Here is my attempt at picking New Englands’s draft for them. I made my picks from mostly position needs. The Patriot’s coaching staff had workouts with some of my picks and others where player visits to New England. In my opinion the Patriots’ biggest needs are linebacker, after losing Spikes & Fletcher, tight end as Hooman is the only healthy TE on the roster, safety being that there are no guarantees that Chung & Wilson make the final roster, center/guard for upgrades are needed to the interior OL, and QB as Mallett is in the last year of his rookie deal. So here are my picks:
Round 1 (29) Ryan Shazier (OLB) Ohio State University
Considered a highly productive disruptive playmaker in both the run & pass game. Shazier has great pass rushing skills and is versatile enough to drop back in coverage which would be ideal in New England. He is a high character team leader who can play 3 downs. Shazier also led the Big Ten in tackles and tackles for loss in 2013. Lacks ideal size and bulk which could be gained as he plays in the NFL.He would become an immediate starter along with Jerod Mayo & Dont’a Hightower in the NE base 4-3 defense.
Round 2 (62) Deone Bucannon (SS) Washington State
Considered to be one of the hardest hitting safeties in this draft. Deone Bucannon is a 4 year starter who is a very effective tackler. He would bring aggressiveness and intensity to a Patriots secondary thats been lacking such since the days of Rodney Harrison. However, he is not considered great in pass coverage and is vulnerable to double moves. Hopefully can play the Kam Chancellor role in New England.
Round 3 (93) C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE) Iowa
C.J. Fiedorowicz has a game comparable to Rob Gronkowski. He has a large frame and good hands as well as works well in pass catching and blocking. He is a durable player that has only missed one game since 2011. Fiedorowicz should step right in as the Patriots #2 TE. The only main weakness i see is that he lacks breakaway speed.
Round 4 (130) Tom Savage (QB) Pittsburgh
Tom Savage is a big strong armed QB who can make all the throws from the pocket with the added bonus of a quick release. He is considered to have the strongest arm in the draft. Savage comes into the draft with very good pocket awareness and could lead WRs on most routes. His main weaknesses are that he stares down targets and needs to read defensive backs better. Something that he will probably learn to deal with while sitting behind Tom Brady. Savage is considered a smart high character guy. He started his college career at Rutgers. He could very well be the other Tom in New England that will terrorize the AFC East for the next 10 years
Round 4 (140) Chris Watt (G) Notre Dame
Chris Watt is a tough competitor that shows a nasty streak at times. He is considered a high effort player who started 37 games at ND at the guard position. Watt has the size to play guard in the NFL and is considered a low risk pick. Watt’s biggest negative is he had a torn PCL this past October then sprained the MCL on the same knee a month later. No surgery was needed but still something to think about. Might be able to pick him later in the draft.This pick would move Dan Connolly back to 3rd on the guard position depth chart behind Marcus Cannon and Watt.
Round 6 (198) Matt Paradis (C) Boise State
Matt Paradis comes into the draft with good balance that generates movement in the run game. He is considered a tough competitor and yet another high character guy. Paradis has all the intangibles and is considered a very good leader. His only downside is that he might lack the size to play against larger nose tackles but size could be gained at the NFL level. Should be ready to step in as starting center when the time comes for NE to move on from Ryan Wendell.Probably could be picked later in the draft but also could be taken by Denver as well.
Round 6 (206) Bruce Gaston (DT) Purdue
Bruce Gaston is a player that excels in a 4-3 scheme. Gaston is considered a strong tackler that can push the pocket giving him a lot of value in the sixth round. Gaston is 4 year starter and a team captain that comes with high character/high effort and should provide quality depth in the NFL. The only drawback is his consistency at pass rushing. Could be seen as a practice squad type player his 1st year in NE.
Round 7 (244) Austin Wentworth (G) Fresno State
Austin Wentworth played LT in college but may be more suited more for guard in the NFL. Wentworth is a durable 3 year starter and a high character guy who makes few mental errors. Wentworth also excels in the run game and is a solid pass blocker. Wentworth could be coached up with a move to guard but could always slide over to tackle if need be giving him desirable versatility.
These might not be consensus picks but it addresses their needs at linebacker,safety,tight end and interior offensive line help. Even though I made the picks where they are, New England should probably tradeback out of the 1st gaining additional picks and that shouldn’t be a surprise. If this happens I could see AJ McCarron taken around the 2nd or 3rd instead of Savage in the 4th. Probably missing out on Shazier by moving back,look for DT Stephen Truitt and OLB Prince Shembo both from ND as well as Boston College RB Andre Williams as possibilities with the added picks.