2014 NFL Draft: List-acular Notes from Mike Loyko

The 2014 NFL Draft is nearly upon us.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

Every year prospects are ranked and put into categories based on a variety of traits: talent, style of play, or position. Among the most popular ways to group players are to label them “Busts”, “Overrated” or “Risky”.

Since I often get asked about the prospects I believe are overrated, underrated, or risky, I’ve decided to make one comprehensive post that includes all the lists and rankings relevant to the 2014 NFL Draft, including the players “Most likely to become Patriots”.

Most Overrated Prospects

1. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State – Still a very good CB prospect, but he gives up too much separation and is far from the top ten talent that some are projecting him to be.

2. Ra’Shede Hageman, DL, Minnesota – Everything with him is upside and potential. He has too many flaws in his current game to warrant his middle-late first round status.

3. Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida – Too many mechanical flaws and not enough “wow” film to justify a top ten selection. A project that will struggle if forced to start from day one.

4. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt – Will struggle to separate vs. NFL caliber cornerbacks and lacks a standout skill to make him standout from the pack. Likely never more than an NFL “average” receiver. If he goes in the first round, yikes!

5. Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida – His tape leaves a lot to be desired and his timed measurables are among the worst in the entire draft. Bad tape plus bad workouts equal a bad combination.

6. Dan McCullers, DT, Tennessee – Mike Mayock and others still have this guy ranked in the day two mix. I’ve seen him live and on film and he’s a very underwhelming prospect.

Most Underrated Prospects

1. Lamarcus Joyner, SAF, Florida State – If he were 5’11” or 6’0″ tall he’d be a first round pick. Without a doubt one of the most impactful defenders in the 2014 Draft Class. He’s not the Honey Badger, but he’ll make a ton of plays at the next level.

2. Trai Turner, OG, LSU – Flying under the radar by most because he entered the draft after his Redshirt Sophomore season. Turner is one of the most talented interior linemen with massive long term upside.

3. Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville – Versatile and fluid Linebacker. Can be deployed as a pass rusher, but also has the movement skills to become an impact coverage linebacker.

4. Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina – A “clean” prospect that boasts an impressive draft resume. He’s better than a lot of the Wide Receivers that will go before him. Fully committed to football for only a year, the sky is the limit with the proper development.

5. Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College – He’s been Boston College’s best defender the last two season. He has a nose for the football and is the fastest linebacker in the draft. KPL won’t go very high, but he’s a starting WLB in due time.

6. Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech – Not receiving much hype or buzz, but he had as good of a “post-season” as anyone in the draft. Went to the Shrine Game and to the Senior Bowl, and turned heads at both events.

Most Likely to be Picked Too Early

1. Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh – Appears to be a lock to be picked in the first 40 selections, despite average film and poor decision making. The team that reaches for him better be prepared for the growing pains he will inevitably face.

2. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska – Teams will fall in love with his size-speed measurables, but his production and skill-set doesn’t warrant an early second round pick. He’s bounced around, is overage, and had few games where he makes an impact.

3. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State – Buzz surrounding Robinson is that he could go in the first round. Another WR that lacks a standout skill and a player I believe will have trouble separating from coverage in the NFL.

4. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota – There is talk that he may go in the top 20 picks, which is a hefty price to pay for this player. If you get him in the 2nd round that’s fine, but the top 20 picks is way too rich for my liking.

5. Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina – Despite great production at UNC and good workout numbers, this is someone I believe will have trouble generating pass rush on his own at the NFL level. He’s more of a late 3rd-early 4th round prospect in my mind.

Riskiest Draft Pick

1. Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon – Lyerla has more character red flags than any player in the draft, but he’s also one of the “freakiest” athletes. The team that picks him has to weigh the risks and be prepared if it backfires rather quickly.

2. Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida – The talk around Purifoy is that he’s tough to coach, self-centered, and not the best teammate. Getting arrested for bath salts a month before the NFL Draft only reinforces all the negative things written about him over the last two years.

3. Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami(FL) – On pure talent and natural ability there isn’t a better player in the draft. The problem is Henderson doesn’t care, isn’t dedicated, and has yet to fully embrace his god given talent. He can be as good as he wants to be and so far that has been “mediocre”. Henderson will either be a Pro Bowl player or out of the league in three years.

4. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State – Sutton is coming off a very disappointing Senior Season in which he played overweight, out of shape and lethargic. He lacks prototypical size and has more questions than many teams are willing to deal with.

5. James Wilder Jr., RB, Florida State – Big, physical runner with multiple arrests on his record. Wilder won’t be drafted until late in the draft, but even then there is a lot of risk involved. His off the field decisions are highly questionable and lead to questions about his maturity.

Most Likely to become a Patriot(no particular order)

1. Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame – There is a good probability the Patriots select a Tight End at some point early in the draft and when they do the name most likely to be called is Troy Niklas.

2. Dominique Easley, DT, Florida – All the talk I am hearing leading up to the draft is the Patriots are looking for versatile Defensive Linemen. Easley is the most versatile lineman in the draft and a player projected to go in their general range.

3. Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina – The Patriots have had extended pre-draft contact with the South Carolina product. He graduated in three years, is extremely smart, and has great personal character.

4. Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers – Coleman is really the only Rutgers player worthy of being drafted in 2014. Besides the fact he went to Rutgers he provides a skill-set sorely lacking on the Patriots offense, size on the outside and in the red zone.

5. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State – At some point in the draft the Patriots have to add a pass rusher. There is a significant drop off in pass rushers after the second round, so it benefits them to add one early. Lawrence’s versatility to rush from multiple positions and the fact that he’s just barely scratching the surface make him the best fit.

6. Da’Quan Jones, DT, Penn State – If the Patriots miss out on a Defensive Tackle in the first round, Jones is a solid fall back option. While he lacks the versatility and disruption potential he’s a solid player that can improve the interior run defense.

7. Weston Richburg, OC, Colorado State – Even though Ryan Wendell was resigned his contract is structured so he can be released without any reprocussions. Richburg’s experience, football character, and toughness make him a better fit than other Centers.

8. Vinnie Sunseri, S, Alabama – Coming off an ACL injury, Sunseri is the son of a coach and a futre Special Teams captain in the NFL. He can be a value pick in the later rounds and has the intangibles Bill Belichick looks for in a Safety.

9. Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State – I feel confident the Patriots will add a pass catching RB at some point in the draft. With so many talented runners available in the middle rounds it makes sense to wait until day three to select a Running Back. Grice is one of the best receivers out of the backfield and the price to acquire him will off-set any risk associated with his injury.

10. Wesley Johnson, OL, Vanderbilt – When Bill Belichick comes to you personally to work you out it raises eyebrows. Johnson is tremendously versatile and very smart. His best position is probably Center, but he has vast SEC starting experience at Left Tackle.

11. Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina – The Patriots spent time and effort evaluating all the Quarterbacks this year making it likely they choose one or sign one after the draft. They won’t uses a pick in the first three rounds on a QB unless another “Ryan Mallett Situation” unfolds. Shaw reminds me a little bit of Brian Hoyer coming out of Michigan State and can provide a viable back-up to Tom Brady. It’s too early to start planning for Brady’s successor and using a high draft pick on a QB who will sit behind Brady is unwise in my opinion.

Most Likely to be “Traded Up For”

1. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina – By far the best player at a position many teams can use help at. Ebron’s rare athleticism and receiver like skills make him a fit for all 32 NFL teams. One team is likely willing to pay the price to go up and get him.

2. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, SAF, Alabama – Clinton-Dix is a fit for just about every single team between picks 10 and 20. With the Safety position becoming more valuable HHCD is likely to have teams jockeying for position in the middle of the draft.

3. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – Evans and Sammy Watkins have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the Wide Receiver pack. Sammy Watkins is out of reach for most NFL teams, which means a handful of teams will be scrambling to ensure they get a legitimate #1 WR out of this draft.

4. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State – Assuming Manziel and Bortles are gone by the mid 20’s Quarterback needy teams sitting at the top of the 2nd Round will be working trades at the end of Day One to secure Carr’s services.

5. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh – Donald possesses a rare skillset and has upwards of 20 teams interested in his services. He’s worked his way to the top of the draft and we could see a team leapfrog into the top ten to get their hands on Donald.

Most Likely to pull a Da’Rick Rogers (Player that slips further than anyone expects)

1. Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee – Richardson gained more exposure at Tennessee than his bookend tandem Ja’Waun James. On draft day things will be reversed. James could potentially go in Round One (2nd Round at the latest), while Richardson could tumble all the way into the 4th-5th Rounds.

2. Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford – Skov tried his hardest to get through the draft process without running a 40 yard dash. That dream came to an end this week and it was rumored he “struggled to run under 5.2”. If that is true Skov will plummet deep into the third day and could even go undrafted.

3. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Once thought of as a 2nd-3rd Round selection, Boyd will have to wait a long time on draft day. I don’t foresee a scenario where he’s selected before the 6th Round, which is his best case scenario.

4. Yawin Smallwood, LB, UConn – Smallwood ran slow and suffered an injury during the combine. There isn’t much precedent for Linebackers that run 5.00 or over. Smallwood could drop into the middle-late parts of day three.

5. Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina- Hampton has a laundry list of off-field problems including a NYC Nightclub incident in April. On top of that he’s slow and undersized. It still boggles my mind how he’s mentioned inside some “experts” top 100 prospects, he’ll drop like a anchor on draft day.

Top Sleepers

1. Marquis Flowers, LB, Arizona – Converted Safety that brought his game to another level at Outside Linebacker. Combine snub that can flat out fly (4.50) and cover ground. Profiles as a sub-package linebacker that can match up with Running Backs and Tight Ends in man coverage.

2. Khyri Thornton, DT, Southern Mississippi – Thornton had to endure some brutal seasons at Southern Miss. Despite the struggles he played hard and found a way to impact games. Even if he doesn’t go before the late rounds he’ll make his presence felt. Thornton can disrupt the run game and get into the backfield to make plays.

3. Ben Gardner, DL, Stanford – I’ve long been a fan of the Stanford Defensive Lineman. He can play defensive end or slide inside to rush. He’s not very fast, but he’ll beat you with effort and strength. Gardner has great football instincts and acted as another coach when he went down for the season with pectoral injury.

