Building The Draft Board: Cornerbacks and Safeties

Corner may be the Patriots biggest need, but will there be any talent left at the position by the time the Patriots pick?

Corner may be the Patriots biggest need, but will there be any talent left at the position by the time the Patriots pick?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

We did it! We made it to the final installment of the Big Board series. I have put too many hours to count into this exercise, but it has been a labor of love. For you loyal readers, I hope that you have enjoyed these articles. They are meant to be fun and informative and hopefully after reading them you can go into the draft next week with a little more knowledge about these prospects than you did before. The final two positions to look at are interesting from a Patriots perspective. One I feel is maybe the Patriots biggest need and the other is a position that the Patriots have made some, shall we say, interesting selections at in recent years. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Patriots draft both Corner and Safety high again this year. While drafting Corner would likely make most fans happy, another Safety could send some fans over the edge. Either way, we need to look at who the Patriots might target and who are good fits. Corner was by far the toughest position for me to narrow down and the list is still probably longer than it should be. Here is the final big board section for the 2016 draft.

POSITION: Cornerback



Malcolm Butler (age 26, signed through 2016)

Logan Ryan (age 25, signed through 2016)

Darryl Roberts (age 25, signed through 2018)

Justin Coleman (age 22, signed through 2016)

Rashaan Melvin (age 26, signed through 2016)


Anyone who looks at that list quickly realizes that Corner has to be a high priority in next weeks draft. Butler has proven to be a very solid player and is probably considered a #1 Corner in the NFL. Logan Ryan has had a roller coaster of a career so far and is probably suited to play in the slot rather than be a #2 corner at this point. Justin Coleman showed flashes, but he is young and has a long way to go if he is going to develop into anything more than a rotational backup. Darryl Roberts is the unknown. Rumors in camp last year was that he was on his way to winning the #2 job before a hand injury ended his season. We shall see if he can regain that form and win that job this year. Needless to say, an influx of talent would be a welcome addition to this team and this could be a position the team adds multiple prospects at.

Corner Backs with Draftable Grades:

Xavien Howard- Baylor (6’0″, 201 Lbs.): I have my doubts that Howard will be available when the Patriots pick, but I already had to give up on the dream of William Jackson III and I just couldn’t bear the thought of losing both of them, not yet anyways. I wrote up Howard earlier () The report covers everything, but here are some additional thoughts. I really like his build for the position. He is physical (both good and bad) and he showed he can play man and zone and do them well. He has a nose for the ball and is a threat after the interception. He would be an ideal #2 Corner to play those bigger Wide Receivers and has enough speed and ball tracking skills to stick with them downfield. Here is a report on him I did earlier in the season as well: (2nd round grade)

Kendall Fuller- Virginia Tech (5’11”, 187 Lbs.): Fuller is a smooth, athletic Corner with good size.  He is fundamentally sound, showing proper technique with his footwork.  He has good agility and is smooth in his transitions. He is an intelligent player and has developed some of the finer nuances of the game. He reads receivers well and has the ability to play the ball like a receiver.  He has good ball skills with 35 passes defended and 8 interception over his career. He plays physical and is not afraid to come up and make a tackle.  He is considered a hard worker and a team leader and has great NFL bloodlines. He does not have elite speed and can fall behind faster receivers downfield. He tends to play the man rather than the ball too much, not getting his head turned as much as I would like to see. Fuller has first round talent, but his medical history is a concern. He could be a steal if he drops to the Patriots. (2nd round grade)

Jalen Mills- LSU (6’0″, 191 Lbs.): Mills is a nice sized prospect that has experience at both Safety and Corner. He has the speed and change of direction skills to stick at Corner in the NFL. He plays with good balance and controlled footwork to stick with all types of Wide Receivers. Mills is a smart player with a lot of game experience, almost looking like he is running the routes for the Wide Receivers. He locates the ball when it is in the air and does a nice job of making a play on the ball and receiver without drawing the attention of the refs. He is known for his team leadership and will do anything for the good of the team. Mills is an inconsistent tackler and the effort to come up in run support is not always there. He has his fair share of mental lapses, allowing lesser players to make plays on him. Mills has the versatility and game experience the Patriots covet and he could be a valuable chess piece in the secondary (3rd round pick)

Will Redmond- Mississippi State (5’10”, 182 Lbs.): Redmond is a good Corner with loose hips and fluid feet to shut down opposing Wide Receivers. He is a smooth mover who transitions seamlessly out of his back pedal. He transitions his weight well in and out of cuts to stick with shifty Receivers. Redmond is a physical player both in the pass game and in run support. He is willing to fight through blocks to come up and make a big hit. He has experience at multiple positions and looks comfortable playing off or man coverage. He tracks the ball well and is a play maker. He has decent, but not ideal size for the position and he has short arms. He will be too aggressive at times and can get burned on double moves. He is also to physical with Receivers down field and needs to work on his hand use. Redmond suffered ACL injury this past season and medicals will be huge. (3rd/4th round pick)

Sean Davis- Maryland (6’1″, 201 Lbs.): I wrote up Davis earlier this season and I think it covers everything, so please refer to it if you want to read more on him. ( (3rd/4th round grade)

Kalan Reed- Southern Mississippi (5’10”, 199 Lbs.): Reed is a guy I stumbled on when I was watching the Western Kentucky vs. Southern Mississippi game. I was watching that game for Michael Thomas and Tyler Higbee (R.I.P draft binkie) Reed was a guy who just kept showing up and making plays. After watching further, I saw a guy that was very fluid in his movements. He showed the ability to read the play and drive on the ball. Reed does a nice job of mirroring his Receiver while keeping an eye on the QB. He tracks the ball really well and is a play maker. He has a whopping 43 passes defensed and 8 interceptions over his last two years. He is a smart player, team leader, and a film junkie according to his head coach. Reed does need to get stronger to handle more physical receivers in the NFL. He tries to make up for his lack of strength with his aggressiveness and it gets him in trouble sometimes. Reed is a guy I think is being overlooked and has the possibility of being one of the better Corners in this class. (3rd/4th round grade)

