Patriots Mock Draft: How New England Could Use Their Five Picks

Markus Wheaton 2013 NFL Draft

The Patriots need to draft at least one wide receiver given their current personnel, and Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton is a potential Day 2 steal. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Staff Writer: Dan Hope

The New England Patriots’ best chance to improve their roster is less than three weeks away, when the 2013 NFL Draft begins.

With only five total picks in this year’s draft and only three within the first six rounds, it is important for the Patriots to maximize their selections for both value and need, especially with their picks in Round 1-3.

Trading down from at least one of their first three picks is a definite possibility, and may be the optimal move, for the Patriots to pick up additional selections in the middle rounds of the draft. But even if they don’t, hitting on the right targets in the first three rounds could make this a very fruitful draft for New England as they attempt to build their roster for another potential Super Bowl run.

Based upon my latest mock draft projections, here is one scenario for the Patriots that projects as a very positive outcome for New England in terms of both value and need:

Round 1, Pick 29: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

If the value is right at the cornerback position, the Patriots should strongly consider drafting a potential No. 1 cornerback with their first-round pick. With Aqib Talib signed only for 2013, the Patriots should find a long-term successor for him while also adding depth and insurance, which is especially important with Alfonzo Dennard potentially facing prison time for assault on a police officer.

A big cornerback with great length, who plays with physicality and is good in both man and zone coverage, Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks would be a great fit for the Patriots late in Round 1.

Banks is falling on many draft boards due to a thin frame at only 185 pounds and subpar speed (4.61 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine per NFL.com). That said, he is a polished, experienced cornerback who can step in and contribute right away, can bulk up in an NFL weight room and makes up for some of his shortcomings with his length and ball skills.

Fortunately of the Patriots, there are many potential options for the Patriots to draft early in a deep cornerback class, even at the No. 29 overall pick. If the Patriots are not sold on Banks or he is off the board, other possible choices who could be available at No. 29 including Boise State’s Jamar Taylor, Washington’s Desmond Trufant and Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes.

Round 2, Pick 59: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

The Patriots still need to bring more pressure from their defensive front, and specifically, they need an upgrade over Brandon Deaderick and Kyle Love at the under defensive tackle spot next to Vince Wilfork. If Purdue’s Kawann Short is still available toward the end of Round 2, he would be tremendous value and be a great fit as an upgrade at that spot.

Short is a quick, explosive penetrator who can be the interior pass-rushing threat the Patriots currently lack at the defensive tackle position. He can be a three-down lineman for the Patriots, as he would be a pass-rush upgrade at either the nose tackle or 3-technique spot, but is also a strong and physical run-stopper who is good at shooting gaps and making plays around the line of scrimmage and in the backfield.

Short could be a first-round pick, and likely would be in a weaker defensive tackle class. If he is still available at this point in the draft, the Patriots really shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to select him and continue building up their defensive front seven.

Round 3, Pick 91: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State

If the Patriots draft with both of their first two picks, they will likely trade out of Round 3, but that would be a tougher decision if Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton is still on the board. The Patriots’ most pressing need is at wide receiver, and they would be smart not to pass upon Wheaton in this scenario, for he is a potential late second-round pick who would be very good value as a late third-round pick.

A dynamic playmaker who has both great straight-line speed and change-of-direction quickness, Wheaton is the type of versatile playmaker that thrives in the Patriots offense. Wheaton can play both outside and inside, as he makes up for his small stature (5’11”, 189 pounds) by playing with physicality, has reliable hands and runs good routes.

The Patriots could target a bigger receiver such as Tennessee Tech’s Da’Rick Rogers, Arkansas’ Cobi Hamilton, Oklahoma’s Kenny Stills or Marshall’s Aaron Dobson to add more size at outside receiver. But for a team who needs a deep threat but relies mostly on the intermediate passing game, they would benefit by adding a player who can do both well — and also be used creatively on screen passes and designed run plays — in Wheaton.

Round 7, Pick 226 (from Bears via Buccaneers): Terence Garvin, OLB/SS, West Virginia

The Patriots have a solid starting trio of linebackers who are good against the run and have some pass-rushing skill, but they all struggle in coverage. The Patriots should be looking to add at least one situational player at the position who can be an upgrade in pass coverage, and West Virginia’s Terence Garvin would be a good choice in Round 7.

At 6’3” and 217 pounds, Garvin is a definition ‘tweener who is too small to be a three-down linebacker, and not fluid enough in deep coverage to be a safety. He could be a good fit as a situational player, however, in a hybrid “star” role where he can drop back into coverage from the linebacker position.

Garvin is a good athlete who can make plays in space, and whether he ends up at linebacker, safety and/or as a possible special teams standout, he is worth taking a chance on in the final round of the draft.

