Patriots 2013 NFL Mock Draft: Wildcard Weekend Edition

Phillip Thomas NFL Draft

This could be the Patriots first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

The Patriots don’t have a playoff game this weekend, due to their win over the Miami Dolphins and the Texans late season collapse.

Here is a Patriots 2013 NFL Mock draft for your perusal during the wildcard playoff weekend.

1st Round:
The Patriots have a long history of accumulating draft picks. They cashed in a lot of those draft picks trading up to draft Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower, along with prying Aqib Talib from the Bucs.

Add the failed acquisitions of Chad Johnson and Albert Haynesworth and you have a team that only has five draft picks in 2013.

Therefore, I’d expect Bill Belichick to explore every opportunity to start stocking up future draft picks. With the safety and wide receiver positions both very deep, New England should be able to find some talent later on in the draft.

Trading what should be a very late first round selection and a 7th round choice for a future 1st rounder and a mid-2nd round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft seems like the move to make.

If the Patriots do make a selection here, I’d expect them to target a defensive lineman.

2nd Round
With the pick that they receive in the trade, the Patriots need to fill an impending hole in their secondary. Pat Chung might be re-signed, but I expect him to at least have the opportunity to test the market in free agency.

Phillip Thomas (FS/SS, Fresno State) is the guy that could have a huge impact for New England. He can play both safety positions and has a knack – like many Patriots – for finding a way to create a turnover when needed.

Thomas has one flaw, his open-field tackling, that needs taken care of. If he can refine his technique, he needs to sink his hips a little more to aid his lateral explosiveness, he could be the best safety in this class. Right now I’d give that honor to either Kenny Vaccaro or Tony Jefferson, both of whom will probably be gone come day two of the 2013 NFL Draft.

If Thomas is off the board here, Florida safety Matt Elam, whose game is a bit like Chung’s, could certainly be a target here as well. Offensive and defensive linemen could also be looked at here.

2nd Round
I’ll have the Patriots trade down again with their own pick in the 2nd round, picking up 3rd and 4th round selections in return.

Having such a gap between scheduled picks (3rd to 7th round) is very “un-Belichickian.” The Patriots seem to have a certain number of players that they like at different spots in the draft. Not having picks available where they see value would be a cardinal sin.

3rd Round
Other than Brandon Lloyd, the Patriots do not have a single receiver under contract, unless you count special teams maven Matthew Slater. I expect the Patriots to try and re-sign Wes Welker, but you never know what can happen. The Patriots could always franchise him again this offseason, but the cap hit is starting to become prohibitive. Julian Edelman would also be an option if the Patriots feel he can stay healthy – he played very well when able to in 2012.

Belichick doesn’t have a great track record selecting wideouts (Chad Jackson, Taylor Price, Bethel Johnson, etc..), but I’m sure that won’t stop him from trusting his organization’s evaluation and trying again.

If his stock hasn’t risen too much after the NFL Combine, Markus Wheaton (WR, Oregon State) would be an ideal pickup for the Patriots as day two of the draft draws to a close.

He reminds me at times of a young Deion Branch with a bit more speed – slick routes, good hands, good body control and the savvy to find the hole in the defense.

We all know how much Tom Brady trusts his buddy Branch – if he could develop some similar chemistry with Wheaton, that would add an additional threat to the already potent Patriots offense.

3rd Round
With guys like Dane Fletcher, Jake Ballard and Ras-I Dowling coming off of IR next year, competition is already going to be stiff for rookies. I’ll have the Patriots trade this pick for a future 2nd-round pick. This would leave the Patriots with two first round and two second round picks again – right where they like to be.

Next year’s draft class is absolutely loaded with impact prospects like Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina), Marqise Lee (WR, USC), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, Washington) and Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville) just to name a few. Continuing to add ammunition for the 2014 NFL Draft is a very good strategy.

If they luck out and get a top three pick via trade, they will be able to trade it for a king’s ransom or add a dynamic athlete. Even if they don’t, they might have enough ammunition to trade up and draft one without mortgaging their future.

4th Round
The Patriots have had luck finding serviceable defensive linemen (Mike Wright, Brandon Deaderick… ) on the third day of the draft and I don’t think this April will be any different. Kapron Lewis-Moore (DL, Notre Dame) is a versatile lineman with a strong motor, good hands and some football smarts that should be available on Saturday.