Cyrus Jones- Alabama (5’9″, 207 Lbs.): I recently wrote up Jones, so I won’t bore you again with more notes, but if you would like to read my thoughts on Jones, here you go: (4th round grade)

Maurice Canady- Virginia (6’1″, 193 Lbs.): The first thing that jumps off the tape when watching Canady is his size. Not only is he tall, but he has good length and while he only weighs 193 Lbs., he looks physically ready for the NFL. Canady changes direction really well and he is smooth in and out of cuts, something you don’t expect from a taller Corner. He has great straight line speed that he can stay on the hip of Receivers down field. He uses his height and length to his advantage and high points the ball to break up plays. He has the versatility and game experience to play the slot or outside.  Canady won in college with his speed and he needs work on his transitions and footwork. He gives good effort in run support, but he needs to work on his tackling and get stronger to fight through blocks. He can be bullied by more physical receivers and needs to toughen up. (4th round grade)

Harlan Miller- Southeastern Louisiana (5’11”, 182 Lbs.): Miller has some of the best footwork I watched this draft season. He is quick in his backpedal with the ability to stick his foot in the ground and drive back towards the ball. He flips his hips and transitions out of his back pedal smoothly with the ability to stick with Receivers easily. He locates the ball well and has great ball skills. Miller will mix it up as a run defender and does not shy away from contact. He is slight in stature and I am not sure how much more bulk his frame can handle. He lacks strength and will struggle with bigger, more physical players. He can get caught flat footed when he tries to anticipate routes. Miller does not have elite speed and will struggle to recover if a Receiver gets behind him. He will be making a big jump in competition and could have some growing pains adjusting to the speed of the game. (4th round grade)

Eric Murray- Minnesota (5’10”, 199 Lbs.): Murray is one of the more physical Corners in this draft. He plays much bigger than his size and is a solid tacklers. He is very good in run support and will fight through traffic to make the play.  He has good footwork and speed in the passing game to stick with Receivers. He is physical in the passing game, forcing Receivers off their routes. He is a confident player and has the mentality needed to play CB in the NFL. Murray’s physicallity can be a negative as well. He is way to handsy with Receivers and will get his fair share of penalties if he doesn’t clean this up. He is a little stiff in his transitions and will struggle with twitchy Wide Receivers. (4th round grade)

Keivare Russell- Notre Dame (5’11”, 192 Lbs.):  I noticed that Mike Mayock had put Russell in his Safety rankings and the more I thought about it, the more I understood it. Russell is physical and will come up and help in run support. He has quick feet in terms of breaking back towards the ball. He has good straight line speed to cover a lot of ground quickly. He is stiff in his transitions and struggles to locate the ball over his shoulder. Most of his play making came with the Receiver in front of him. I think I would still give him a shot at Corner to see if he could be developed, but the idea of him as a rangy safety is not bad. (4th/5th round grade)

Juston Burris- North Carolina State (6’0″, 212 Lbs.): I have had limited exposure to Burris, but from what I did see, I think there is something there worth looking at. He is a very physical player who likes to hit. He does a nice job in run support and is a reliable tackler.  He is physical in the passing game with the strength to disrupt Receivers routes. He has a knack for creating smaller windows for QB’s by using the sideline to his advantage. He tracks the ball well and consistently got his hands between the ball and the Receiver. He plays on his toes, with good balance and movements to stick with shiftier Receivers. Burris has good straight line speed as well and can stick in the pocket of speedier Receivers downfield. Burris tends to be overaggressive, trying to make the big play and instead getting burnt. He is way too physical with Receivers for the NFL and if he doesn’t clean that up, he will be a flag machine. He needs to trust his skills more as he seems to panic with the ball in the air. (5th round grade)

James Bradberry- Samford (6’0″, 212 Lbs.): Bradberry has the look of an ideal Corner from a physical standpoint. He is tall and filled out with really long arms. He has good footwork and is efficient with his movements, getting to max speed quickly. He plays with great fundamentals and his technique is refined. He does a nice job staying low in his backpedal and can plant his foot and come back to the ball quickly. Uses his length to his advantage creating tough windows for QB’s to throw through. Bradberry is a four year starter and a team captain. Bradberry can be bullied a bit by physical receivers. He is a good tackler in terms of form,  but can be passive at times, not always looking to fill holes and make tackles. He played against inferior talent and got away with some bad habits. He gave up too many catches for a guy with his physical talents and needs to be a little more aggressive in coverage. Does not always trust what he sees, which leads to being a half step late on throws. Has some lower body and hip stiffness and can be beaten by shiftier Receivers.   (5th round grade)

D.J. White- Georgia Tech (5’10”, 193 Lbs.): White is a smooth mover with quick read and react skills. He can change directions quickly and does a nice job to mirror receivers throughout their routes. He shows good awareness and an ability to track the ball. He has good timing on jump balls and good ball skills to create turnovers. He is technically sound with his hands and is best in press man coverage. White does not shy away from contact and is a willing participant in run support. He is known as a hard worker and was a team captain. When he is not in press, he primarily plays bail coverage, with his hips open before the snap of the ball. This leads to soft coverage and a lot of completions underneath. White needs work on his tackling fundamentals as he misses way too many tackles in the open field. (5th round pick)

