Pats Pulpit, I will be trying my best Belichick impersonation as I will be representing the New England Patriots in the Pride of Detroit community mock draft. POD, as we call it over there, is the Detroit Lions SB Nation blog and we have some passionate and avid followers for our beloved Lions. The Patriots have been my “second team” or my AFC team if you will, because I have been a big Tom Brady fan dating back to his Michigan days. I’m originally from Ann Arbor, MI but reside full time in South Providence, so I feel like I know a fair amount about the Patriots but will admit that I will need your help in identifying some prospects you’d like to see wearing the flying Elvis. We are doing a two round mock draft, so please tell me your second round wish list as well but try to keep it realistic. Also, there are no pick trades in our draft.
I have done some preliminary research on your team, and have addressed the following positions as your greatest needs;
Deep Threat WR - Patriots fans have been longing for another deep threat ever since Randy Moss talked his way out of town. Also, with the departure of Wes Welker and the release of Brandon Llyod, WR is looking thin on the depth chart. After reviewing Belichick’s draft history, he has never taken a WR in the first round. Is this the year he changes that? I sort of doubt it, but he has taken a few in the second round. Will any of the top WR talents last until the 59th overall pick?
Cornerback – The Achilles heel of the Belichick draft era. Of the 31 first and second round picks Bill has had, he has used eight of them on DBs. Clearly he values the position, but also is not very good at identifying talent here. Pats fans finally got that physical corner they’ve been craving with Aqib Talib but he’s injury prone and sort of a nut case at times. With Alfonzo Dennard possibly going to jail, the Pats are looking at the Kyle Arrington project to start which, IMO, would be a nightmare. Arrington looked solid as a nickel CB, but I don’t think he’s much more than that. There is some good talent in the draft this year. Would it be outrageous to draft two CBs with both your first two picks if the talent falls accordingly? Or do I go with a safety with the thought that Devin McCourty could slide back to the CB position and start opposite of Talib?
Pass Rush help – Drafting Chandler Jones dramatically improved the Patriots pass rush and finally gives them a legitimate outside rush threat with the potential for 10-15 sacks. But why not give Jones a little help and just keep stocking up on pass rushing talent? Lots of DE talent in the draft this year, but I know Bill is a big Rob Ninkovich fan so I think the position that could give the Patriots immediate help would be the DT position. Kyle Love is a solid player, but I think he’d be an even better back up. Why not grab a DT in the mold of Vince Wilfork and let him learn from the master. Two freakishly athletic DTs in the middle of this defense that can get great push at the LOS would take the defense to a whole new level plus would also help the secondary look better.
I also know that Bill loves guys on the o-line, so I feel like if one of the top offensive linemen were to somehow fall to the Pats pick, I probably shouldn’t hesitate to take them. With the rededication to the run game, it never hurts to improve the o line. Also, is it outrageous to think that taking a TE is a good idea? Bill has drafted them high before and your offense is essentially built around the TE position. Plus, the injury history of your two starting TEs does not bode well. I think both Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz look like great prospects and Pats fans wouldn’t have to sweat if Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez were to go down knowing you have one of these guys and Jake Ballard on the depth chart. Heck, Bill could bring back the wishbone with all those different TEs.
Well Pats fans, these are my thoughts on your upcoming draft. Please comment and let me know if my line of thinking seems accurate with how you perceive your team needs, and which players I should be targeting. If you believe that there are other options that I should be considering I would love for you to post that in the comments as well, but please give details as to why they deserve my consideration.