Picking some Patriots winners & losers

May, 13, 2014
May 13
5:00
AM ET
Picking some Patriots-based winners and losers from the team's nine-player 2014 draft class:

Winners
D.J. Williams -- The fourth-year tight end from Arkansas has a great opportunity after the team didn't draft any players at the position, as he currently sits atop the depth chart at the "F" (a.k.a. the "move" tight end). That could change if the team makes a move for ...

Dustin Keller -- The veteran free agent visited the club last week and with the Patriots not drafting a tight end, perhaps they revisit the possibility of signing Keller.

2013 class of receivers -- This year was a deep for receivers, but the Patriots obviously still believe in Aaron Dobson (2013 second round), Josh Boyce (2013 fourth round) and Kenbrell Thompkins (2013 undrafted signing) because they didn't draft at the position until the seventh round with Michigan's Jeremy Gallon.

Steve Beauharnais -- The 2013 seventh-round draft choice from Rutgers who played in just two games last season looks primed to bump up the depth chart as a reserve after the team didn't draft a linebacker.

Duron Harmon -- After serving as the No. 3 safety last season, he's primed to become the No. 2 after Steve Gregory's release and the Patriots not drafting a defensive back until Georgia Tech's Jemea Thomas in the late sixth round (206th overall).

Losers
Ryan Wendell/Dan Connolly -- The team's starting center/right guard combination faces increased competition from Bryan Stork (center) and Jon Halapio (sixth round). Wendell and Connolly were valued highly by former line coach Dante Scarnecchia, and now they have to prove their worth to new coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

Jake Bequette -- The 2012 third-round pick has yet to emerge and the Patriots seem committed to giving 2014 sixth-round defensive end Zach Moore some time to develop behind the scenes. There's only so many spots for backup developmental types.

Trader Bill -- In the 14 drafts prior to 2014, Bill Belichick swung 52 draft-day trades. But he only made one this year as there weren't as many enticing offers as the norm.

Danny Aiken -- The incumbent long snapper will be facing double-barreled competition for the job, with the previously signed Charley Hughlett and then an agreement in principle with undrafted free agent Tyler Ott, who was considered one of the top snappers in the draft.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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