Daryl Worley- West Virgina (6’0″, 204 Lbs.): Worley is a physical corner with good measurables for the position. He has prototypical size with long arms.  Worley is a physical player with the demeanor needed for the position. Worley is an aggressive player that reads and reacts quickly. He is smooth in his transitions with the ability to turn and run with Receivers. Worley has no problem coming up to make plays in run support and likes to deliver big hits. Worley is a play maker, with 31 passes defended and 10 interceptions in his career. Coaches rave about his work ethic and competitiveness. Worley has experience at both Free Safety and Corner, so he brings versatility to his NFL team. He is undisciplined in his responsibilities and will fall far double moves far too often. Worley has sloppy footwork and needs to improve on his fundamentals in coverage. He has had some off field issues that might keep him off teams draft boards and he does have some injury concerns as well.  (6th/7th round pick)

* One guy I have heard good things about but did not get a chance to watch is Ryan Smith out of North Carolina Central.

Interesting UDFA Prospects:

Cre’Von LeBlanc- Florida Atlantic (5’9″, 192 Lbs.)

Michael Jordan- Missouri Western (6’0″, 200 Lbs.)

Bennett Okotcha- UTSA (5’11”, 195 Lbs.)

Nick Vanhoose- Northwestern (5’11”, 192 Lbs.)

Makinton Dorleant- Northern Iowa (1’10”, 182 Lbs.)





Devin McCourty (age 28, signed through 2019)

Patrick Chung (age 28, signed through 2017)

Duron Harmon (age 25, signed through 2016)

Nate Ebner( age 26, signed through 2017)

Jordan Richards (age 23, signed through 2018)

Cedric Thompson (age 23, signed through 2016)

Brock Vereen (age 23, signed through 2016)


What obscure Safety is BB going to draft this year? I would say that the team seems pretty set at the position, but it certainly seems like Belichick is looking for something or someone for a specific role and has not found it yet. We know McCourty and Chung are entrenched as the starters and Harmon has done enough to at least answer some of the questions on why he was drafted so early. Richards is the other highly drafted Safety that was a questionable pick that has yet to prove his worth, but he will have his chance going into his second year. I liked Vereen coming out of college and it will be interesting to see if he can develop into something. All that won’t stop the Patriots from drafting another Safety if they have their heart set on a player and he is available. I would hope that it would not be until Day 3, but their are some intriguing prospects that would need to be taken on Day 2 of the draft if the Patriots want them. For the final time in this draft season, lets take a look at the prospects I have targeted for the Patriots at the Safety position.

Safeties With Draftable Grades:

Keanu Neal- Florida (6’0″, 211 Lbs.): Neal is a rocked up athlete with great size and length for the position. He is a violent player that seeks out the ball and hits like a mack truck. He is a smooth athlete that has enough speed to cover a lot of ground.  He is an intense player that gives 100% on every play. Neal is more of a in the box, downhill type player. He will come in on day 1 and be a special teams monster. Neal has the athleticism and range to play Free Safety, but needs to develop his instincts and fundamentals when working in space. He tends to go for the big hit rather than the solid tackle, creating bad angles and missed opportunities. Neal is overaggressive in coverage, biting on fakes and double moves. He has the size and physicallity to play that Safety/Linebacker hybrid. (2nd/3rd round grade)

Jeremy Cash- Duke (6’0″, 212 Lbs.): Cash is very similar to Neal when it comes to how they play the game. While Cash is not quite the athlete that Neal is, he plays with better instincts. Cash is another player who is better suited in that Box Safety/Linebacker hybrid role. Cash reads and reacts plays quickly which helps him play faster than he is. He is a very smart player with great play recognition. Cash looks awkward when he is not playing downhill. His footwork is sloppy when trying to backpedal and he looks uncomfortable in space. Cash needs to be drafted by a team that will play to his strengths much like Deone Buchanon in Arizona. (3rd round grade)

DeAndre Houston-Carson- William and Mary (6’0″, 201 Lbs.): DHC (see what I did there) has a good combination of size and speed for the position. He is fundamentally sound and he looks comfortable in space. He is a smart player with the ability to get from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. He reads the QB well and reacts quickly when the ball is thrown. He gets his hands on a lot of balls and has the potential to be a play maker in the NFL. DHC was very good on special teams and will contribute right away. He is a high motor and a high character guy. He was a four year starter and a team captain as well. DHC is more comfortable playing in space than in man coverage. He struggles to mirror his Receiver and can get grabby, leading to penalties. He can get out of control when coming down to fill gaps and tends to get high when tackling, which could get him in trouble at the next level. He played at a small school and the jump in competition will take some time to adjust to. (3rd/4th round grade)

Justin Simmons- Boston College (6’2″, 202 Lbs.): Simmons has great height and length with good speed and range. He is a smart player with good instincts. He processes what he sees quickly and reacts in an instant. He has good change of direction skills and looks comfortable manning up with Receivers. He is very dependable and is not fooled easily. He will come up in run support and is a solid tackler. He is aggressive and physical and a team first type of guy. Simmons played multiple positions in the secondary, bringing versatility to whichever team drafts him. He is a solid all around player with no glaring deficiencies, but does not possess any special traits either. Simmons will also contribute on special teams. He is thin and may be limited in how much additional weight he can put on. He does not possess great take on strength and can get washed out of plays by a single blocker. (4th round grade)

