The New England Patriots have once again primarily addressed their defense in the draft, with three of their first four picks aimed at that side of the ball. In 2012, they chose six defenders and one wide receiver. Noticing a trend?
They did address their biggest need on offense, nabbing Aaron Dobson, a potential X-receiver, with the height, and hopefully intelligence, to help pick up the slack after Wes Welker's departure.
The Pats have four picks remaining. One early in the fourth and then three late in the seventh. Absent another trade, it's likely the Pats won't select anyone for 122 picks. That's an eternity.
If the Pats stay put at their spots, here's a way they could go, turning their focus back to the offensive side of the ball.
We've had Quinton Patton to the Patriots in the second round in our last three mock drafts, and amazingly he's still available as we head into the fourth round.
Coupled with Dobson, it would give the Patriots two young, exciting playmakers. Patton would also provide some insurance should Dobson fail to "get it." The Patriots really cannot afford to come out of the draft with a wide receiver who doesn't click with Brady.
Other potential receiving options here, before the Pats go into cold storage for at least another round, include: Cobi Hamilton and Josh Boyce.
Defensive tackle was an area I thought the Patriots would address with their first pick, instead they went with a defensive end/outside linebacker. The need still remains, and this low in the draft you can take a player who might be a one-trick pony.
Chris Jones is just the kind of penetrating defensive tackle that the Patriots need. He was extremely productive at Bowling Green, but his lack of measurables and ideal size might drop him out of the draft completely.
He's just the kind of player Bill Belichick likes to take a chance on.
Jones might not be the biggest or strongest interior defensive lineman in the 2013 draft class, but he won’t be outworked by any of them –- and he’s one of the most productive defensive linemen in the country. Double-digit sack totals are rare for players lining up between the tackles, but Jones was able to accomplish that feat in 2012 using the relentlessness and consistent leverage that will give him a shot to make it at the next level.
Reid Fragel remains from our previous draft, and it seems clear the Pats could use some low-round picks on developmental offensive linemen. Fragel is a former tight end and has similar size and movement skills to Nate Solder.
It also doesn't hurt that he played under Belichick's pal, Urban Meyer. Will Svitek is a potential swing tackle on the roster, but having another one in the pipeline is always a good thing.
Fragel hasn't been playing tackle very long, but there's no better coaching staff to develop an offensive lineman, especially one that ideally fits their system, than the Patriots.
We've gone the distance with Eric Herman. From our post-combine mock, all the way until this last one, he's been our final pick in the draft.
Herman put up the most reps at 225 pounds at the combine and has a playing temperament reminiscent of Logan Mankins. He's the perfect lump of strong, mean clay that Dante Scarnecchia could mold into the next Stephen Neal.
The end of the draft is always a good place to take a swing for the fences, like the Pats did last year with Alfonzo Dennard, but this year it's all about stability. Herman could compete immediately with Dan Connolly, with the expectation that he could likely start by his second or third season.