4. Laurant Duvernay-Tardiff, OL, McGill – The Canadian medical student is going to surprise people at the next level. He’s strong as an ox and absolutely devastated players up in Canada. One of the smartest players in the draft, he’s transformed himself into an NFL talent while getting ready for medical school and working in a number of community outreach projects.

5. Kendall James, CB, Maine – Undersized and fast corner prospect. James is one of the few “quick-twitch” defensive backs that can be found later in the draft. He’s a project, but has the raw athelticism to develop into a quality NFL cover corner.

Best “Football Players” (Players who Excel regardless of size or measurables)

1. Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin – Smart, instinctive, and active linebacker. If he’s 6’2″ we’re talking about a top 20 NFL Draft selection. Depsite his size, Borland is likely to go in the 2nd Round and will have a long, impactful NFL career. He’s a thrownback player that understands how to play the game and impact all phases.

2. Lamarcus Joyner, SAF, Florida State – Joyner can play multiple positions in the secondary and despite being only 5’8″ tall he’s been one of the most important defenders on a top tier FBS defense. If he’s 6’1″/210, he’s the best Safety prospect in this draft class and would have probably come out after his Junior Season.

3. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU – Verrett has very few flaws in his game. One of the best cover corners in the draft. He’s feisty, aggressive, and can play multiple coverages. He isn’t limited by his lack of height, he maximizes it. Verrett can play for my football team any day.

4. Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State – Smith weighed 218 pounds at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. He’s since bulked up to 224 pounds and will continue to put on more weight. His lack of bulk concerns NFL teams, but there is no denying his playmaking ability on defense. At worse he will be a long time Special Teams standout in the NFL.

5. Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest – Campanaro finds a way to continue making plays despite lacking height and length. He understands how to run routes, read coverages, and exploit seams as a returner. Campanaro will make an impact in the NFL as a slot receiver.

Most Likely UDFA to Make a 53 Man Roster

1. Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland – McDougle missed most of his Senior season with a shoulder injury. The third day of the draft is loaded with corner prospects and McDougle could go undrafted. Either way he has the talent to make an NFL roster and provide depth in the secondary.

2. Derrell Johnson, OLB, East Carolina – There is a chance Johnson sneaks into the end of the draft and even if he doesn’t he’ll be playing on Sunday. He’s a strong, powerful pass rusher that can control the edge and put pressure on edge blockers. He has enough bend to win with speed, but makes his money through his power.

3. Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma – Williams has his share of off-field issues including getting kicked off the Oklahoma football team as a Senior. Despite that Williams has the size and speed to win an NFL roster spot in camp. Every year a few Running Backs emerge from the undrafted ranks to make an impact in the NFL, Williams is a candidate this year.

4. Donald Hawkins, OT, Texas – Hawkins was a two year starter at Left Tackle for the Longhorns. He really struggled as a Junior, but made great strides with his lower half technique and consistency as a Senior. NFL teams like this developmental Tackle prospect and he has a chance to stick.

5. Rajion Neal, RB, Tennessee – Neal has a well-rounded skill-set that translates to the next level. He can catch the ball, has good speed, and has the size NFL teams covet. Despite being snubbed for the NFL combine, he’ll have a longer career than most RB picked before him.


67 Responses to “2014 NFL Draft: List-acular Notes from Mike Loyko”

  1. J H TARBORO says:

    I agree we should trade the 1st pick, but i think we should wait late into the 1st round because of the sense of urgency among the teams in front of us, there will be many trades and some stupidity and a gem might just fall to us.

    • steve earle says:

      I agree JH and expect that will be how Bill will handle the question. I’d be surprised if one of the prospects which meet both value and need meet at #29 but it could happen.

  2. steve earle says:

    Very good breakdown Mike, greatly appreciated.

  3. Dylan.C says:

    Pats trade their 1st and 7th round picks for Jacksonville’s 2nd and 3rd and 5th round picks. Because the draft is loaded in the middle rounds I think this may be more realistic than the compensation some people are predicting. They may not even get a 5th round pick and receive the 2nd and 3rd strait up for the 1st. I also think it is a very real possibility that the pats end up unsatisfied with the offers teams make to trade up and stay put.

    2A. Stephon Tuitt DE/DT
    2B. Deone Bucannon SS
    3A. Christian Jones LB
    3B. DaQuann Jones DT
    4A. Travis Swanson C
    4B. CJ. Fiedorowicz TE
    5. Kevin Pierre-Louis LB
    6. Tyler Gaffney RB

    I think Troy Niklas and ASJ are both gone before the Pats original second round pick so if they want to pick one of them up they will need to do it with the Jacksonville pick or maybe even in the first round. Apparently ASJ ran a 4.5 at private work outs now that his foot is healthy, which is very impressive IMO and could warrant an early second round look.

    • steve earle says:

      Nice mock, really like this almost as much as my own and better than all the others.

    • RMillette says:

      Don’t think C.J will last till that pick in the draft and I think it leaves us weak on TE overall. Other than that, a very solid series of picks.

