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Kansas State's Tyler Lockett as a Patriot? 

With the draft starting tomorrow night, we conclude our series of 2015 draft roundtables with talented writers Ned Brady, Adam Bogdan and Andrew Ludwig!

We've already taken a look at some of the Patriots' biggest needs - cornerback, offensive guard and defensive tackle. Now we tackle everything else left on the table!


1. Other than guard, cornerback and defensive tackle what is the Patriots' biggest need and where do you see them addressing that need?



Adam Bogdan (@PatriotsInform)

Despite inside linebacker being their biggest need, I'm not sure the Patriots feel comfortable addressing that need at the pick it would likely cost them to add a quality player. While it may not be a need, WR is a position that is too deep in this draft to ignore. By the time the season starts, Edelman will be 29, Amendola will be 29, and LaFell will be 28. They are in their prime, but youth is needed at the position. If USC's Nelson Agholor is there at 32, he could provide the Patriots that solid building block at the position for years to come.
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Ned Brady (@therealnedbrady)

I don't view any of the Patriots needs beyond the aforementioned three to be pressing enough for one to take precedence over the other, and instead expect the team to draft according to value. In my opinion, the second tier of needs for the Patriots include off-the-line linebacker, wide receiver and running back, with edge rusher and offensive tackle looming as potential sleeper needs depending on Nate Solder and Chandler Jones' long-term future with the team.

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Andrew Ludwig (@aludwig25)

Other then G, DT, and CB, I would say that safety and linebacker are their next biggest need. I could see them addressing linebacker in the second round, and safety in the third round.



2. Who do you view as an ideal fit at that position (or any others) in the first round?


Adam Bogdan (@PatriotsInform)

As I mentioned before, Nelson Agholor could be the WR of the future for the Patriots, despite their unwillingness to go after WRs early. His combination or speed, quickness, and hands make him a natural fit to play a variety of roles within the Patriots offense. Reports are that this kid loves the game of football and is highly committed to becoming the best player he can be. His work ethic and skills will fit perfectly within the Patriots organization.
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Ned Brady (@therealnedbrady)

At running back, I don't view any of the backs other than Todd Gurley as worthy of a first round selection, and Gurley appears unlikely to last past the Dolphins at 14. There should be several very good receivers on the board at 32 (Jaelen Strong, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Nelson Agholor stand out as possibilities), but this draft's depth at that position leads me to believe they can land a good one later on. They could very well stay put at 32 and have their pick of any off-the-line linebacker in the draft, with Benardrick McKinney and Stephone Anthony standing out as better scheme-fits than the undersized likes of Paul Dawson, Shaq Thompson, Eric Kendricks and Denzel Perryman. Finally, Oregon's Eric Fisher could provide the Pats with some long-term Solder insurance while possessing the flexibility to kick inside and help address the need at guard immediately.


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Andrew Ludwig (@aludwig25)

In the first round they could potentially grab Shaq Thompson for linebacker, and he can drop back and play safety. So he really can fill both needs in one pick, if the Patriots figure out where they want to play him.
3. Should the Pats wait until Day 2 to address this need, who do you view as possible fits?


Adam Bogdan (@PatriotsInform)

A few weeks ago it could've been possible to grab Agholor in the mid to late 2nd round, but his hype has reached quite a peak. It may be possible to trade down from 32 and get him in the early 2nd, but otherwise the Patriots may wait until the 4th round to grab a WR like Stefon Diggs, Dezmin Lewis, or Justin Hardy. Some dark horses could be Jamison Crowder, Chris Conley, and Tyler Lockett in that late 3rd/early 4th round range.

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Ned Brady (@therealnedbrady)

One guy I love as a Day 2 fit for the Pats is Kansas State's Tyler Lockett. The need at receiver isn't immediate with Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola all returning. However, given the importance of the slot receiver in the Patriots offense, the seemingly inevitable departure of Amendola following this season and the amount of punishment Edelman regularly takes, they could be well served to stock the pipeline with another shifty pass catcher who can run precise routes and get open quickly. 