Kevin Byard- Middle Tennessee (5’11”, 216 Lbs.): Byard is an instinctual player with a knack of always being around the ball. He was highly productive in college (36 PD’s, 19 Int’s) and has a play maker mentality. He is a smooth mover with good speed and excellent change of direction skills. He reads the Quarterback well and glides easily to get into position.  Byard is a smart player that plays without hesitation. He trusts what he sees and reacts to it quickly. Byard has a non stop motor and studies the subtle nuances of the game according to things I have read. He is a good person on and off the field and a team captain. Byard does lack strength and will struggle to disengage from blocks, even by Wide Receivers and that was at a low level of competition. He is not always a willing tackler and he is not very good at it due to his lack of strength. This must change if teams are going to rely on him on the back end of their defense. He got away with some bad fundamentals in college that he won’t get away with in the NFL. (4th/5th round grade)

Miles Killebrew- Southern Utah (6’1″, 217 Lbs.): If you are sensing a theme with my Safeties, you would be correct. Killebrew falls into that same Safety/Linebacker hybrid role as some of the guys I mentioned earlier. He is NFL ready from a physical standpoint and he has a great combination of speed and strength. He is a smooth athlete with the ability to change directions smoothly and effortlessly. He can cover a lot of ground quickly and when he finds the ball he looks to hurt the person holding onto it. Killebrew is very physical and will do whatever it takes to make the play. He was a team captain and contributed on special teams. Killebrew is too aggressive for his own good at times. He is a wild tackler, getting way too out of control at times, leading to missed tackles or high tackles. He is more comfortable up close to the line of scrimmage than in coverage, despite having all the athletic tools to be good at it. He struggles in space and will lose track of his assignment in pass coverage. He is an intriguing prospect that could be special if he can go to the right system and can learn to play better away from the line of scrimmage. (4th/5th round pick)

Tyvis Powell- Ohio State (6’2″, 211 Lbs.): Powell is another size, speed athlete at the Safety position. He is a smooth mover with good change of direction skills to cover a lot of ground. Powell was a highly productive player in college and was a play maker. He is a physical player and a good tackler. He is a smart player who does not make a lot of mistakes. Powell was a team captain and considered a good guy on and off the fields. Powell tends to play flat footed in coverage and finds himself a split second late to make the play. He struggles to fight through blocks to come up and make plays in the run game. Powell is not as aggressive as I would like to see from a Safety and doesn’t play up to his size. He is another player that is solid at just about everything, but does not have any specific traits that stick out. (5th round pick)

Interesting UDFA Prospects:

Trae Elston-Mississippi (5’11”, 195 Lbs.)

Deiondre Hall- Northern Iowa (6’1″, 199 Lbs.)

Jayron Kearse- Clemson (6’4″, 216 Lbs.)

Deon Bush- Miami (6’0″, 199 Lbs.)

There you have it folks, the Big Board is complete! We are less than a week away from the draft now and there is still so much to get done. I will put the Big Board into both a horizontal and vertical board for easier viewing. It will just be the players names but it will give you an idea of how I stack all the positions together. I will be doing a 7 round mock for the Patriots as well, probably the night before the draft, and then I am off to Chicago to attend the draft in person. I will probably be live tweeting, especially on Friday when the Patriots finally make picks.

58 Responses to “Building The Draft Board: Cornerbacks and Safeties”

  1. Jim R says:

    2-60 Joshua Perry LB Ohio St.
    2-61 Xavien Howard CB Baylor
    3-91 Jordan Howard RB Indiana
    3-96 Charles Tapper DE Oklahoma
    6-196 James Bradberry CB Samford
    6-204 Dominique Robertson OT West Georgia
    6-208 Mortiz Buehruger WR Germany
    6-214 Marquez North WR Tennessee
    6-221 Jeff Driskel QB La. Tech.
    7-243 Keenan Reynolds WR Navy
    7-250 Laquan McGowan WTF Baylor

    • Todti says:

      Well, cannot complain if it’s going to unfold like that. I hope better options than Driskel will be available and I’d switch North for Braverman or another slot WR. The Patriots need depth at the slot position and less big WRs.

      • Jim R says:

        I do not think they will draft 11, I think only 6 max, make the team. Very important they hit on 3/4 in Rds 2/3.

    • steve earle says:

      Have to say I like your mock pretty well Jim. The top four leaves nothing to complain of and given all the possable combo’s in the 6ths and 7ths I wouldn’t complain there either. I will say I love your WTF pick at #250. McGowan is right at the top of my UDFA list but at 250, well WTF. Nice job.

  2. Mike Gerken says:

    I will be posting my horizontal and vertical big boards in the mornings. It looks like I have 105 players on my big board, not including UDFA’s.
    Last year I had 118 players, but the Patriots had a first round pick, so the top tier talent was higher.

  3. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft
    2 Kenjan Drake RB Alabama
    2 La’Raven Clark OT Texas Tech
    3 Kendall Fuller CB Virginia Tech
    3 Hassan Ridgeway DT Texas
    6 Mitch Matthews WR BYU
    6 Scooby Wright ILB Arizona
    6 Alex Redmond G UCLA
    6 Jason Fainaika DE Utah
    6 Blake Frohnapel QB UMASS
    7 Ty Darlington C Oklahoma
    7 Jason Whittingham OLB Utah

  4. ErnieAdamsLoveChild says:

    These are some of my favorite mocks (thus overly optimistic and extremely unlikely to occur)

    60: R2P29

    61: R2P30

    91: R3P28

    96: R3P33

    196: R6P21

    204: R6P29

    208: R6P33

    214: R6P39

    221: R6P46

    243: R7P22

    250: R7P29


    60: R2P29

    61: R2P30

    91: R3P28

    96: R3P33

    196: R6P21

    204: R6P29

    208: R6P33

    214: R6P39

    221: R6P46

    243: R7P22

    250: R7P29

    • carlo strada says:

      isnt Clark a NT? Why getting a NT with our 1st pick?
      I d like better the first one with Chris jones

  5. ErnieAdamsLoveChild says:

    Hello to everyone. Everyone’s Patriot’s mocks have been very fascinating. But if you guys are using Fanspeak to mock your drafts….. what big boards are you using? Fanspeak’s? the Composite Board?

