NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
For months, I have been giving you my thoughts and opinions on players with my Scouting Report series. As I sat here in front of my computer watching more tape, I realized that I had not stepped back in awhile and thought about who are the guys that I would be really excited about the Patriots drafting when they finally get on the clock at pick 60. The answer that I came up with is not clear. I will get to my answer soon enough, but I thought I would be fun to turn the tables and hear from the readers today.
You didn’t think you would get off that easy, did you? Of course I am going to give you my opinion on the subject. Well before the combine I had started to put together my big board and I came up with a list of names that I would have been really excited about with pick 60. That list was:
- Jason Spriggs, OT-Indiana
- William Jackson III, CB, Houston
- Sterling Shepherd, WR, Oklahoma
Sadly, as the process has gone on, it is looking more and more likely that 2, maybe all 3 of those guys are gone. Shepherd has the best chance of being there, but as I continue to look at the WR class, I think waiting might be the way to go. I have a large group of Receivers that fall in that 3rd/4th round mix that I felt fit the Patriots system and can be a nice piece to the offense. Braxton Miller is another guy that I am intrigued by at 60, but he is by no means a NFL ready Wide Receiver either and I go back to the statement I just made. So, where does that leave my list today? To be honest, it is a bit in flux.
Tyler Higbee is a guy I am admittedly higher on than most and is one of my “binkies” this year. I gave him a 2nd round grade and I think he could be a great compliment to Gronk and have a big role in this offense. That being said, I realize that he has yet to work out because of a foot injury and will be making a big jump in competition when he gets into the NFL, so expectations would have to be tempered.
I think a guy like Joshua Perry, a linebacker out of Ohio State, would be a great fit in the Patriots scheme. His combine performance puts his availability at 60 in question also. That is also a very high pick for a backup linebacker, at least in the short term.
There is a need for Offensive Line help, specifically at Tackle, but I feel the value will not be there at 60. There are some Guards that will probably be available when the Patriots pick, but does the team want to spend another resource on Guard when they just used 2 picks on the position last year. If they do, that will tell us a lot about what they think about the younger players.
One position where the talent, value, and need line up is at Defensive Tackle. A lot will depend on if the Patriots can resign free agent Akeem Hicks. If they lose Hicks, the Patriots could look to add another Defensive Tackle to the mix. Chris Jones, no not the one on the roster already, but the one out of Mississippi State might be a good fit.
Another position where the Patriots might create a need is Defensive End. It has been speculated for awhile now that the Patriots could look to trade Chandler Jones this offseason because of his potential high salary demands as well as other players at key positions that need to be resigned. The Patriots did draft a couple of players at the position last year, but if they do look at the position, Carl Nassib and Bronson Kaufusi would be ideal replacements.
Finally, a 3 down Running Back is very much a need. I am a big fan of Alex Collins but I do realize that it is a position that could be filled later in the draft and still get immediate production.
So, who is on my list right now.To be honest, there is not really any one player that I get the “warm and fuzzies” for. There is a list of guys I would be really happy with and there are still so many players to watch that maybe the “one” is still out there, but for now, here is my list, in no particular order:
- Sterling Shepherd, WR-Oklahoma
- Alex Collins, RB-Arkansas
- Joshua Perry, LB-Ohio State
- Braxton Miller, WR- Ohio State
- Tyler Higbee, TE-Western Kentucky
- Xavien Howard, CB-Baylor
- Carl Nassib, DE-Penn State
- Chris Jones, DT-Mississippi State
So now, I turn to you, the loyal readers. Who are the players that get you all excited? Convince me of “your guys.” Maybe you feel the same way I do and have not really found that guy yet that you think would be the ideal pick for the Patriots at 60. Let me, know.