Mock drafts are a pain in the behind for Patriots fans because of the whole "Patriots don't have a first round pick" business. That doesn't mean that the draft won't be valuable.
ESPN's Mel Kiper held a conference call to discuss the draft and Jim McBride of the Boston Globe asked about needs for the Patriots, and what could be available at the end of the second round. Kiper gave a fairly in-depth response.
"Well, I think it's a wide receiver," Kiper said. "They have a need- remember when [Randy Moss] was there- they needed a true 6'1, 6'2 wide receiver.
"And I think if you look at what they have to look at this year, with the depth at that position, which is okay, not great. You have to say, well the first round's not good at all, but there are some guys that aren't going to go in the first round that are going to be interesting.
"Braxton Miller, he's a kind of guy- they like versatile players, [Patriots head coach Bill Belichick] does- Braxton Miller. I think another guy to look at would be Leonte Carroo from Rutgers, he could still be there. Michael Thomas from Ohio State, he could still be there. Pharoh Cooper from South Carolina.
"I think there's going to be some really nice options from a true wide receiver stand point available for the New England Patriots and I think that's what they have to go after. They have some other needs, obviously, but I think a true wide receiver is important."
So Kiper thinks the Patriots need to get a big receiver, taller than 6'1, and he thinks the 2nd round could bear some positive fruits for New England. He even mentions four names. Other than the fact that Cooper is 5'10, Carroo is a hair under 6'0, and that Miller's "versatility" comes at quarterback instead of multiple wide receiver positions, I think Kiper's on to something.
But seriously, Kiper does an incredible job with his breadth of knowledge and he was able to rattle off an opinion on a third string safety from Clemson on the call, so I'm just splitting hairs.
Personally, I think Carroo would be a fantastic fit, but there are concerns with the others. Miller is far too unpolished to earn time in New England's offense, and as a result he probably won't grow and learn the position. Cooper is a team captain and a two-time First Team All SEC player, but he would be yet another sub-6 foot player in the offense.
Thomas is a fine prospect that reminds me a bit of the Dolphins' Rishard Matthews, but there is some question about whether or not he'd be available when the Patriots select.
Some other 6'1 or taller players that could be available when the Patriots select at the end of the 2nd round are Southern Mississippi's Mike Thomas, Southeast Missouri's Paul McRoberts, and Colorado State's Rashard Higgins. A player like Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd will probably be off the board.
It would be great if the Patriots would be able to add a high quality receiver to compete with Brandon LaFell, but the Patriots have needs on the offensive line, running back, and at linebacker. If a player like Alabama RB Derrick Henry, Missouri LB Kentrell Brothers, Ohio State LB Joshua Perry, or Lousiana State's Jerald Hawkins is still on the board, the Patriots might be willing to wait another round to take a wide receiver.