This will be my first mock draft of the offseason, and I will make a mock draft after the combine, and right before the draft.
1st Round Pick: David Yankey, OG Stanford or Travis Swanson, C Arkansas
Either one will do, while we will fill the other position in free agency before this draft (so which ever position we fill in free agency, we'll draft the other position in the draft). The key here is to protect Brady. Our defense is relatively fine for now, but Brady and the running game NEEDS a better offensive line. Logan Mankins is getting older, playing more injured, and is becoming more of a name than one of the top OGs in the NFL. Ryan Wendel is a decent center at best. Our RG spot is poor, unless Marcus Cannon shows that he can step up and man the RG spot really well.
Yankey and Swanson are the top rated at their positions and either one fills a big need for this team. Part of the reason for our offensive failures last season, and the post-season, was because of our OL trying to protect Brady and block for the run game. I'm sorry, but my priority has to be protecting THE key figure on this patriots team in getting us another superbowl. If we can get another TE, and our receivers grow more and become more talented, our offense will be very good again.
2nd Round Pick: DaQuan Jones, DT Penn State
Jones is a big, and very physical DT who has shown the ability to rush the QB and stop the run. My favorite part about Jones is that he can disengage from blocks very well, and has very active use of hands. He is a presence in the middle that can operate the role of Tommy Kelly, or Vince Wilfork. You can use him in multiple techniques as well. It seemed like the logical choice to grab a DT here because Wilfork is getting older and coming off a big injury to his ankle. Kelly may be cut to save cap room, and I think our DL will benefit with this signing while we have the young talent in Armstead in the wings. Seahawks proved that that it is very valuable to have very good depth on the DL, and create a rotation.
Daquan Jones vs Michigan (2013) (via Nick Page)
Analysis STRENGTHS: Dropped nearly 25 pounds during the 2013 offseason and displayed more quickness as a senior with the ability to be effective later into games. He has a wide base and broad shoulders and wins with his brute strength and power to take on multiple blocks and overwhelm blockers. Jones showed improved instincts toward the end of 2012 and through the '13 season.
WEAKNESSES: Will struggle with leverage and lacks ideal range.
Also I was going to select Niklas here, but because the talent difference between Niklas and my next selection is small, I chose to go with Jones as his upside looks very good.
3rd Round Pick: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE Iowa
C.J. is an excellent blocker, who has athleticism and soft hands similar to ASJ (though according to Brugler, just not as flashy). We are more than likely drafting a TE, and I cannot see us waiting till the 4th round to get one. The list of TEs I like are Amaro, ASJ, Ebron, Niklas, and CJ. Seeing as how 4 of those guys are likely gone by the time we pick, now would be the time to make a move.
You know the drill. Hernandez is in jail. Gronkowski is getting injured thanks to stupid players. hooman is a very good blocker but only a decent receiver, and we will need someone not only to play opposite of Gronk, but to also replace him if he goes down again. It is VERY important for us to draft a TE, and CJ may be the right guy for the job.
However I must stress that I am hesitant on getting a big TE. I might prefer a smaller TE, because I am afraid that these big TEs will more than likely get their legs killed by idiotic DBs.
Analysis STRENGTHS: Good versatility, showing the ability to come off a down block to get past defenders as a receiver. Good body control and soft hands for such a large man, traits that have led Washington junior Austin Seferian-Jenkins to earn a lot of attention as a possible first-round pick. Fiedorowicz isn't as flashy as ASJ, but he's just as big and fast in a straight-line and is a much more physical and attentive blocker.
#86 C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa vs Ohio St '13 (via SportCutups)
4th Round Pick: Traded for 27.34 other draft picks, including 3 future 1st rounders - SMP.
6th Round Pick (Eagles draft pick traded for our 5th rounder and Sopoaga): Wesley Johnson, OT Vanderbilt
For OTs, we have Solder, Vollmer, and Cannon. We really haven't got too much GOOD depth here. Cannon does well filling in, but I think this team could use another OL for depth, who may have starting talent (Cannon could lear more OG too).
Analysis STRENGTHS: Generously listed at 6-5 and 295 pounds, Johnson's bulk, strength and overall length aren't traditional strengths, but he has easy movement skills and does an excellent job getting to the second level with above average lower body control to mirror in space. He is smart with astute awareness to pick up defenders and is a clinic for combination blocks. Excels with body positioning and has a brilliant understanding of angles and utilizes his entire frame to shield defenders from the protection zone.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to flash more nastiness at the point of attack to control rushers in the run game. A bit undersized.
I figure the nastiness can be taught by Mankins.
6th Round Pick: Trey Millard, FB Oklahoma
Actually Millard is an H-Back, RB, and FB. He has shown good blocking skills, a very good receiving and running skills. I figure we can definitely maximize our receiving core by adding a FB who can also catch from the backfield, and we can use multiple formations in which the defense doesn't know who is receiving and who is blocking. I'd like to imagine a 2 TE, 2 RB formation which involved CJ, Gronk, Vereen, and Millard. That is 4 legit targets (5 if you are counting the WR) out of a running formation. I believe Brady would enjoy having a FB who can catch. Just another weapon Brady and BB could create mismatches with.
Trey Millard vs Oklahoma State (2012) (via Josh DB)
7th Round Pick: Eathyn Manumaleuna, DT Brigham Young
I picked another DT to compete with Vellano. Eathyn is a big DT, who fits the Nose tackle spot.
Eathyn Manumaleuna vs Texas (2013) (via Adrian Ahufinger)
If this was our draft, would you like it? Let me know in the comments below.