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Mock thoughts: corner or safety?

2/6/2013

As we continue to become familiar with some of the top prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft, using mock drafts as a tool to do so sparks some different scenarios.

Peter Schrager's mock draft 3.0, on FoxSports.com, presents a cornerback vs. safety scenario for the Patriots.

Schrager, like SI.com's Don Banks, ESPN.com's Todd McShay and USA Today's Tony Pauline, slots Florida safety Matt Elam to the Patriots with the 29th overall pick. Right after that selection, Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes, goes to the Falcons at No. 30.

This sparks the following question: If you're the Patriots, and the decision is safety vs. cornerback, which position is the better choice?

As noted by Schrager, one notable thing Rhodes has going for him is NFL-type size. He's listed 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds. If you liked the way the Seahawks played defense with bigger corners Richard Sherman (6-3, 195) and Brandon Browner (6-4, 221), a player like Rhodes might be on your radar.

Naturally, part of this ties to what happens in free agency with cornerback Aqib Talib. If he doesn't return to New England, the Patriots' need for a cornerback becomes greater. In addition, if the Patriots have long-term plans to leave Devin McCourty at safety (the opinion here is that is his best position), it would be a signficant factor tilting things to the cornerback spot.

Also, given that the Patriots selected safety Tavon Wilson in the second round last season, would that be a factor in them possibly shying away from it in the first round this year?

These are some pertinent questions to ask/consider, and Schrager's mock draft (read here) provides a springboard to do so.