NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
Although this year’s draft class features a fairly deep talent pool, the New England Patriots may find themselves forced to reach for a prospect ranked below their #29 overall draft pick due to the amount of teams in their draft range which share draft needs (and potentially draft targets) with the Patriots. Read on to see which other organizations in the late first-round may be targeting similar prospects in 2013.
23/25. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota appears likely to target prospects at wide receiver, defensive tackle, and linebacker in 2013, the receiver position in particular being one the Patriots have investigated thoroughly. The Vikings have shown plenty of interest in Southern California’s Robert Woods, and they also held a private workout with Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins; Minnesota’s two first-round picks represent potential landing spots for one of those two prospects.
24. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have effectively obscured their intentions during the pre-draft process by preventing much information from reaching the public, but nonetheless it would come as no surprise if they opted to target a front-seven prospect with their first-round pick; Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams is one strong option, but they could also be interested in a prospect such as UCLA defensive end Datone Jones, who the Patriots worked out.
26. Green Bay Packers
Packers general manager Ted Thompson is considered one of the league’s top talent evaluators, and unfortunately, Green Bay has been investigating some of the draft’s top wide receiver prospects, such as Robert Woods and Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton. Green Bay also interviewed Florida State pass rushers Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner; they may end a potential slide by one of those two players.
27. Houston Texans
Houston has been fairly transparent regarding their desire to add a playmaker at wide receiver opposite Andre Johnson, so this pick could prove damaging to New England’s draft aspirations; prospects the Texans have interviewed at the position include DeAndre Hopkins and Robert Woods. The Texans also worked out Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor and Florida International safety Johnathan Cyprien, the latter of whom would potentially prevent New England from trading down.
28. Denver Broncos
With left cornerback Champ Bailey set to turn 35 years old prior to the start of the 2013 NFL season, and right cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie playing on a one-year contract, the Broncos could target a defensive back such as Jamar Taylor or Washington’s Desmond Trufant, both of whom they showed interest in during the pre-draft process. This pick could also be a defensive tackle such as Jesse Williams or Purdue’s Kawann Short, or a defensive end such as Bjoern Werner, Datone Jones, or Cornellius Carradine.
30. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons hold eleven picks in this year’s draft, and could opt to trade ahead of New England in order to secure one of their top targets; they have shown interest in Cornellius Carradine, Johnathan Cyprien, Datone Jones, Jamar Taylor, Desmond Trufant, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff also has an intimate understanding of how the Patriots operate during the draft.
31. San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is another team with the ammunition to make a move up draft boards; they are expected to target a defensive back but have some flexibility due to the depth of their roster. Prospects they have investigated include California receiver Keenan Allen, Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, and Louisiana Tech receiver Quinton Patton, in addition to Cornellius Carradine, Johnathan Cyprien, Jamar Taylor, and Robert Woods.
32. Baltimore Ravens
The requirements of Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ two-gap defense suggest that Baltimore could be targeting some of the same defensive talent that New England is. Prospects such as Cornellius Carradine, Jamar Taylor, Florida safety Matt Elam, and Louisiana State linebacker Kevin Minter have been contacted by the Ravens. Additionally, they may be considering receivers such as DeAndre Hopkins and Markus Wheaton.