NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas
The Jacksonville Jaguars jumped on Central Florida’s Blake Bortles with the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, but only one other team has followed the quarterback trend through the midst of Round 1.
Organizations with reported interest in a signal-caller, including the Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals, have decided to wait and make priority upgrades elsewhere.
That may just play into the New England Patriots’s favor at pick 29.
Head coach Belichick, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and the rest of New England’s war room are waiting. And at this time, from the outside looking in, it appears that few chips have fallen off the franchise’s needs-based board.
LSU wideout Odell Beckham Jr., Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier, and Louisville safety Calvin Pryor all had their names linked to Foxborough, Mass., yet all have found a home elsewhere.
All of whom were expected to.
But on the other side of the ledger, many possible Patriots targets remain.
At receiver, there’s USC’s Marqise Lee headlining the rest of a deep class. On the inside at tight end, there’s Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro, Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas, who have been considered anywhere between Day 1 and Day 2. And along the offensive line, there’s Xavier Su’a-Filo, Colorado State’s Weston Richburg and USC’s Marcus Martin.
On the defensive side of the ball, there are defensive line alternatives in Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman, Missouri’s Kony Ealy, Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence, Oregon State’s Scott Crichton, Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt, Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan and Florida’s Dominique Easley. And back in the defensive secondary, there’s Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward and Ohio State’s Bradley Roby.
It’s all in a fluid state; with each passing pick the landscape will change. One by one, these potential first-round talents will fall. Even so, the possibility grows all the more likely that the Patriots will get their option at the tail end of the first.
If not, the notion of finding a trade partner with a team within the top 10 picks of Round 2 cannot be ruled out. The interest came to fruition at pick 22, as the Cleveland Browns negotiated up with the Philadelphia Eagles to select Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.
With that in mind, perhaps Patriots pulling the trigger to groom a QB behind Tom Brady cannot be ruled out, either. Ryan Mallett trade discussions have resurfaced, as CSNNE.com’s Tom E. Curran reported Thursday afternoon. And as a passer like Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater sits patiently while teams pass into the 20s, the thought continues to loom.
Whatever the Patriots war room does from here, few options are off the table.
Tags: 2014 NFL Draft