New England Patriots: Beyond The First Round

Beyond the 1st round: Offensive tackle

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30
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With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, the "beyond the first round" series shined the spotlight on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks. The series was met with positive feedback with one exception -- where are the offensive tackles? Because offensive tackles are people too, this will be our final entry in the series:

[+] EnlargeJu'Wuan James
AP Photo/Wade PayneJu'Wuan James proved himself to be a model of dependability at Tennessee, the kind of quality the Patriots look for in an offensive tackle.
Second round: Ja'Wuan James (Tennessee)
The 6-foot-6, 311-pound James started every game of his college career (49), which is the type of dependability and consistency the Patriots generally value. James held his own against top competition and could be the team's swing tackle initially and provide insurance should right tackle Sebastian Vollmer encounter any setbacks in his recovery from a broken leg.

Third round: Ryan Groy (Wisconsin)
He set Wisconsin's record by playing in 54 career games and has experience at tackle, guard and center. The 6-foot-4 5/8 and 316 pound Groy is said to be an intelligent player and while he might be viewed as more of a guard, he has the versatility to potentially back up at right tackle.

Fourth round: Billy Turner (North Dakota State)
The 6-foot-4 7/8 and 315 pound Turner excelled at a lower-level division and his 25 reps on the bench press highlight his strength. He has other desirable physical traits (e.g. 34-inch arm length and 10-inch hand size) that figure to appeal to some teams looking for a potential developmental swing tackle.

Fifth round: Michael Schofield (Michigan)
A tackle-guard, the 6-foot-6 1/2 and 301 pound Schofield played right tackle the final two years of his career, moving over from left guard. His 34-inch arm length is notable.

Sixth round: Matt Patchan (Boston College)
The 6-foot-6 1/4, 302-pound Patchan transferred to BC from Florida in 2013 to play for coach Steve Addazio and has experience at both tackle spots. His injury history could lead some teams to have concerns.

Seventh round: Jeremiah Sirles (Nebraska)
With experience at both tackle spots, the 6-foot-6, 315-pound Sirles started for three years and his combination of size, arm length and intangibles make him a prospect worthy of consideration this deep into the draft.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker
5. Quarterback
6. Wide receiver
7. Safety
8. Running back
9. Cornerback
10. Guard
11. Center
12. Wild cards

Beyond the 1st round: Wild cards

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
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In 11 entries for different positions, this space focused 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" shined the spotlight on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks. Today, the series wraps up with a "wild card" category, which gives us the chance to hand pick a few extra prospects in areas that might have been overlooked or a player who doesn't fit into a standard designation.

Second round: G Trai Turner (LSU)
The 6-foot-2 5/8, 310-pound Turner ran a 4.93 in the 40-yard dash, one of the best times among interior offensive linemen, and also put up 25 reps on the bench press. LSU's starter at right guard, he could project to center as well.

[+] Enlarge Dri Archer
AP Photo/Michael ConroyDri Archer ran the 40-yard dash in 4.26 seconds and the scouting combine.
Third round: RB Dri Archer (Kent State)
At 5-foot-7 3/4 and 173 pounds, he comes with some durability questions but after running a 4.26 in the 40-yard dash, his speed is tantalizing. The Patriots have tapped the Kent State pipeline in the past with success (e.g. WR Julian Edelman, G Josh Kline).

Fourth round: G Brandon Thomas (Clemson)
With an extra fourth-round pick coming in the form of a compensatory selection, if a player like Thomas is still available, it could be a smart move to invest in him with 2015 in mind. A projected second-round pick before he tore his ACL in a pre-draft workout with the Saints, Thomas will probably slip down the board a bit.

Fifth round: DE/OLB Zach Moore (Concordia)
The 6-foot-5 1/2, 269-pound Moore has an ideal physical makeup and other tools to work with as he enters the NFL after playing at the Division II level. The NFL team willing to be patient with him could ultimately be rewarded in the end.

Sixth round: WR/KR Solomon Patton (Florida)
The 5-foot-8 1/2, 179-pound Patton could potentially be a slash-type option who factors into the return game. He ran a sub 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash.

Seventh round: LS Tyler Ott (Harvard)
The Patriots have Danny Aiken and Charley Hughlett on the roster to compete for the long snapper position, and perhaps they consider adding a prospect viewed as one of the best in this year's class.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker
5. Quarterback
6. Wide receiver
7. Safety
8. Running back
9. Cornerback
10. Guard
11. Center

Beyond the 1st round: Center

April, 26, 2014
Apr 26
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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 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 center.

