New England Patriots: Beyond first round

Beyond the 1st round: Defensive back

April, 17, 2013
4/17/13
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(Each day over the next week, ESPNBoston.com will focus on one position in the NFL draft and highlight a prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, “Beyond the first round” focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks)

Second round: CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (Connecticut)
With solid size (6-0, 195) and speed, and off-the-charts intangibles as a two-time captain, Wreh-Wilson projects as a man cover corner who would fit in New England. There is a lot of tape to watch as he started 39 games over his college career and was named UConn's MVP in 2012.

Third round: CB Logan Ryan (Rutgers)
The Patriots feel like they hit a good pick with first-rounder Devin McCourty (2010) out of Rutgers, so maybe they'd go back to the well with the 5-foot-11, 191-pound Ryan, who like McCourty plays the run well. He also would project to a core special teams role.

Fourth round: CB Jordan Poyer (Oregon State)
A team captain, the 6-foot-0, 191-pound Poyer made plays at cornerback and also showed up as a gunner on special teams. One concern for teams might be his limited reps on the bench press (8) at the combine. One of the top playmaking corners in the draft with seven interceptions in his final collegiate season.

Fifth round: CB Marc Anthony (California)
One of the stronger run-support cornerbacks in the draft, the 5-foot-11, 196-pound Anthony also has the skill set to play effective press coverage. Questions about his speed could make him more of a tweener, with a possible future at safety. Regardless, his football smarts could fit well in a complex Patriots scheme.

Sixth round: CB Brandon McGee (Miami)
A team captain, the 5-foot-11, 193-pound McGee has some quality traits worthy of working with (4.39 time in the 40) while also projecting as a factor on special teams as a gunner. Would be another man corner to add to the mix with an eye toward the future with Aqib Talib scheduled to enter free agency after the season.

Seventh round: S Robert Lester (Alabama)
A three-year starter under Nick Saban, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Lester falls in the category of bigger safety despite ball skills that helped produce four interceptions last season. The Patriots brought in veteran Adrian Wilson to add size to their safety position, and also have second-year player Tavon Wilson, so Lester would have to make his mark on special teams first.

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft preview and ESPN's Scouts Inc.)

Beyond the 1st round: Linebacker

April, 16, 2013
4/16/13
5:00
AM ET
(Each day over the next week, ESPNBoston.com will focus on one position in the NFL draft and highlight a prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, “Beyond the first round” focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks)

Second round: Sio Moore (Connecticut)
Played well in postseason games, and tested well at the combine, which seems to have him as a prospect on the rise. He might not have the prototypical size for a linebacker in the Patriots system at 6-foot-0 and 245 pounds, but his work in the slot and in space could appeal if the club is looking for more coverage skills out of the position. Good speed.

Third round: Kiko Alonso (Oregon)
One of the 30 prospects to take a pre-draft visit to Gillette Stadium, Alonso (6-3, 235) has shown a knack for making plays in pass coverage, specifically against tight ends. He was arrested for DUI in 2010 and was suspended in 2011.

Fourth round: Michael Mauti (Penn State)
Playing under former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, the 6-foot-2, 243-pound Mauti was an emotional leader for the Nittany Lions. Known for his sound tackling, he played on the weak side in his final year but might have some versatility to line up at other spots. A history of knee surgeries could be a concern for teams.

Fifth round: John Simon (Ohio State)
At 6-foot-1 and 257 pounds, Simon was the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year after totaling nine sacks. One of the questions for NFL teams will be what position he fits -- end or linebacker. The Pro Football Weekly draft preview noted he could potentially "be tried in the middle as a 'Tedy Bruschi' type conversion."

Sixth round: Zaviar Gooden (Missouri)
Stood out at the combine among linebackers in the 40-yard dash (4.47), among other drills, which is the type of speed that could help on special teams (e.g. Gary Guyton as a rookie). Also could be of interest in more of a coverage-type role.

Seventh round: Cameron Lawrence (Mississippi State)
Highly productive in his two seasons as a starter on the weakside, the 6-foot-2, 239-pound Lawrence is known for his smarts and competitiveness. He falls into the category of coverage-type option who would have to make a mark on special teams.