Lewis-Moore projects as a 3-4 DE that can hold the point of attack and keep linebackers clean. He can shift inside in a 4-3 scheme, able to play either the 1-gap or 2-gap side when the Patriots split the field.

He isn’t going to fill up the stat sheet, but he will be a solid cog in a defense that plays multiple fronts.

7th Round
The Patriots have hit with some seventh round picks as of late, including Julian Edelman, Brandon Deaderick and Alfonzo Dennard. Nik Embernate (OG, San Diego State) is not a household name, but he did get the best of potential first round pick Ezekiel Ansah when they played in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Give offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia some fresh players in the late rounds and from the UDFA ranks each year and see what he can do with them. They all get better and some transform into great contributors.

In this mock draft the Patriots came away with a talented safety, youthful receiver, versatile defensive lineman and a developmental blocker. All while adding two high picks in the 2014 NFL Draft.

What would you do at this point in the draft process?

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13 Responses to “Patriots 2013 NFL Mock Draft: Wildcard Weekend Edition”

  1. dslave says:

    they need a cb more than a ss/fs. I’m of the opinion they like ebner and wilson and having McCourity at fs has , up till now, kind of solidified the safty pos. Arrington and Talib are free agents and Dowling cant be counted on. that leads me to look for the pats to get another cb in the first two rounds.

  2. Liam says:

    Not Projecting trades, but they will certainly happen

    1. Robert Woods WR, USC
    2. Margus Hunt DL, SMU
    3. Robert Lester DB, ‘Bama
    7. Random OL
    7. Random LB

    Team is built to win now. Unless a lot of free agents walk, there won’t be space on the team for more than 4-5 rookies. I love the upside of Woods and Hunt. Sort of players you could build the team around in 3 years time, if they develop.

  3. McTash says:

    As we saw last year the trade down and trade into next year gambit only works when you have partners who are willing to trade with you. I think BB may have svared off all takers unless some of the new GM’s fall in love with this years draft for immedaite needs.

  4. dannyd says:

    Bill’s only got a short time left with Tom, don’t be surprised if Mallet goes for a 1 or 2 and they load up again on defense, safety corner and WR needed.

  5. DanishBacon says:

    Love the trade-down strategy for 2013 so we can get back to the usual flexibility with surplus of picks. To maintain excellence we definitely need it to draft Brady’s heir at some point.
    I see us atleast re-signing Welker, Edelman, Volmer, Woody and Talib(most questionable). So IMO the priority for 2013 will be: Safety, WR, DL, OL.
    Frankly I’d be more than happy if we can just get Vaccaro (love him, can cover tackle and hit) this year and then trade up and get Clowney in 2014. There’s no such thing as a sure thing, and I know Clowney will be VERY difficult to get, but it’s impact guys like him you need to use pick(s) on. Especially when you have a training staff that often seems to find and coach up good fill players in free agency.

  6. Jim Keddy says:

    Trading down to get extra picks has a major drawback. The
    players you end up with are often of lesser quality than the player you passed over.
    Fans were delighted in 2009 when the Patriots maneuvered and
    had 4 second round picks. The picks were Chung, Brace, Butler,
    and Vollmer.

    • Freemanator says:

      I know that is the Clay Matthews draft, but look at how full of busts and nobodies that draft was, and I don’t think it’s enoguh to write off the strategy.

  7. qazmlpgh says:

    I would have liked to see a 4-6 round pick spent on a linebacker who could come in on the sub package and help cover TEs or big WRs.

    One guy who intrigues me is Zaviar Gooden from Mizzou. He’s 6-2, 230 lbs and runs a 4.45. I think he could really help in that area.

    • Bobthebuilder says:

      YESSSSS!!! Mid round cover lb all the way!!!

      • az dude says:

        Would rather see them use Ras-I (I know he is never on the field) or Ebner in this role? Seems like we have people that size on the team that can cover. I think we need to focus on D-line and another corner in the event we dont resign Talib. Definately think McCourty needs to stay at safety.

  8. Bobthebuilder says:

    I think I would rather a corner over a safety because Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory (when healthy) showed ability, and we just spent a second round pick on Tavon Wilson. We need a replacement for Taliban since he sucks, and more depth at CB.

    • Phil says:

      Haha “Taliban.” I think Talib has done a serviceable job in New England. I wouldn’t say he “sucks.” If anything it’s a communication issue with the safety. I probably would rather have a safety, primarily a strong-safety such as Phillip Thomas because McCourty is near-perfect back there.

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