    • acm says:

      not bad position and player-wise but D. Jones and CJF are not realistic picks where you have them. At the same time you may be reaching a bit on LB C. Jones – he’s a talented athlete but his football make-up is questionable. Would be surprised if he’s high on the Pats board.

      • Dylan.C says:

        Yea it is definitely wishful thinking hoping that CJF falls that far. As for Daquan Jones, I have seen him mocked in the 3rd and 4th allot, with a few in the late 2nd. Where do you see the two of them landing?

        With Christian Jones, I really like his versatility. His natural position is probably strong or weak side linebacker in a 4-3, but he played allot of DE last year because the Seminoles lost allot of depth to the draft the previous year. He also has good size and speed, definitely an athletic freak. Kind of reminds me of Collins a bit, plus he played on a national championship team that faced stiff competition. Would make for solid depth behind the starting 3 and could rotate in.

        I suppose if I took Jones out of his spot I could push everyone else up and replace him with Jordan Tripp a few picks later. Tripp has been rising pretty fast though so who knows how late he will be around.

        2A. Stephon Tuitt DE/DT
        2B. Deone Bucannon SS
        3A. DaQuann Jones DT
        3B. CJ. Fiedorowicz TE
        4A. Travis Swanson C
        4B. Jordan Tripp LB
        5. Kevin Pierre-Louis LB
        6. Tyler Gaffney RB

      • Dylan.C says:

        Could also throw Christian Kirksey in the mix as well in that range

      • steve earle says:

        WE agree again. Perhaps if he flipped the Jones boys around it would approach a more expected outcome. As for CJF can’t see him getting out of the 3rd at lowest.

  4. J H TARBORO says:

    RB Tyler Gaffney Stanford
    RB Andre Williams BC
    RB Dri Archer Kent St.
    RB Lache Seastrunk. Baylor
    TE Jordan Najvar. Baylor
    WR Devin Street Pitt.
    WR Martavis Bryant. Clemson
    WR Robert Herron Wyoming
    WR Devante Adams. Fresno St.
    LB Chris Borland Wisconsin
    LB Max Bullough Mich St.
    DE Josh Mauro Stanford
    DT Caraun Reid Princeton
    DT Zach Kerr. Delaware
    CB Stanley Jean Baptiste. Nebraska
    CB EJ Gaines. Mizzou’s
    S Ahmad Dixson Mich St.
    CB Phillip Gaines Rice
    WR Jeff Janis Saginaw Valley
    T Jack Mewhort. Ohio St.
    SS Dezmen Southward Wisconsin
    DE Larry Webster Bloomburg

  5. Dylan.C says:

    What do people think of Kyle Van Noy?

    • acm says:

      very good player and a BB type of pick, imo. My problem with him is that he’d be best suited (even his position coach at BYU said so) at 4-3 OLB and spending a high 2nd round pick may be a bit too rich for that position. He’s unlikely to make his living as a pass-rushing OLB in the NFL – situational, yes, but not full time.
      I think the Pats have a bigger need for an OLB who can stay full time on the line and harass the QBs before anything else. While dropping deep should be the complementary role for that player. With van Noy it’s kind of the opposite.

      • John says:

        I think for Lb depth is probably the most important thing to add in this draft. Because if the patriots add high quality LBs then they can experiment with using Collins or Hightower as situational DEs , since both can rush the passer. That’s why I think they grab van noy or Jeremiah atatucho in the 2nd and then grab smith or kirskey in the 4th to be more of that coverage LB

        • acm says:

          I can agree that LB depth needs attention but not that it’s the most important need. Also, this draft isn’t very rich in 4-3 OLB/MLB that can be immediate contributors outsied of the 1st round. My thinking is they take two LBs but one in the late 3rd/4th round range and one late in the draft.

          My point was that I was differentiating between a player like Attaochu and a player like van Noy. Attaochu would likely be asked initially to rush the passer i.e. be on the line OLB; increasing his role in dropping back in coverage would come in later (as in later seasons) as he’s still developing his instincts for that, while has the strength and size to immediately be a speed-rusher of a DE. Similarly with D. Lawrence. These two I wouldn’t mind seeing taken early as they would fill a need at DE first, while explore their potnetial for positional versatility later on. And DE I put as a higher priority than depth LB.

          Van Noy, otoh, projects more as an immediate contributor as an off-the-line LB, someone who’d play more coverage than rush the QB. My doubt is as to whether the Pats would be looking for such a player that early in the draft. Sure they can fill a need with van Noy in the 2nd (more early than late) but I believe there are more pressing ones to deal with so early in the draft and LB depth can wait.

  6. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriot Predictions

    1 Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech
    2 Trade for 3 and 4th 4ound selections.
    3 DaQuan Jones NT Penn State
    3 Ahmad Dixon S Baylor
    4 Arthur Lynch TE Georgia
    4 Andre Williams RB Boston College
    4 Chris Smith DE Arkansas
    6 Charles Leno OT Boise State
    6 Chris Watt G Notre Dame
    7 Matt Paradis C Boise State

    Michael Dyer RB Louisville
    Devon Kennard OLB USC
    Brandon Dixon CB Northwest Missouri St.

  7. RMillette says:

    Patriots trade back, getting out of the first for a mid round 2nd 3rd and a 6th.