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft preview and ESPN's Scouts Inc.)

Beyond the 1st round: Defensive line

April, 15, 2013
4/15/13
12:00
PM ET
(Each day over the next week, ESPNBoston.com will focus on one position in the NFL draft and highlight a prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, “Beyond the first round” focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks)

Second round: DL Jesse Williams (Alabama)
Coming out of a pro-style program under coach Nick Saban, the 6-foot-3, 323-pound Williams has NFL size and lined up at nose guard (2012) and end (2011) for the Crimson Tide. This looks like a deep draft for players in Williams' mold (the bigger interior defensive linemen), and the key for the Patriots will be finding the right fit. Williams, who clogs this up in the middle and has also shown the ability to push the pocket at times, could be groomed behind Vince Wilfork.

Third round: DE Michael Buchanan (Illinois)
At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Buchanan is a defensive end/outside linebacker type whose physical makeup and athleticism figures to appeal to the Patriots. He was arrested for DUI in 2010. The Patriots drafted Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette in the third round last year, so a pick like Buchanan might be a case of duplication one year later.

Fourth round: NT Kwame Geathers (Georgia)
The 6-foot-5, 342-pound Geathers has NFL size and also NFL bloodlines, making him a developmental prospect worthy of consideration in the middle rounds. He's viewed as more of a run-stuffer than a pocket-rusher at this point, but appears to be the type of player who could evolve into more once brought into an NFL strength and conditioning program.

Fifth round: DL Kapron Lewis-Moore (Notre Dame)
A versatile defensive lineman, Lewis-Moore (6-3, 298) tore his ACL in the national championship game and could fall into a similar category as the Patriots' third-round selection of receiver Brandon Tate (knee), who began his career on the physically unable to perform list. If the Patriots feel they have the luxury to be patient, Lewis-Moore could be a good long-term investment at this point in the draft, similar to Tate and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon in the 2011 fifth round.

Sixth round: DE Lavar Edwards (LSU)
At 6-foot-4, 277 pounds, and with 35.5 inch arm length, he projects to defensive end in the Patriots' scheme. While signing a veteran end remains a possibility for the Patriots, who visited with Dwight Freeney and John Abraham in free agency, a player like Edwards would be more of a developmental type.

Seventh round: DL Arby Jones (Georgia)
With good size (6-3, 313) and 35-inch arm length, Jones has some traits that could be interesting to the Patriots (similar to Georgia DL Kade Weston in 2010). He has shown versatility in playing different spots along the line and is said to have solid "football character."

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft preview and ESPN's Scouts Inc.)

Beyond the 1st round: QBs & hand size

April, 13, 2013
4/13/13
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When evaluating quarterbacks for their system, the Patriots look closely at hand size. Bigger is better.

Former Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli, on a panel at the MIT Sloan Analytics Conference this year, explained how the team once learned a tough lesson in this area. When playing in New England, a quarterback’s grip on the football takes on added importance because of the weather conditions.

In 2011, Ryan Mallett (10 3/4) had the biggest hand size of all top quarterback prospects that year.

In contrast, current No. 3 quarterback Mike Kafka (9 1/4) -- the 2010 fourth-round draft choice of the Eagles who was signed by New England this offseason -- is closer to the other end of the spectrum.

With this in mind, as part of the “beyond the first round” series, let’s look at some of the quarterback prospects this year who might fit for the Patriots, and list them by hand size:

Dayne Crist (Kansas) -- 10 1/4
Has prototype size at 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds and played under former Patriots assistant Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and then Kansas. If the Patriots are looking to develop another quarterback, and Crist is still available with one of their seventh-round picks, perhaps he gets a look. The Patriots’ ties to Weis could potentially give the Patriots the edge if Crist is choosing teams as a free agent.

James Vandenberg (Iowa) -- 9 3/4
A two-time team captain, he played in a pro-style offense for Kirk Ferentz (a former Bill Belichick assistant with the Browns). One question is why he dipped in his final season. He’d also project to be in the seventh-round/free-agent type range.