[+] EnlargeWeston Richburg
AP Photo/G.M. AndrewsCenter Weston Richburg of Colorado State competed in the Senior Bowl in January.
Second round: Weston Richburg (Colorado State)
A two-year captain who has played tackle, guard and center, the 6-foot-3 3/8, 298-pound Richburg has 49 career starts on his resume and would appear to fit best in a zone-based scheme like the Patriots'. One question is how he'd match up against bigger defensive tackles.

Third round: Travis Swanson (Arkansas)
Another two-year captain who has extensive experience (50 career starts), the 6-foot-5, 312-pound Swanson combines intelligence, unusual reach, and an edge as his physical measureables are a bit unique for the position.

Fourth round: Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma)
Like the majority of centers who make the cut here, the 6-foot-3 5/8, 304-pound Ikard makes the line calls, which reflects his football intelligence. He is a two-time captain, has experience at guard and center, and his 7.30 time in the 3-cone drill ranked among the best at the position.

Fifth round: Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt)
With Bill Belichick in town to run the Nashville half-marathon, he worked out Johnson on Friday and had a film session with him Thursday, the Tennessean reported. Johnson (6-foot-5 7/8, 297 pounds) is known for his versatility and intelligence; his 7.40 time in the 3-cone drill was among the best at the position.

Sixth round: James Stone (Tennessee)
At 6-foot-3 5/8, 306 pounds, with 33 7/8-inch arm length and 10 1/8-inch hand size, Stone has some desirable physical measureables. A four-year starter in the SEC, he's faced some of the top competition in the country, with one NFL-based question coming in -- how he would handle bigger defensive tackles.

Seventh round: Jonotthan Harrison (Florida)
One of the Gators' captains in 2013, the 6-foot-3 1/2, 304-pound Harrison has 39 career starts on his resume and his combination of height and arm length figures to appeal to those eyeing a developmental prospect.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker
5. Quarterback
6. Wide receiver
7. Safety
8. Running back
9. Cornerback
10. Guard

Beyond the 1st round: Guard

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
5:00
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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 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.

[+] EnlargeDavid Yankey
AP Photo/Ben LiebenbergDavid 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.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker
5. Quarterback
6. Wide receiver
7. Safety
8. Running back
9. Cornerback

Beyond the 1st round: Cornerback

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24
5:00
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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 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 cornerback.

[+] Enlarge Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY SportsCornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste's size is helping make him an attractive NFL draft prospect.
Second round: Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska)
With the Patriots potentially shifting to more press coverage with the acquisitions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, it highlights the possibility of focusing on bigger, physical cornerbacks. Jean-Baptiste (6-foot-2 5/8 and 218 pounds) fits that mold, but he might not make it to the bottom of the second round after an impressive Senior Bowl week.

Third round: Jaylen Watkins (Florida)
A consistent performer over the past three seasons who has scheme flexibility between cornerback and safety, the 5-foot-11 1/2, 194-pound Watkins runs well and plays physical against the run. His 22 reps on the bench press highlight his strength.

Fourth round: Dontae Johnson (N.C. State)
His combination of size (6-foot-2 1/8, 200 pounds), speed (4.45 in the 40) and position flexibility could put him on the radar, as he's played both cornerback and safety. He also has special-teams experience.

Fifth round: Marqueston Huff (Wyoming)
A team captain who played 49 games over his college career, he has experience at cornerback and safety, and would project to a special teams role as well. The 5-foot-11 1/8, 196-pound Huff runs well (4.49 in the 40) and has some traits that could warrant a look if he's available at this point.

Sixth round: Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma)
This pick would fall into the Marcus Cannon category of too much value to pass up at this point of the draft, assuming Colvin is available as he recovers from a torn ACL in January at the Senior Bowl. Colvin might spend his first year on the physically unable to perform list where he wouldn't count against the roster and could be worked into the mix in 2015.

Seventh round: Bennett Jackson (Notre Dame)
A team captain, the 5-foot-11 7/8, 196-pound Jackson has good size and his three-cone drill time of 6.75 was among the best at his position as he tested well at the combine. His toughness was reflected in how he played through a shoulder injury, and he also was a regular on special teams.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker
5. Quarterback
6. Wide receiver
7. Safety
8. Running back

Beyond the 1st round: Running back

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23
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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 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 running back.

[+] EnlargeBishop Sankey
AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonBishop Sankey rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and scored 20 touchdowns in 2013.
Second round: Bishop Sankey (Washington)
A team captain, the 5-foot-9 1/2, 209-pound Sankey enters the draft after his junior season and looks like one of the most well-rounded prospects at the position. His 26 reps on the bench press highlighted his strength, while his 4.49 time in the 40-yard dash and 6.75 time in the 3-cone drill reflects his speed and quickness. In the Patriots' zone blocking scheme, his skill set looks like a good fit.

