Dan Kadar of SB Nation’s Mocking the Draft has released his latest mock draft. This time around, he’s projected two full rounds. At 32, he has the Patriots going with Georgia running back Todd Gurley:
It’s true, Gurley’s torn ACL might force him to miss the start of the season. There’s also an incredibly strong argument to be made against taking a running back in the first round. But if the Patriots aren’t comfortable with the interior blockers on board, a player like Gurley could be perceived as the best player available. When healthy, Gurley should quickly prove why he’s worth this high of a pick.
Had it not been for Gurley’s torn ACL, he might have been the first running back selected in the top ten since Trent Richardson in 2012. He’s that good. Outside of the interior line, the Patriots do not have any pressing needs at the moment, so Gurley would certainly fall under the "best player available" line of thinking. As the Patriots’ numerous acquisitions over the last few years have suggested, they are also not afraid of players with an ACL history. He is a big, powerful, explosive leg churner who is excellent in ball security (unlike fellow potential top pick Melvin Gordon).
If he can return to health, Gurley would be far and away the best running back in the Patriots backfield.
In the second round, Kadar has the Patriots focusing on their primary need: the interior of their offensive line. The pick: Florida State prospect Cameron Erving:
Erving is sort of a man without a position. He was moved to center out of necessity toward the end of Florida State’s season and did fine, but he was struggling somewhat at left tackle last season. The Patriots could try him a variety of spots and see where he sticks.
Erving needs to work on his technique and consistency, but at 64, would be great valuable. The Patriots could work Erving in at multiple positions his rookie season to find his best fit. In the first round, he’s probably a reach. At 64, Erving offers enough upside to warrant a selection.
What are your thoughts on Kadar’s projections for the Patriots?