<
>

Patriots beyond the first round: Quarterbacks and specialists

22h

A majority of the media coverage entering the NFL draft focuses on the first round, so the "beyond the first round" series is meant to fill out the picture for the New England Patriots, who enter the draft with nine selections, beginning with the final pick of the first round (No. 32).

The 12-part "beyond the first round" series concludes with quarterbacks and specialists, attempting to identify good fits for the team:

Middle rounds: QB Garrett Grayson (Colorado State) -- It would be a surprise from this viewpoint if the Patriots invest a high pick in a quarterback, but if they do, the 6-foot-2 1/2, 213-pound Grayson is viewed by some as maybe the most accurate passer in the draft. He also appears to have some of the leadership qualities that the Patriots value at the position. He was a team captain and enters the NFL as an older rookie (24).

Middle-to-late rounds: LS Joe Cardona (Navy) -- Considered by some as the top snapper available in this year's draft, Cardona played in 51 games at Navy and was just the second freshman to start at the position in the program's history. He was also a high school lacrosse player in California. It almost seems too perfect of a fit for Bill Belichick's team -- Navy, lacrosse, and a top-flight snapper to fill a need on the existing roster.

Middle-to-late rounds: QB Sean Mannion (Oregon State) -- The 6-foot-5 5/8, 229-pound Mannion has the physical makeup of what one might expect from a pure dropback passer. He was a three-time captain, earned his bachelors degree in 2013 and was working toward his masters last year. Mannion directed a pro-style offense at Oregon State and was a four-year starter.

Late rounds: K Kyle Brindza (Notre Dame) -- A right-footed kicker who handled field goals, kickoffs (64 percent touchback rate) and punts over his college career, Brindza's powerful leg might appeal to the Patriots from a developmental perspective as Stephen Gostkowski enters the final year of his contract. From an accuracy standpoint, the 6-foot-0 5/8, 236-pound Brindza was just 14 of 24 on field goal attempts last season.

Late rounds: LS Courtland Clavettte (Brown) -- In hopes of following in the Brown-to-NFL footsteps of Giants long-snapper Zach DeOssie, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Clavette had a successful college career and is on the NFL radar, as chronicled by Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal. He is a native of Asheville, North Carolina.

Late rounds: K Josh Lambo (Texas A&M) -- Considered to have a strong leg, he initially pursued a professional soccer career and his football kicking career was sparked when he was a walk-on in 2012. So he's a bit inexperienced at the position (25 career field goal attempts in college), but at the same time, will turn 25 during the 2015 season.

Late rounds: K Jared Roberts (Colorado State) -- After failing to make the football team at Colorado State in his first two attempts, Roberts broke through as a walk-on in 2012, and in 2013 he set the school scoring record with 121 points. The 5-foot-11 3/4, 210-pound Roberts, a former soccer player in high school, handled kickoffs as well.

Beyond-the-first-round series

Monday: Off-the-line linebacker

Tuesday: Wide receiver

Wednesday: Cornerback

Thursday: Running back

Friday: Defensive tackle

Saturday: Tight end

Monday: Guard

Tuesday: Defensive end/outside linebacker

Wednesday: Offensive tackle (some guard projections within group)

Thursday: Safety

Friday: Wild cards