2013 New England Patriots Pre-Combine Mock Draft

Is Johnathan Hankins the next piece added to the rebuilt Pats DL?

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The NFL Draft season moves full steam ahead with the Combine kicking off later this week in Indianapolis. All eyes will be on the top prospects and how they look going through drills. Unlike in past years the Patriots only hold five selections, meaning they have to make them all count. The team is extremely close to being championship caliber and I expect them to be aggressive and active this off-season. Here is a look at how I believe the draft could play out if it were held today.

State of the Franchise – The Patriots are in a strong position prior to the start of free agency. They are in a position to possibly return every single starter from last years team based on who they choose to resign. We have seen the Patriots take a proactive approach already this off-season signing CFL Stars Armond Armstead and Jason Vega. Armstead has the potential to be an impact player and part of their young core of defense. I expect the Patriots to continue being active and aggressive to fill their needs. Their two biggest free agents are Wes Welker and Aqib Talib The status of both players will greatly effect the direction the team goes in the draft. Sebastian Vollmer is another big UFA piece, but I believe he will be back one way or another.

Currently, the biggest needs on the team are Cornerback, Wide Receiver, Pass Rush, Safety and Defensive Tackle. The Pats could also upgrade the RG position, which is their weakest link on the OL. The addition of Armstead fills one of the needs, but they could still opt to address the DT position early in the draft. With the team being so close to a championship, filling theses needs via the draft and free agency are critical.

Patriots Mock Draft

First Round (29)– Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
It’s tough not to give the Patriots a cornerback or wide receiver in this spot of the draft. However, there is much better value at those positions later in the draft if the Patriots can weight. Hankins is a legit first round talent who would give the Patriots another versatile 320+ lbs. DL that excels vs. the run. It’s something the team has been missing. They tried and failed to address the position last off-season and it really hurt them throughout the season. Hankins can play 5-Tech, 3-Tech, 1-Tech and NT. He displays very good agility and quickness for a 320 lineman. He will be able to play next to Wilfork at times forming a massive and athletic run stuffing combination. At other times Hankins can spell Wilfork to keep him fresh during the stretch run. Hankins hasn’t put up exciting pass rush numbers, but displayed enough quickness, hands usage an movement ability to develop more pass rush ability. The Pats did add Armond Armstead out of the CFL, but he is more of a traditional 3-Tech and it will take time to know what they have in him. A team can never have enough versatile and athletic defensive linemen, this adds another building block to a young Patriots defensive corps.

Second Round (59) – Matt Elam, Safety, Florida
After addressing the front seven with the first pick it’s time to start adding talent to the secondary. Elam is a great athlete who plays a physical and aggressive brand of football. He is the type of safety the Patriots have lacked on the back end since Rodney Harrison retired. While Elam is limited in his coverage skills, pairing him with a rangy FS like Devin McCourty will allow him to do what he does best, that is attack. Elam anticipates plays in front of him well and delivers devastating hits. He’s passionate and vocal on the field. It’s critical that the Patriots add speed, physicality and toughness to their defense this off-season and Elam adds a little of all that.

Third Round (91) – Projected Trade
It’s unfathomable to think that Bill Belichick will go some 120 picks without making a selection. This draft has good value in the middle rounds and the Patriots will find a way to pick up extra picks by trading out of day two. In this scenario I have the Patriots trading their 3rd round pick for a 4th and 5th round selection. To balance out their draft and give them more flexibility.

Fourth Round – B.W. Webb, CB William & Mary
The Patriots have had more success picking CBs later in the draft and Webb could be another steal. In the mold of Asante Samuel he is a quick twitch athlete with very good speed and recovery skills. Webb is able to break on routes and make plays on the ball, which the Patriots badly need. More of a zone corner right now, Webb will have to improve his man to man cover skills and his physicality in coverage. But, there is no denying his upside going forward. He’s quick enough to play in the slot or outside and took very well to coaching at the Senior Bowl. He adds special teams value as he is a good punt returner.

