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Rd 1, Pick 17 (17)
Rd 1, Pick 28 (28)
Rd 2, Pick 1 (33)
Rd 2, Pick 28 (60)
Rd 3, Pick 10 (74)
Rd 3, Pick 28 (92)
Rd 4, Pick 28 (125)
Rd 5, Pick 28 (159)
Rd 6, Pick 28 (193)
1. Outside Linebacker: While the Patriots have a good all-around defense, they lack that impact pass rusher that can impact a game with just his presence on the field. With 6 picks in the top 100, New England should easily be able to find an impact pass rusher in the early rounds.
2. Offensive Tackle: With Matt Light a free agent, and on the downside of his career, New England could look to add a replacement early in this draft.
3. Wide Receiver: The Patriots traded away their big play receiver last year, and while they did alright without Randy Moss, they could use an early pick on a pass catcher. It’s not a huge need, but given their number of picks, and already talented roster, adding a potential number 1 or 2, could really help the Patriots.
4. Defensive End: The Patriots know that to succeed in a 3-4 it all starts upfront. The Patriots have a good defensive line, but they will be relying heavily on a couple veteran players. Adding an early round DE could really turn New England’s defense to a top level unit.
5. Safety: Brandon Meriweather has had some offseason issues that could lead to a prolonged suspension. Even if Meriweather avoids a suspension, he will be a free agent after next season and his play has been streaky at best.
6. Running back: The Patriots could use their stockpile of picks to look for a feature back. The Patriots ground game was solid this past season, but it could use another horse in it’s stable.
7. Guard: Stephen Neal is retiring which leaves a big hole at guard. The Patriots should be able to use one of their backups to step into the starting role, but don’t be surprised if they target a starting guard in this draft. If they promote from within, look for New England to add depth later in the draft.
8. Fullback: The Patriots don’t utilize the fullback position, but they could look to change if they add a talented all-around talent late in the draft. Remember the Patriots didn’t really throw too much to their TE’s (especially two of them), before last season, but that has all changed.
9. Quarterback: Obviously this isn’t a pressing need, but Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger, and New England doesn’t really have a great backup plan if he gets injured. With so many high picks the Patriots could decide to use one on a QB project that could develop behind Brady.
New England is in a great position with this draft class, and I expect them to move up and down this draft with ease. Don’t be shocked if they trade up to get a higher first round pick, to add as many impact guys as possible.