    I have just finished 24 separate mock drafts (drafting as the Patriots) and have found remarkable variation.

    Players whose positions tend to vary greatly between the different big board include Kenny Clark, Robert Nkemdiche, Jason Spriggs, D. Henry, Jonathan Jones, Joshua Perry, Chris Jones, Jordan Payton, and Keyarris Garrett.

    While I think it is highly unlikely that Nkemiche, Spriggs or Clark would be left when the Patriots draft in the 2nd round, it is interesting (and surprising) to see how often they are available in the mock drafts.

    • Todti says:

      Yeah, the variance is pretty remarkable. I tend to try several boards and abort mock drafts when I see some unlikely rankings.

      • ErnieAdamsLoveChild says:

        What players, when available, causes you think a board is unrealistic and thus abort?

        • Todti says:

          Well, I don’t remember a specific example but let’s say an OT or a LB of the top tier (so no stacked position like DT) is still available when you pick at 91 and the assigned rank of the big board is actually somewhere around 90, that’s when I abort the mock draft and choose a different big board.

        • Todti says:

          I just ran a mock draft as an example and Leonard Floyd is ranked 55 or so by and thus was still available at 60. That’s just not going to happen which is why I wuld abort such a mock.

  6. Trev says:

    Patriots Mock With a Week till the Draft…

    60). Kendall Fuller CB VA Tech

    Fuller is a really talented CB who falls to the late 2nd because he tore his meniscus last season. First Rnd talent coming off of a knee injury, right up Belichick’s alley. The good news is that his knee surgery was relatively minor and from all reports his medical checks went well. CB is a big need in the near future for NE. Fuller is a great fit

    NE trades 61, 204, & 250 to CHI for 2017 3rd & 6th, 2016 4th (106) & 5th (150)

    NE trades 91 & 106 (via CHI) to TB for 74 & 197

    74) Le’Raven Clark OT TX Tech

    Clark is an extremely talented OT. He has great size, length, and athleticism. He’s available in the 3rd because he is a real project. His technique is flat out poor at times. NE has to believe that Scar can correct his technique issues if they make the pick. They also have the luxury of giving him time to develop, since he won’t need to start right away. This could potentially be a steal.

    96) Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame

    Total wild card pick here. Smith was maybe the best player in this entire class before suffering a gruesome knee injury in ND’s bowl game. Normally a torn ACL wouldn’t knock a guy of his caliber too far down the draft board, but his injury goes beyond torn ligaments. From all reports, the nerves aren’t healing properly and he will miss at least the 2016 season, and may never be the same player, or for that matter even play again. This could be a wasted pick. But it could also be a home run if his knee does in fact heal well over the next 18 months. His health is the great unknown, but if NE’s doctors think that there is even a chance that he can recover then he would be worth a risk at this point with a 3rd Rnd Comp pick.

    NE trades 150 (via CHI) & 196 to CAR for 129 & 252

    129) Hassan Ridgeway DT Texas

    This would be a terrific value pick. There’s a good chance that Ridgeway goes way higher than this, but with a ton of quality DTs in this draft some guys will certainly fall. Ridgeway is a candidate to slide because his 2015 production wasn’t great. He is a very talented DT, though, and would fill in nicely into Easley’s role. Pairing him with college teammate Malcom Brown also makes a lot of sense.

    197) Matt Ioannidis DT Temple

    Here’s another good DT who may slide due to the sheer depth of this position in this draft. Ioannidis is a true leader and a smart, versatile player. He lacks the athleticism of some of of the DTs in this class, but has great strength and is just a flat out good football player. Belichick would love to get him at this point of the draft.

    208) DeMarcus Robinson WR Florida

    Big time gamble here, but BB is a bit of a gambler. Robinson is a true talent. He was very highly recruited out of HS, and showed flashes of brilliance at UF. His run-after-the-catch skills are special. Talent-wise, he’s among the best of the WRs in this class. Of course there are major red-flags for him to be available late 6th, though. Multiple drug suspensions and he was kicked off the team at Florida. Gator players haven’t been good to the Pats, but if BB and Co feel Comfortable enough to take a chance on Robinson at this point, he would be an interesting addition.

    214) Daniel Lasco RB Cal

    Lasco is a super athletic player. He tested off the charts on pretty much everything. Coming from Cal it’s easy to compare him to Vereen, but I think Lasco is a little more of a runner and Vereen is a little better receiving. Lasco isn’t the power-back that most of us crave, but he is very good value here.

    221) Keenan Reynolds RB/WR Navy

    Reynolds is a gadget guy at this point, but I think his eventual NFL position may be slot receiver. Similar project to Edelman coming out of college. He may or may not stick, but he is a very good athlete and a smart, disciplined player. BB would obviously love the NAVY ties.

    243) Shawn Oakman DE Baylor

    This pick may raise a few eyebrows. Oakman is the poster-boy for a falling talent. This time a year ago, many viewed him as a 1st Rnd pick. At first glance he looks like a beast. 6’7″ DE with a solid frame who can move well. The problem is, he has a sexual assault charge hanging over his head. BB and Co would REALLY have to do their homework here. If the alleged assault charge appears to be something that he can overcome, maybe they take a shot here. Oakman has other issues, too, that make him late Rnd kid. He needs to improve his lower body strength and play more disciplined. There are plenty of issues to sort through with Oakman, but if the coaching staff is comfortable taking a chance on him the talent is there. A DE with length is needed after Jones was traded. Oakman is an intriguing name.