    2nd Jeremiah Attaochu

    2nd Troy Niklas

    3rd DaQuan Jones

    3rd Dri Archer

    4th Brandon Thomas

    4th Christian Kirksey

    6th Trey Burton

    6th Kevin Pierre-Louis

    6th Matt Patchan

    7th Trey Millard

    • Dylan.C says:

      This would be a pretty solid haul. I can definitely in-vision Pier-Louis in a Pats uniform. Really smart, could be a special teams contributor from day 1, and could develop into a SLB or WLB in a 4-3. He looks like he can cover RBs and TEs in space well.

    • JB says:

      Nice mock. I like Attaohcu but I think mid-second is high for a one dimensional pass rush project. If you’re scenario played out I’d rather the pats take Kyle Van Noy with the acquired second rounder provided he were available. In other news, I saw a bald eagle chowing down on some road kill yesterday and KeeKawed at him as a gesture of solidarity and support.

      • RMillette says:

        I don’t see Attaochu as a 1 dimensional player at all. Not only has he played both inside and outside LB, he also played as a DE. While I don’t think he would see any playing time and MLB in the NFL, he still has the kind of positional versatility that BB looks for and his main role to start with would be as part of the rotation to let Jones and Nink sit for a bit. I see DaQuan being able to do some of this as well.

        Also, looking at the draft profiles for Attaochu, all ofthem mention his pass coverage ability to some extent. His patience in dropping back, His pass break ups and interceptions, even his footwork and ability to recognize screen plays. That doesn’t scream 1 dimensional to me.

        • Tim D says:

          Based on all the games I have watched of Attaochu, he is pretty one dimensional at this point. Playing a rush olb in a 3-4 or putting his hand in the dirt as 4-3 de doesn’t make him versatile. He was still edge rushing or stunting into the middle on almost every play. The plays I did see him drop into coverage he played a soft zone and was relatively untested. He did recognize run pretty quickly when spread out though. As for playing middle linebacker I didn’t see any of that so I can’t speak to that, but I will say just because a player has played a position doesn’t mean he did it well or could do it well in the NFL. To me he seems like a rush 3-4 olb or a rush linebacker in sub packages.

          More importantly I think people are confusing a need for depth at linebacker for a need for a starting impact linebacker. Mayo, Hightower and Collins are your starting linebackers. Mayo and Collins in sub-packages. Adding a linebacker for depth shouldn’t be addressed in the 2nd round, never mind with their first pick. The pats would be better off drafting a 4-3 de or versatile DT that can get after the QB. Nink could stay in the rotation at DE in base defenses, but play off the line in sub packages instead of hightower. Whether that athletic player is Hageman, Tuitt, Easley or someonse else I don’t know, but using their first pick on a lb without mayo, hightower or collins heading into FA next year (the collins pick last year isnt a comparison to this one this year) would not be the best use of the pick.

          With the pats current needs, your kirksey and pierre-louis picks make more sense. In your scenario I would draft a safer interior OL with that 2nd rd pick that could potentially have an impact this season. Thomas will miss the 2014 season and patchan has missed more full seasons than he has played so he is far from a sure thing to stay healthy for this season. Personally, I like Swanson.

        • RMillette says:

          So I’m a little confused, you want to draft a 4-3 DE who can get after the QB with the 2nd rounder, do you not consider Attaochu a 4-3 DE? Cause thats primarily where I see him getting his playing time, in the rotation as a back up to Nink and Jones as well as being able to back up Collins in the OLB slot if needed. That sounds to me to be exactly what you are looking for.

        • Tim D says:

          The guys i mentioned are more 3tech DTs with the ability to play anywhere on the defensive line and get pressure on the qb while still playing the run fairly well. These guys can play in any base defense and serve as one of the dts in a nickel situation. Attaochu is a 3-4 outside linebacker in the nfl and basically served as one in college. He is not remotely close to what BB looks for in a defensive end. Ninkovich is an exception. He is filling a need right now because he is a smart, dependable veteran who can read blocks and to use a cliche, “has a nose for the ball.” He is not the type of player BB would draft to play DE for him. If the pats are high on a true 4-3 DE then yes I would be for them drafting one there, but Attaochu isnt the guy.

    • AM says:

      Nice selection, especially the first four picks.

    • acm says:

      a special team’s wild card player like Archer w/o a real starting position at the NFL in the 3rd? You lost me right there 😉
      BB would probably rather shot himself before making that pick 🙂

      • RMillette says:

        unsurprisingly, I disagree, I think a player like Archer fills many a need on this offense and on special teams. First off, he is a very legitimate kick and punt returner. Improves the kick and is insurance in case Edelman gets hurt, if not taking over for him entirely. Edelman is good but he isn’t nearly as fast. I’d like to see what Archer can do.

        Second, I see Archer as a much faster Danny Woodhead, a player we sorely missed last year. Archer is the same height as Woodhead and while roughly 30 lbs lighter, I think Archer can add on a little weight with some NFL level work and fill that role nicely. Plus he can move out to the slot and you know that speed will cause hell with LB’s or Safeties trying to cover him.

