2014 NFL Draft: Potential Day Three Patriots

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

For most fans, day three of the NFL Draft doesn’t offer nearly the same excitement as the previous two. Most of the sexy names are off the board, and it can almost seem as if teams are just cashing in their chips to get home early. But the later rounds are when organizations try to find hidden gems. The Patriots have had more success on day three than a lot of teams, and most of that can be contributed to their front office leaving no stone unturned.

The following are players New England has most likely done their due diligence on already, and would make since after round three.


Trey Burton TE/WR/H-Back, University of Florida: Burton is the classic example of a jack of all trades master of none. What would make him a valuable player to a team like the Patriots, is his versatility. Recruited as a quarterback out of Venice, FL, Trey was often compared to Tim Tebow. Like Tebow, Burton is a physically gifted athlete with a skill set few players possess at the college level. However, his deficiencies at quarterback kept him from taking the reins of the position full time. He was used quite a bit throughout his Gator career at various positions, including QB/TE/H-Back and most recently WR.

Burton has the ability to be a poor man’s Aaron Hernandez. Like Hernandez, Burton presents tremendous flexibility at the line of scrimmage. He can be moved almost anywhere on the field, giving Josh McDaniels plenty of options.  Considering Burton will most likely be available between rounds 6-UFA, he would be a great value pick up for New England.

Burton has excellent hands for a player that has been asked to do so much outside of just playing  wide out, and can run more than adequate routes. At 6’2” 224lbs he has decent size to be an H-Back option out of the backfield, and viable threat taking occasional hand offs from Brady. There’s also the obvious Belichick-Florida connection, but I have a feeling Burton would have been on their radar regardless.


J.C. Copeland FB, LSU: I’m not going to waste time talking about stats, or accomplishments, because like most full backs those things don’t necessarily exist when recapping their careers. Any true full back can be judged solely by his mean mug, and while at LSU, Copeland had the meanest of them all. At 5’11” 270lbs, this behemoth can shake the heels of any defensive line with nothing but a subtle grin. Copeland flashed during the senior bowl, and anyone who saw his sideline interview during the game knows this kid has an infectious personality.

He’s nothing fancy, just brute force coming up the middle. Copeland has the ability to stamp the exclamation point on goal line situations, and put the final nail in the coffin of any game. He didn’t perform as well his senior year as past seasons, and is not a finished product by any extent, but late in the draft Copeland presents value. Not to mention we know how much Josh McDaniels loves to utilize his full backs.


Jerick McKinnon, QB/RB, Georgia Southern: If you’re in love with the annual spandex invitational at Lucas Oil, then you will quickly develop a crush on this combine maven. McKinnon posted some of the best, and most consistent numbers across the board at this year’s combine. Much like Burton, McKinnon split time between positions throughout his college career, and used his athleticism to take advantage of the option offense.

He saw most of his success running the ball during his junior and senior years, albeit against the Sun Belt Conference, McKinnon was still able to display a natural burst at the second level, and knack for getting up field. Even though most teams won’t spend a pick on him as a QB, he still showed some ability to hit the big play with his arm, and not just his legs.

Unlike the previous two players mentioned, pinning down where McKinnon will land is a bit tougher. Some sites have him listed as a mid round pick, and with more draft visits that estimation may rise. If the Patriots can land him anywhere between the 5th-7th round, he is the type of project player that could pay dividends down the line.

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29 Responses to “2014 NFL Draft: Potential Day Three Patriots”

  1. J H TARBORO says:

    Last one! WR Jeremy Gallon Michigan as another day 3 pick.http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bjJ1Qp1lA6M

    • acm says:

      another good option at WR in the late rounds. John Brown would be another name to watch there.
      I think a late pick at WR makes the most sense for the Pats at this point for the position. Depth in the form of a Boyce clone/replacement would be a good thing to have, while trying to see how JB’s pre-season goes this time around.

