The Patriots are always movers and shakers at the NFL draft. And although this year it’ll be tougher to move and shake, New England is once again in a position to make some moves. We bring in Jamie Pacheco of Musket Fire to look at the Pats.
1. This team is famous for dealing picks. This year, they have two first rounders. There’s pretty much no way they keep them both, right? Can you see them trading both and loading up on second rounders? Obviously, trades will be more difficult this year…
I don’t think they’ll be loading up on second rounders this year. I don’t think that they’ll use both of their first round picks (now that I said that they probably will), but that would likely be to either trade up and grab a “can’t miss” prospect or trade back and stockpile picks again for next year. The problem with that is there may not be a draft next year with no CBA. The Patriots have made a bunch of selections over the past two drafts and they run the risk of becoming too young with all of the youth, many of which would likely be sitting on the bench. Not a wise investment, and not a wise move for a team looking to maximize Tom Brady’s remaining years with another championship or two. If somehow there is a new CBA before the draft, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pats trade a pick for a veteran.
2. Do they keep building that defense this year?
The Patriots will likely use at least one of their first rounders on a defensive player, most likely a defensive end or an outside linebacker. If they trade back and have just one first rounder, that could be used on an offensive lineman. If that’s the case, one or both of their second round picks would be used on the defense.
3. What’s the biggest defensive need: another corner to complement Devin McCourty or someone to help the pass rush?
The bigger need is most definitely a pass rusher, who would help out Devin McCourty and the rest of the secondary by giving the opposing quarterback less time to throw. The corners have had to cover way too long to be as effective as they could be. Leigh Bodden is returning from IR with a fully healed shoulder so he will likely start opposite McCourty. It would not surprise me, though, if the Pats select another corner with one of their second- or third-round picks.
4. Is there a particular player or two who you hope they land in Round 1?
At the moment I’m not hung up on a single player as much as I am a position. I’m really hoping that the Patriots finally select an impact pass rusher early to help the defense. At times, it felt like the opposing QB could set up a lawn chair while waiting for a receiver to pop open the past few seasons. The secondary’s development has been hampered by a lackluster pass rush. After the Patriots lock up a pass rusher, I would look to the lines, both offensive and defensive, with the next picks. If Mark Ingram is available at No. 28, I wouldn’t be surprised or upset to see the Patriots draft him.