and defensive end at Ohio St., and although he lacks elite measurables, he has been well-coached by Urban Meyer and Mike Vrabel, both coaches Bill Belichick highly respects. Simon could end up having a career similar to Tennessee Titans lineman Karl Klug.
7. TE Chris Gragg, Arkansas (FRX: #174 overall prospect, $425)
Gragg could certainly go much higher than this on draft day thanks to his elite athleticism, but is coming off of an injury-plagued, disappointing senior season which has undoubtedly hurt his draft stock. The Patriots are well-stocked at tight end, but could still use a backup to Aaron Hernandez; when Hernandez missed time last season, New England was forced to reconfigure its offense to account for his absence. Reserves Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells, and Michael Hoomanawanui are more similar to Rob Gronkowski in their style of play.
7. DT Kapron Lewis-Moore, Notre Dame (FRX: #174 overall prospect, $425)
Drafting an injured prospect such as Kapron Lewis-Moore in the seventh round would be a wise idea for New England, as their roster is so deep that a seventh-round draft choice may possess little hope of making the organization’s final 53-man roster. Lewis-Moore, on the other hand, tore his ACL in the BCS Championship Game and could likely be stashed on the Physically Unable to Perform list to begin the season, offering him additional recovery time, as well as a chance to familiarize himself with New England’s defensive scheme.