NFL Draft 2015: New England Patriot's Final Thoughts, Predictions
Just like every other draft in NFL history, the intrigue and mystery is center stage in the 2015 NFL draft. Every mock is as good (or bad) as the next. So why even bother to take a shot at the selections, especially with the New England Patriots? 'Cause it just makes us feel good to talk football to death and pretend we are the experts.
I'll make this quick and not embellish my choices too much...
Round 1: pick 32- CB Byron Jones from CT if he is available, or the next best corner, such as Jalen Collins or Ronald Darby. Belichick could also double-up on corners late in the draft and find a diamond in the rough. But this pick seems like a no-brainer at this position. Belichick may trade down into the second round and still could find quality corners after day one.
Round 2: pick 64- DT Carl Davis Iowa. I have to think that Belichick will stick to defense to bolster a unit that took some hits both in the regular season and in free-agency. Whoever is the best DT/NT at the end of the second round should bring the youth movement to fruition quite nicely. If there is a run on tackles, don't pass on Ellis McCarthy from UCLA as a big body who can fill the middle.
Round 3: picks 96 & 97- Just who will be available at this point is a guessing game, but it's time to focus on protection. If Ali Marpet from Hobart can move inside, he is an athletic, big-guy who can help the offense move the ball. There is also Jeremiah Poutassi OG from Utah in this neighborhood. Linebacker is also a possibility with one of these picks, like Paul Dawson from TCU. He may be smaller, but he does it all. That makes him a good fit for a Belichick defense.
Round 4: picks 101 & 131- That second pick of the fourth round gives the Pats their third pick in just five slots. I think I would jump on another offensive lineman, as mentioned above. But Belichick could also switch back to the defensive side of the ball. There's Taiwan Jones ILB from Michigan State, Lorenzo Mauldin OLB from Louisville, or Hau'Oli Kikaha from Washington. All of these guys have the potential to produce in a good system like New England.
Round 6: pick 178- This is where WR should be addressed. I think the Patriots have a solid unit as long as they stay healthy. This is where the Julian Edelman's are often found. Will it be Chris Conley from Georgia or Tony Lippett from Stanford? One sleeper I like is Tre McBride from William and Mary. He has size and speed, which the Pats need on the outside.
Round 7: picks 219 & 253- Flip a coin at this stage (at least it won't be Mr. Irrelevant). I say: stock up on linebackers or defensive backs. I feel very strongly that Belichick should concentrate on defense this year. I've already slated a couple of guards to develop, and there is little, quality depth behind the D-line. One name that stands out is Derron Smith S from Fresno State. Sam Carter from TCU could also develop into a decent rotational guy.
There should be plenty of names left for free agency as well. Few, if any of these guys after round six have much of a shot to start or even contribute at first. But like I said earlier, this is where the odd gem may appear out of nowhere. Bill Belichick is one of the best at making that happen.
The Patriots may not have made waves during veteran free agency, but have just as good a chance as any team of finding the right guys to fill a few, glaring holes on their roster. I will be surprised and not a little disappointed if cornerback isn't addressed high in the draft process.
In Bill we trust!