Welcome to Year 7 of the PatsPropaganda Draft Big Board! Going with a little bit different format this year. Instead of ranking these prospects 1-50 I’m going to leave them separated by position to make it a little easier to follow and a little less dependent on rankings.
As always, these are players that I see as fitting what the Patriots do. Needs are calculated a tiny bit (no QBs this year), but generally it’s more about the player and how he fits. Still, I’ve listed the positions as I generally view the draft needs, with linebacker, defensive end, running back and tackle being the priorities.
I’m looking to bounce back after my worst year ever in 2016. The whole point of this — doing one big board with 50 guys and one mock draft — was to bring a level of accountability to it and to challenge myself to see how many picks I could nail. This year is especially difficult because as of early April the Pats still don’t have their first pick until the third round. I expect that to change. So there are some higher-end prospects mixed in here, but generally I tried to start at the bottom and work my way backwards.
I’ll drop my mock draft the week before the draft. This is a fluid list so please comment if you think I’ve left a perfect Patriots fit off! Hopefully I can nail at least a couple picks this year!!
Let’s get after it!
- Ryan Anderson – Alabama – LB : Experienced and plays within the system, Anderson is as refined as you’d expect coming out of Alabama. Would likely fit in a way similar to Hightower, playing OLB on early downs and getting moved around on third down. Maybe not quite the same pass rusher as Hightower but would be good insurance in back of him.
- Harvey Langi – BYU – LB : Intriguing athleticism is what’s most appealing. He’d likely move back to linebacker where he could excel ala Jamie Collins.
- Kendell Beckwith – LSU – LB: Good size and instincts but has athletic limitations and that hurts his value as that’s what the Pats should add to their LB corps.
- Alex Anzalone – Florida – LB. 4th in 3-cone. Good athlete who can play every LB spot, injury history will drop his value, but BB takes shots on those guys.
- Vince Biegel – Wisconsin – LB. Captain who loves football. Low ceiling, but special teams ability.
- Jarrad Davis – Florida – LB. Athletic with good character, Davis has the kind of potential the Pats need to add.
- Connor Harris – Lindenwood – LB. 3x Captain, loves football, played punter, RB. We’ll see if he can handle the jump in competition. At just 5′ 10″, (but 242) he’d need to be Zach Thomas special, but has the love of football to take a shot.
- Matt Milano – Boston College – LB. Aggressive special teams guy. Bench, long jump top performer.
- Tyus Bowser – Houston – LB : Pats likely got a good look at him when scouting Elandon Roberts, Bowser is a better athlete who would benefit from elite coaching at the linebacker spot. Ascending prospect who is dripping with athleticism. Jamie Collins anyone?
- Ben Gedeon – Michigan – LB : Good instincts and size. Might never been a core starter, but could be a core special teamer.
- Jordan Willis – Kansas State – ED. Strong and agile, good fit for Pats ED. Top performer 3 cone, 40, 20yd shuttle, vertical.
- Bryan Cox – Florida – ED. Lined up all over, plays hard.
- Deatrich Wise – Arkansas – ED : Powerful 5-tech with long arms (35 5/8). Not a clear fit but one of those tough guys who plays hard and has some interesting traits that could intrigue.
- Chris Wormley – Michigan – DT : Interesting prospect who could play multiple spots on the DL, strong run stopper and a “student of the game”. A bit of a tweener as far as the Patriots go, but powerful enough to warrant consideration.
- Derek Rivers – Youngstown St. – ED: Top performer in 40, Bench, Vertical Jump and Three-cone, Rivers would seem to have the athleticism needed to play end for the Pats, though his college tape might not necessarily show it. Short arms (32 1/4) could hurt him.
- James Conner – Pittsburgh – RB : Recovered from cancer (ala Marcus Cannon) and runs like a brute between the tackles. Decisive and hard to tackle, he’d be a great early down running back to develop.
- Jamaal Williams – BYU – RB : Decisive dual threat who runs hard through contact, Williams might not touch the ball much as a rookie but runs the way the Pats like and has some versatility. Carving a niche on special teams would be key.
- Jeremy McNichols – Boise State – RB : Small shifty back in the mold of Dion Lewis and James White (who are both entering the last years of their deals), he has great vision and plays with good rhythm.
- Antonio Garcia – Troy – OT : Athletic left tackle who would need time with Dante Scarnecchia to develop his frame as he played light for most of his career. Still, athleticism is harder to manufacture than mass so there could be something to work with.
- Adam Bisnowaty – Pittsburgh – OT : Great frame and plays with a mean streak, but might be too limited athletically for what the Pats like to do.
