- Mike Reiss, ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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Each day over the next 10 days, this space will focus on one position in the NFL draft by highlighting a prospect in Rounds 2-7 who might fit for the Patriots. 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. Today, it's quarterback, a position in which the Patriots have devoted significant time and resources in the pre-draft process.
Second round: Tom Savage (Pittsburgh)
Good size (6-foot-3 7/8, 228 pounds) and arm strength, he might not be available by the time the Patriots pick at No. 62. He's been our target from the get-go as the best development type for the Patriots, but it now seems as if his stock is rising to a level where he won't be available. Even at 62, that seems a bit rich for the team to consider a quarterback.
Third round: Zach Mettenberger (LSU)
The 6-foot-4 7/8, 224-pound Mettenberger combines good size and arm strength. He has a background in running a pro-style system under LSU coordinator Cam Cameron, the longtime NFL coach, and is coming off a torn ACL.
Fourth round: Stephen Morris (Miami)
The 6-foot-1 7/8, 213-pound Morris is shorter than teams would probably prefer, and could be viewed as a challenging evaluation in that he played under three coordinators over four years, thus affecting part of his development. He showed a knack for running the two-minute offense, is a two-time captain, and his hand size (10 1/4 inches) figures to appeal to the Patriots because gripping the ball in inclement weather often takes on added importance in New England.
Fifth round: David Fales (San Jose State)
The 6-foot-1 5/8, 212-pound Fales started 25 games over the past two seasons and worked mostly out of the shotgun in a spread offense with a knack for delivering the accurate pass. He was a team captain.
Sixth round: Jeff Mathews (Cornell)
Has ideal physical makeup at 6-foot-3 3/4 and 223 pounds to go along with strong football IQ and a strong arm. He is a three-year captain and four-year starter.
Seventh round: Kenny Guiton (Ohio State)
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Guiton was a backup who performed well when called upon, putting him in a similar category as Matt Cassel in 2005. Perhaps lightning could strike twice for the Patriots.
(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)
Each day over the next 10 days, this space will focus on one position in the NFL draft by highlighting a prospect in Rounds 2-7 who might fit for the Patriots.