Fifth Round– Conner Vernon, WR, Duke
By trading out of the third round the Patriots are able to fill two positions of need. Vernon is one of the most reliable receivers in this years draft. Vernon is a smart player who can adjust his route based on the defense, shows good hands and solid routes. His coach called him the “most fearless WR he has ever coached” for his willingness to go over the middle and lay his body on the line. He’s not a burner, but he comes out of the line quick and showed he can separate out of his breaks. He fits the mold for a Patriots type WR and has the mental capacity to handle all the information that gets thrown at WR in the Patriots passing offense.

Seventh Round (210)– Kapron Lewis-Moore, DL, Notre Dame
With a big gap between picks and not many roster spots available I believe the Patriots try to swing for the fences with their two seventh round selections. Lewis-Moore tore his ACL in the national championship game, which will likely take him out of the mix for next season. If healthy the 6’4″ 306 lbs. DE would be a mid-round selection. He offers the ability to play in different fronts and can offer some sub-package pass rush. The Pats have found good value in the seventh round over the years and this could be another example of that.

Seventh Round (219) – Tourek Williams, DE/OLB, Florida International
Williams is a good developmental pass rush prospect. He has the frame the Patriots look for in an edge rusher and has consistently gotten to the QB over multiple seasons. It remains to be seen if he is a DE or OLB, but he is expected to run very well at the combine which will put him on the radar. At the very least he can provide depth at the position or become a practice squad candidate. There is a real possibility that by the time the draft rolls around he is much higher. At this point of the draft it’s all about best player available and Williams fits the bill.

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20 Responses to “2013 New England Patriots Pre-Combine Mock Draft”

  1. H says:

    with trades
    #34-DeAndre Hopkins/ Jonathan Cyprien
    #59-Cornelius Carradine/ Datone Jones
    #91-Leon McFadden/ David Bakhtiari
    #96-Conner Vernon/ Brian Winters
    #191-Chris Jones/ Armonty Bryant
    #204-Terry Hawthorne/ D.J. Hayden
    #219-Chad Bumphis/Jahleel Addae

  2. Lars says:

    Pretty good mock draft.

  3. Rick says:

    The Patriots do not need to draft a safety. McCourty, Wilson, and Gregory can do the job. They need to resign Talib and pray Dennard is available for the season.
    For the draft the need a tall WR and more pass rushing help. The secondary will be fine as long as the pass rush doesn’t take 5 plus seconds to get to the QB

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      Thats a great point Rick, a better Pass rush sure helps the D-backfield! Armstead should help, Jones has had a year to learn, and maybe we get a drafted guy, Carradine, or ??.

  4. JV says:

    I love the Matt Ellam pick but I doubt he will be there the end of the second. If there ever was a year the Pats NEED to trade down its this year. This draft is deep with D Linemen, WR and Safety all of wich the Pats need. I also believe the Pats could use an upgrade at RG and Center.
    If Dennard goes to jail Pats will need to sign Talib asap.

  5. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Well this is interesting, But I think DT Hankins is gone before #29. I think it depends who the Patriots target, as to how they trade. I think trading the #29 pick makes the most logic, as long as the players BB wants fit late as I believe they do. Tampa want’s a DT and a CB in the 1st round,, so I’m projecting they get the Patriots #29, for their #43 and #109 and #123 (The Pats old choice)

    Then the Patriots draft looks like;

    #43- CB Jordan Poyer- 6’0 190
    #59- WR Markus Wheaton- 6’0 185
    #91- DE Cornellius Carradine- 6’5″ 270
    #109-OT Reid Fragel -6’8″ 298
    #123- LB/S DeVonte Holloman 6’2″ 235+
    7th- SS Cooper Taylor -6’4″ 220
    7th- CB Keith McGill- 6’3″ 208
    I believe all of these players will be on the board, how ever there maybe other suprising players on the board, that may trump any pick. However ,I feel very good about this group, as BB type guys, stong entangables, high IQ’s, solid players, to fit/learn the Patriots system.
    There are three other players I like , that I may trade out by draft day, I will see.

    • patfan says:

      would be a great draft. I just looked up Reid Fragel and think a converted TE like Solder is a good pick up and he can still add to his frame. I like Tank Carradine as well. Good stuff. Send to BB and lets make it happen.

