Analyzing the New England Patriots 2015 NFL Mock Draft Picks

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Nov 22, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard A.J. Cann (50) and offensive tackle Corey Robinson (53) in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots (

Selection: A.J. Cann G, South Carolina

Analysis: Even if the New England Patriots lose both All Pro free safety Devin McCourty and All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis in free agency this draft pick is not going to address the secondary. At safety, former third-round draft pick Duron Harmon would be given a chance to step in for McCourty after two years of seasoning. At cornerback, as the Patriots moved decisively in free agency to replace Aqib Talib with Revis expect the same move to get the next tier cornerback at a more team-friendly price in free agency.

In the draft the Patriots–when they do not trade down out of the first round of the draft–more often than not pick based on need. Bill Belichick has a history of having his top draft pick stepping in and contributing immediately to fill a hole.This pick should be no different: Right now, their interior offensive line is in desperate need of an upgrade.

Fourth-round draft pick Bryan Stork was solid as a rookie in 2014 but the two guard positions had almost every back-up guard, center or tackle start at least one game in 2014 in a quest to find a winning combination. Left guard Dan Connolly is 32 years old and a free agent. Even if he returns, the team needs a guard capable of stepping in and starting immediately. A decade ago the Patriots used the #32 overall pick on guard Logan Mankins and got a solid decade of service from him before trading him prior to the 2014 season. Look for history to repeat itself in 2015.

A.J. Cann is the top guard in the draft and unlike in 2005 when the Patriots were panned for drafting an offensive guard in the first round the position has grown in importance and that has reflected in the draft boards. Cann is tall (six-foot-three) and has decent size with room to add weight (313 pounds). He is quick off the line and gets low and under his defender. He needs work in technique for pass protection but was a hard worker in South Carolina. The Patriots should be comfortable putting Cann to work on opening day at left guard and have him play a key role in keeping future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady upright for the rest of his time in New England.

Blogger: Hal Bent


Twitter: @halbent01


My analysis: Yes, this my pick representing New England for last month. As evidenced by the analysis of the pick, the mock draft was held before McCourty was re-signed and Revis had moved on to cash in the green with the Green and White. However, the Patriots are going to live and die with Brady and keeping him upright is the team’s primary need. The Patriots will draft for need and they need a strong, young interior lineman to anchor the offensive line with Bryan Stork going forward. We all saw how horrible the offense was early in 2014 when the offensive line struggled. Even now, if Cann is still on the board the Patriots should be grabbing him at #32 overall.