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Analyzing Kiper 3.0: Patriots

3/13/2014

Two things stood out when dissecting ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s mock draft 3.0Insider selection for the New England Patriots:

1. After going with Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro at No. 29 in each of his first two mocks, Kiper now has Amaro out of the first round.

2. Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix III, who was viewed as a mid-round possibility in earlier mocks, also has slipped out of the top 32.

This time around, Kiper slots Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman to the Patriots at No. 29, and it has been a popular pick in various mock drafts. Hageman could give the Patriots a high-upside prospect with an ideal physical makeup at the position. Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Armond Armstead and Chris Jones top the current depth chart, so Hageman would likely have the luxury of time to develop.

While Hageman could be a solid pick, I'm also curious about the fall of Nix and if he might represent the better pick in that scenario. He's a big run-stuffer who is a good athlete for his size. In a league that trends toward the pass, might Nix be a potentially undervalued asset who could be a solid selection at No. 29?