Mike Mayock, the draft expert for NFL Network, has unveiled his first and only mock draft leading up to Thursday night. Waiting until the eve of the draft allows Mayock to account for free agency, pro days, the combine, and other events that may alter prospects' value.
With the 29th pick in the draft, Mayock pegs the Patriots to take Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Writes Mayock: They're ecstatic that Xavier Rhodes falls all the way to No. 29. He's 6-0, 210 pounds with long arms; he's the ultimate press corner. I think that this kid can develop off-man skills. I think he understands zone concepts and again, he fits what today's NFL is.
Cornerback is among the team's top needs in the eye of many draft prognosticators, and some consider Rhodes the second best prospect at the position. He's the third of four first-round cornerbacks to come off the board in Mayock's projection, behind only Dee Milliner of Alabama and D.J. Hayden of Houston.
Other top needs for the Patriots include wide receiver and defensive line depth. A trade back in the order to acquire more picks also seems feasible, as the Patriots have only five selections entering the draft.
To see Mayock's projection in its entirety, CLICK HERE.