Under a month to go until the NFL Draft, New England Patriots fans. A month that will slowly drag on for most of us. To fill the time, we get to look at hundreds of Mock Drafts, YouTube highlights, and experts telling you who's the next *insert current NFL player here*. So let's join in. Here's my three realistic prospects who I'd love to Patriots to grab.
I will clarify this by saying I believe the Patriots will trade out of their first round pick, because, you know, Bill Belichick's our head coach, and frankly, in a draft with good depth but no stand outs, it makes sense.
1: Justin Hunter - WR, Tennessee
When I first started looking into the draft, one key need is obviously WR. So at the end of February, I noted 5 receivers the Patriots should look at. And any 5 of these would be great. However, I kind of like Hunter the best for where we are in the Draft anyway. Mainly because Hunter's size just brings us something completely different - size. He's 6'4'', and he did rather well at the combine, especially in Broad Jump and Vertical Jump. Which means he can be a deep threat, which is exactly what the Patriots mean.
I usually don't look too much into the Combine, but after suffering injuries in College, a good showing at the Combine is a good sign he's in good health. Rumors suggest he's a mid to late 2nd rounder, so let's use one of our 2 2nds to get him (again, assuming we trade our 1st for a 2nd and then another later on)...
2: Tyrann Mathieu - CB, LSU
On the basis we have 2 2nds, let's use one on Hunter, and the other on the Honey Badger. My post on him visiting the Patriots turned into a bit of a love letter on how great he'd be for the Patriots. Read in full why we need him there. But the kid can play, and he'll bring that x-factor to the defense, and he can certainly be kept in check by Belichick. Hopefully he'll slip through the first round (he should anyway) and we can get this guy in the second.
3: Sylvester Williams - DT, North Carolina
A pass rushing Defensive Tackle to go along with the run stuffing Vince Wilfork is definitely something we need either through Free Agency, or preferably, with this guy in the draft. Williams is a guy with relatively little football experience, he's been playing for just 5 years. But this is a DT that gets into the backfield. A lot. His swim move is his specialty, and inside penetration is something the Patriots definitely need. He does have his weaknesses - he can get lost during plays (probably due to the lack of experience), and he can get locked onto Offensive Lineman at times, due to struggles with his bull rush, somethings which a certain Mr. Wilfork is pretty good at.
So projections of him being a 3rd round pick are brilliant. Might have to trade up in the round to get him, might just cost a 3rd and one of our 7th's (in a dream world), but he'd definitely fill a big need in this team nicely.
Let me know your views on my 3 dream picks in the comments below, or on Twitter @BrendanAnnely