With the draft drawing near, it's time to start crossing the t's and dotting the i's on the draft charts and prepare for the off-season Super Bowl called the NFL Draft. I'll be the first to admit that I have no inside information regarding the Patriots; all my posts are based off my opinion and nothing more. When I post this Big Board, it's based on where I believe the players should be drafted by the Patriots. This is not a chart of where these players will be drafted, but instead where they should be drafted. By the Patriots. The Patriots have different needs and requirements of their players than the Bills, or the Panthers, or the Rams. As such, the Patriots should have their own draft board.
Pro Football Weekly has their overall draft board and I'm copying their style for the Patriots' board. Players in the "A" column should be drafted in the first third of the round, "B" in the middle of the round, and "C" in the bottom third of the round. These values of perceived value for the Patriots need to be weighed and balanced with the perceived value of other NFL in order to grab players of need. For example, if the Patriots have Mark Ingram rated as 2A (first third of the 2nd round), but the rest of the NFL have Ingram rated as 1C, the Patriots have to consider the ramifications of moving up to ensure they get the player they want. Is the player worth the value of trading up? That's for the GM to decide. For now, here's my Three Round Big Board for the New England Patriots. I know some will disagree with certain placements (How come I hate Prince Amukamara?!) and be surprised by others (I thought I hated J.J. Watt?!), but hopefully you'll be willing to add your input in the comment sections!
See the Big Board after the jump!
First Round Pos A B C WR A.J. Green Julio Jones OT Gabe Carimi Nate Solder Anthony Castonzo Tyron Smith OG Mike Pouncey Danny Watkins DE Marcell Dareus Nick Fairley Cameron Heyward Cameron Jordan J.J. Watt Rush OLB Robert Quinn Aldon Smith Jabaal Sheard Cover OLB Von Miller CB Patrick Peterson Jimmy Smith Prince Amukamara Second Round Pos A B C QB Andy Dalton Jake Locker Christian Ponder Ryan Mallett WR Randall Cobb Jonathan Baldwin Torrey Smith Leonard Hankerson RB Mark Ingram Jordan Todman Mikel Leshoure Ryan Williams TE Kyle Rudolph OT Derek Sherrod James Carpenter Marcus Cannon OG Benjamin Ijalana C Rodney Hudson NT Phil Taylor DE Muhammad Wilkerson Corey Liuget Allen Bailey Adrian Clayborn ILB Martez Wilson Rush OLB Ryan Kerrigan Justin Houston Sam Acho Brooks Reed Cover OLB Akeem Ayers Mason Foster CB Aaron Williams Brandon Harris Ras-I Dowling Curtis Brown S Rahim Moore Quinton Carter Third Round Pos A B C QB Blaine Gabbert Ricky Stanzi WR Titus Young Jerrel Jernigan Edmund Gates Greg Little RB DeMarco Murray Kendall Hunter Shane Vereen Taiwan Jones TE Luke Stocker Lance Kendricks OT Orlando Franklin James Brewer Marcus Gilbert OG John Moffitt Will Rackley Steve Schilling Clint Boling C Stefen Wisniewski NT Kenrick Ellis DE Jarvis Jenkins Christian Ballard ILB Quan Sturdivant Greg Jones Colin McCarthy Kelvin Sheppard Rush OLB Dontay Moch Cover OLB Chris Carter K.J. Wright Bruce Carter Jeremy Beal CB Davon House Johnny Patrick S Jaiquawn Jarrett
I see a lot of value at the end of the rounds, so don't be surprised if the Patriots trade down to the bottom of the first and pick up some future picks as they trade down to the bottom of the second round. However, the above is a list of player with grades, not necessarily players the Patriots' are interested in drafting. The list will help when creating trades with other teams, but it's important to mark the difference between Patriots prospects and NFL prospects. The following table will be of players I believe the Patriots will be looking at drafting in the first three rounds.
First Round Pos A B C WR A.J. Green Julio Jones OT Gabe Carimi Nate Solder Anthony Castonzo OG Mike Pouncey Danny Watkins DE Marcell Dareus Cameron Jordan Cameron Heyward J.J. Watt Rush OLB Jabaal Sheard Cover OLB Von Miller CB Patrick Peterson Prince Amukamara Second Round Pos A B C QB Andy Dalton Christian Ponder WR Randall Cobb Jonathan Baldwin Torrey Smith RB Mark Ingram Jordan Todman Mikel Leshoure TE Kyle Rudolph OT Derek Sherrod James Carpenter Marcus Cannon OG Benjamin Ijalana C Rodney Hudson DE Muhammad Wilkerson Allen Bailey ILB Martez Wilson Rush OLB Ryan Kerrigan Justin Houston Sam Acho Brooks Reed Cover OLB Akeem Ayers Mason Foster CB Ras-I Dowling Brandon Harris Curtis Brown S Rahim Moore Quinton Carter Third Round Pos A B C QB Ricky Stanzi WR Titus Young Jerrel Jernigan Edmund Gates RB DeMarco Murray TE Luke Stocker Lance Kendricks OT Marcus Gilbert OG John Moffitt Will Rackley Steve Schilling Clint Boling C Stefen Wisniewski DE Jarvis Jenkins ILB Quan Sturdivant Greg Jones Colin McCarthy Kelvin Sheppard Cover OLB Chris Carter K.J. Wright Bruce Carter Jeremy Beal CB Davon House Johnny Patrick S Jaiquawn Jarrett
The clear difference is the removal of players that do not fit the Patriot's defensive style. Here's a breakdown of the prospects:
15 First Round Prospects (4A, 4B, 7C)
28 Second Round Prospects (2A, 11B, 15C)
25 Third Round Prospects (11A, 8B, 6C)
Hopefully this is a fair evaluation of where the Patriots are grading the draft prospects. We'll see by the end of this week!