Third round: Charles Sims (West Virginia)/Devonta Freeman (Florida State)
We'll split the category because there are multiple solid options at the position in this range. The 6-foot-0, 214-pound Sims is one of the better route-runners and pass-catching backs in the draft, which reminds us a bit of Shane Vereen from 2011. He ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash and has a skill set that seems to fit best in a zone-running scheme like New England's. As for Freeman, he is one of the shortest prospects at 5-foot-8 1/4 but at 206 pounds he runs hard and is considered to have top-end intangibles.

Fourth round: Andre Williams (Boston College)
The 5-foot-11 3/8 and 230 pound Williams is one of the best power runners in the draft and his production speaks for itself as he was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2013. His 129.0 broad jump reflects his explosion and he also has shown the ability to run away from defenders at his size.

Fifth round: Storm Johnson (Central Florida)
If the 6-foot-0, 209-pound Johnson checks out from an off-field perspective (he transferred from Miami in 2011), he appears to have the combination of size, speed and pass-catching ability that could appeal to New England. He enters the draft after his junior season.

Sixth round: Tyler Gaffney (Stanford)
The 5-foot-11 1/2, 220-pound Gaffney is a top-notch athlete (6.78 in the 3-cone drill) who also drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012 and played Class-A minor-league ball that year before returning to football in 2013. The Patriots, of course, have had success in the sixth round when selecting players with a baseball background (Tom Brady was drafted in the 18th round by the Montreal Expos in 1995).

Seventh round: Lorenzo Taliaferro (Coastal Carolina)
A bigger power back at 6-foot-0 1/4 and 229 pounds, Taliaferro also clocked 6.88 in the 3-cone drill, one of the best times at the position. He also factors into the special teams mix (similar to Brandon Bolden) and was a team captain.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker
5. Quarterback
6. Wide receiver
7. Safety

Beyond the 1st round: Safety

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
3:30
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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 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 safety.

Second round: Deone Bucannon (Washington State)
The 6-foot-1, 211-pound Bucannon is one of the biggest, hardest-hitting prospects in this year's draft. He played every game over four seasons, was a three-time captain, and was one of the Patriots' 30 in-house visits.

[+] EnlargeDeone Bucannon
AP Photo/Michael ConroyTrading down in the draft on Thursday night didn't prevent the Cardinals from nabbing physical safety Deone Bucannon.
Third round: Terrence Brooks (Florida State)
The 5-foot-10 7/8 and 198-pound Brooks is among the fastest prospects in this year's draft (4.42 time in the 40-yard dash), has cornerback/safety flexibility and extensive special teams experience.

Fourth round: Brock Vereen (Minnesota)
The brother of Patriots running back Shane Vereen, his versatility, football smarts and intangibles figure to be valued by a team like New England. The 5-foot-11 5/8 and 199-pound Vereen was a team captain and tested well (his 6.90 three-cone drill was among the best at the position).

Fifth round: Craig Loston (LSU)
One of the bigger safeties in the draft at 6-foot-0 5/8 and 217 pounds, he is viewed by analysts as being a tone-setter in run-support and would factor into the special teams mix as well. He has missed some time with injuries.

Sixth round: Dez Southward (Wisconsin)
After not working out at the combine, the 6-foot-0 1/4, 211-pound Southward tested well at his pro day, which could elevate his draft stock. He is one of the bigger safeties in this year's draft, played in 54 games over his four-year career, and first started playing football as a high school senior.

Seventh round: Vinnie Sunseri (Alabama)
The 5-foot-11 1/8 and 210-pound Sunseri missed the final six games of the season with a torn ACL. The quarterback of Alabama's secondary and a potential core special teamer, he comes from a football family as his father, Sal, is Florida State's defensive ends coach.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker
5. Quarterback
6. Wide receiver

Beyond the 1st round: Wide receiver

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
5:00
AM ET
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 wide receiver.

Second round: Jarvis Landry (LSU)
A team captain, the 5-foot-11 1/2, 205-pound Landry comes out of a pro-style system under former NFL coordinator Cam Cameron. He didn't run well at the NFL combine, followed up by accounting well for himself at his pro day, and is considered a sure-handed, intelligent, savvy route-runner.