Brad Sorensen (Southern Utah) -- 9 1/4
Like Vandenberg, he was a two-time captain who is considered smart and accurate. He played against lesser competition on a regular basis, which is an aspect of the scouting process that NFL teams will likely be wrestling with. Another late-round type consideration.

Jeff Tuel (Washington State) -- 9 1/4
Similar to the other quarterbacks listed here, he’s a later-round/free-agent type of option whom the Patriots put through a private workout last month. He was 4-22 as a starter, but played behind a shaky offensive line and hung tough. After building momentum in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, he has shown up on the radar of some NFL teams.

Sean Renfree (Duke) -- 9
Bill Belichick often talks about the importance of accuracy and decision-making, and Renfree (6-3, 219) set the Duke record for completion percentage (64.7). He is considered smart and played in a pro-style offense. Like the others here, he’d a later-round/free-agent type consideration.

Beyond the 1st round: Running back

April, 12, 2013
4/12/13
11:00
AM ET
(Each day over the next week, ESPNBoston.com will focus on one position in the NFL draft and highlight a prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, “Beyond the first round” focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks)

Second round: Montee Ball (Wisconsin)
It would be a surprise if the Patriots select a running back as high as the second round, but the 5-foot-10, 214-pound Ball appears to have some of the characteristics that New England targets, such as solid pass-catching ability, intelligence, and a history of protecting the football. The Pro Football Weekly draft preview compared his style to Knowshon Moreno, who was a first-round pick of the Broncos when Josh McDaniels was head coach.

Third round: Johnathan Franklin (UCLA)
A team captain, Franklin (5-10, 205) might not have the prototype NFL size, but that hasn't stopped the Patriots from investing a high draft choice in a running back prospect (e.g. Shane Vereen, second round, 2011). He has solid speed and is viewed as a capable pass-catcher and a willing blocker. He would factor into a special teams type role from the get-go.

[+] EnlargeMarcus Lattimore
Jim Dedmon/Icon SMIMarcus Lattimore is an injury risk, but has a lot of upside as well for a potential fourth-rounder.
Fourth round: Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina)
A top-notch talent who sustained a potentially career-threatening knee injury last season, Lattimore (5-11, 221) is on the road to recovery and could begin his NFL career on the physically unable to perform list (e.g. Brandon Tate in 2009). For a team willing to be patient, Lattimore -- who set South Carolina's record for career touchdowns (38) -- could be a worthy long-term investment.

Fifth round: Mike Gillislee (Florida)
The 5-foot-11, 208-pound Gillislee is a one-year starter (he became Florida's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2004) and also has experience as a kickoff returner. The Pro Football Weekly draft preview notes that he has good work habits and football is important to him.

Sixth round: Spencer Ware (LSU)
At 5-foot-10 and 228 pounds, he is one of the bigger backs in the draft and could offer a power-type element alongside Stevan Ridley (5-11, 220) and Brandon Bolden (5-11, 220), the Patriots' two big backs. With solid size and the ability to catch the ball and block, Ware has some of the traits that could entice the Patriots.

Seventh round: Zach Boren (Ohio State)
A team captain, the 5-foot-11, 238-pound Boren is an effective lead-blocking fullback who moved to linebacker last season when Ohio State had a run of injuries. That type of versatility could catch the eye of Bill Belichick.

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft preview and ESPN's Scouts Inc.)

Beyond the 1st round: Offensive line

April, 11, 2013
4/11/13
11:45
AM ET
(Each day over the next week, ESPNBoston.com will focus on one position in the NFL draft and highlight a prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, “Beyond the first round” focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks)

Second round: OG Dallas Thomas (Tennessee)
After not working out at the combine because of a right shoulder injury, Thomas (6-5, 306) was one of the Patriots' 30 prospect visits, which indicates that the club still had some work to do before placing a final grade on him. Similar to 2005 Patriots first-round draft choice Logan Mankins, he played left tackle for most of his college career but projects to guard in the NFL. With a combination of good size and athleticism, he has plug-and-play potential.

Third round: OG Jeff Baca (UCLA)
Having played tackle, guard and center at various points of his college career, Baca (6-3, 302) has the type of position flexibility that could intrigue the Patriots, even though he mostly projects to guard in the NFL. His short-area quickness, which was reflected in his solid 3-cone drill at the combine (7.26), could translate well to some of the pulling that the Patriots ask their guards to do.

