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Patriots 3rd Day of the Draft and their Impact on the 2016 Roster

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Malcolm Mitchell headlines the players the Patriots took on the 3rd day of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Malcolm Mitchell headlines the players the Patriots took on the 3rd day of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots Draft Day concludes with WR Malcolm Mitchell, S/LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, LB Elandon Roberts, and Arizona State WR Devin Lucien. The Patriots traded up using two 6ths and a 7th to move up into the 5th round, but turned that pick into a 2017 4th rounder. Here's how these picks could wind up impacting the 2016 roster.

Malcolm Mitchell Should Push Chris Hogan for Starting X Role, Aaron Dobson on the Way Out:

The Patriots opted to draft a receiver from a pro-style offense with Malcolm Mitchell. Mitchell is very familiar with option routes having played in former Jets and Rams OC Brian Schottenheimer's offense. Mitchell offers a nice combination of speed, leaping ability, and agility. Another bonus is Mitchell can return kicks, which will help him get on the active 46 Gameday roster. Mitchell is most likely the Patriots developmental WR pick if the future. Chris Hogan is the Patriots starting X receiver currently since they gave him a 4/$12M contract with $5.5M in the first year. Based on that contract, they expect Hogan to be the primary starter in 2016 and Mitchell to take over over the course of the season and over the long term.

One player whose spot on the roster is now no longer a certainty is 2013 2nd rounder Aaron Dobson, whose career has been decimated by injuries. The Patriots are in a position where they cannot afford to see if Dobson will be healthy and productive, so they've opted to go with Mitchell.

Patriots Give Roger Goodell the 3rd Finger:

The Patriots initially traded up using 196, 204, and 250 to trade up to 147. When it came time to make the pick, the Seahawks offered a 4th round pick in 2017 and a swap of 7th round picks. The Patriots were penalized a 4th round pick for Defarcegate and now will get a replacement pick for it. Ultimately it created a 102 pick gap between 112 and 214. The Patriots only had 5 picks in the 2017 draft and adding a 4th will allow for the Patriots to make some moves in case a player they like is within range. The 2017 Draft should have a stronger upper class than 2016. The Patriots were prepared to pick at 147th overall, and my guess is they would have likely taken Keenan Reynolds there as a project offensive weapon.

Patriots Top 6th Round Picks With Special Teams and Practice Squad in Mind:

The Patriots wound up picking linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, linebacker Elandon Roberts, and guard Ted Karras with their three compensatory selections in the 6th round. The top of the Patriots linebacker corps is relatively set with the Patriots using Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower, 2016 FA signee Shea McClellin, and Jonathan Freeny. The Patriots are definitely in the lookout for a special teams player at the linebacker position, so it's theoretical that one of them could stick at the very bottom of the linebacker depth chart. It's also very likely that neither player winds up on the 53-man roster in September if you consider Special Teams star Brandon King as a linebacker.

Ted Karras Adds More Competition at Guard:

Ted Karras is the most interesting pick of the three, as he is also the great-nephew of 4-time Pro Bowler Alex Karras. The Patriots were clearly not satisfied with their guard play last year, adding Jonathan Cooper, Joe Thuney, and Karras to the position this offseason. Thuney could still theoretically play tackle in the future, but his 2016 contributions may come in at guard. Karras was a 4-year starter at right guard at Illinois and should push 2015 4th rounder Shaq Mason for the starting role. After this draft, the players that should be the most concerned are Josh Kline, Tre Jackson, and David Andrews.

Patriots Take a Flyer on Devin Lucien:

The Patriots WR corps is fairly set in stone in 2016, with Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Danny Amendola, and Keshawn Martin expected to be with the team in 2016. The Patriots are still working on trying to reduce the cap number for Amendola. Lucien emerged the last 3 games for Arizona State after transferring as a graduate student from UCLA, where he was virtually invisible. Lucien is interesting with a solid showing on his pro day with a 4.49 40 and 6.93 3-Cone. Pro Football Focus labeled Lucien as their #1 sleeper prospect due to his hands and ability to make an impact on the boundary on shorter routes.

From the 3rd day of the Patriots 2016 draft, Malcolm Mitchell is the only roster lock in the group, although there are a couple intriguing names with Karras and Lucien. The Patriots pool of undrafted free agents will likely overshadow their 6th round and later picks.