        • acm says:

          Archer is not polished enough to be a WR at the NFL, let alone the Pats O, and won’t be so for a while. It wasn’t by chance he participated as a RB at the combine, where his “WR skills” would be seen as a plus from the persepctive of the RB position but would have come out as “developmental project” for a WR. to expect he can be in any way a factor if JE goes down is wishy-washy feeling, no offense.

          As a RB, he doesn’t have the size/bulk to be a versatile RB and go between the tackles or block, which makes him as good as useless as a player as his presence would telegraf the play from a mile. Not to mention he is unlikely to survive for long the level of contact at the next level, which would be a HUGE jump in competition for a player coming out of Kent State.
          He also doesn’t have a refined play at RB; that may have been masked at the college level but will be exposed at the NFL.

          Archer has little to do with Woodhead. First off, DA had the bulk to play at RB and Archer would need 2 years or so to get to an acceptable size for the position (hence why he is a project and not an immediate contributor at RB). Also, Woodhead has a different build that brought his center of gravity low to the ground and made him more ellusive in short areas. Archer is aplayer built in height, so to speak i.e. he is top heavy, with high center of gravity and not as twitchy and ellusive in tight spaces as Woodhead. Archer is a more straight-line player who needs an open field before him to make his play.
          Btw, I am not sure comparing Archer to an undrafted guy is a good way to support your decision to take him in the 3rd round.

          All in all, Archer is a player who’s best hope of sticking to a roster is special teams and a developmental project in search of another role on the team … but in time, not next season and unlikely to be in 2015 either. A project is a project, in the end of the day, and can’t rationalize reaching for one just because two others (Edelman and Woodhead panned out). That’s the thing with projects – have to give them time to see how they stick on the roster, if at all, and can’t afford to do so at a high price.

          You simply don’t spend a 3rd round pick on a player like that, no matter how fast he may be – plenty of fast and even faster players have fallen late or gone undrafted in previous years due to not bringing much more than speed to the table. Archer is no different – he may be worth taking on a s a project in say the 6th but not earlier than that.

        • RMillette says:

          We appear to be having a bit of a communications issue here Acm, I did not mean to say that Archer could replace JE in the event he went down at WR, that was exclusively as a punt returner. It took JE some time to come from Kent State and learn the position and no doubt it would take Archer time to come from Kent State and do the same. Nothing wishy-washy about it. You simply misunderstood what I was trying to say.

          My bigger point on Woodhead was more about his role on the team, which I still think Archer can fill as a receiving back out of the backfield who can motion outside. I can agree that Archer has a different build than Woodhead, a better comparison as a player, atleast according to CBS, would be Dexter McCluster, who by the way was drafted in the 2nd. Archer is projected to be drafted in the late 3rd early 4th by the projections I see, I think that makes a pretty compelling case to draft a person who has several skill sets that Patriots look for right where I have him especially when the major need for him won’t be until next year.

        • acm says:

          My bad there on the JE part, must have misread your previous post for some reason.

          But the point(s) on Archer still remain. Here is my projection on Archer – he doesn’t get drafted earlier than the 5th round and in Patriots lingo that means not before the 6th. If a team were to take Archer any earlier than the 5th, it will be one of the following 4 teams – Raiders, Jags, Browns, Redskins.
          Let’s see who’s right on this, CBS or yours truly here. 😉

    • John says:

      I like Daquan jones and the Jeremiah Atatucho pick I think he can develop into a versatile lineman also wouldn’t mind the patriots choosing van noy instead. I would rather the patriots draft Weston Richburg instead of Niklas then taking cj fiedorwicz in the late third instead of archer. I really like Thomas, kirskey and Kevin Pierre Louis. Pretty solid mock draft

    • steve earle says:

      I’m honestly not sold on Archer this high. Small fast RB’s tend to be returners and seldom see action to much extent otherwise. That may be because the smaller they are the greater the injury risk and Archer is among the smallest.

  8. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriot Predictions

    1 Trade for 2,3 and 5th round picks.
    2 Jeremy Hill RB LSU
    2 Cameron Fleming OT Stanford
    3 Jeremiah Attaochu OLB Georgia Tech
    3 Wesley Johnson C Vanderbilt
    4 Crocket Gilmore TE Colorado St.
    4 Caraun Reid NT Princeton
    5 Khyrie Thornton DT Southern Mississippi
    6 Xavier Gimble TE USC
    6 L’Damian Washington WR Missouri
    7 Alden Darby SS Arizona St.

    • AM says:

      I wouldn’t touch Hill based on character concerns, and I think we have bigger needs than RB, but a good draft otherwise. I love Caraun Reid–I think he’d be a perfect Patriot.

      • steve earle says:

        I agree about Hill having the red flags. Have to wonder why so many fans want to risk taking guys with serious injury history or character flaws so early. Let them fall then if still there in low rounds take a chance but never up high. jmo.

  9. Stephen J says:

    What’s the over under on Mike’s Most likely to become a Patriot I’m thinking 2 possibly 3 but will stick with 2

    • AM says:

      I’d go under. I like Weston Richburg’s chances, and perhaps DaQuan Jones, but I wouldn’t count on more than one of them.