    • Russell says:

      I believe the Patriots will look at a WR later, as then need a Kick-off returner type. I like Jeff Janis 4th round 4.36 40yd, 6’3″ 218lbs, from a small school, (happens to be where Nick Caserio went to school).

      • J H TARBORO says:

        Russell, I like Jeff Janis a lot and he is a total sleeper in this draft. At the combine I didn’t realize how fast he was, he’s a missile!

  2. J H TARBORO says:

    Montana ILB Brock Coyle #56 should be a day 3 consideration http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lhGskbrMHW0

    • acm says:

      good choice to wrap up LB depth in the late rounds along with players like Williamson, Pierre-Louis, Flowers.

      I can see the Pats go for the other Montana LB, Jordan Tripp, in the middle rounds – 3rd or 4th.

    • Jeff M says:

      I’ve seen a lot of people pointing to Tripp for the Pats but I also wouldn’t rule out Brock because he seems like a late round guy the Pats would have interest in.

      As a side note, he’s also a real great kid…I work with his aunt in California.

  3. J H TARBORO says:

    Although he won’t be a late round pick, this is my last plea, we need DRI ARCHER. He would take so much pressure off of our TEs and WRs and keep defenses honest. Watch this clip and you be the judge!http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tJKQ6Nkca7g

    • acm says:

      youtube highlights as “proof” for the NFL potential of a college kid. What could possibly go wrong there? 🙂

      Sorry, JHT but all I see there is a STer and a multi-year NFL project. A ton of wide open straight lanes and those are not happening at the NFL level.
      Maybe the Pats look at him in the 6th/7th round but not any earlier. And he will likely be gone by then because some poorly managed NFL franchise would have picked him already – Raiders, Browns, Jags etc. – thinking they’ve got themselves a Percy Harvin or a Darren Sproles for peanuts.

      You are setting yourself up for disappointment in a number of ways.

      • J H TARBORO says:

        ACM, I respect your opinion but I have to disagree. I would be disappointed if they di don’t try to get him but in the end I just want the Pats to have a good draft year and hopefully they don’t have to reach too far for players. If they don’t find the the player they want in the 1st round, I hope they have potential trade partners for that pick.

  4. Ken W says:

    I like Trey Burton and think he would be a good pick up on day three of the draft. I am also in the camp for the Pats to get on the the top 5 TE’s in the first or second round. Burton would be a good depth pick and like it said above he can do a lot of things. Worse case scenario he would be a practice squad player that can play TE, WR, RB, & even be a scout team QB when facing athletic QB’s.

  5. Bill S says:

    Richard Rogers, local product (St John’s S) coming out of Cal early is the best athlete ever

    to come out of central Mass. He will be available in the late rounds and can play TE/WR/LB.

    Patriot versatility in spades.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Patriot Predictions

      1 Trade for 2,3 and 6th round choices.
      2 Cyril Richardson G Baylor
      2 Deone Bucannon S Washington State
      3 Kelcy Quarles DL South Carolina
      3 Crockett Gilmore TE Colorado State
      4 Marcus Smith DE Louisville
      4 Andre Williams RB BC
      5 Max Bullough ILB Michigan State
      6 Richard Rodgers TE California
      6 Capri Bibbs RB Colorado St.
      6 Traded for 5th
      7 Traded for 5th

      Gilmore and Rodgers would greatly strengthen the Tight End position and I would not count
      Gronk out by mid season I think he will be back to his regular self.

  6. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriot Predictions

    1 David Carr QB Fresno St. then Carr traded for 2,3 and 5th round picks.
    2 Louis Nix NT ND
    2 Stanley Jean Baptiste S/CB Nebraska
    3 Jackson Jeffcoat DE Texas
    3 C.J. Fiedorowicz TE Iowa
    4 Chris Borland ILB Wisconsin
    4 Devonta Freeman RB Florida St.
    5 Russell Bodine C/G UNC
    5 Josh Huff WR Oregon
    6 Kendall James CB Maine
    6 Traded for 5th round
    7 Traded for 5th round

    Cameron Brate TE Harvard
    Gus Handler C Colorado
    Kedrick Rhodes RB West Alabama

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Sorry on Pats first pick its Derek Carr not David also its the Browns who have several draft picks that are very interested in Carr.

