Here we go for my second shot at a New England Patriots mock draft:
Pick #27 - Fletcher Cox - DT/DE Mississippi State (6'4, 295lbs.)
I had Fletcher Cox mocked in my first one too but at pick 31. There's a reason why I have him here again. I feel that the biggest need for this Patriot's defense is their need for an athletic pass rusher. You can tell me it's their secondary but I don't believe it is. Fletcher Cox is a penetrating force along the line. He overpowers offensive linemen and makes plays behind the LOS. He can get after the quarterback, make plays in the running game, pretty much be disruptive for any offense. He is the most athletic out of all the defensive tackles. He has a knack for blocking kicks on special teams. With the recent release of Mike Wright, and not knowing how Myron Pryor's injury recovery has been. The Patriot's are in the market for not only a 5 technique defensive end, but a penetrating interior pass rusher such as Cox. An interior pass rusher makes the ball carrier scramble so the defensive ends/linebackers can make plays on them. Huge upgrade for the Patriots over here.
Fletcher Cox vs. Wake Forest -gets a blocked field goal in this one.
Pick #31 - Cordy Glenn - OG/OT Georgia (6'5, 346lbs.)
To start off, the Patriot's are probably going to trade down from here for more picks. But, for some reason I just have this feeling that the Patriot's will do stay here and get NFL ready players to make another run at the Superbowl. The Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era will come to an end in a matter of years. They need to rebuild this team fast, and with Matt Light, Brian Waters, and Dan Koppen not certain to return, Cordy Glenn would be a big help to this offensive line. He can play at either tackle position, and either guard position. Overpowers defenders at the LOS, forces them back, size is an upside as well, great against bull rushers. You may think his size makes him slow against pass rushers, but he is surprisingly quick for a lineman of his size. Great Senior Bowl, showed off some nice athleticism. There is a chance he is not available at 31 but there is also an equal chance he slips into the second round. He can be available here, and would be a major help along the Patriot's offensive line.
Pick #48 - Rueben Randle - WR LSU (6'4, 208lbs.)
Still don't have the Patriot's trading down. Randle could very well improve his draft stock with a successful combine. For now, the Patriot's get him at the perfect spot. With a great quarterback such as Tom Brady, Randle could man outside the numbers quite efficiently, replacing Deion Branch's starting spot. He has the size needed on the outside and has ideal hands for a wide-out. Can get get off a jam from a corner at the LOS. Has good speed to get downfield. He's the type of receiver the Patriot's need on the outside. With a better QB situation at LSU he could have been in the running for one of the top WR in this year's draft class.
Pick #63 - Traded Down for 3rd and 4th round picks.
Pick #TBD - George Iloka - SS/FS Boise State (6'3, 222lbs.)
Another player from my last mock. This pick depends a lot on whether or not Devin McCourty will or will not be playing safety next year. I believe he will return to cornerback. Now, that opens up a BIG hole on the safety position for this secondary. Not just any safety, a coverage safety. Besides Patrick Chung, the Patriot's have no one with with ability to either run with a receiver or tight-end, or play up in the box. I don't know if Iloka will fall this far in a weak safety class, but there is a chance. Other teams may have other safeties ranked higher than Iloka, but if the Patriots get this guy, the secondary is instantly improved. Well, any addition would be considered an improvement, but with a strong, athletic and smart versatile safety such as Iloka...it's the perfect match for the Patriots. They are meant to be together.......not that Barron kid who is just an in the box kinda guy.
Pick #94 - Ryan Broyles - WR/KR Oklahoma (5'10, 188lbs.)
Ryan Broyles may have had the most productive college career for a wide receiver in collegiate football history. His senior season was cut short when he tore his ACL in a game during November, so that's why I have him falling here for the Patriots. He is the next Wes Welker. Not a burner, but he has this quickness to him that makes defenders miss. Another reason why he gets such great yards after the catch. I would say he has the most reliable hands out of any wide receiver of this years draft class. The only balls he can't catch are the poorly thrown balls by whoever throws him the ball. In comes Tom Brady. There is still a small chance Wes won't be back next year. They may not give him the franchise tag. Sure, Julian Edelman can take his spot, but he won't be nearly as productive as Broyles. Believe me, this kid can turn into one of the most productive slot receivers in the league in a few years. He can also return kicks pretty well. Tom Brady would love having a guy like this around.
Pick #TBD - Shea McClellin - DE/OLB Boise State (6'3, 255lbs.)
Someone is needed opposite Rob Ninkovich. You can tell me the Patriots are set with Mark Anderson, but they aren't. Even if Mark Anderson and Andre Carter are both back, they are more effective in a 4-3 lined up at DE. Shea McClellin is very versatile which we all know Bill Belichick covets. He has lined up at DE, OLB, and ILB. He has a relentless motor. He fights as hard as hard as he can until that whistle blows. He has a quick first step, powerful hitter, team leader, durable, he has played well against top competition. He actually has a similar skill set to Mike Vrabel. He can really get after the quarterback. Check out this video of him and you'll see what I mean:
Pick #TBD - Josh Norman - CB Coastal Carolina (6'0, 203lbs.)
I may not be so high on drafting a cornerback early on but this year's draft class has so much depth at that position so I have the Patriots taking a cornerback here. Josh Norman has the potential to one day be starting worth cornerback. He has good height and bulk for a corner. Similar size to Ras-I Dowling. He has great instincts and athletic ability. His hips are very fluid making him able to stay with receivers. "Goes after passes like they were thrown to him." (buffalobillsdraft.com) He is efficient in press coverage, jams his receiver and ruins their timing. Successful at the Shrine Game. He just needs to improve his tackling, and if he is able to run a sub 4.5 40, his draft stock will slide him up into the 3rd round no doubt. Norman can get a bit too aggressive leaving susceptible in making plays or staying with his man in coverage. But, with the right coaching, he can be a great starting corner...a big sleeper in this year's draft. Can be a steal, I believe. He provides even more depth for the corner spot on the Patriots, and even with some coaching, wouldn't be surprised if he can play safety, which I also believe he will excel at.
Now the secondary I'm not completely worried about. I expect Devin McCourty to become the star corner he played like his rookie year and with Ras-I Dowling coming back, the secondary will be better. I am mostly just worried about the safety position back there. If they can draft Iloka and then bring in a free agent. The secondary will be actually fairly nice.
And as for a the center position. Dan Connolly proved to be efficient there, even with our back ups I feel confident in them. I don't even think Dan Koppen is going to be leaving. Our backup centers played phenomenal last season, all thanks to our great offensive line coach, Dante Scarnecchia.
Let me know what you all think!