The Patriots selected eleven players in the NFL Draft and took part in two draft day trades to flesh out the roster. Here's the rundown:
1st round, 32nd overall: DT Malcom Brown, Texas - Brown was a top 15 pick that New England wasn't expecting to be available. He's a stout run defender with upside as a rusher who will step in as a rotational defensive tackle on day one. The Patriots had a trade lined up with the Texans before the Colts shockingly passed.
2nd, 64th: DB Jordan Richards, Stanford - Richard is a multi-year starter and team captain. He's a coach on and off of the field and will compete with Pat Chung and Duron Harmon for playing time. He can play in the slot, strong safety, and free safety. Considered an overdrafted player due to physical limitations.
3rd, 96th: Packaged with the 219th overall pick (7th round) for the Cleveland Browns' 111th (4th), 147th (5th), and 202nd (6th) picks.
3rd, 97th: LB Geneo Grissom, Oklahoma - The Patriots used their compensatory pick from Aqib Talib on a defender who can line up anywhere on the defense's front seven. Bill Belichick struggled to contain his excitement over this pick, so it will be fun to watch the execution.
4th, 101st: ED Trey Flowers, Arkansas - Flowers is one of the best run defenders and pass rushers in the league, but his combine speed left many wanting. He won't chase down the quarterback, but he will remind of Rob Ninkovich with how he sets the edge and sheds blockers in the run game.
4th, 111th: OG Tre Jackson, Florida State - Jackson is a day one starter that the Patriots are excited to have on the roster. He's played with center Bryan Stork and their communication should be great on day one. While Jackson is limited as an athlete, he's a total mountain of a man who loves to run block.
4th, 131st: OG Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech - Like Jackson, Mason is a total brawler in the run game. Unlike Jackson, Mason has little experience in the passing game. Also unlike Jackson, Mason is a top notch athlete. Look for Mason to spend some time in development behind Ryan Wendell until he's ready to star.
5th, 147th: Traded to the Green Bay Packers for the 166th (5th) and 247th (7th) picks.
5th, 166th: LS Joe Cardona, Navy - Cardona might not be available to play for two seasons due to his deployment, but the Patriots have been trying to find their long time long snapper for the past two or three seasons. Cardona is the best long snapper prospect in a long time. The Patriots use the fifth round to snag their key special teams players.
6th, 178th: LB Matthew Wells, Mississippi State - An athletic specimen with plenty of starting experience at linebacker. Moves like a safety. He's not Jamie Collins, he's a lot smaller against the run, but Wells could take the role of Jonathan Casillas on special teams and as a depth linebacker.
6th, 202nd: TE A.J. Derby, Arkansas - Derby is a converted quarterback who shows short-area quickness. He's a developmental candidate for the practice squad.
7th, 247th: CB Darryl Roberts, Marshall - Roberts is another fantastic athletic prospect with great starting experience. He offers immediate special teams ability, but would likely be a roster bubble candidate to bounce between the practice squad and roster in case of injury. Belichick likes to keep these types of players around for a year or so to see if the light bulb goes off.
7th, 253rd: LB Xzavier Dickson, Alabama - Dickson was a multi-year starter for the Crimson Tide and Belichick is close friends with head coach Nick Saban. It's a certainty that the Patriots have the best inside look of Dickson's character. This is a low risk, possible depth reward as Dickson is a limited athlete.