Lockett is a perfect fit for that role, as he did nothing but make plays in college despite relatively average measurables. Other potential fits include WR Stefon Diggs, whose YAC prowess could make him a versatile playmaking threat in the Pats quick hitting offense, any one of the aforementioned linebackers who falls into Day 2, or a running back. At RB, Indiana's Tevin Coleman is a dynamic home run hitter with the speed/power combination to develop into a franchise back, while Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah seems tailor-made to fill the pass catching void left by Shane Vereen.

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Andrew Ludwig (@aludwig25)

During Day 2 of the draft they could potentially grab Quinten Rollins to play safety. He was a cornerback in college, but will translate to the safety position in the NFL. He has the range to play center field, and the physicality to play strong safety. It will be interesting to see where he could potentially translate.
4. Give us a late round sleeper who could emerge as a surprise contributor in camp


Adam Bogdan (@PatriotsInform)

Despite not being a truly late round pick, Central Arkansas WR Dezmin Lewis could be a true contributor for the Patriots if they take him in the 4th round. Has a rare combination of size, speed, and hands. Playing at a smaller school has kept him off a lot of radars, but his talents are very note worthy. At 6'4" with 4.5 speed, he could become a force on the outside. Would be a great consolation if they are unable to get Agholor in the 1st or 2nd round.
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Ned Brady (@therealnedbrady)

I don't know how late he'll actually go in the draft, but Duke's Jamison Crowder is a potential Day 3 pick who could also fit that slot receiver role. I watched film on Duke primarily to study top guard prospect Laken Tomlinson, but Crowder's explosive combination of speed and quickness constantly showed up on tape. 

A true late round sleeper type who has caught my eye is Auburn running back Corey Grant. Grant was used sparingly in college as Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne gobbled up most of the carries, but he possesses eye-popping athleticism (4.25 40 time), solid hands out of the backfield, and special teams value both as a return man and in kick coverage.
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Andrew Ludwig (@aludwig25)

Kyle Emanuel from North Dakota State is an interesting prospect at linebacker. He was a workout hero at the combine, and has extreme athleticism. He is a little undersized to play DE at the NFL level but can play OLB. His athleticism will allow him to excel in coverage at the NFL level.
5. The Pats have shown a willingness in the past to invest in prospects whose stock has taken a hit due to injury rather than on-field performance. Name a player that fits that bill.


Adam Bogdan (@PatriotsInform)

With the Patriots putting Stefon Diggs through workouts and meetings, they have likely also taken note of his teammate Deon Long. Long is a tad older than your normal draftee at the age of 24, but he has the tools to become a functional WR in the NFL. He broke his tibia and fibula in 2013 and was able to return the following year and contribute.

 
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Ned Brady (@therealnedbrady)

I'm going with Washington edge rusher Hau'oli Kikaha. It's hard to fathom how a guy coming off of a 19 sack season could be under the radar, but Kikaha's troubling medical history has reportedly gotten him removed from some draft boards entirely. Kikaha came back from a torn ACL that cut his freshman season short after just four games in 2011, only to miss all of the following season after tearing his ACL again in fall camp. However, Kikaha came back with as dominant of a two season run as one can imagine, totaling 32 sacks, 40 tackles for a loss and six forced fumbles over 2013-2014. 

While he lacks the elite athleticism of this draft's top pass rusher, Kikaha attacks the edge with relentless energy, and his hand usage (clearly aided by his Judo background) is phenomenal. Kikaha's stock has also been hurt by the perception that he'll be largely a one trick pony as a pass rush specialist at the next level, but that ability to get after the quarterback has enough value itself to make him an worthwhile gamble in the middle rounds.

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Andrew Ludwig (@aludwig25)

Jordon Hicks an OLB from Texas missed a combined 19 games between 2012-13 season due to a hip injury and a torn achilles tendon. He is an interesting athletic prospect who's stock dropped due to his injury history.

Michael Saver 4/29/2015 12:18:00 PM Edit
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