[+] EnlargeEmmett Cleary
AP Photo/Tomasso DeRosaEmmett Cleary proved to be a versatile and intelligent tackle at Boston college.
Fourth round: OT Emmett Cleary (Boston College)
Having played both tackle spots, Cleary (6-7, 316) offers versatility while projecting mostly to the right side in the NFL. He has NFL-type size and is said to be extremely intelligent, which is a must for those playing along the Patriots' line.

Fifth round: C Braxston Cave (Notre Dame)
Although the Patriots have to be happy with returning starter Ryan Wendell, it's never a bad idea to add depth and the 6-foot-3, 303-pound Cave had the best 20-yard short shuttle (4.71) of any center at the combine. Cave is viewed as a smart player who sets the protection and makes all the line calls, which is a must for any Patriots center.

Sixth round: OT Chris Faulk (LSU)
Entering the draft after his junior season, and coming off a knee injury that limited him to one game in 2012, Faulk would appear to be a developmental type prospect whose best fit is on the right side. He has NFL-type size (6-5, 331) and would likely be viewed with 2014 in mind more than 2013. He was one of the Patriots' 30 in-house prospect visits.

Seventh round: OT-OG Tanner Hawkinson (Kansas)
Playing in Charlie Weis' offense, Hawkinson might be an easier projection to the Patriots' system than others. A former tight end who was moved to the offensive line, he could be viewed as a tackle or a guard, depending on the team. His 20-yard shuttle at the combine (4.51) reflected his athleticism.

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft preview and ESPN's Scouts Inc.)

Beyond the 1st round: Wide receiver

April, 10, 2013
4/10/13
3:30
PM ET
(Each day over the next week, ESPNBoston.com will focus on one position in the NFL draft and highlight a prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, “Beyond the first round” focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks)

Second round: Markus Wheaton (Oregon State)
With production that improved in each of his four seasons at Oregon State, the speedy Wheaton (5-11, 189) is the type of receiver who can threaten the deep third of the field. He also ran track in college, but proved he is more than a track athlete playing football (227 career receptions is school record). If there is a knock on him, it's that he isn't the prototypical size for an outside receiver, although that doesn't factor in his leaping ability. A team captain, he was one of the Patriots' 30 prospect visits at Gillette Stadium.

[+] EnlargeRobert Woods
AP Photo/Dave MartinBesides being a fluid receiver, Robert Woods has potential as a kickoff and punt returner.
Third round: Robert Woods (Southern Cal)
Over three years with the Trojans, Woods (6-0, 201) caught a school record 252 passes and he adds potential value as a kickoff and punt returner. Unlike Oregon State's Markus Wheaton, he is not a burner, but is considered a fluid receiver who runs good routes from an outside position. He was one of the Patriots' 30 prospect visits at Gillette Stadium.

Fourth round: Cobi Hamilton (Arkansas)
At 6-foot-1 and 212 pounds, he fits the mold of a bigger, possession-type receiver and also is viewed as a solid blocker. Coming from a pro-style offense, his skills might be easier for teams to project into the NFL, and he had excellent production as a senior in 2012 with a single-season school record 90 receptions and 1,335 yards.

Fifth round: Da'Rick Rogers (Tennessee Tech)
If he checks out from an off-field standpoint, Rogers (6-2, 217) is the type of receiver who could be a good "risk" at this point of the draft. He was suspended at Tennessee last August, and transferred to Tennessee Tech, and if not for that he likely would be viewed as a much higher draft pick. The Patriots seem to value the three-cone drill in their assessment of receivers and Rogers' 6.71 at the combine is considered very good.

Sixth round: Kenny Stills (Oklahoma)
Entering the draft after his junior season, Stills (6-0, 194) is one of the faster receivers in this year's draft. He was productive from the get-go with the Sooners, having started as a true freshman in 2010 when he finished with 61 receptions. His father played safety in the NFL from 1985-1990, so there are some NFL bloodlines. He was one of the Patriots' 30 prospect visits at Gillette Stadium.

