The New England Patriots traded out of the first round on Thursday night, in a deal with the Minnesota Vikings that added three more picks. Now, Patriots fans have a familiar feeling, possessing eight total picks for the next two days and the ability to move up and down the draft board at Bill Belichick's whim.
Before, the Pats were going to have to be surgical with their limited picks, now they can "double-dip" on multiple positions if they choose to. The Pats are back in control of their draft and have the freedom to make some moves.
With our first-round mock draft pick, Datone Jones, off to the Green Bay Packers, and the three new picks in the fold, here's a new mock draft.
Our previous mock draft selection is off the board with Datone Jones going to the Green Bay Packers, so we slide our attention to a player we liked just a little less. Johnathan Hankins doesn't quite have the penetrating quickness that Jones did, but he's still a versatile defensive lineman who has played up and down the line.
Having played for Urban Meyer and Mike Vrabel certainly ensures the New England Patriots have done their homework on Hankins. He could potentially step into the base defense as a starter and give opponents another large body to deal with alongside Vince Wilfork.
The preference might be for someone who can make an instant impact in the passing game, but free-agency addition Armond Armstead is essentially like another draft pick—and one very much in the mold of Jones. Hankins could make an excellent young complement to him.
Our pick from our last mock is still on the board, and while Justin Hunter and Robert Woods should go in the early part of the second round, Quinton Patton should still be available.
Patton simply plays the game like the Patriots want their receivers to. He's competitive, polished and plays with a "feisty" attitude.
He was also second at the combine in the 20-yard shuttle, an area the Pats always pay close attention to. Add in Patton's off-field character, demonstrated by his donation of his $300 Best Buy gift card from his bowl prizes to kids participating in the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and it seems clear that he has everything the Pats like in a player.
Plenty of New England Patriots pundits talked about the potential for a "double-dip" at wide receiver, and now with the extra picks, Bill Belichick can make it happen, with Stedman Bailey.
Says NFL.com of Bailey:
Extremely productive. Showcases tremendous physicality in his routes. Uses his hands and body to create separation. Excellent body control. Very reliable target, volume catcher. Soft hands, can make plays off of his frame. Smart receiver who is adept at finds holes and picking up the first down.
Yes, that certainly sounds like a Patriots player, and with Patton adding some explosion, the Pats can go for reliability with Bailey. The need at receiver is great, and now with multiple picks, the Patriots should add at least two.
We're sticking with A.J. Klein in this spot; he's a versatile and intense linebacker, who could potentially back up all three linebacking positions.
His ideal fit could be at the middle linebacker spot, especially against pass-happy opponents. Unless Brandon Spikes makes a big jump in coverage, the New England Patriots will need some help there with someone like Klein who can cover tight ends and the occasional slot receiver.
There's no question Klein's playing temperament is similar to Spikes', and he would help the team in a number of spots, including special teams.
The New England Patriots acquired a fourth-round pick from the Minnesota Vikings, so they won't have to wait as long to make a selection on Saturday. We're giving them a cornerback here, with Leon McFadden being the guy.
McFadden could immediately contribute from the slot, but has some potential to develop on the outside. The Patriots can always use corners, and McFadden would be a good addition, especially here in the fourth round.
Say NFL.com of him:
McFadden’s a tenacious three-time All-Mountain West selection possessing the strength, quickness, attitude, and ball skills required of NFL starters, even if his size is not ideal to handle the physicality of veteran wideouts.
The New England Patriots will have to wait out the fifth round, but we've got them double-dipping once again in the seventh round, this time at the cornerback position.
We had Brandon McGee in our final mock draft, and even with Leon McFadden, the need still applies. There are only so many roster spots to be had in New England, but injuries always seem to hit the defensive backfield the hardest.
Here's what we loved about McGee:
Reid Fragel is a late-round offensive tackle we've had our eye on, and he has the perfect size and athleticism that the New England Patriots like for the position.
As I said in a late-round prospect piece:
The Patriots have selected a 6'8" tight end who converted to tackle once before. While Nate Solder was a first-round pick, Fragel is more of a developmental prospect, given his single season of experience at the position.
The last round is always about adding good developmental prospects, and Fragel looks like an excellent candidate in need of some time to grow as a football player.
Our final pick remains, though the need for interior offensive line depth could prompt the New England Patriots to strike even earlier at the position. You can't get much better that Eric Herman in terms of strength and pure playing toughness.
Herman has perfect size at 6'4", 320 pounds and did not miss a game as a three-year starter at Ohio (51 straight games).
What a complement he would be to Logan Mankins!