Here you can find my February Mock Draft. With an additional month to consider things and watch as possible free-agency scenarios begin to play out, I've changed a few things up. Overall, many names have changed but the positions that need to be addressed remain the same.
So lets get right down to it:
Round 1, pick 29: TRADE this pick + the 2nd round pick for a roughly ten-spot jump to the pick 15-20 range, + a 4th round pick in this year's draft
Round 1, pick 15-20: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Xavier would turn a promising defense nearing its prime into one that instilled fear into any and all opposing passers. Think Brandon Spikes, only for the backfield. Picking Xavier would solidify the back end, giving us options in the event that Talib leaves or is injures. Combining him with Talib, Dennard, McCourty and solid depth such as Arrington, Gregory and Wilson would form one of the strongest backfields in the NFL, and represent a tremendous upgrade over what we had even a year prior.
The ultimate physical specimen, Xavier possesses above-average strength and aggression. Instinctive, he also brings good ball and reach skills combined with the ability to deliver powerful strikes against the run. His experience is yet another plus, and some have even said there is a good chance his rookie season could surpass that of Devin McCourty's. The intensity he brings to the table is unmatched by any other top CB prospect, and if drafted I have little doubt he would turn into yet another nightmare for the opponent to have to deal with.
Round 2, Pick 59: TRADED, SEE ABOVE
Round 2, Pick ??: Brandon William, DT, Missouri Southern State
With a pick obtained from what I hope will be some sort of Mallet trade, Brandon Williams seems like the best option for the defense. Though not the sought-after pass-rushing DT, he has excellent burst and capability to blow up plays in the backfield. Brandon has the versatility Belichick loves, and is great when it comes to wrap-up, take-down tackles.
Aside from the fact that Justin Hunter may be on the board at this point, Brandon has one thing going against him: he's not great as great when it comes to run support. However, with Wilfork at his side and Spikes, Mayo, and Hightower backing him up, is this really that big a concern?
Round 3, Pick 91: Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
All that remains as a top-tier need is the WR position, and there is no better way to solve that then with a top-tier player who perfectly fills the roll in question. At 6'3, Da'Rick is the ideal large, outside target that the Patriots have needed for the past several years. He is capable of lining up in the slot, too, and plays with exceptional strength and toughness. Many on this site have called for the Patriots to get a Brandon Bolden-type player that is open even when he's not, and can bail the offense out of trouble. Da'Rick is that guy, and spending a 3rd round pick on what in all likelihood will be either the #4 or #5 option behind the TEs in the passing game isn't bad at all.
Round 4 Pick ??: Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina
Using a pick obtained from the earlier trade, (see above) Devin Taylor is next on the list. At 6'7 with an 87" inch wingspan, Devin is the type of freak pass-rusher you would normally expect the Giants to draft. Adding him to a group that already includes Jones, Beckett and Nink would leave us with strong depth at DE, as I believe all four are capable of becoming starters. Devin's speed and pursuit are excellent for a player of his size, and he is known to bat down or even intercept balls that foolish quarterbacks attempt to throw over his giant frame. For those who claim the Patriots lack physicality or aggression, this draft solves that: every one of the prospects so far is known for their ability to instill fear into the opposing team.
Round 7, Pick ??: Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
Davis is a high-risk, high-reward pick, if you can call a 7th rounder that. He may be a bust, or he could turn into something great. At 6'3, he would be an option as a tall outside target and strong choice for the #3-4 WR. He has strong speed, isn't easy to jam, and has good hands for catching. His only downsides are his blocking and difficulty with complex offenses, both of which can be improved.
Round 7, Pick ??: Colby Cameron, QB, Louisiana Tech
Taking a late-round QB is always a good idea: draft enough of them, and eventually you'll hit one that turns out to be the future of the franchise for next to no cost. Is Cameron the guy? I don't know, but with Mallet having been shipped off for a 2nd round pick another backup can't hurt. Cameron is also known for his clutchness, leadership, and good decisions: perhaps the three most important things for someone who will be coming to an excellent offensive system that can help him improve on the mechanics and gameplay.
QUICK REVIEWS OF THE TRADES JUST FOR REFERENCE:
29th + 59th for a 15-20th and a 4th rounder
Ryan Mallet for a 2nd rounder
And so there you have it folks, can we please get more then seven comments this time?