After the dust settled on the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots managed to come away with the player that they wanted all along, in Florida defensive tackle, Dominique Easley. Now the attention shifts to the second day, and the second and third rounds of the draft. As of right now, the Patriots have both their second and third round picks, and could potentially have one more depending on how the Ryan Mallett trade plays out, if it does. So here are five players the New England Patriots could take.
TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
The one pick that everyone had been mocking to the Patriots, Jace Amaro fell out of round one, where only one tight end was taken. Jace Amaro is the kind of athletic, “move” tight end, capable of lining up across the field, and making some big time plays. He’s not a particularly good blocker, and his pro day was underwhelming, but his value is definitely there, and should be a steal if he made it to the Patriots second round pick.
OG David Yankey, Stanford
The Patriots are in some need of a youth injection to the inside of their offensive line, with both Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly getting up their in age. David Yankey would be a great addition, and would fit into that offensive line for the next decade. He’s exactly what the Patriots would want at guard, huge size at 6’5 and 315 pounds, physical and mean, and ready to start day one. Yankey isn’t a flashy pick, but he’s a solid addition, and adds some toughness that the Patriots missed last year.
WR Marqise Lee, USC
The big name in my opinion that fell out of the first round is wide receiver Marqise Lee. He’s a supremely talented receiver, capable of doing a bit of everything on the field. He’s got decent size, but his real value is his speed and playmaking down field. At one point, there was a hot debate over Watkins and Lee, who was better. Lee won’t be dropping past early round two, but the Patriots could feel that this is a player that they need to get, and get great value from him.
OLB/DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
Demarcus Lawrence is one of my favourite players in the draft, someone with immense pass rushing potential, and incredible overall upside. Lawrence is a very versatile player capable of standing up, or with his hand in the dirt. The Patriots are in desperate need of more pass rushing, and while Dominique Easley brings a lot of that with the first pick, they will definitely need more of that from the edge. Lawrence can provide that, but they might need to move up a little bit to do so.
RB Jeremy Hill, LSU
One of the best running backs in the draft, if not the best. Hill has had a bad track record when it comes to arrests and off-field incidents, but the talent is absolutely unbelievable. A powerful and physical runner, Hill might end up winning the starting job from Ridley in the preseason, he’s that good. Running back might be a lesser pressing need, but the talent is there, and that’s the most important thing when it comes to picking as a Super Bowl contender.
The Patriots are in an absolutely great position right now. Either they can sit back and hope that Amaro, Yankey or Hill falls into their laps and take them, or use some ammo perhaps from a Mallett trade, to go get the likes of Lee or Lawrence. This NFL Draft has had a solid start with Dominique Easley filling both a huge need, and providing great talent. Here’s to hoping that this continues to happen.