• Round 1, Pick 29 – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA Last year the Patriots surprised a lot of people and moved up twice in the first round to get two solid defenders that are poised to be anchors in that defense for the foreseeable future. The defense was improved with those additions as both players made an immediate impact from week 1 (although injuries did slow down Chandler Jones later on in the season). Pass rush is still an issue in New England though, so enter Datone Jones of UCLA. Jones has that size that Bill Belichick likes in his pass rushing defensive linemen and has the versatility that is so valued in Foxboro. Jones has a good burst and can absolutely get after the passer. What makes Jones a logical selection here is his ability to also play the run. Bill would much rather pick a player in the first round who can play on first, second and third down, Jones can do that. He can play with his hand in the dirt and can probably even stand up and play a little bit of linebacker if necessary. The Patriots have a solid contributor on the other side of Chandler Jones with veteran Rob Ninkovich, but the addition of Datone Jones would make that defensive line something to be excited for if you’re a Patriots’ fan. That would make a base 4-man front consisting of Chandler Jones, Tommy Kelly, Vince Wilfork, and Datone Jones Of course Belichick is always liable to trade down, especially this year where he doesn’t have many mid-round picks.

 

  • Round 2, Pick 59 – Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor The Patriots are not very deep at wide receiver. Newcomers Danny Amendola and Donald Jones are really their top targets at the position and that should make Patriots’ fans uncomfortable. The Patriots have not been good at picking receivers in the draft (see Chad Jackson) and they have been even worse at developing them after selecting them (see Taylor Price). They need someone to make big plays on offense for Brady, they need someone who will be able to create a rapport with Brady, and I truly believe that Williams is the best man for the job. I absolutely loved this guy on film. He has all the measurables you want in a receiver and he just looks great on the field. He was the deep threat for the Bears for the last couple years and he looks to continue to be that in the NFL. He is physical player who isn’tafraid to go up over the defender and make the tough catch. He runs different routes on the outside too; slants, button hooks, out and in routes make him a versatile weapon that could be dangerous in the Patriots’ offense. He is also a pretty decent red zone threat. I really like Williams, and if he is available at this spot, the Patriots should not hesitate to pounce on him.

 

  • Round 3, Pick 89 – Tyrann Mathieu, DB, LSU The secondary in Foxboro is shaping up to be very interesting for the coming season. They locked up Aqib Talib for at least one more year, Alfonzo Dennard missed out on jail time (at least time that will force him to miss any games or camp), and I absolutely love the signing of Adrian Wilson at safety. Then comes the player formerly known as the honey badger. Mathieu is a bit of small player and needs to be used correctly if he is going to be successful in the NFL. What Mathieu is though, is a big time playmaker; and you can’t have too many of those on your defense. Getting him at this point of the draft also presents some solid value. Mathieu also has a bit of that versatility factor as he is a pretty prolific punt returner, and while that job is pretty much locked up in Foxboro by Julian Edelman, he tends to get hurt too often.

 

  • Round 7, Pick 226 –Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA Fauria is the nephew of former Patriot Christian Fauria so there is that connection. Tight end is not necessarily a position of need for the Patriots, but with some of the stories of both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in danger of missing a significant portion of training camp, some bodies may be needed. Fauria made some big plays for the Bruins this season and might even have the opportunity to make the team if he really shines in camp.

 

  • Round 7, pick 235 – Keelan Johnson, DB, ASU Yes, I am a Sun Devil. But safety is still a need position and Johnson is a more than solid player who could be available here. Johnson is a natural leader, and a hard-nosed player on the field. At this point you are throwing darts at the board anyway, and Johnson is a very good player who could make the team or at the very least get a job on the practice squad.
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