With me being just as bored as the rest of you this offseason, I figure why not share my thoughts on who the Patriots could be targeting in the first round of this years draft. These players are guys that I can see having an instant impact in the upcoming season.
1) Matt Elam-Safety(Florida) 5’10 208lbs
Matt Elam is a great young talent in the SEC and will definitely be a direct impact on whatever team he gets drafted to. What I love about this kid is his tackling. He has the ability to stop a ball carrier dead in his tracks, whether he’s colliding with running back down hill or laying the wood on a receiver who just caught the ball Elam’s tackling sticks out as one of his great attributes. Being over aggressive with his tackling is his weakness. Sometimes Elam comes downhill with too much steam which will leave him eating grass if he does so in the NFL. The other intangible that Elam brings to the table is his swagger, something I feel the Patriots need badly in their secondary. Talib’s swagger on the field reminded me of the old days with Ty Law. There was a confidence in the New England secondary. Now whether or not they bring Talib back, they need to have confidence and swagger in the backfield, and Elam is a great candidate for the Patriots to draft with the 29th.
2) Terrance Williams(Baylor) 6’1 201lbs
Williams is one of my favorite receivers in this years draft. He’s big, physical, fast, and on top of that a great route runner. He reminds me of a bigger and faster Brandon Lloyd. Williams can be the deep threat that the Patriots need, because of his ability to make the catch in tight coverage, and get separation on deep routes. He is a NFL ready receiver that will fit in with the Patriots offense, and (fingers crossed) will help compliment a receiver like Wes Welker. I also love this guy in the red zone, he’s big, has great hands and would be yet another target for Brady. He is proven sturdy hauling in 97 receptions last year for Baylor and racking up 1832 yards. Gotta love this kids big play ability and, lets admit it would be a dream come true see him holding up a Patriots jersey come draft day.
3) Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) 6’1 210lbs
There is not much that I do not love about this guy. He shut down receivers bumping them at the line and is a proven great tackler. He played pretty good this season at Florida State, but had a few shaky games against Florida and Georgia State, then bounced back with a great game against Northern Illinois. However, Rhodes is proven to be a great cover corner and has the ability to silence a star receiver. On a lot of plays you will also see Rhodes come down hill and shut down an outside run. I like his tackling ability and he would make a great addition to the Pats DB’s, giving them size on the outside. He is also another guy that brings a tremendous amount of confidence and swagger to this New England defense. Imagining a Pats team with Talib, Rhodes and Dennard puts me in a happy place and makes me hope that the Pats make New England his new home.
4) Dion Jordan (Oregon) 6’7 243lbs
Dion Jordan is a monster plain and simple. He is a giant in your face pass rusher who, with his height, has the ability to knock down passes. Jordan is a great speed rusher who made tackles look silly this year as he ran past them and made big plays in the back field, leaving the tackles questioning who they are as a human being. What really stuck out to me with Jordan is that he never gives up on a play. This kid constantly chased down RB’s from behind and was in on tackles 10+ yards downfield. What I love about him is his versatility. He can rush the QB on the edge and come inside on a twist, he can stretch out run plays and drag the ball carrier down for a loss and his ability to chase down the ball carrier downfield. If the Patriots draft Jordan, he can be used as another pass rusher to complement Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, or he can play as an OLB. The versatility that comes along with Jordan makes him a great pick with a ton of potential.
5) Robert Woods (USC) 6’0 201lbs
Robert Woods is a very talented receiver coming out of USC, he can get up in the air and make catches and is a great route runner. He would fit in great to the Patriots passing attack as he would be a great use to their screen game. While he is not the biggest receiver in the draft he fights for the ball in the air and can make circus catches.Robert Woods also has great balance and can get upfield after making a catch, he can also make tacklers miss in space. The Pats would benefit greatly from Woods, and they really cannot go wrong picking up a talented receiver like himself.
These are some draft options that I believe would make our beloved Patriots that much better and can help propel them to the next level. When it comes to draft day, I’m sure that Belichick has some magic up his sleeve, we just have to hope that everything pans out. They could end up trading their first rounder and not draft any of these guys, but this draft is deep and I know their will be talent left floating when the 29th pick rolls around. Hope you all enjoyed reading!