The New England Patriots now have two second-round draft picks after adding four total picks in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings yesterday, and the second round will be the most action-packed round for the Patriots in the 2013 NFL Draft. As such, it’s time to take a look at 20 players the Patriots could take in the second round. This is a list based on need, talent, and it ignores whether or not that player will likely be taken before the Patriots- you never know who will rise or fall.
My favorites/ideal picks are in bold
1. WR Keenan Allen- I don’t buy into the fret over Allen’s forty times, because we know he is still not 100% due to a knee injury, and we also know that speed isn’t Allen’s game. He is the most consistent wide receiver in this draft class, and he most likely has the best chance of translating the pros. His injury concerns and drug test concerns are legitimate, but they aren’t enough to cause him to slip by the Patriots in the second round. The Patriots seem to covet wide receivers who can play both inside and outside, and Allen can line up virtually anywhere in the formation as a WR. He is big, runs incredibly precise routes, has great hands, gains better separation than some think, and he looks like the best guy available.
2. DE Tank Carradine- I was actually torn between Carradine and Allen at the top, so you can call it a tie if you want to. I just went with Allen since the Patriots have a greater need at WR than at DE. The fact that Carradine was not selected in the first round is a mystery to me, because he is one of the best pass rushers in this draft class. Carradine is strong, explosive, and he has all the moves- he showed it last year at Florida State. The injury concerns are, well, concerning, but they aren’t enough to drop him this far. I mean, teams are drafting with the long-term in mind, and Carradine is simply a great prospect.
3. WR Justin Hunter- The Tennessee Volunteers standout is very much a boom-or-bust player, but I love Hunter’s upside. If he can get over the drops and gain some consistency, then Hunter could be the next Julio Jones with his playmaking ability and frame.
4. CB Johnthan Banks- The Patriots are reportedly high on Banks, and he has fallen too far on draft boards. I knew he wouldn’t make it into the first round anymore, but I also know that the Patriots should take him if he is available at 52. Unless, of course, if the two guys above him are available.
5. CB Jamar Taylor- Yet another solid CB in this draft class. Nothing about Taylor screams “elite”, but almost everything screams “solid”.
6. WR Robert Woods- I really like Robert Woods, and I think he has all the tools to be a great possession receiver in this league. Woods is as safe of a pick as their is, and he is another Pac-12 star receiver who deserves some more love. He is much better after the catch than some people think, and I think Woods would be a very solid pick for this team.
7. LB Arthur Brown- I honestly thought the Kansas State Wildcats star was going to be selected in the first round by a team like the Chicago Bears, but Brown has slipped out of the first. Even though the Patriots have a great group of linebackers, they could still draft Brown after hosting him on a visit. The Patriots coverage at LB is a weakness, and Brown could help that cause. I’m not the biggest fan of drafting an LB, but Brown deserves a spot on the big board.
8. FS Jonathan Cyprien- I feel like the Patriots are pretty much set at safety after signing Adrian Wilson to a three-year deal, and Cyprien fits the mold of an FS and not an SS. If the Patriots are going to draft a safety, then they will take a guy later on in the draft (D.J. Swearinger seems ideal from that perspective). But Cyprien is a first-round caliber prospect with his coverage ability, and he is good enough to warrant a ranking on this list.
9. DT Kawann Short- Short is viewed by several Patriots draft analysts as an underrated prospect, and he has the pass rushing ability that would help the Patriots pass rush and situation at defensive tackle. Short would be a solid pick for New England.
10. WR Markus Wheaton- The best vertical threat in this draft, Markus Wheaton makes up for his drops with excellent speed, and Wheaton would give the Pats a true deep threat.
11. WR Quinton Patton- He doesn’t excel at any one aspect of the game, but Quinton Patton is solid at just about everything. Patton can stretch the field a bit, move the chains, and he almost never drops a pass. This guy is the definition of consistent.
12. DT Jesse Williams- The fact that Williams isn’t good at rushing the passer is the main reason why I don’t think he would be a great pick for the Pats, but Williams has an amazing motor and does a very good job of plugging holes against the run. Williams is also good at using his power to push the pocket, and he can sometimes create pressure in that manner. But if the Pats want a DT, then Kawann Short is the better pick.
13. CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson- Leader, great length, good speed, but Wreh-Wilson is also a guy who is clearly more of a zone coverage CB and struggles to make plays. Still, Wreh-Wilson would be a solid pick for the Pats.
14. CB Darius Slay- Some scouts say he is better than Mississippi State CB teammate Johnthan Banks, but I think that’s a stretch. Even so, Slay is a talented CB in his own right and would help the Pats out.
15. CB Tyrann Mathieu- Even though I view him as solely a slot CB and believe Kyle Arrington is locked in at that position, the Patriots could take Mathieu if they like him enough. But, in my opinion, they would have view him as an outside CB to take him in the second.
16. CB Jordan Poyer- Speed concerns are causing the Beavers standout CB to slide in this draft, but Poyer is a quality corner.
17. DE Damontre Moore- The sack numbers are bloated, but I get the feeling that Moore could end up being a nice value pick for a team like the Patriots in the late second round.
18. WR Stedman Bailey- Bailey looks like more of a third-rounder, but he should be on the Patriots radar at least early on.
19. WR Aaron Dobson- I always get asked questions about the Marshall product, so I’m going to put the high-upside, small-school playmaker on this list. The Patriots have a pedigree of getting Marshall star WRs, so Dobson could be a home-grown product at the position (unlike Randy Moss). He looks like more of a third-round guy right now, but anything goes in the draft.
20. WR Da’Rick Rogers- I would personally pass on Da’Rick Rogers due to his huge character concerns and frustrating inconsistency, but Rogers has so much raw talent and upside. He could work out for the Patriots, but he could also flop miserably.
I am sure the Patriots will be able to land one prospect in my top ten and one prospect in my top 15 in the second round. I would love to hear you guys with thoughts on my big board rankings for the second round, and just remember that these rankings are a rough estimate. I didn’t want to nitpick, so it’s basically a rough range of prospects.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.