The Patriots four picks of the 2nd day of the draft were Alabama CB Cyrus Jones, North Carolina State T/G Joe Thuney, North Carolina State QB Jacoby Brissett, and Nebraska DT Vincent Valentine. Aside from Cyrus Jones, the Patriots managed to completely floor me on the 2nd day of the draft and managed to fill out needs on the offensive and defensive lines as I hoped. The Brissett pick is somewhat interesting as that isn't something you expect Belichick to do, especially considering that Brissett is almost the opposite of Tom Brady when it comes to strengths in the passing game. Aside from those, these are the implications from the Patriots draft selections when it comes to the 2016 Roster:
Patriots Will Carry 3 QBs All Season:
Obviously the Brissett pick is not just for the Patriots to get a camp arm, they have to have some realistic plan for him on the roster. Backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo is slated to take over for Tom Brady in the 4 games he was suspended and Brissett would obviously be the backup. The Patriots obviously liked him enough to take them with a 3rd round pick. The plan could be Garoppolo plays well in the 4-game absence, then Brady carries the team for the rest of the season before the Patriots trade Jimmy G to another team for draft picks. After that, Brissett would develop as the backup.
Brissett doesn't fit the Patriots offense under Tom Brady, but also keep in mind that when you take Brady out of the offense it looks much more different. Brissett is more of the athletic shotgun spread type quarterback like Jimmy G, but lacks the quick release. Obviously the offense would be tailored to his strengths if there was a case of him needing to play in the regular season. Obviously he will learn the ins and outs of playing the QB position from one of the greatest ever to put on a helmet.
Cyrus Jones is the Perfect Patriot CB Prospect and Should Push Justin Coleman for Starting Spot:
I initially ranked Jones to be the #6 best fit overall out of 10 because of his ability to contribute for the team on all 4 downs. The Patriots are relatively set with their boundary corners with Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler, but there will be competition in the slot between incumbent nickel corner Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones. Coleman had his moments in 2015, but is still more of an athlete than a football player at this point. Even if Jones doesn't win the nickel job, he can still help the team in various ways. He was the best punt returner in college for Alabama and he will likely be given a chance to assume the returner role and help give Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola breathers.
I did not know this prior to the Patriots selecting Jones, but from what I've heard after they picked him on my Twitter timeline that Bill Belichick personally visited and they went over film. I knew the Patriots liked Jones a lot based on the reports of what he could do on the field, but throw in the fact he's a film room junkie and knows the pressure of playing in big games, that's a huge boost to have in the locker room.
Patriots Opt for Athleticism Over Fit on Offensive Line, Thuney May Wind Up at Guard:
Joe Thuney sounds like the perfect Patriots OL prospect, right? The only problem for Thuney is most teams see him as a guard in the NFL. The Patriots still could use an upgrade at the left guard position and Thuney is obviously a candidate there. This could wind up being another Logan Mankins type pick, although I would have to imagine Thuney gets a shot at playing tackle. He's not a great fit for a Power Blocking Scheme due to lack of length, but the Patriots have been acquiring more Zone Blocking Scheme type players and could be switching to that style in 2016. Even though they passed on flashier prospects like Le'Raven Clark, the Patriots found a guy who I think will be great value no matter where he plays.
Patriots Envision Vincent Valentine in the Alan Branch/Terrance Knighton Role In the Future:
The Patriots did make a defensive tackle pick, although I doubt few expected them to go for Vincent Valentine out of Nebraska. The Patriots have two types of interior defensive linemen on their roster. They have the big, hulking war daddies that clog up running lanes and push pockets and they have the penetrating types that can line up as a 3-tech and split the gap. Based on the Patriots current roster makeup at the DT position, it is theoretical that they could switch to a 3-4 base although that's irrelevant anyway since it's maybe 25% of the snaps.
Valentine is very athletic for 6'4" 329 as he ran a 5.19 40, ran a 4.59 shuttle, leaped 29", and had a standing jump of 9'2". When it comes to athletic nose tackles, they are in short supply, which is why Belichick moved away from the 3-4 in 2012 when Vince Wilfork started showing signs of aging. Valentine projects to be part of the rotation for the Patriots if they elect to move to a 3-4 defense now that they have the bodies for it. Alan Branch and Terrance Knighton are only under contract for 2016, so there was a need for the Patriots to draft someone like Valentine, which is why I like the pick better than others. There are still a solid supply of 3-technique defensive tackles on the 3rd day of the draft.
The Patriots are in a position where they can just attack the 3rd day with value picks. They have a 4th, 5 6ths, and 2 7ths, although 3 of the 5 6th are untradable as compensatory selections. The Patriots don't have a lot of roster space available and I think they should attack the board aggressively. With what's available on the 3rd day, Bill Belichick is going to be at the candy store again. The Patriots could double up on OL, pick a RB from the pool I thought would go Day 2, or take a receiver.