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      I like Carradine as well, 1st round talent, slipping into the 3d round with injury issue which means he may miss pre-season. BB could work him in the line-up if there is an injury, or on sub-packages, by mid-season, adding depth.
      I see OT Fragel as a developing player to play behind Vollmer when he signs. OT Zusevics is developing for the left side.
      If we TAG Talib like I think we will, and cut Arrington, saving that money to justify Talib, DRAFTING a CB early AND another CB late we have developing youth, (at a fair price), if Talib does not work , after this year. Hopefully we can see CB Dowling on the field, as a contributer.
      With my Mock draft Poyer will play the slot, and Talib on the outside. CB McGill developing, as well as Taylor at SS.

    • Stephen S says:

      Russell who would be your alternatives for those picks above

      • Russell Easterbrooks says:

        Well ,my alternates to my above Mock depend’s more about who’s on the draft board, but somthing like;

        #43- OG/C Barrett Jones, if there, 2nd OG/T Brian Winters
        #59- CB Darius Slay
        #91- DT Brandon Williams- scores higher than DT Joe Vellano, 2nd choice.
        #109- WR Aaron Dobson
        #123- CB Demetrius McCray
        7th- S Zeke Motta
        7th- LB Bruce Taylor

        • Russell Easterbrooks says:

          I like WR Conner Vernon, if Dobson is gone. There are several players in the 7th, depends who still there.

  6. yopats says:

    Mike.. great stuff.. was just noticing that at the combine today Florida TE Jordan Reed measured in at 6’2 1/2 236 lbs. 33 inch arms.

    My question is he the big bodied Receiver that we many pats fans have been clamoring for?

    • Jeff M says:

      No, but he’d be great Hernandez Insurance. Gavin Escobar to me is the guy to be Gronks backup since he’s always injured now.

      The big bodied rangy WR we need is Aaron Dobson. 6’3″ 220 lbs. great hands, solid route runner. Physical. Likely runs in the 4.4 40 range. Currently a 3rd round prospect which is where Bill usually looks.

  7. JH TARBORO says:

    What’s the story of S Ray Ray Armstrong he looks great on tape?

  8. Jim says:

    I have to disagree that the Patriots DL has struggled against the run…they were one of the best run defenses in football last year. It’s the other way around, they need a defensive tackle that can provide an interior pass rush. Right now they have two very capable run stuffers behind Wilfork in Love and Deaderick, but they offer next to nothing in the pass-rush department. They need interior pass rushers, like Armstead—more athletic and quick.

  9. Trev says:

    Great Mock. I would also like to see NE trade out of the 1st round, but if Hankins falls to #29, I think you have to take him. That would be a huge gift to land him there. Same can be said with the scenario of getting Elam late in the second round. This would be a dream draft for the Patriots this year, as far as I’m concerned.

    • mjp says:

      With Floyd getting a ton of hype now it seems Hankins may be the 4th DT on the board, if he slides to us it may represent too much talent to pass on. If I remember correctly he was behind only Star Lotulelei not too long ago (I’ve only re-watched a bit of his 2012 season but I do remember shaking my head in approval of his top-15 grade, unique blend of near elite size, good power and surprising foot quickness).

      Matt Elam at 59 or even in a trade up to the 40’s would make me pound beers like Stone Cold Steve Austin, I think he may be in consideration at 29 and could be the target for that patented BB trade back into the early 2nd to acquire more picks.

      If we don’t trade either top two picks I don’t see the late 3rd rounder garnering a 4th and 5th, and I’d rather take someone like Darius Slay who may very well have the ability to play the field CB position.

      I could also see an alteration of this scenario where we take a CB in round-1 or round-2 instead and wait till the next 2 rounds to get a SS and DT. The Safety and DT classes are so deep; Cyprien, Jefferson, Rambo, Reid, both Thomas(s) (though only Shamarco fits at SS) and Swearinger. Short, Williams and the other Williams would be good additions in the 2nd round and a number of those safeties will be available.

  10. JH TARBORO says:

    Pretty good projections but i still think BB trades out of 1st round for multiple mid round picks not just for value but we need players.

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