      • John says:

        I wouldn’t rule out the patriots adding Demarcus Lawrence also but I agree that out of the potential patriots Richburg and jones are probably the most likely candidates.

  10. Bill Vermont says:

    excellent job on the list of lists. Especially the sleepers, because they really were, and the most likely to be patriots list. Well done.

  11. Matt says:

    I hope the Pats draft Nix. I like him a lot better then Easley or Hageman. I have watched him play when he was at ND and hes a very good DT.

    • Fred says:

      Hell no. too many Vince comparisons that aren’t deserved. Overweight, gets washed out of plays and doesn’t make an impact for a guy his size should. I agree with Loyko and take Jones

      • Matt says:

        You agree with Loyko about Nix. Loyko also thinks the Pats should draft Easley. A guy that tore two ACL’s and has off the field problems. I don’t put much faith into what Loyko thinks.

        • steve earle says:

          Right, sometimes even “experts” fall in love with the idea of one player or another. Easley will always be one snap away from a career ending knee injury imo.

    • bmp1113 says:

      In my opinion, Jones would be a much better value and has less downside.

  12. Tim D says:

    Connor Shaw could fall under the best football player list too. He’s a prospect I’m rooting for at the next level. Uses his legs effectively, but got him in trouble with injuries the last couple seasons. He is one of those guys that just makes plays. Shared time last year, but when it was winning time Spurrier knew who to give the ball to.

    Where do you see Ellington and Coleman going in the draft? 3rd-4th round? If so that warrants a roster spot for this year anyway. If the patriots are going to carry Amendola, Edelman, LaFell, Slater and Dobson at WR on a weekly basis that leaves any WR’s drafted to compete with Boyce and Thompkins. Do you see the Pats cutting Boyce or Thompkins for one of these guys or just using the IR designation to make room for all these WR’s?

    • Mike Loyko says:

      There definitely could have been crossover with Shaw and other prospects. But, I tried to keep it to just 5-6 per category

  13. Jenks says:

    There is so much rubbish out there on the various sites – but this was an outstanding article. Thank you Mike!

  14. trent says:

    Mike, thanks for these lists, really great to hear these thoughts from you. I did not have marquis flowers high on my radar, now I’ll take a closer look. Ben Gardner is one of the less common players from these lists that I am high on and could see NE taking, especially since DE options are not that great in the first couple of rounds…

    I am also really curious about Lamarcus Joyner. I am crossing my fingers that he somehow falls. For some reason the league just lets these solid undersized nickel guys fall each year even though the talent is obvious (see: brandon boykin and nikell robey).

    Lastly, my contribution to the underrated/sleeper category is Zach Kerr DT Delaware. I prefer him to Justin Ellis, still a fan of Ellis too though. Thanks again

  15. Russell says:

    I agree with acm, CB EJ Gaines, is very underrated. I also like LB Jordon Tripp who had a staggering 3.96 shuttle time at the Combine, as well as a good 6.89 3 cone drill. Played for a small school, but looks like a solid prospect. Telvin Smith is hard NOT to notice on tape, could be a LB/S project. WR Ellington looks like an Edelman type player, and a good prospect late. I also like WR Kevin Norwood, late.
    I disagree with Mike about the QB however, I think its time to hand pick Tom’s replacement, and let him learn under Tom for 3 years. I’m projecting Patriots pick A.J.McCarron early, maybe at #29.
    At TE I like Arthur Lynch, 3d round, and RB Tyler Gaffney 4th round.

    • trent says:

      I’m a fan of a lot of the guys you mentioned Russell–Tripp and Gaffney, and especially Arthur Lynch. I prefer Lynch over CJF, and I think we should target him if we don’t get one of the top 4 TE’s.

      Not a fan of aj mccarron, my guy would be aaron murray later. Or trade for mike glennon.

    • acm says:

      good point on Gaffney and Lynch there. Not sure Tripp fits the bill for the sleeper list though as his stock has been going higher and higher since the combine, where he stole the show. He’s being projected to not fall out of the 3rd round and one of the more popular picks in the 3rd in the mocks on nfl.com. all in all, plenty of noise around him these days.

      as for the QB, I have to agree with Mike on this one – too early to think of spending early picks on QBs at the expense of improving the team around Brady. Unless of course we are talking another Andrew Luck falling there but AJM is no Luck. MCCarron is a good prospect but nothing special imo certainly not deserving of a 1st round pick. Would he be a good fit in the Pats system? Sure but so would a lot of other late rounders and with AJM the value just isn’t there.

      I’d keep my eye on that Mike Glennon kid the Buccs drafted last year in the 3rd. With the new management and coaching staff, he may well get expandable. And Schiano was the one who drafted him, so there is that connection there. Maybe the Pats could trade for Glennon, if the price is right. He has a lot in common with Mallett and they obviously like him enough.

      • Tim D says:

        I’m also interested to see what happens with Glennon. With all the personal relationships between the Pats and Bucs (Schianno, Bucs GM Jason Licht worked for a couple stints in NE under BB) and BB’s history of doing business within his preferred circle, the framework for a deal is there. Of course dependent on what value the pats place on Glennon.