Round 7, Pick 235: Earl Okine, DE, Florida

Earl Okine didn’t get much playing time at Florida, but he has garnered attention from NFL scouts leading up to the draft.

Okine made a name for himself in the Texas vs. the Nation game, earning the Defensive MVP award for that contest by notching two sacks and scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery. He has the potential to really blossom at the next level, with an impressive set of measurables. He measured in at 6’7” and 284 pounds at Florida’s pro day according to NFLDraftScout.com, and is explosive off the line of scrimmage.

The Patriots recently held a private workout with Okine, according to a source, and could be interested in adding Okine as a player who can provide pass-rush depth at both defensive end and as an inside rusher. Late in Round 7, he would be worth taking a flier to increase the team’s defensive line depth.

Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, Johnthan Banks, Kawann Short, Markus Wheaton, Patriots Mock Draft

14 Responses to “Patriots Mock Draft: How New England Could Use Their Five Picks”

  1. JimC says:

    The Patriots will reach at #29 and draft a sleeper. With the number 29th pick the Patriots draft DE Margus Hunt. Hunt is actually what Bill needs to offset C. Jones.

  2. cc says:

    If this was the case, I’d just assume take a lock on your Kawam Short “a” second.
    ( even if it meant giving a late next year to ” lock K. Short” ), so I could then specifically. ……..
    ………move back into 2nd with my 1st,(enough specifically & comfortably), to get *Alex Okafor DE/OLB out of Texas as pretty sweet 1-2 Defensive Combo Draft Punch!
    THEN:
    +I Still have a Third Rounder for a Wide Out!
    + I have an “unknown” Additional Pick for moving back into the second with our 1st.
    + Still most likely have at least one if not both 7th rounders still.
    * I’d totally toss a mid-ish next year pick, if I locked Both SHORT DL & OKAFOR DE/OLB up in the 2nd, & used the 3rd on a wide out ,
    And added an unknown pick either this year or next.
    That’s the ticket!

  3. Nick says:

    Please no more under 6 foot receivers. Rather they get Aaron Dobson. Give Brady a WR who can actually compete for a jump ball.

  4. Bruschi54 says:

    Tough to imagine Short falling to #59, but I agree about the CB need in RD 1. Dennard is unknown right now, Talib may not play through injuries and not able to count on Dowling for anything. There seems to be about 10 CB’s that the “experts” rate very closely after Milner, and we probably need one with one of our first 2 picks. Signing a FA DT like Tommy Kelly & bringing back Edelman would make things a lot easier heading into the draft.

  5. Breazy says:

    Banks?You want a CB who runs a 4.61 40?
    Okine? You want a DE who runs a 5.14 40? Is there any reason to thing those times don’t accurately reflect their speed?

  6. jim r says:

    That would not be bad if they ended up with that. All three have been linked to the Pats in some places. usually in the first two rounds. I like the positional picks to be made in those rounds. I might go DT – First CB-second and CB again in the third, Getting a WR and OL in the 7th.

    • Ryan says:

      Why take so many CBs? Yet skimp on the WRs. I’ve seen this a few times and I don’t understand it. We have some much versatility at the CB position. Yet we have 2 WRs? In dont see it.

      • jim r says:

        They need to have quality depth at corner now and for the future. I would like the Patriots to get a outside the numbers receiver, I do not think they will pick one in the first 3 rounds. A outside the numbers wr would be a luxury in this offense. Not a necessity. They will put up over 400 points again with or without drafting a WR. You have seen what they need to do at the corner position over and over again not pretty. besides BB’s mo is to draft multiple times at a position hoping one hits. He started on the D last year with some quality players I just think that trend will continue.

        • Russell Easterbrooks says:

          I agree, I think two CB’s one in the 7th. I like CB Micah Hyde in the 3d round, and Brandon McGee in the 7th round.

  7. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Not sold on this mock, not a fan of DT Short.
    I see it;
    #29- DT Jesse Williams
    #59- traded for a 3d and a 5th
    #91- Sent to Steelers for WR Emmanuel Sanders
    3d from trade- CB Micah Hyde
    5th from trade- OG/C T.J. Johnson
    7th- CB Brandon McGee
    7th- RB Theo Riddick
    DT Williams a solid guy to work with Wilfork, WR Sanders a receiver with NFL experance, two CB’s for youth and depth, an OG/C for future, and a RB with good hands as a receiver.

  8. acm says:

    Personally, I am not sold on Banks at 29 but this is a mock that addresses positions of need with good players.
    I find it very unlikely, however, that Short falls to 59 and Wheaton to 91 and that’s the biggest issue I have with this mock – a bit too good, and maybe even unrealistic, a value with those 2nd and 3rd round picks, imo.



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