Seventh round: Mark Harrison (Rutgers)
At 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds, Harrison is one of the bigger receivers in this year's draft. That size makes him a presence on the outside and a possible factor in the red zone. His connection to former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, and the Patriots' willingness to invest in players out of Schiano's program, lands him on this list.

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft preview and ESPN's Scouts Inc.)

Beyond the 1st round: Tight end

April, 9, 2013
4/09/13
1:45
PM ET
(Each day over the next week, ESPNBoston.com will highlight one position in the NFL draft and highlight a prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, “Beyond the first round” focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks)

Second round: Zach Ertz (Stanford)
While unlikely that the Patriots would invest a top choice at the position after committing long-term contracts to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, the 6-foot-5, 249-pound Ertz could be intriguing to someone who values the position as highly as Bill Belichick does. One of the nice parts about evaluating Ertz is that he played in a pro-style offense at Stanford, which makes it somewhat easier to see a potential projection to the Patriots’ attack. He's known more for catching the ball than blocking.

Third round: Levine Toilolo (Stanford)
Just like Ertz, he played in a pro-style offense at Stanford and for a team like the Patriots that isn’t shy about drafting traits, Toilolo has unusual size (6-8, 260) for the position. He is the type of tight end who probably would factor more as an in-line blocker, although he’s also shown the ability to catch the football. He could be a factor in the red zone.

Fourth round: Michael Williams (Alabama)
The type of “Y” tight end who can hold his ground at the line of scrimmage but wouldn't be a pass-catching threat down the field, the 6-foot-5, 259-pound Williams seems to have some similarities to 2011 Patriots fifth-round draft choice Lee Smith (Marshall), who is now with the Bills.

[+] EnlargeKyle Juszcyk
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm
Fifth round: Kyle Juszczyk (Harvard)
Similar to the Patriots drafting kicker Stephen Gostkowski (fourth round), punter Zoltan Mesko (fifth round), special teams captain Matthew Slater (fifth round), safety Nate Ebner (sixth round) and defensive back Malcolm Williams (seventh round) in recent years, the 6-foot-1, 248-pound Juszczyk (pictured at right) would be targeted as a core special teams player who could also carve out a fullback/H-back type role on offense. Scouts relay that he caught the ball well at the Senior Bowl.

Sixth round: Joseph Fauria (UCLA)
The nephew of former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria, he is less of an in-line tight end, and more receiver-like. He has good size (6-7, 259), big hands, and developmental upside.

Seventh round: Ben Cotton (Nebraska)
At 6-foot-5 and 258 pounds, he is a developmental prospect who ESPN’s Scouts Inc. notes has “a good blend of height and bulk.” He could be groomed behind the scenes at a position in which the Patriots like to build depth.

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft preview and ESPN's Scouts Inc.)

Tackles: Slater shines on special teams

December, 21, 2011
12/21/11
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A look at the weekly Patriots tackle leaderboard (based on coaches tabulations):

Defense
LB Jerod Mayo -- 83 (54 solo/29 assisted)
CB Devin McCourty -- 78 (61/17)
CB Kyle Arrington -- 74 (49/25)
DL Vince Wilfork -- 68 (40/28)
S James Ihedigbo -- 63 (44/19)
S Patrick Chung -- 60 (38/22)
DE Andre Carter -- 59 (37/22)
OLB Rob Ninkovich – 56 (43/13)
DL Kyle Love -- 51 (28/23)
LB Brandon Spikes -- 48 (35/13)
LB Gary Guyton -- 46 (33/13)

Special teams
WR Matthew Slater -- 17 (13/4)
LB Tracy White -- 14 (11/3)
CB Antwuan Molden – 10 (7/3)
CB Kyle Arrington -- 9 (6/3)
LB Niko Koutouvides -- 7 (6/2)
LB Jeff Tarpinian -- 8 (5/3)
S Sergio Brown -- 7 (4/3)

Beyond the 1st round: Running back

April, 12, 2011
4/12/11
9:00
AM ET
(Each day this week, ESPNBoston.com will highlight one position that the Patriots are projected to target in the NFL draft and highlight one prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, "Beyond the first round" focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks.)

