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2015 Mock Draft: Todd McShay's Patriots Projection 4.0

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ESPN's draft guru offers his latest thoughts on the Patriots in the draft.

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We're starting to see the first wave of post-free agency mock drafts and, let's be serious, mocks from before free agency don't really mean much beyond getting to know prospect names.

We've seen the Patriots address their running back position, they've signed their premier safety, and they've lost both starting cornerbacks. Mock drafts that had been projecting defensive line talent might now be pointing to the cornerback position as the hole of greatest need on the Patriots roster.

ESPN's Todd McShay tries to fix the position in the middle of a cornerback run in his latest mock draft:

32) Byron Jones

COLLEGE: Connecticut Class: Sr HT: 6-0 WT: 199 POS: CB

Analysis: Running back Melvin Gordon is an intriguing option for the Patriots here, as is nose tackle Jordan Phillips, who could step in to replace Vince Wilfork. But cornerback is the team's biggest need right now after losing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner in free agency, and Jones has elite tools for the position. He has very good size, range and athleticism (including a ridiculous broad jump of 12 feet, 3 inches and a nearly-as-impressive vertical of 44.5 inches), and while he needs to improve his patience and anticipation skills, he is a hard worker who should take well to coaching.

I have Byron as the 4th ranked CB in the draft, and McShay has Jones as the fourth CB off the board. McShay has a CB going 30th, 31st, and 32nd in this draft.

If you like Jamie Collins as an athletic freak at linebacker, Jones is that type of a player at cornerback. He's the world record holder in the broad jump. Not just the combine record holder. The world record holder.

Our very own Michael McDermott offered his breakdown of Jones here.

Personally, I like the pick. This is a surprisingly deep class of cornerbacks, but Jones offers one of the best combinations of immediate start-ability and growth potential. Others are more ready, but the Patriots have the luxury of not needing to throw their rookie right into the fire.

Jones is good at both press and zone coverage and is the best in the draft at sitting in the receiver's hip pocket throughout their routes. While Kevin Johnson does a better job of breaking on the ball, Jones doesn't leave a window for a quarterback. Jones has quick feet and can mirror all comers. He's also active against the run.

Where Jones needs to improve is with his ball skills and with his footwork. There are times where he's just physically not together and his upper body and lower body aren't on the same page. He trips himself up when he looks back for the ball and winds up on the ground too often for comfort.

I would be very happy with this pick. What are your thoughts?