- Dan Skipper – Arkansas – OT : At 6’1-” Skipper has impressive size which could be both a blessing and a curse. Lined up at guard, has versatility. Back up swing-tackle who would be a project but could be useful, especially with his ability to block field goals.
- Storm Norton – Toledo – OT : Good size (6’8″) with 35 inch arms, hasn’t played the best competition but could be intriguing developmental project.
- Sam Tevi – Utah – OT : Good feet, played both sides but will need to get a lot stronger to handle NFL pass rushers.
- Jonathan McLaughlin – Virginia Tech – OT : Tough attitude and consistent on the left side with some athleticism, he’d have a lot of work to do on his technique but has the size and demeanor.
- Bucky Hodges – Virginia Tech – TE : Great height, looks like a long wide receiver and plays as such, with explosiveness up the seam. Would be a work in progress for blocking but would be a useful option behind Gronk and Allen as he develops.
- Jake Butt – Michigan – TE : Not flashy but a reliable football player and co-captain. With time to develop he could become a solid all-around NFL tight end. Strong third tight end for Pats.
- Adam Shaheen – Ashland – TE: Monstrous small school prospect who is shooting up draft boards.
- Desmond King – Iowa – CB. 3rd in 3-cone. Four-year starter who knows how to pattern read but is still physical when playing man. Can also return kicks. Steady football nerd.
- Jourdan Lewis – Michigan – CB : Undersized but plays with an edge (sounds familiar in New England). Good ball skills with special teams experience to find a roster spot. Quickness and toughness to play in the slot.
- Chidobe Awuzie – Colorado – CB : 13th in 3-cone, man corner with good size who played both inside and outside.
- Corn Elder – Miami – CB : Former RB who plays fearless but at 183 pounds might be restricted to the slot. Still, he checks a lot of Pats boxes.
- Taywan Taylor – Western Kentucky – WR : Route technician who went off against Alabama, he’d need time to develop in Pats offense as almost everyone does, but could develop into an effective slot weapon who can do a bunch of different things. Three Cone top performer.
- Curtis Samuel – Ohio State – WR : Used as an H-back at Ohio State, Samuel is sudden to win early and has the deep speed (4.31 40) to win late. Could play in multiple spots and has kickoff return experience.
- Juju Smith-Schuster – USC – WR : Good sized receiver who knows how to use it to his advantage. Also has experience at safety which gives him some unique insight.
- Chris Godwin – Penn State – WR : Top performer in bench press and 20-yard shuttle at the combine, Godwin has good size (6’1″) and can fight through contact for the ball.
- Noah Brown – Ohio State – WR : Big receiver who plays up to his size both catching the ball and blocking. Still young, he’d be developmental, but has all the tools needed and fits the mold for a physical outside receiver who can also be moved around to other spots and play special teams.
- Carlos Henderson – Louisiana Tech – WR : Named both offensive player of the year and special teams player of the year in the Conference USA, Henderson is a nuanced route runner with good explosion. He excels on “catch-and-go” routes that the Patriots love.
- Carlos Watkins – Clemson – DT : Athletic interior DT with long arms, Watkins would need some time to develop, especially to two-gap like the Pats often ask.
- Jaleel Johnson – Iowa – DT : Active interior lineman would need time to develop the range of techniques needed to play inside for the Patriots. He skews a little more penetrator than two-gapper. Just not sure if the Pats are still willing to look at those kind of players at this point.
- Dalvin Tomlinson – Alabama – DT : Good size, strength and temperament for being an inside run-stopper, but showed more versatility while under Nick Saban. Very much seems like a Patriots-type guy.
- Ryan Glasgow – Michigan – DT : Try hard walk on with good strength to two-gap, Glasgow might be worth a late round flyer or a free agent contract. Reminds me of Joe Vellano. High effort tough guys always get a chance in New England.
- Justin Evans – Texas A&M : Physical hitter with range, Evans plays similar to Patrick Chung, and will need to find the same kind of control to stay healthy. Could play both in box and on back end. Could develop behind the top-3 Pats safeties and potentially fill in for any of them down the road.
- Budda Baker – Washington – FS : 10th in 3cone, Explosive player with a ton of heart. Size is a concern at 5’10” 195, but he has everything else. Might be an interesting third safety option eventually.
- Josh Harvey-Clemons – Louisville – SS : Off field flags for failed drug use, but he has unique size at 6’4″ with long arms and could be a very useful player in today’s NFL with big slot receivers rising in prominence.
- Tedric Thompson – Colorado – FS : Smart, rangy back end player might be less useful with McCourty and Harmon in the mix but great ball instincts are intriguing.
- Nate Gerry – Nebraska – SS : Physical specimen who sees the play develop, will not hesitate in run support and also has experience covering slot receivers.