Second round: Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State)
At 5-foot-7, 199 pounds, he is considered undersized for the position, but analysts note that he's a deceptively good inside runner (a la Danny Woodhead). The Pro Football Weekly draft preview notes that he "possesses starter-caliber speed, burst, instincts and run strength." He reportedly took a pre-draft visit to Gillette Stadium, one of the 30 allowed by NFL teams.

Third round: Shane Vereen (California)
Vereen (5-10, 210) came across as mature beyond his years at the NFL combine, as he enters the draft after his junior season. Analysts view him as one of the better pass-catching backs in the draft, which is a skill valued in the Patriots' system, and he's also one of the strongest at his position (31 reps on the bench press).

Fourth round: Jordan Todman (Connecticut)
This would be a homecoming story as Todman grew up in Dartmouth, Mass., where he lit up the high school ranks in becoming the state's second-leading rusher (5,083 career yards). He is one of the faster backs in the draft (4.4 speed in the 40) and projects to add value as a returner. He enters the draft after his junior season.

Fifth round: Johnny White (North Carolina)
A special teams and offensive captain, he could fit nicely into the overall 53-man roster -- and 45-man roster -- because of his experience in the kicking game (e.g. gunner on punt coverage). Analysts note that White runs with a physical style that doesn't necessarily reflect his physical build (5-10, 209), but that he could fit nicely in a complementary role.

Sixth round: Stevan Ridley (LSU)
One of the bigger backs in the draft (5-11, 225), he is viewed as a later-round option in part because of speed questions (4.67 in the 40) and the fact he was the top back for just one season. He was a team captain and has special teams experience, entering the draft after his junior year.

Seventh round: Graig Cooper (Miami)
Medical questions could drop Cooper into the later rounds, or perhaps out of the draft (knee surgery). His skill set is such that he could be effective running screens, draw plays and stretch plays (according to the Pro Football Weekly draft preview), which is a big part of the Patriots' offense.

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft value chart and Pro Football Weekly draft preview.)

Beyond the 1st round: Center/guard

April, 11, 2011
4/11/11
10:00
AM ET
(Each day this week, ESPNBoston.com will highlight one position that the Patriots are projected to target in the NFL draft and highlight one prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, "Beyond the first round" focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks.)

[+] EnlargeBoling
Paul Abell/US PresswirePro Football Weekly's draft preview calls guard/tackle Clint Boling "smart, hard-working and dependable."
Second round: Clint Boling (Georgia)
Boling has versatility to line up at guard or tackle, something the Patriots generally value. At 6-foot-4, 308 pounds, he has prototypical size and is described by the Pro Football Weekly draft preview as “smart, hard-working and dependable.” Boling, who has a DUI from 2008 on his record, would have to check out off the field.

Third round: John Moffitt (Wisconsin)
Described by one NFL general manager as one of the stronger interior linemen in this class, Moffitt (6-4, 319) has experience at both guard and center. He was a team captain at Wisconsin and seems to have the personality and makeup of a player who would fit nicely with the Patriots’ current linemen.

Fourth round: Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State)
With NFL bloodlines, Wisniewski has experience at guard and center, with the Pro Football Weekly draft preview calling him “smart” and a “film junkie”. At 6-foot-3, 313 pounds, he has good size, although draft analysts don’t view him as a physical presence as much as a positional blocker.

Fifth round: Andrew Jackson (Fresno State)
At 6-foot-5 and 299 pounds, Jackson said he models his game after Logan Mankins, who also attended Fresno State. If he doesn’t emerge as a starter, Jackson could add value on special teams, where he blocked three kicks over his college career.

Sixth round: Zane Taylor (Utah)
One of the strongest offensive linemen in the draft, he totaled 41 repetitions on the bench press at his Pro Day, where he was run through drills by Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. He was a team captain.

Seventh round: Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)
A two-time team captain, he had solid production at the Division-II level, starting 44 games at center over four seasons and was named the Gene Upshaw Division II lineman of the year in 2010. Bill Belichick could have some fun with the Division II connection – Fusco opening holes for Danny Woodhead (Division II Chadron State).

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft value chart and Pro Football Weekly draft preview.)

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