It's incredibly difficult to get a read on what Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are going to do in the NFL Draft. Each and every year they seem to make a draft pick that comes out of nowhere and surprises or disappoints a lot of people, you know, those "who?!?" moments that make you jump off of your seat. We've all experienced that moment, whether it was the Logan Mankins selection in 2004 or the Tavon Wilson pick last year.
That's what makes the Patriots so fun to follow, isn't it? The unpredictability of the draft is what makes it so enjoyable to watch and why it's a product that continues to grow every year.
I expect the Patriots to do a lot of trading this year. Starting with only five draft picks, I think they will look to expand and try to make at last eight or nine selections over this weekend. In this mock draft I do account for possible trades, including the red-hot rumor involving Ryan Mallett.
For reference, here are New England's current draft picks:
Round 1, Pick 29 (29 overall)
Round 2, Pick 27 (59 overall)
Round 3, Pick 29 (91 overall)
Round 7, Pick 20 (226 overall)
Round 7, Pick 29 (235 overall)
2013 Patriots Round by Round Mock Draft
Round 1, Pick 29: Traded to Philadelphia Eagles for #35 (R2) and #101 (R4)
With this pick I believe a trade makes most sense. We need to add selections in the middle of the draft and we can still get the player we want just a few picks down. Philadelphia can trade up and select a quarterback, perhaps EJ Manuel. The Eagles assure that they get the man they want, though there is no guarantee that Jacksonville grabs him, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Round 2, Pick 35: Robert Woods, WR, USC
Robert Woods truly does it all. He has virtually no weaknesses and would likely be the immediate starter at the x-receiver position for the Pats. He has excellent hands, he's smart, he played in a pro-system and he ran a myriad of different routes for USC. At 6'1" and 200 pounds he also brings good size to a relatively small group of Patriots wide receivers. Woods is also very good at picking up yards after catch due to his agility in small spaces.
Ryan Mallett Traded to Tampa Bay Buccaneers for #43 Pick
This is the hardest move to predict but I have personally thought a Mallett trade has been set in stone since we drafted him. A second round pick is more than I would ever ask for and it's incredible value for a player that was drafted in the fourth round. The Buccaneers need to get a player that can compete with Josh Freeman. Mallett would be a first round draft pick if he were in this year's draft, so I don't see why they shouldn't take a risk on him.
Round 2, Pick 43: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
After watching film of the Senior Bowl, I came out extremely impressed with Okafor. He showed better quickness than I expected and was really the only player that gave Eric Fisher problems. He is extremely flexible and would look good in the Patriots scheme. He can stand up and play linebacker in the 3-4 but can put his hand down and play DE in the 4-3. While he wouldn't play much middle linebacker in the NFL, it's worth noting that he has experience playing there at Texas. He would be a great bookend to Chandler Jones on the other end.
Round 2, Pick 59: Traded to Detroit Lions for #65 (R3), #137 (R5) and #211 (R7)
The Patriots continue accumulating more draft picks. Detroit has plenty of compensation picks so they can afford to deal some of their other picks in order to trade up and grab a player they want.
Round 3, Pick 65: Jon Bostic, LB, Florida
With Brandon Spikes' contract up after the season, it only makes sense to draft the player that replaced him at Florida. Like Spikes, Bostic is an enforcer on run defense and brings power to each and every one of his tackles. However, Bostic is a better pass defender than Spikes was when he first came into the league. Bostic would likely play in a reserve role this season
Round 3, Pick 91: Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
Dobson is a good route runner and makes incredibly difficult catches due to his large wingspan. At 6'3", he gives the Pats a large receiver on the outside that could develop into a red zone threat. The Patriots also had a late visit with Dobson that flew under the radar.
Round 4, Pick 101: Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
Mathieu has his problems off the field and in coverage but is one of the best playmakers in this draft. He's undersized but would potentially give New England a player that can score create turnovers on both defense and special teams. I wrote about him in depth in this "Possible Patriots" preview.
Round 5, Pick 137: Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State
Tuel was impressive at his pro day and New England had a private workout with him. He's a very accurate quarterback and throws balls with nice touch. However, he has had a lot of durability issues, which is why he will go late in the draft or undrafted.
Round 7, Pick 211: Chris Faulk, G/T, LSU
Chris Faulk spent time at both guard and tackle at LSU. Faulk could've been a first or second round pick but a knee injury destroyed his stock. Faulk had a lot of success at LSU due to his size and strength. However, he has had weight issues and it's questionable if he will play guard or tackle in the NFL.
Round 7, Pick 226: Patrick Lewis, C/G, Texas A&M
Lewis spent time at both center and guard in college. New England had a workout with him and could use some depth after losing Donald Thomas in free agency to the Indianapolis Colts.
Round 7, Pick 235: Robert Lester, S, Alabama
Belichick loves players from the SEC and is close with Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Lester is a tweener that could spend time at both cornerback and safety. He has loads of experience playing on special teams and could be a fit there for the Pats.
Comment below or tweet me with your thoughts on this draft class. Be sure to vote in the poll as well!