[+] EnlargeBruce Ellington
AP Photo/Michael ConroyBruce Ellington lacks prototypical size, but scouts love his intangibles.
Third round: Bruce Ellington (South Carolina), Brandon Coleman (Rutgers)
We'll split the category with a smaller, shiftier type in Ellington (5-foot-9 3/8, 197 pounds) and the bigger-bodied type in Coleman (6-foot-6, 225 pounds). Ellington opened eyes with a 39.5-inch vertical leap, which highlights his athleticism and explosion, and he is viewed as having strong intangibles. Coleman looks the part and has 34-inch arm length, and is also considered to have top-end smarts and intangibles.

Fourth round: Kevin Norwood (Alabama)
The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Norwood has big hands (10 inches) for the position, runs precise routes, and comes from a Nick Saban-led program that has earned the respect of many, including Bill Belichick. He is considered a heady receiver who understands the nuances of the passing game.

Fifth round: T.J. Jones (Notre Dame)
Jones (5-foot-11 5/8, 188 pounds) played in every game over his four-year college career, gets high marks for his route-running, and was a team captain -- all things that figure to appeal to the Patriots.

Sixth round: Jeff Janis (Saginaw Valley State)
With standout production at a lower level of competition, and then impressive testing results such as a 6.64 three-cone drill, Janis (6-foot-2 7/8, 219 pounds) is naturally drawing attention. Assuming he's still on the board at this point, which might not be realistic, he has unique traits worthy of a long look.

Seventh round: Quincy Enunwa (Nebraska)
At this stage in the draft, teams are often looking for one standout trait and with Enunwa it's his physical makeup -- 6-foot-2, 225 pounds. Combine that with him serving as a team captain and having potential versatility as a "move" tight end (an adept receiver and used all over the offensive formation), we could envision the Patriots taking a look.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker
5. Quarterback

Beyond the 1st round: Quarterback

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
5:00
AM ET
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.

[+] EnlargeTom Savage
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsAs the NFL draft nears, it appears that quarterback Tom Savage's stock is rising.
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.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker

Beyond the 1st round: LB and OLB

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
5:00
AM ET
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 linebacker and outside linebacker, with the outside linebacker spot having some crossover with defensive end in the Patriots' multiple system.

Second round: Jerry Attaochu (Georgia Tech)
More of defensive end/outside linebacker type, he has experience in a pro-style system having played under Al Groh in a 3-4 defense (OLB) and then in a 4-3 his final year (DE). He is a high-effort pass-rusher who has good production in that area (31 1/2 career sacks). The 6-foot-3 1/4, 252-pound Attaochu was a team captain.

[+] EnlargeJeremiah Attaochu
Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsJerry Attaochu showed that he can get into the backfield with 31 1/2 career sacks at Georgia Tech.
Third round: Adrian Hubbard (Alabama)
He has the ideal physical makeup for a defensive end/outside linebacker in the Patriots' system at 6-6 and 257 pounds with good arm length (33 1/2) and a 4.69 time in the 40-yard dash. Offers a mix of coverage abilities, playing the run, and rushing the passer.

Fourth round: Prince Shembo (Notre Dame)
At 6-1, 253 pounds, Shembo has 10.5-inch hands, good strength, and has played in a two- and three-point stance as well as on special teams. He has some versatility that could appeal to the Patriots, as his 38.5-inch vertical leap highlights his explosion.

Fifth round: Jordie Tripp (Montana)
The 6-2 3/4, 234-pound Tripp has a special-teams mentality with upside to potentially factor into the defensive mix as an off-the-line linebacker. His 6.89-second three-cone drill time was among the best at the position, he is a two-time team captain, and he is one of the more versatile prospects at the position.

Sixth round: Chris Kirksey (Iowa)
A two-time captain, he is 6-1 3/4 and 233 pounds, which is a bit undersized for what the Patriots have traditionally preferred. He's more of an off-the-line/sub linebacker projection with an initial fit on special teams. He is said to have outstanding intangibles.

Seventh round: LB Tyler Starr (South Dakota)
Outstanding time in the three-cone drill catches the eye (6.64) as he projects to a core role on special teams and could ultimately help as a coverage-based option or a sub-rusher as a potential end-of-the-line option. At 6-4 and 250 pounds, he has long arms (32 3/8) and is viewed as a high-effort player.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end

Beyond the 1st round: Defensive end

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
5:00
AM ET
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.

Second round: Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame)
A "traits" prospect at 6-foot-5 1/4 and 304 pounds who runs well, has big hands (10") and long arms (34 3/4). He enters the draft after his junior season and had a better year in 2012 than 2013. The team selecting him will be banking on harnessing his traits into a more productive and consistent player. Seems to have some scheme flexibility.

[+] EnlargeNotre Dame
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIDefensive end Stephon Tuitt had 21.5 sacks in three years at Notre Dame.
Third round: Ed Stinson (Alabama)
The 6-foot-3 1/4, 287-pound Stinson figures to appeal to New England because he's shown a knack for executing some of the two-gap, edge-setting techniques employed by the Patriots. He's more likely to win with power than a speed rush.