    • steve earle says:

      You seem to have fallen in love with McCarron, Russell. No way he goes in the 1st rd. And I seriously doubt even in the 2nd. Maybe everyone else is wrong but I know of no one looking for him before the bottom of the 2nd. Even if he is what you believe he is taking him higher then an early third would be an unnecessary reach imo.

      • Russell says:

        I think QB McCarron will suprise many, if Patriots don’t take him at #29, Houston at #33 or Tenn. will take him at #42.

        • steve earle says:

          QB is most difficult position for me to eval and you may be right, I just don’t see it. Besides taking any QB in this draft with #29 precludes filling at least two other positions of need this year. Yes I’m looking at the present more then the future but as someone once said “the future is now.”

  16. acm says:

    Good idea and a nice list, Mr Loyko.

    On OL Wesley Johnson (Vandi) – BB was already in Nashville anyway for a half-marathon and he pulled double duty to work out Vandi prospects in the meantime. And it wasn’t just Johnson he worked out – several other prospects like SS Ladler, WR Matthews, CB Hal were reportedly also looked at. Point is, BB didn’t go to Nashville specifically to take a close, personal look at OL Johnson.
    As for him as a player, I agree he’s a very interesting prospect – likely to be a candidate for the 7th round pick or priority UDFA and be placed on the OL farm. I don’t think he’d fit at C though – too tall for that and leverage gets compromised on the interior of the OL at a height of 6’5″+, like his. And he lacks the necessary bulk for an interio OL-man – be it OC or OG. Best guess is, he is an OT project and needs to bulk-up even for that role (being less than 300 and all)

    On Marion Grice – I think he may be too one-dimensional of a RB at the NFL level to stick on the Pats roster. Agree they need another RB to help out Vereen but Grice lacks the bulk and size for the between the Ts role. I’d think they’d be looking for a RB late who can bring versatility as both a power and change of pace RB, which would go a long way to keep that player on the roster.

    Quite like Marquis Flowers as a late-round alternative to FSU’s Telvin Smith. He has background at SS, so has the instincts in coverage and can bring that Kam Chancellor/Adrian Wilson type player to the Pats – big SS and hybrid/cover LB in one.

    On the sleepers list, I’d say CB EJ Gaines belongs near the top, imo at least. A hip injury, iirc, prevented him from participating at the combine and do his best at the pro-day, so he seems destined to slip quite a bit in the draft. Personally, I think he is will make one hell of a player at the NFL (compares nicely to Alteraun Verner).
    Could be a player the Pats may look at for value in the draft at the CB position.

  17. Trev says:

    Great stuff Mike. I just hope you are wrong about Dominique Easley. I don’t want his two rebuilt knees anywhere near NE .

  18. Trevor says:

    I loved this article, Mike. Thanks for making one of these type of lists.

    Colt Lyerla is like, 85% of what Hernandez is as an athlete. Hernandez quicker and uber strong but Colt is a very similar freak athlete to what Hernandez is (was).

    Honestly, I hope the he isn’t off the Patriots board. I think a 5th, 6th, or 7th would be worth spending on him. I don’t think BB, Casserio, Kraft would completely remove a player with concerns like that of Colt just because of Hernandez. Hernandez was worst case scenario to a tee. Anyway, I don’t expect the Pats to take him but if he is there in the 6th-7th round I think they should strongly consider it.

    Same goes for Crowell but perhaps in the 3rd-5th rounds. His off the field stuff is behind him it seems like.

    • Matt says:

      There’s probably a 100 percent chance he’s off the Pats board based on his statements claiming Sandy Hook was a conspiracy. Not a good look for a New England based sports team.

      • acm says:

        exactly. for the Pats that would be a bigger rad flag on him than any of his other off-field BS. Without this, he’d have been worth taking a risk on in the 6th/7th round range, imo.
        Best guess is, Pats are at the top of the list of teams that have taken Lyerla completely off their board.

      • Trevor says:

        I would say 99% because you NEVER KNOW what Belichick is doing.

        But they do operate with a much smaller board (rumored to be as few as 50-100 prospects) and it is quite possible Colt did not make the cut.

    • steve earle says:

      Agree Lyerla is a red flag with fireworks and I had resisted putting him on any of my mocks before this last one, which I also included AC Leonard, another flagged player but I decided we were talking about a low 6th and low 7th so I decided, what the heck? I just couldn’t come up with two other players at those picks that offered the upsides they do, not even close. If we got even 2 years out of one of them we would be way ahead I figured. Besides let them think the world is flat, ancient aliens built the pyramids, or Sandy Hook was a conspiracy.

  19. Edwin says:

    Is Jeff Matthews considered QB value pick in the late rounds or free agent & being overlooked? Are teams just not considering him based on low level of competition?

  20. Ron says:

    Decent job, with two mistakes. Bortles has a legit shot. Let him develop. If you don’t like New Orleans Saint WR then I guess you won’t like Jordan Matthews. That’s a huge mistake. Matthews did everything at non-pass type school Vanderbilt, excelling vs. the SEC pass defenses.

    I’m at ron@ronacesports on twitter, plus some of my articles appear at real gm.

    Here is my New England Patriot team report link,


  21. jim r says:

    Mike,real good stuff, lot of info to digest. Thanks

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