NFL Draft: Patriots Day 3 Cheat Sheet

The Boston Globe

The Patriots continued an unpredictable draft by selecting Florida cornerback Duke Dawson in the second round and trading away all their other pair of scheduled picks. Now, the path continues to grow more muddy as teams struggle to fill out the back ends of their roster.

Key Team Needs
After picking Dawson, it's safe to assume the team's defensive back need has been filled. Now, it's on to front seven help for the D, a possible heir to Tom Brady, and maybe even a tight end who can play with Gronk.

Top Targets
The Pats refused to pull the trigger on a quarterback on Day 2. Luckily for them, Kyle Lauletta and Luke Faulk are sitting on the board, along with WKU prospect Mike White. Beyond that, they could look to defensive prospects like Oklahoma linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst, Florida State defensive lineman Josh Sweat (mentioned yesterday), or even linebackers Josey Jewell (Iowa) and Shaq Griffin (UCF). The tight end ranks have been fairly depleted, but prospects like Indiana's Ian Thomas, Wisconsin's Troy Fumagalli, and NC State's multipurpose weapon Jaylen Samuels are still on the board and could be good fits for the Pats. Finally, while it's not a major need, Miami slot receiver Braxton Berrios and Penn State slot man DaeSean Hamilton have some alluring Patriots-esque qualities. The goal here should be depth pieces that can come and quickly jump into a rotation for next year, and a developmental QB to sit and groom behind Tom Brady.

At this point, it's open season. After moving around so much yesterday, expect Bill Belichick to be flying around the draft board to get the prospects he wants. While he's always more likely to move down, it's hard to forecast where he'll go--as we saw yesterday, he can always leverage new capital to move back up and nab a specific player.

Picks to Watch
As with yesterday, the Patriots pick near the beginning of the Day. Watch the five picks before #105 to see where they fall--if an early run starts, will Belichick participate or trade out for picks? Considering that the Pats don't pick again until #143 (and after that, not until #198), it seems likely he'll leverage that selection to move back ~10 spots and pick up another late pick in the process to use later. Thankfully, most QB-needy teams have already picked one, so the Pats shouldn't be as worried about teams trading up ahead of them to grab a prospect New England wants. However, as starters become harder to find and teams prioritize depth, some of that security for the Pats will quickly evaporate.

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