Fourth round: Taylor Hart (Oregon)
He has NFL size at 6-foot-6 1/8 and 281 pounds, runs well for his size, and is a power rusher. Some project him more as a 3-4 defensive end, but he also might have some scheme flexibility.

Fifth round: Jeoffrey Pagan (Alabama)
At 6-foot-3 1/2 and 310 pounds, he enters the draft after his junior season, appears to have some scheme versatility with experience playing multiple techniques, and comes out of a pro-style program well respected by Bill Belichick.

Sixth round: Jamil Merrell (Rutgers)
The Rutgers-to-Patriots pipeline has been well-tapped and the 6-foot-4, 252-pound Merrell is one candidate to watch to add to it. His high-motor approach and solid tackling skills figure to be to the Patriots' liking.

Seventh round: Josh Mauro (Stanford)
By the final round of the draft, many teams are focusing on one standout trait and Mauro's build (6-6, 271) and upside could be appealing. He could potentially offer some scheme versatility as well.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends

Beyond the 1st round: Tight end

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
5:00
AM ET
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.

[+] EnlargeTroy Niklas
AP Photo/Michael ConroyTroy Niklas looks to be a pure tight end, with the potential to really grow into the position.
Second round: Troy Niklas (Notre Dame)
At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, he is a pure tight end when compared to others at the position who might be viewed more as bigger receivers. He has good size, strength and upside to develop into a solid combination tight end as he's only played the position for two years.

Third round: Marcel Jensen (Fresno State)
Some physical traits stand out -- 6-foot-6, 259 pounds with 34 7/8 arm length for a wide catch radius. Looks like he has some combination potential to be a factor in-line and split wide.

Fourth round: Trey Burton (Florida)
While much of the pre-draft buzz has centered on Texas Tech's Jace Amaro as an early-round option as a "move" tight end, the Patriots might view Burton as a better fit from a value perspective. He's undersized (6-2, 224) but his excellent 3-cone drill (7.14) and solid intangibles are among the things that caught our eye.

Fifth round: Richard Rodgers (California)
Even at 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds, he likely projects more as a "move" tight end as he played more of an inside receiver role last year. Rodgers enters the draft after his junior season, and his father Richard currently serves as Carolina's special-teams coach.

Sixth round: Crockett Gillmore (Colorado State)
At 6-foot-5 7/8 and 260 pounds, Gillmore has NFL-type size, with long arms (33 3/4) and big hands (10 3/8), which are traits that figure to appeal to clubs. He is similar to Fresno State's Marcel Jensen in that he has ideal physical measureables with room to grow.

Seventh round: Rob Blanchflower (UMass)/Arthur Lynch (Georgia)
Two local products are paired together, as Blanchflower played in high school at St. John's-Shrewsbury (Mass.) and Lynch is from Dartmouth, Mass. They are both hard-nosed, team-first players with room to grow.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

Beyond the 1st round: Defensive tackle

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
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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.

Second round: Daniel McCullers (Tennessee)
Would be classified as a "traits" prospect as he has rare measureables -- 6-foot-6 3/4, 353 pounds, 11-inch hands, and 36.5-inch arm length. The team selecting him would be projecting the ability to harness those traits into a more productive football player.

[+] EnlargeDaQuan Jones
Pat Lovell/USA TODAY SportsAt 6-foot-3 3/4 and 323 pounds, Daquan Jones has NFL size.
Third round: DaQuan Jones (Penn State)
Spent the last two years under former Patriots assistant Bill O'Brien at Penn State and has NFL size -- 6-foot-3 3/4 and 323 pounds. Could have some scheme versatility as well.

Fourth round: Deandre Coleman (California)
A team captain who appeared in 49 games over the last four years, Coleman (6-foot-4 3/4, 314 pounds) has long arms (34 1/4), played strong against the run, and has some versatility.

Fifth round: Jason Bromley (Syracuse)
Played in 50 games over the last four years and at 6-foot-3 1/8 and 306 pounds, he could potentially be viewed as another versatile prospect who fits in even and odd fronts.

Sixth round: Khyri Thornton (Southern Mississippi)
A former teammate of 2013 Patriots top pick Jamie Collins at Southern Mississippi, Thornton (6-2 5/8, 304) played in 50 career games and has some physical traits that could be appealing if still on the board at this point.

Seventh round: Bruce Gaston (Purdue)
A team captain who played in 50 games, Gaston (6-2, 316) has some physical traits that could warrant a look.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)

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