  7. Kevin says:

    I think all of these guys would be great “late round” pickups, I also like James Morris ILB Iowa, Ryan Groy OG Wis, and AC Leonard, TE Tennessee State…

    My question is, how many players can the Pats theoretically draft? Or, to ask a better way, how many draft picks could make this roster? Clearly, this is a deep draft at a few positions, which could certainly play into the Pats hands, but trading down to get picks only helps is there are roster spots for them. Right now we have 8 draft picks, and I’m not sure 8 rookies could make the roster, what good is trading down to get more picks.

    • HD Paulie says:

      Very good point Kevin. There aren’t too many spots that could be taken by rookies. Therefore, I would keep our picks and only draft players that have a reasonable chance of making the team. I wouldn’t care if they even moved up to get a player that could make an immediate impact, ( Ryan Shazier anyone ) ? Or stockpile picks for 2015.

    • J H TARBORO says:

      The Pats can have up to 90 players on their roster going into training camp, as we can see it’s going to be about competition and no player will be safe this year including Edelman and Amendola etc.

    • RMillette says:

      A very valid point. I think we have the room to hold a few rookies if they prove worthwhile and you can’t forget the practice squad. This is a big reason as to why I try to focus my mocks on positions that we can carry rookies on (DE, TE, LB) and stay away from positions we really can’t afford to (QB, WR, CB). Try Burton in the late rounds is one of the picks I’d like to see, not only could he be a solid TE, he can play other positions and keep other slots free for depth.

  8. Shecky says:

    5th round on Sam would be a decent pick up. Edge rusher with good speed and technique who played alongside Ealy and Sheldon Richardson (far better players) and that helped his production mightily. Liability against the run and cannot take on pulling guards.

  9. Tim D says:

    What do you think of Trey Millard for this list? I’ve only seen a couple games and they were probably the best statistical games of his career, but the numbers aside I loved his versatility. He seems to fall somewhere in between burton and copeland

  10. J H TARBORO says:

    DT ken Bishop Northern ill. Great day 3 pick up.http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HmlvEuqp0QQ

  11. J H TARBORO says:

    Ken V. Good article. If you back in the NEPD archives over the last few months, I was one of the 1st to bring attention to FB JC Copeland LSU. Copeland could be be great late round pick for multiple reasons, let’s start with pass protection for Brady and a tone setting blocker for our running game, he also has really good hands coming out of the backfield. We are a team known for using a dual TE set and bringing a new found respect for the position and we could do the same thing for the FB position. If you understand our offense and know what we like to do, this could be an extremely smart move. Copeland runs the 40yd in 4.9 but how many FBs are very fast? But he has enough speed to run away from most defenders. Another guy we should talk about is Wake Forest’s FB/NT Nikita Whitlock at 5’9 251 he would have been the strongest guy at the NFL combine if he were invited, he hoisted an amazing 43 rep at 225 and played NT at his size and weight with leverage and explosiveness, and at his pro day he did extremely well at catching the ball out of the backfield.

    • Russell says:

      DT Whitlock is a guy I’ve seen in person, and a great prospect who will go undrafted. He has a great up-side as an ILB, the guy can play!!

  12. AM says:

    I’m always a fan of the guys that get picked late and make the team. I think Caraun Reid, Brock Vereen, Michael Sam, and/or Spencer Long would make outstanding Patriots.

    • Michael M. says:

      I agree with all of those guys except Michael Sam.

      • AM says:

        I think Sam has become substantially underrated due to his workout numbers, and a willingness for analysts to link his production to “effort,” as well as the presence of other playmakers on a sterling Missouri line. For my money, he has great potential as a sub rusher, and he won’t be a liability against the run if it comes to it. Anywhere in the fifth round or later, I’d be happy with the pick. What is your objection to him?

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