Rich Hill's Patriots Draft Day Predictions

Al Bello

Let's throw out some predictions! What do you believe will happen today?

This is my pure speculation. There's no backing to this. I'd have better luck guessing the lottery numbers than predicting what Bill Belichick will do on draft day.

But why not give it a shot?

Here are my baseless predictions:

1) The Patriots will trade down and out of the first round. Teams are fighting for a chance to get back into the end of the first in order to leap-frog the other quarterback-hungry franchises. The Patriots offer a natural landing point, due to everyone's acknowledgement of their readiness to trade. Someone's going to propose a Godfather offer to the Patriots, who will pick up a selection early in the second, an early day three pick, and a pick in 2015.

2) Even though the team will trade down, there was a player they would have been willing to take at 29th- and they'll still be there in the mid-30s. This is a Ras-I Dowling-like move. Before the team traded out of the first round in 2011 (they picked up a future first and a second rounder they used on Shane Vereen; the Saints drafted Mark Ingam), they were willing to take Dowling in the first. They opted to take the Saints' trade offer and the guy they wanted was still around at 33. This trade down result has happened in a more positive manner, too, like when they selected Devin McCourty. Same thing happens.

3) It's going to be someone on the interior line, on either the offensive or defensive side. My money would be on Weston Richburg, if he gets past the Jaguars, or Dominique Easley, if he gets past the Bears. Forced to choose one, I'd say Easley. All the Patriots beat guys are pointing out Easley as the target, which probably means there's some smoke there. Even though some of the national writers are sticking to their guns about RaShede Hageman, or Jace Amaro, I don't think they'll be the picks.

4) Most because I think they're both off the board. I think Amaro goes to the Jets, if Eric Ebron is off the board, and that RaShede Hageman goes to the Steelers as a perfect fit in their 3-4 front. But even if they're on the board, I see the Patriots passing over them.

5) The Patriots will use the earlier of their 4th round picks to acquire quarterback Mike Glennon from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are looking like a major landing place for Johnny Manziel, which would make last year's pick of Glennon expendable- and with the Bucs rebuilding, they don't need two developmental players on the roster. You can be sure that Belichick-confidant and former Bucs head coach Greg Schiano will be banging the table for Glennon.

From a time-perspective, Glennon offers an easy transition from current back-up Ryan Mallett (and potentially opens up Mallett as more aggressive trade bait). Glennon also graduates from his rookie contract in the exact year the Patriots will start planning for life after Tom Brady- so the Patriots will have plenty of options. A 4th for a proven starting quarterback with developmental upside makes more sense than rolling the dice on whatever draftee is on the board- and it's a total Belichick move.

6) The Patriots won't pick an offensive weapon in the first two rounds. There was a lot of noise around the Patriots' interest in wide receivers, but in such a deep draft, I find it hard to see them splurging early in the session. If they do, it'll likely be some elite talent who found their way into the third. That will either be a wide receiver or a tight end, even if it appears there's a log-jam at wide receiver.

The way I see it, the top four tight ends will all be off the board before the Patriots' make their second round pick (Ebron, Amaro in the first, Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the top 40, Troy Niklas before 60). The demand is too great. I'm still convinced that C.J. Fiedorowicz is the Patriots' top target at the position with regards to both value and ability. If he's around in the 3rd, he's the easy pick.

7) The Patriots will take a running back and a linebacker with their first two day three picks. No specific order, just the top players on the board at each position. They're not expected to be starters, but they're players who can step onto the field in a pinch- and the way the depth of the draft is built out, and the way the league is trending, both positions are undervalued and both will have second tier players still on the board at this point.

8) A fullback-like H-Back is a definite target at the end of the draft. There are plenty of "move" players who can operate at fullback. The Patriots loved what James Develin brought to the table and you can be certain that Josh McDaniels wants to upgrade that role with cheap talent. Whether it comes from someone like Gator Hoskins of Marshall or Trey Burton of Florida remains to be seen, but they will definitely be on the table. If not at the end of the draft, then definitely as a camp invite.

9) At pick 199, there will be unneccesary coverage about Tom Brady. That's just a fact. They probably won't even show footage of whoever is selected, but they'll show the talking heads discussing Brady's selection.

10) The NFL is letting each player who is at Radio City Music Hall have "Walk Out" music for when they're selected. I think that playing Game of Throne's The Rains of Castamere would be the ultimate power move by a draftee, but that's too much to ask for. I'm expecting Johnny Manziel to have the best walk-out song on the evening. Probably Drake's song about Manziel. Everyone will go crazy.

Of the record-setting 30 players attending, I'm expecting 25 to be selected, with 5 having to awkwardly sit around until day 2. My guess would be QB Jimmy Garoppolo, WRs Jordan Matthews and Cody Latimer, and OTs Cyrus Kouandjio and Morgan Moses. Dark horses to not be selected are CB Bradley Roby and DE Kony Ealy.

What are your predictions?

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