4 Draft Prospects Who Would Be Perfect Fits with the New England Patriots
Even with a chance at a Super Bowl Championship title on the horizon, us New England Patriots junkies can't help but fantasize about potential play-makers that the Pats could bring on board in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Don't feel bad guys. This is what Bleacher Report is for.
Stepping away from the traditional mock-draft format, here's a look at four draft prospects who, given their skill set and background, would be perfect fits with the New England Patriots.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Position: Wide Receiver
Size: 6'1'', 200 lbs
Player Summary: DeAndre Hopkins emerged as Clemson's top receiver this season, burning defenses on a weekly basis with his top-tier speed.
He has good size and length that allows him to snag the difficult passes with ease.
Why he's a fit: The Patriots receiver corps has nearly everything you could ask for.
They have size in Rob Gronkowski, quickness in Wes Welker and a combination of both in Aaron Hernandez.
The one characteristic the Pats lack in their pass-catchers is flat-out world-class speed.
They could obtain that speed by drafting Hopkins without having to trade up for a big-name guy like Robert Woods or Keenan Allen.
Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Size: 6'3'', 232 lbs
Player Summary: Alec Ogletree has rare closing speed that allows him to make plays all over the field. He excels in pass coverage and is a violent hitter.
His athleticism alone should spark intrigue across the NFL.
He was suspended at the start of the season (per David Ching of ESPN) for four games after failing a drug test, so he could slip outside of the first round, but he really shouldn't because he is oozing with talent.
Why he's a fit: With Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Dont'a Hightower leading the pack, the Patriots have undeniable talent at linebacker.
However, they all seem to be cut from the same cloth—excelling at run defense more than pass defense (OK, Mayo has coverage skills, but still).
A former safety, Ogletree could be used in passing situations, allowing run-stuffers like Spikes to only play on early downs.
The Patriots could always give Ogletree a go at safety as well.
Matt Elam, S, Florida
Size: 5'10'', 202 lbs
Player Summary: Matt Elam does everything exceptionally well at the safety position.
With his physical tackling and high football IQ, Elam is fantastic against the run, but he also has great speed that allows him to cover a lot of ground in the passing game.
Why he's a fit: The last thing most Patriots fans want is another defensive back under six-feet tall running around the field in 2013, but Elam is the real deal and plays much bigger than he looks.
He is ferocious against the run and has elite range, so he can play in the box or in the deeper part of the field.
Elam coupled with Devin McCourty (assuming he stays at safety) would provide the Patriots with some serious speed in the back end of their secondary.
Bill Belichick loves his Florida Gators (Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham), so you can bet Elam will be on his radar come draft time.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Position: Defensive end, Defensive Tackle, Outside Linebacker
Size: 6'6'', 270 lbs
Player Summary: James Christensen of NEPatriotsDraft.com wrote in a recent mock draft that " [Ezekiel] Ansah is quite possibly the closest thing to Jason Pierre-Paul in the 2013 NFL Draft."
This guy is a force on the defensive line with some relentless pass-rushing skills. He can rush from defensive end, defensive tackle or outside linebacker.
He's an athletic freak with terrific burst and extremely long arms. Like many viewed Chandler Jones, Ansah may be a bit of a project, but his ceiling seems limitless at this point.
Why he's a fit: The Patriots need more interior push on their defensive line, and they would probably love to have another potentially elite pass-rusher opposite Jones.
However, with limited resources in April's draft, the Pats are unlikely to come away with both players.
It may be wise for the Patriots to draft an elite athlete like Ansah who can play multiple positions in the front seven.
If Bill Belichick had a magical NFL player-making machine in which he could create the perfect defensive lineman, the end product would probably look a lot like Ansah.