    252) Jake Rudock QB Michigan

    Under the Radar QB prospect, but a smart kid who wants to succeed. Drafting a QB, even late, is smart. Adding a late Rnd QB from Michigan has worked for BB before, might as well try again.

    Priority UDFA

    Peyton Barber RB Auburn

    at 5’11” 225, Barber is a bigger RB who is good enough to come in and compete for a spot. The idea here is to add enough to get through the 2016 season with good RB depth because the 2017 draft is really looking like it will be loaded with quality RBs.

    • Todti says:

      A bit too much gambling for my liking. Robinson was suspended for violating team rules, whatever that means. I honestly think you can talk about drug-related incidents, but sexual assault? I wouldn’t touch Oakman with a barge pole.
      I don’t think Fuller is a good fit, but if he and Ridgeway are available at those points I guess it would be ok. Smith, however, you probably have to pick at that point. Clark certainly will not be available there.
      But I like Ruddock and Ioannadis, I’m generally anxious to see what the Patriots do with the late-round picks.
      The trade with Chicago won’t work that way. Yes, future picks are the uncertainties but accounting for all involved 2016 picks the difference is a 2016 low 6th-rounder. So you would get a 2017 4th round pick at most, not a 3rd and a 6th.

    • steve earle says:

      Have to agree witrh Todti on this one trev, to many risks I think. As for Jaylon Smith with the nerve damage to his knee the risk is just to great to risk anything but a day three pick. I’m sure some GM somewhere will be willing to take that gamble but after being burned by the Easley pick and that other injury prone CB a few years ago I hate risks above the day 3 prospects. I do not even have Smith on my board at all.

  7. Kevan says:

    Pats need to get one more pick in the top 100. That would be 5 picks for what I see as the 5 draft needs. Tackle, CB, dt, RB, and WR. I’d expect a a few trades because NE is gonna want picks in the 4th, 5th rd.
    3 players that I think the patriots would be ecstatic about taking would be Spriggs,Shepard,And Xavien Howard. I also think there’s a good chance all 3 will be gone by pick 60. Shepard is comparable to Nelson Angholar last year, and is probably better actually. Pats thought highly of Nelson last year. Joe Haeg is a nice consolation prize at tackle. Back up options for WR would be the German WR, Chris Moore, and Devin Lucien. Back up options for corner would be Sean Davis and James bradberry.
    RB is wide open. I think Jonathan Williams is a good runner, I like Cj prosise for his raw ability. He could be the best of the group with some good coaching. Don’t count out Paul Perkins either, everyone has their site set on a 220 pound plus RB, they might miss out on a special player. Perkins looks like he has a lil Jamal Charles to his game.
    I think this whole 3-4, 4-3 talk is a little blown out of proportion. We have to remember there is gonna be 5 dbs on the field 80% of the time. The reports of patriots going bigger at DT could just be smoke screens. In fact I have Javon Hargrave And Justin Zimmer as late 3rd early 4th rd targets. The game changer could be that LB/S guy, which has been alluded to. Sua cravens is gonna go early as is Deion jones, but maybe jatavis brown will be available in the middle rounds. With dt being so deep and rb being so undervalued the pats can afford to go CB, tackle early.
    The Qb position has roster implications too. At some point Patriots will have to carry 3 qbs on the roster. They might feel comfortable with a 7th rd, udfa this year but if not I like Dak Prescott and Kevin hogan. Prescott will probably go to early but if the patriots are serious than who knows. He has a similar build to Jimmy G and I think he can be coached up. Hogan had been a popular player to connect with the pats and I can see why. He looks the part and has more of a Brady build. last picks of the draft will probably be fliers at the guard DE TE positions. Like I said though if the patriots can get another pick in the top 100 and pick up a 4th,5th that would be a great set up. Be patient with picks in the near of this draft. It’s gonna hurt to see some players get taken off the board in the 2nd but in the end pats should just wait til 60.

    • Kevan says:

      Be patient with picks in the meat of this draft.*

    • Todti says:

      One thing is (almost) for sure: the Patriots are going to trade down. As you said, the Patriots need more mid-round picks because a) they don’t have those right now, b) it’s BB’s sweet spot, and c) they probably need more than 4 quality players. However, I’m pretty sure the Patriots are going to try to trade for a 2017 pick, because they don’t have their 2017 4th rounder and, again, we know how much BB values those.
      So, one possible scenario I could envision is that the Patriots trade one of their 2nd and maybe both tradable 6th round picks for a 4th, a 5th, and a 2017 4th round pick, e.g. with the 49ers. Many fans won’t like it because a flashy pick in 2016 is gone, but it would certainly make sense and the Patriots have (in my opinion) 4 positions of potential improvement by their earlier picks: OT, DT, DE/OLB/ILB depending on scheme, CB (in no particular order). They could upgrade at these positions using the 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, high 4th, reach for Keenan Reynolds with the 5th, and select skill position players and/or double dip with the 6th and 7th round picks.

      • Ryan says:

        Another thing is for sure: the Patriots are going to trade up. They have too many 6th- and 7th-rounders and zero 4th- and 5th-rounders

    • steve earle says:

      Kevan, you have hit on a couple points that I can agree on fully. First is it would really be nice to get another pick in the top hundred. To do that Bill has to trade down which as we know he often does. Interesting question then to me is what happens if two top guys of high interest like Shepard and Spriggs do become available? Does Bill Pass on one to get the extra picks or does he grab the two sure things? I know it may not be both or either of those two guys they are “for examples”? And my term of “sure things” is a lose generality I know but just on such a possibility what do you guys think?

