The New England Patriots can go in several directions in the 2013 NFL Draft, and there is plenty of reason to think that they will lean towards taking the best player available on the board. When I use the word “lean”, I mean to say that they aren’t going to pick a player at a position they already have a lot of depth at just because he is the BPA; the Patriots will still be significantly influenced by their positions of need (wide receiver, cornerback, and defensive line).
I like to look at the 2013 NFL Mock Draft published each week on the FanSided.com main page, and this week Josh Hill has the New England Patriots taking North Carolina Tar Heels defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, who had quite the college success story. If you aren’t well-versed in it, I suggest reading up on it- interesting stuff.
Anyway, Williams receives different grades from different analysts. Some believe he is one of the top 20 prospects in this draft, while others view the UNC DT as somebody not quite worth a first-round selection. The Patriots once had a huge need for somebody on the interior who could put pressure on the quarterback at a consistent rate, but they signed former Oakland Raiders veteran DT Tommy Kelly to a two-year deal to do just that. They also signed pass rushing DT Armond Armstead from the CFL in late January, so it seems like DT has mostly been crossed off as a need.
Williams does an excellent job of putting pressure on the quarterback and has the upside of Geno Atkins, but he is viewed by some as inconsistent and is criticized by analysts for not being able to finish plays. I’m not too considered about “not being able to finish plays”, because that can be a crutch- the name of the game is consistent pressure.
In my opinion, there are two scenarios in which Williams would be selected by the New England Patriots. The Patriots will take Williams in the first round if they agree with the analysts who view Williams as a top 15 or 20 type prospect. Now if Williams slips to the late second-round (for whatever reason), then the Patriots will likely snap him up (he would most likely be the best player available).
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