|Seven||20(from Bears through Buccaneers), 29||226, 235|
Total: 5 Picks
Team Needs: Cornerback, Wide Receiver, Tight End, and Defensive Line
Consensus First Round Pick: Defensive End, Margus Hunt, SMU
Prospects That Fit Team Needs:
Early Rounds: CB Desmond Trufant (Washington); DE Margus Hunt (SMU); WR Justin Hunter (Tennessee); DE Cornellius Carradine (Florida State); S Eric Reid (LSU); DT Jesse Williams (Alabama); CB B.W. Webb (William & Mary); WR Robert Woods (USC)
Middle Rounds: WR Stedman Bailey (West Virginia); S Bacarri Rambo (Georgia); CB Nickell Robey (USC), CB Logan Ryan (Rutgers); WR Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech); WR Da’Rick Rogers (Tennessee Tech); DE Alex Okafor (Texas)
Late Rounds: G Hugh Thornton (Illinois); T Reid Fragel (Ohio State); DT Chris Jones (Bowling Green); DB Josh Johnson (Purdue); WR Aaron Mellette (Elon)
To my surprise, and maybe yours too, the New England Patriots only have five picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. They will be picking in just four of the seven rounds. The Patriots do not hold a pick from rounds four through six.
Nevertheless, I would expect that to change as in years past we have grown use to seeing the Patriots have a stock pile of draft picks. In a lot of mock drafts I have seen from website-to-website, the Patriots are being linked up to SMU’s defensive end, Margus Hunt. The 6’8, 277 pound defensive linemen is considered to be the biggest athletic “freak” in college football according to CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman. Hunt runs an impressive 4.53 40 yard dash and naturally strong. His biggest downside being his inconsistency. Hunt needs to make more plays, more often instead of the big flashes he showed at SMU.
With the need at wide receiver, I do not see why the Patriots would not take a good long look at Tennessee’s Justin Hunter. Hunter projected as an early second round pick in most rankings, but the potential Hunter possesses is unreal. He is built the way coaches dream of standing at 6’4 with great body control. Makes yards after catch and can get down field on defenses. However, the biggest disappointment with Hunter is the inconsistent hands. He has a habit of dropping the football and that could very well hurt his stock. I am sure quarterback Tom Brady would love to get a receiver like Hunter on the roster to work with.
When looking at the Patriots’ offense, there is no way to replace what Wes Welker has done at receiver. The team failed to win him over, and he chose to sign with the Denver Broncos. Not long after, the Patriots found the next man to step in those shoes or at least try. Danny Amendola. On top of this, the Patriots have a problem at tight end too. Rob Gronkowski has an infection in his broken arm for the second time now. This putting his status questionable to be ready at the start of the season. Like Welker, no one can replace a Gronkowski. The team has four other tight ends on the roster including Aaron Hernandez, who runs the two tight end formations with Gronkowski and is also very successful. The Patriots have former New York Giants‘ tight end Jake Ballard who was claimed by the team soon after they lost the Super Bowl to the Giants. He was unable to play last season, but will be active this year. Will he be able to fill the role?
Defensively, the Patriots lost safety Patrick Chung the first day of free agency to the Philadelphia Eagles. Again, the Patriots went and found who their replacement will be. That will be long time Arizona Cardinals‘ vet, Adrian Wilson. The Patriots were able to get back Aqib Talib under contract, but lack talent at cornerback from there. Their number two cornerback is Alfonzo Dennard who held his own last season with three interceptions in his rookie season. However, the position is thin from there. Expect them to address the secondary during the draft which starts in just 16 days.