      • Kevan says:

        I don’t think Bill will give up both 2s to for sprigs or Shepard. Maybe he would give up a 3rd and a 6 or two 6s to move up into the 40s. If he did this there’s a good chance he uses the other 2 to trade down.

        • steve earle says:

          Yea, I agree trading both 2nds to move up would be a very unlikely move on Bills part. He might go a 2nd and a 3rd or some other combo but not 2 2nds imo. Still Not sure you got the jist of my question? What I was getting at was would Bill pass on one of two really good prospects in order to get more picks later down in the draft?

        • Kevan says:

          If Shepard or spriggs is on the board I think BB would draft them.

        • steve earle says:

          If those two are available I sure hope Bill grabs them, just to much value not to.If it happens I’ll be going into my “happy dance” on that one.

  8. Todti says:

    Steward “was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 10 with a back injury, just a day after learning his fiancée — former Clemson rower Brittany Burns — had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Burns died on Feb. 1, 2016…”
    Oh man. I’m gonna root for him, even though I’m interested in the reason he was released.
    “Doug Whaley shed little light on the circumstances, saying he respected Steward as a person and player but that the reasons for his release would be kept in house.”

    • steve earle says:

      Guy has had more then his share of crap dumped on his head for sure. Can’t help rooting for the guy hope life turns around for him. Seems unusual for a team not to give some indecation why they release someone. There is often outside specs from the media, so has anything been talked about?

      • steve earle says:

        Wait, you said they said it was due to a back injury. Sorry must have got my thinking mixed up with another situation.

  9. td says:

    With the shift to the 3-4 along with all the hybrid scheme’s in-between, might they be going back to their old school zone coverages? They used to covet smaller, quicker CB’s with great short shuttle times. Butler fits that and I think Ryan played zone at Rutgers.

    As for all the so-called S reaches, I think BB is not only looking at the S position but also what the player can bring to special teams. I believe he adds in special teams acumen when figuring value in a draft prospect because special teams is almost one-third of the game. Tavon Wilson may have been a reach if you only figure in the S position, but add in his value on special teams and he may not have been a reach. Also, since the wedges have been almost eliminated, it requires a combo of speed and size to play kick coverage teams and a S at 6′-6’3″ and 200-220 with 4.5-4.6 speed seems ideal.

    • Ryan says:

      Sorry, but I just can’t justify drafting a player in the 2nd round based on special teams. Tavon Wilson is a bust, and Jordan Richards will be too if he doesn’t become a starter on defense. Special teams guys can be had on Day Three; there are my talented players on Day Two to add fringe guys who star on ST.

      • Yohy says:

        Totally agree. It’s not that I have a problem with the player, it’s just where he was taken and where he could have gone.
        Then to do it year after year is really frustrating. If Wilson and Richards were drafted in the 4th or 5th then no harm done.

        Some other busts that really bothered me: Cunningham, with Carlos Dunlop still on the board.
        Aaron Dobson with Keenan Allen still on the board. Ouch ouch ouch. This isn’t 20/20 hindsight, these were highly thought of players that Bill passed over for whatever reason.

        Edelman and butler makes it all feel better though

      • steve earle says:

        Your right, I completely agree with your point here. No way Bill should be reaching for sp-Ts guys up on day two. They can be taken in abundance day three. Drives me crazy!

  10. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft no trades great value in 6th round.
    2 Eli Apple CB Ohio State
    2 Jason Spriggs OT Indiana
    3 Braxton Miller WR Ohio State
    3 Jihad Ward DL Illinois
    6 Adam Gotsis DE Georgia Tech
    6 Josh Ferguson RB Illinois
    6 Ken Crawley CB Colorado
    6 Stephane Nembot OT Colorado
    6 Glen “little Gronk” Gronkowski
    7 Vernon Adams QB/WR/RB Oregon
    7 Travis Feeney OLB Washington

  11. Russell says:

    Patriots add LB Stewart, (Bills) and LS Yount. BB always wants two LS in training camp.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Yount might give them more flexibility with their current long-snapper’s Navy commitments.

      I like Tony Steward’s 40 time and 3-cone time. at 6′ and 241# he could play Safety or LB, and definitely special teams. I still like LB 6’3″ or more, though, in general.

      • td says:

        The media made it seem that his only commitment to the Navy was leaving Foxboro and reporting to Newport, RI.

    • Stephen J says:

      Russell I like what you did with your draft the trades to break that gap nicely done. Also what do you think about Jason Vander Laan will he learn a new position or keep him at QB

      • Russell says:

        Thank you for your thoughts! Vander laan work-out at TE but I think he’s a QB project. He runs more than I like, but he has a good arm.

  12. Todti says:

    Many thanks for all the effort you put into this work, Mike! How much sleep did you actually get the last couple of weeks? It’s certainly not enough, I would assume.

    Regarding Howard. I think you’re right that he could be the CB matched up against the opponent’s big WR while Butler gets the assignment for the smaller, quicker WR. Kinda like Denver’s Thomas and Sanders. Since the Patriots like to play isolated man coverage with Butler against the opponent’s #2 and their #2 CB with safety help over the top against the opponent’s #1 I could see him fit in quite well. Especially since he had a rather underwhelming 40 time at the combine which could let him slip a little bit. However, he had a far better 40 time at his pro day so I’m not sure anymore.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Thanks Todti!
      I will sleep after next week.;)
      There were reports that some players, including Howard were dealing with the Flu at the combine, so that could have affected his performance there. Tape shows a guy fast enough for sure. I just don’t want to get my hopes up and then him not be there. I am assuming he won’t be.

