Where will the Patriots look to first in this Mock Draft 1.0?
With Free Agency now over a few weeks old, it is time take an early crack at looking at the draft from Patriots Mock Draft 1.0. There are still moves that can be and will be made in free agency and possibly on the trade front that may affect the way the team looks at the draft. But with the initial free agency period winding down it is time to move to the draft.
There is a fascinating tool to use for doing a mock draft made possible by the guys over at Fanspeak.com that we touted the past few years and is even more fun to use in 2016.
In their “On the Clock” simulator, you are the GM for any NFL team. You can choose how many rounds you’d like to draft for (1-7), and pick one of 10 different big boards to choose from.
All of the big boards differ and the site has a random selection process that picks for the other 31 teams based upon the best player available and team needs that are constantly updated every Tuesday until it is your time to pick.
For this opening mock draft (3-26), I used the big board of CBS Sports.
I say this again because the big boards differ a great deal depending upon the board chosen. I did another using a different big board and the results were vastly different. Looking at how the board plays out, I think we can all expect the Patriots to make a move to move into either the 4th or 5th rounds as the talent level brings to drop steeply between the third and sixth rounds.
There are 100 picks between when the Pats pick at the end of the 3rd round and when they choose again in the 6th. That will be too far for Bill Belichick and expect a move…or two. But for the purposes of this Patriots Mock Draft 1.0 right now, we’re drafting where they are.
With no first round pick due to Deflategate, the Patriots will have to hit on their second round selections this year, where they normally take a chance on some players.
Here is our Patriots Mock Draft 1.0 – Post Early Free Agency Edition:
Round 2, Pick #1 RB Jordan Howard, Indiana:
Howard has great size at 6’0, 230 pounds and had a very good season at Indiana after transferring from UAB when they canceled their football program. He is a powerful runner and has good lateral agility. Gets good yards after contact.
He loves contact and will move the sticks. He’s the type of back that gets better with more work and will fulfill that power back need. To see our draft profile on him click here:
Round 2, Pick #2 OT Kyle Murphy, Stanford:
The Patriots need help at OT and Murphy is 6’7, 300 pounds. He has good arm length and can get his hands on pass rushers quickly. In a very run heavy offense, he’s a very solid run blocker. Solid football IQ which is a given where he went to school.
Dante Scarnecchia will work with him and expect that he’ll get much better every day in training camp. Murphy can be the Patriots RT of the future and may push for reps early.
Round 3, Pick #3 DT Hassan Ridgeway, Texas:
Ridgeway is an underrated defensive tackle prospect who played next to Pats top pick from 2015 Malcom Brown for the Longhorns. He’s 6’3, 307 pounds and is a run-stuffing disruptor inside.
The Patriots need depth inside on their DL and they can plug Ridgeway right into the rotation. He’s had experience at one-technique in a 3-4 and a five-technique in a four-man front. Ridgeway’s profile from us can be seen here:
Round 3, Pick #4 CB Cyrus Jones, Alabama:
Jones played under the spotlight for Nick Saban at Alabama and is a very aggressive, physical cornerback who played against top competition in the SEC. He’s not the biggest guy at 5’11, 197 pounds but he’s a good athlete (4.49, 40 time, 6.71, 3-Cone) who got better every year with the Tide.
Has the ability to stick with WRs downfield, will challenge throws from the QB and has STs ability as a PR (4 ret TDs in 2015). Will challenge for playing time immediately
Round 6, Pick #5 WR Mike Thomas, Southern Miss:
Sleeper alert…Thomas played for Southern Miss., which plays against lesser competition than most of your top tier prospects but there is no arguing with his production. He grabbed 71 passes in 2015 for 1391 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The playmaking 6’1, 200-pound WR also ran a 4.4 time in the 40 at Southern’s Pro Day. Thomas has speed, excellent athleticism, leaping ability and will generate some YAC.
Round 6, Pick #6 FB Dan Vitale, Northwestern:
Northwestern’s ‘superback’ Vitale can do a lot of things, He’s physical and can open up holes for the running backs, runs outstanding routes in the passing game. He caught 102 passes in his three years with the Wildcats and can line up just about anywhere to be productive.
With James Develin returning from a serious injury, Vitale can do many of the same things. Line up as a traditional fullback, make the odd carry, split out as an H-back or even as a tight end in the passing game.
Round 6, Pick #7 OT Avery Young, Auburn:
Young who decided to forego his senior year at Auburn was projected to be a 2nd to 3rd round pick by ESPN’s Mel Kiper.
“Both those linemen have a lot of talent and ability,” Kiper Jr. said about Young and Auburn’s Shon Coleman. “I thought another year would’ve helped them. To me, they are in the second or third-round mix. Their potential I think is a little bit more impressive than when their performance week-to-week.”
Young is a 6’6, 305-pound tackle that started 12 games at right tackle this season and all 13 games in 2014, making appearances at both guard positions and right tackle, where he also started the final nine games in 2013
Round 6, Pick #8 LB Antiwone Williams, Georgia Southern:
Williams has the proto-typical build of an NFL OLB at 6’3. 247 and was very productive at Georgia Southern, according to CBS Dane Brugler, leading the team in tackles with 107, tackles for loss (10.5), sacks (4.0) and forced fumbles (four) in 2015.
Brugler reports he hits like a truck and uses good pursuit angles.
Round 6, Pick #9 DT Antwuan Woods, USC:
Woods is a big (6’0, 318-pound), run-stuffer that can clog the middle and be an early down or goal-line rotational guy. He shows quick feet for a big man and plays with good leverage but his arms aren’t long enough for him to be able to disengage to be a good pass rusher.
Round 7, Pick #10 RB Keenan Reynolds, Navy:
Is there any other place that is a better fit than the Patriots for Reynolds? With Bill Belichick’s affinity for everything at the Naval Academy, this one is a no-brainer.
The question is, how will the Patriots use him? Will they make him a running back where he’s kind of small for the position but did have 78 rushing touchdowns or make him a receiver where like former option QB Julian Edelman he can make people miss. He forced 23 missed tackles in 2015.
His football I.Q. and leadership ability is off the charts.
Round 7, Pick #11 CB Juston Burris, NC State:
Burris has excellent size for the position at 6’0, 212-pounds. He is a three-year starter for the Wolfpack and brings a physical edge to his game.
He has good ball skills and improved every year. Burris allowed just a small 34.1 percent completion rate with eight passes defensed. Also allowed just one touchdown in 44 attempts in 2015. He can play press or off man coverage. He has decent but not great speed (4.53 in the 40).