NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
At this point in the draft season it can be difficult to find the truth, things are fluid and constantly changing. Even though I completed a mock draft earlier this week, some things have changed which will effect the end of the first round and the Patriots selection. With that being said I take another attempt at predicted all of the Patriots selections and in addition provide some draft thoughts on the franchise.
2014 New England Patriots Mock Draft
Round 1 (29) – Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
In my mock earlier this week I mocked Ryan Shazier to the Patriots. I’m moving off that selection because I believe he’ll be off the board and I get the vibe the Patriots aren’t that enamored with him. The most logical position to address in the first round remains defensive line and I know they are looking hard at a number of DT/DE types. The Patriots don’t have a player like Easley on the current roster. He can play any position on the defensive line and provides disruption at each one. It’s possible Easley falls into the middle of the second round due to his knee injuries and as always the Patriots will look to shop the pick.
Round 2 (62)– Deone Bucannon, SAF, Washington State
Safety isn’t the biggest need on the roster, but if the Patriots get a chance to pick the Wazzou product they should take it. Bucannon brings size and physicality to the backend of the defense. He wow’d scouts with his great combine performance; running faster than many anticipated. He’ll struggle in the deep third, but he makes up for it by playing the role of enforcer. Bucannon has drawn interest from the Patriots in the pre-draft process, but it remains unknonw if Bill Belichick will want to use another Day Two selection on a Safety. If a Tight End like Troy Niklas is still on the board the Patriots would look long and hard.
Round 3 (93) – Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville
If there is one position where this draft lacks impact it’s at pass rusher. There are only a handful of “true” impact edge rushers in this draft and the rest are projects. Smith is an interesting hybrid player. He’s a developing pass rusher that produced at a high level in 2013, but he’s also has the potential to become a solid coverage backer in the NFL. Smith is a similar prospect to Jamie Collins. Both players were bounced between positions, both players are college pass rushers, and both are fluid athletes that can play on their feet in the NFL.
Round 4 (130) – Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
I’d be really surprised if the Patriots take a Wide Receiver in the first round, but look for them to add one more young body to the position at some point n the draft. Coleman brings a rare skillset that is currently lacking on the roster. Coleman boasts an impressive combination of size and speed, which would be welcomed by QB Tom Brady. He’d provide a much needed “big-bodied” receiveing target downfield and in the Red Zone.
Round 4 (140) * – Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Running Back is in a little bit of flux right now. LeGarrett Blount is officially lost, no replacement is on the horizon, and both of their “starting” backs are free agents after the season. I’m told Bill Belichick liked the “four-man” RB rotation he employed most of last season, making it likely the team selects at least one during the draft. Andre Williams is the perfect replacement for LeGarrette Blount. He can run with the same type of force and he’s sneaky fast. Williams can play a reserve role as a rookie and if he shows enough promise could make the decision to resign Stevan Ridley a little bit tougher.
Round 6 (198) – Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State
Selecting a RB like Marion Grice right after picking the big, bruising Andre Williams is reminscent of 2011 where the Patriots double dipped with Vereen and Ridley. Their decision to let Danny Woodhead go came back to haunt them last season. Not only did they fail to adequately replace him, his replacement was hurt most of the season. There is no way they can enter next season without adding another receiver out of the backfield. Grice fits that mold perfectly. He was primarily used as a receiver in the Arizona State spread passing attack and caught 91 balls over the last two seasons. While he doesn’t run super fast, he makes up for it with impressive lateral agility and good openfield vision. By adding the tandem of Williams and Grice to Vereen and Ridley the Patriots build-in insurance in case of injury, free agent departures, and give themselves a nice four man rotation for 2014.
Round 6 (206) – Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State
The Tight End position features a massive drop off in talent early in this draft. After Troy Niklas and CJ Fiedorowicz come off the board there isn’t another TE worth taking for at least a full round. If the Patriots miss out on that top tier they are best served to wait beacause none of the guys available can become starters in year one. Gillmore is an interesting prospect that really turned heads at the Senior Bowl. He possesses a well-rounded skill-set and projects to an inline role. His ceiling as a receiver is limited compared to guys like Niklas and Amaro, but he can become a very good four down player. Serviceable, that’s the word I’d use to describe the Tight Ends after the top tier, serviceable.
Round 7 (244) – Kevin Pamphile, OT, Purdue
Pamphile is a late round O-Line sleeper that is rising up draft boards. The Patriots have shown interest and had him into Foxboro for an official visit. As of right now the Offensive Tackle depth on the roster is lacking and with a new OL coach, I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved Marcus Cannon inside to Guard.
1) Last night news began to swirl about the Patriots and their “love” for Pittsburgh QB Tom Savage. Patriots fans can relax a little as I am told there isn’t much truth to the rumor. Savage didn’t exactly leave Rutgers on good terms with Head Coach Greg Schiano and the Patriots definitely don’t like him enough to pick him where he’s going to get picked. They’ve done an extraordinary amount of homework on QBs compared to past seasons and while it appears they are interested in adding another QB, they aren’t using a 1st or 2nd Round pick on Tom Savage.
2) One prospect who appears to be rising rapidly is Boise State DE/OLB Demarcus Lawrence. Once thought of as a late 2nd or early 3rd round prospect now looks likely to get picked in the top 40. The Patriots were scheduled to have Lawrence in for a private workout, but decided to cancel it. He’s a “sleeper pick” to keep an eye on for #29. He entered the draft after his Redshirt Sophomore season and still has some growing up to do. Despite that he’s a versatile pass rusher that can move around the front seven and uses his hands really well for such an unrefined pass rusher.
3) The Patriots, more than any other team, have their name leaked in connection with a prospect visit or work out. The reason for this is simple. Agents love to let the NFL know that the Patriots worked out their client and “might have” interest in them. Just being mentioned in connection with Bill Belichick can generate buzz and improve their perceived draft status. Realize how no one cares when a prospect visits Jacksonville or Oakland? Word leaks that the Patriots might have interest in a prospect and the internet breaks. It’s the power of the hoodie.
4) Following up on the Pre-Draft Workout List, there are nearly 100 confirmed contacts on the list and no obvious pattern appears. They aren’t favoring any one position over another and the types of prospects seem equally random. I know everyone likes to over-analyze which prospect visited or which coach is working out who, but this year they are keeping things close to the vest. Belichick is great at throwing the media and league off his trail. One year he travels to personally work out a prospect, the next year they pick a player they didn’t have any contact with, and then there is the case of canceling a pre-draft workout right before it happens. In short, you can’t take much away from pre-draft contact.
5) I talked about Demarcus Lawrence risng up draft boards at the other end of the spectrum there are a few players plummeting down the rankings. Three players immediately come to mind are Arizona State DT Will Sutton, Stanford LB Shyane Skov, and Miami (FL) OT Seantreal Henderson. All three were once highly touted players and for one reason or another are in for a long wait on draft day. Sutton is coming off a lethargic Senior year in which he was overweight and he definitley hasn’t helped himself at the Senior Bowl or Combine. Shayne Skov put off running a 40 yard dash as long as he could, but scouts finally got him to run earlier this week. If Tony Pauline’s report that he “struggled to break 5.20” is true then he’s going to have a tough time getting picked. In Henderson’s case, he could be a Top 10 pick if he gave a shit about football and actually gave it his all. The problem his he does neither and is dropping quickly. Out of the three Henderson probably gets picked first, just because if he does dedicate himself, he could become a special player.
6) If you interested about learning more about prospects such as Dominque Easley and the other 314 Top prospects, check out my draft book. I’m sure you’ll like it.