  13. Ryan says:

    How is Sean Davis different from Eric Rowe last year? Their measurables are nearly identical and Rowe went at pick 47, so I see Davis as more of a 2nd-rounder. That will probably be his going rate. I also like Killebrew in the third, but that’s just preference.

    Ken Crawley looks good in the sixth and I’d like to bring in Lloyd Carrington as an undrafted free agent. Crawley’s got some nice measurables and Carrington just plays tough.

    Also, the front page of the website is displaying the full text of the article rather than the title and a preview. Might want to take a look at that if you haven’t already.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Davis is not near as comfortable in coverage as Rowe is. Davis is behind from a technique standpoint and the conversion to Corner is not a given with Davis.

      • acm says:

        Agree with Mike here. As much as I like Davis, he’s more of a SAF prospect at the NFL level and his “CB versatility”, at this point in time, is more due to his athleticism than his understanding of the position.

        • John says:

          Davis is far more physical. A legitimate thumping safety waiting to happen. Loves to mix it up. I feel as though Rowe was just a big-bodied corner, used the height to his advantage.

  14. John says:

    I would like to see the Patriots trade up. Not into the first, but the third to move up into the upper echelon of the second round. I think they should address DL early on. I think either one of Cravens or Sean Davis will be selected. No coincidence that either one of them are being monitored by the Pats closely.

    Guys I really like:

    Jonathan Bullard DL Florida
    Su’a Cravens LB/S USC
    Shone Coleman OT Auburn
    Willie Henry DT Michigan
    Sean Davis SAF/CB Maryland
    Jerald Hawkins RT LSU

    Would prefer something like this:

    2. Jonathan Bullard DL Florida (or Cravens here)
    2. Su’a Cravens LB/S USC (Willie Henry here if Cravens before, or even Shone Coleman)
    3. Jerald Hawkins RT LSU (or Sean Davis if it goes Bullard/Cravens then Coleman/Henry)

    Not sure what you guys think, but I don’t think a draft pick on a WR/RB would be ideal with any of these picks.

    • Gerry says:

      I like Cravens, a lot. I think he can also play situational CB. Very flexible. Hawkins would be a better pick in round-4. I have Drango in the top 4 picks, but if Craven were there, I would take him. Bullard is most likely off the board by pick #50.

      With Hogan, I think Shepard gives TB new inside and outside the number targets. I like Shepard [for NE] better than the WRs that will be drafted in the first round.

      What is also interesting about this WR daft is the value in the late day-3 players. Daniel Braverman and Nelson Spruce both can play slot in NE’s offense. If he can get out of Navy commitments, Keenan Reynolds is another Danny Woodhead. There are more with value as ST returners. Someone no one is talking about is Robbie Anderson 6-3 187 from Temple [A WR converted from CB]

  15. Gerry says:

    Did you keep your big board to 75?

    I do not think NE’s draft order will go unchanged, but with the trades up to the first two picks I find it harder to see how NE can take advantage of this on draft day. Cleveland has pick 4.01 and 4.02 that I would love NE to trade 2.29 for, but why would Cleveland want a 4th 2nd rounder. LA and Philly both might like that 2.29 pick but would either trade away more of this draft plus a future for a player they covet?

    #61 Sterling Shepard[WR]
    #91 Jordan Howard[RB]
    #96 Spencer Drango[OL]
    196 Keenan Reynolds[Ath]
    204 Marquez North[WR]
    208 Nate Suddfield[QB]
    221 Dominique Robertson[OL]
    243 Kevon Seymour[CB]
    250 Daryl Worley[DB]

    I would love to squeeze in either Cajuste or Duarte too.

    • Gerry says:

      #60 Sheldon Day[DL]

    • steve earle says:

      Love your optimusm that Shepard will be available at 61. Could happen but to be that lucky? Drago will be an OG in the pro’s so can’t see the value this high and Reynolds is a late rd pick too, you seem to be reaching for both guys. Recent reviews, some that can be seen here at this site, indecate both Shepard and OT Spriggs could slide down to us. I have my doubts but I’d really go hyper if Bill took those two at 60 and 61 then took Adolphus Washington with a 3rd where some have him sliding down to. If a CB could be gotten with the other 3rd I’d say we had a good draft all the rest would be gravy.

      • Gerry says:

        I would have a draft-night breakdown if I had to pick between Spriggs and Shepard. Wait! #60 AND #61: Thank god! Shepard should be a day-1 grade, imo, but he is being graded at the end of the second. Yes, Drango is best suited as an OG, but he has backup skills for OT. He may be an adequate RG. I cannot see Spriggs on the board for NE, but if he was you forget about Drango.

        If both Shepard and Spriggs are gone my whole mock gets flipped. I’d move to DL, DE/OLB, and DB. Day, Ridgeway, Calhoun, Ngakoue, Su’a Cravens, and Davis become my focus and I try for a trade back for 2 4th round picks. There are some OL and WR options I like there and Howard may be there at the top of the 4th. [In this scenario you have to covet those two Cleveland 4ths

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I have not counted yet, but I assume I will be closer to 100. I went heavier on a few positions than I probably should have but with bigger needs I wanted more options.

  16. Russell says:

    Thanks Mike for all your hard work and time researching. We have a strong group here, with a ton of insight.
    I finished my final Patriots Mock, at footballnation, which I will list here soon.
    Hard to see the Patriots passing on Sean Davis, BUT a lot of other teams have noticed this guy, smaller program may help the Patriots get him.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Thanks Russell,
      I look forward to reading your mock. There are so many interesting prospects this year. Highly thought of players with injury concerns, some very talented small school guys, and guys like Davis, who may or may not be switching positions.

      • Gerry says:

        This draft has a so-so first round level of talent, but the day-3 pool is as strong as any I have seen.

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