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2015 NFL Draft: Analysis of the Patriots 3rd Day

The Patriots cleaned up on the final day of the draft.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

If you were concerned about the Patriots draft, fear no longer. New England absolutely cleaned up on the final day of the draft. Here's how.

101. ED Trey Flowers, Arkansas - If there's one player who is going to be an unheralded stud edge defender in the mold of Rob Ninkovich, it's the 6'3, 270 lbs Flowers. According to College Football Focus, Flowers was their only edge defender ranked in the top four of their key defense statistics (run stop rate, pass rush productivity, third down productivity). He's stout, he's strong, and he's a potential impact player on the edge. His selection puts writing on the wall for all the edge players, other than Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, and Jabaal Sheard. It also means that third round pick Geneo Grissom is likely a projected linebacker.

111. OG Tre Jackson, Florida State - If the Patriots weren't going to take A.J. Cann, Jackson was the next guy on their board. The Patriots sent Dante Scarnecchia to FSU for a second season, and they select Bryan Stork's former teammate. Jackson has spent his career at right guard, but Bill Belichick believes he has the potential to thrive at left guard. He's a total road grader in the run game and is above average in pass protection. He needs to work on his phone booth quickness, but he's wide enough to impede quicker rushers. It will be interesting to see if Cameron Fleming has a future at guard, and if Ryan Wendell is a key guard.

131. IOL Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech - This is the third pick of the fourth round and the Patriots found themselves another steal. Mason is the best run blocking lineman in the draft, but is an extremely raw pass blocker coming out of the option offense. When you watch him play, you think he's a souped up running back with open field athleticism. It wouldn't be a surprise if Mason and Jackson became the guards of the future. What a terrific job at addressing the position in the draft.

166. LS Joe Cardona, Navy - This might come across as another head scratcher, but it makes total sense. New England's been looking for a long snapper since Lonie Paxton, and Danny Aiken (currently unsigned) has a history of low snaps. Cardona has the fastest snap ever recorded and he doesn't make mistakes. As noted by Ethan Hammerman, the Patriots always use the fifth round to address special teams. Cardona could be unavailable for two seasons due to service requirements, but upon his return he will be a long time special teams player.

178. LB Matthew Wells, Mississippi State - Wells comes from one of the top defenses in the league and fits the mold of Jonathan Casillas. Wells runs a 4.43 40 yard dash and he'll step in as a core special teams player, while offering depth in sub-packages. He started 33 games and the Patriots believe he can provide value as a key back-up. It would make sense for Jerod Mayo, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Geneo Grissom, and Wells to be the top five linebackers, along with Chris White.

202. TE A.J. Derby, Arkansas - Derby is a former quarterback from the University of Iowa, so Belichick will have some inside information from head coach Kirk Ferentz. He transfered his way to Arkansas and the 6'4, 255 lbs tight end runs an astounding 4.72 40 and 6.99 3 cone. He finished the season with an injury and is a top candidate for the Foxboro Flu or the practice squad. Only has one year of experience at tight end. Don't expect him to push for a roster spot with Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Scott Chandler, and Tim Wright ahead in the depth chart.

247. CB Darryl Roberts, Marshall - Roberts is in the form of former athletically impressive Patriot Malcolm Williams, with a 4.38 40, an 11'1 broad jump, and a 6.66 3 cone. Roberts is either going to earn a spot on special teams, or he's going to spend time on the practice squad. Roberts actually has 42 starts under his belt and was extremely productive for one of the top teams in the country (18 passes defended).

253. LB Xzavier Dickson, Alabama - Dickson is a straight line athlete who has experience as a 3-4 outside linebacker (similar to Hightower). He's a fairly stiff athlete, but he was a productive leader on the Alabama defense. It seems unlikely that Dickson will make the roster, especially due to all of the other linebackers and edge defenders the Patriots selected ahead of him, but this is a low risk, moderate reward selection if Dickson can find a way to produce.

The Patriots didn't really address the cornerback position in this draft, but instead focused on the defensive front seven and the offensive line. New England believes the addition of Bradley Fletcher will help out the secondary, along with an improved pass rush. The Patriots did a tremendous job of filling their biggest holes (offensive line), as well as fleshing out depth where it's needed (defensive line, linebacker).

It's also just as revealing when looking at what the Patriots didn't do. In such a rich wide receiver draft, the fact that New England steered clear implies that either Aaron Dobson or Brian Tyms is really going to be given a chance to be an impact player on the offense, and that Danny Amendola will have a fair shot to produce in the slot.