At this time of year, when trying to determine the value of players and where they will be drafted, the situation is fluid. There are teams out there who could be willing trade partners, tops on that list is the Cleveland Browns, who go into this draft with early and mid round 1sts. Despite the lack of picks to work with this year, the Patriots could find it cheaper/easier than normal to move up a few spots in the 1st round if that is what they want.
Or the Patriots could trade out of the 1st all together.
1st round -
Louis Nix DT Notre Dame 6-2 345
After a breakthrough 2012, Nix was overweight to start the 2013 season. Nix recently acknowledged battling knee tendinitis since last year's loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game. Nix had a torn meniscus in addition to the tendinitis, and had surgery this past November.
With Nix unable to participate in any Bowl games, and coming off surgery, it is entirely possible he falls to within reach of the Patriots.
2nd round - Traded, the result is no 2nd rounder, and two 3rds.
3rd round -
Arthur Lynch TE Georgia 6-5 255
Technically sound, able to perform any and all blocking assignments well, run and pass, solid receiver, solid bookend TE to put opposite Gronk, or to sub for Gronk.
Lynch had 19 receptions for 390 yards with five touchdowns in 2013, and 26 receptions for 448 yards and three touchdowns in 2012. Lynch had some clutch catches for Georgia in close wins over LSU and South Carolina. He will play in the Senior Bowl.
James Hurst OT North Carolina 6-6 305
Hurst could have graded out as early as a low 1st round prospect, and would have gone no later than the 3rd round (worst case scenario)... due to his broken leg, he will fall this far, if not further.
Hurst had a strong 2012 campaign protecting the blind side of Bryn Renner, Hurst was also a strong run-blocker. Star guard Jonathan Cooper formed an excellent left side of the line with Hurst. Cooper has said that Hurst helped him to a lot of his collegiate success. Hurst is said to be extremely intelligent. He always knows what to do and where to be, and directs his teammates accordingly.
In 2013 Hurst started the season with a solid performance against Jadeveon Clowney in the season opener. Hurst won their one-on-ones and kept Clowney from getting to the quarterback. Hurst did a good job against speed-rushers all season and looks technically sound as a pass-protector.
4th round -
Boseko Lokombo OLB Oregon 6-3 230
Lokombo can fill a variety of roles in the Patriots D, such as the cover ILB or SS when the Patriots are defending against the pass. He can also be an effective pass rusher from the outside, or inside positions. BoLo is IMO, a steal in the 4th round, but so far, things point to him still being around this late in the draft.
6th - UFA targets
Marcus Roberson CB Florida 6'0 190
Arrested as a freshman for underage drinking, suspended as a Junior for violating team rules, Roberson is a 2nd round talent, that will fall far in the draft because of these issues.
Jerome Smith RB Syracuse 5-11 225
Spencer Long OG Nebraska 6-4 315
Jacob Pedersen TE Wisconsin 6-4 240
Used in a lot of movement and wide out