We're only two days removed from the end of the New England Patriots season, but we're already in mock draft season.
Yesterday, Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com and CBS Sports each released a mock draft of their own.
Rang had the Patriots going with Matt Elam, the safety out of Florida:
The trade for cornerback Aqib Talib improved the Patriots' pass defense over the second half of the regular season, but the team was nonetheless beaten over the middle repeatedly against Baltimore in the AFC Championship game. The physical, ball-hawking Elam has the all-around game to help improve this unit as a rookie.
Elam is definitely the type of physical, versatile, hybrid safety that the Patriots are looking for, and would seemingly be a nice compliment at the position accross from cornerback-convert Devin McCourty. Here's more on what Rang had to say about him:
Athletic, instinctive and quite physical, Elam demonstrated the ability to walk up into the box and be a force near the line of scrimmage while also dropping back into coverage as a single-high safety when coaches called for it -- showing off the type of versatility NFL teams are demanding from today's hybrid safeties. Elam shows good vision and anticipation when fighting through blocks near the line of scrimmage and is a reliable, physical tackler.
With Wes Welker set for free agency, the Patriots might be looking for a new slot receiver and Tom Brady could do a lot with the versatile offensive ability of Tavon Austin.
This is the second time we've seen Austin's name linked to the Patriots in two days, and his name is certainly one to watch as we move further into the draft process. And while Brugler mentions Welker's pending free agency, I think that Austin could be an intriguing prospect no matter what happens there.