Friday, April 25, 2014
Beyond the 1st round: Guard
By Mike Reiss
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 New England 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 offensive guard.
David Yankey has the versatility in his game to complement his size and athleticism.
Second round: David Yankey (Stanford)
A team captain last season, the 6-foot-5 5/8 and 315-pound Yankey is viewed as a versatile, smart offensive lineman who has athleticism to pull. With 34-inch arm length, he played left tackle in 2013, moving outside from guard.
Third round: John Urschel (Penn State)
A team captain who could potentially be a consideration at center, the 6-foot-3, 313-pound Urschel played under former Patriots coordinator Bill O'Brien the past two years and is known for his intelligence and ability to pull.
Fourth round: Chris Watt (Notre Dame)
Like the other prospects listed here, the 6-foot-2 5/8, 310-pound Watt has shown a knack for making adjustments in pass protection and getting to the second level as he moves well for his size. Teams have had some catching up to do as he didn't work out at the combine or play in the Senior Bowl (knee).
Fifth round: Anthony Steen (Alabama)
After undergoing shoulder surgery following the season, he didn't play in the Senior Bowl or work out at the combine. But the 6-foot-3 3/8, 314-pound Steen has plenty of game tape to dissect (35 career starts), as he is one of the stronger prospects at the position.
Sixth round: Zach Fulton (Tennessee)
From a physical traits perspective, Fulton has a lot of things going for him -- 6-foot-4 5/8, 316 pounds, 33 1/4-inch arm length and 10 1/4-inch hand size. That alone might make it unlikely that he slips to the sixth round, but he's still viewed by analysts as a project of sorts.
Seventh round:Conor Boffeli (Iowa)
Similar to 2007 Patriots seventh-round draft choice Mike Elgin, the 6-foot-4 1/8, 298-pound Boffeli isn't the biggest prospect but he's been well schooled at Iowa and has a skill set that fits the Patriots' scheme.
(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)