10 Players the New England Patriots Should Target on Day 2
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The first day of the NFL draft is over and, not surprisingly, the New England Patriots traded their first-round pick for more later-round picks. As the Patriots head into Rounds 2 and 3, there are many valuable players still remaining on the board.
The Patriots traded the No. 29 pick (Cordarrelle Patterson) to the Minnesota Vikings for a second-round pick (No. 52), a third-round pick (No. 83), a fourth-round pick (No. 102) and the No. 229 pick in Round 7.
This now leaves the Pats with eight draft picks, and four of those picks come on Friday. The Patriots can address needs at receiver, defensive line and the secondary in Rounds 2 and 3.
With a handful of picks now in the 2013 draft, NE can make some big additions to strengthen an already powerful team.
Here are 10 players that the Patriots should target on the second day of the draft.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Matt Miller Breaks Down Justin Hunter
Only three wide receivers were taken in Round 1 of the draft. There are still plenty of very talented receivers left for the Patriots to pick up in Rounds 2 and 3.
Adding this 6'4" WR to Tom Brady's repertoire would make this high-scoring offense even deadlier. He is a tremendous athlete who has a strong vertical leap and is able to catch difficult deep passes.
Hunter has the ability to quickly separate from defenders and the hands to haul in tough passes. He is compared to Roy Williams by NFL.com.
The only red flag about Hunter is the ACL injury he had in 2011, but it did not seem to bother him much in 2012, as he caught over 1,000 yards, starting all 12 games for the Tennessee Volunteers.
The Pats would have to be pleased if Hunter fell to them late in Round 2.
Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
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With the expected return of Alfonzo Dennard and the signings of defensive backs Adrian Wilson, Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington, the Patriots have a solid secondary, but they still have long-term questions in this department.
Taylor would fit in well with the Patriots and would force turnovers in the secondary. He is a big-time playmaker and is not afraid to get physical with receivers.
He made four interceptions, three forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks in his senior season. Taylor is a versatile, athletic corner who can play both man and zone coverage.
If Taylor falls to the Patriots in Round 2, it would be quite a steal.
Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE, Florida State
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Defensive linemen have been flying off of the board quickly in this year's draft. Even after nine defensive linemen have been drafted, there are still quite a few quality options left at defensive tackle and defensive end.
Cornellius Carradine was considered a first-round talent by many experts including CBS Sports. Perhaps if an ACL injury didn't bring his 2012 season to a close, then maybe he would have been taken in Round 1.
Carradine has tremendous quickness and closing speed for a pass-rusher. He has good footwork and uses his 6'4" length to his advantage in the open field.
It is definitely possible that somebody will grab Carradine early in Round 2. However, his past ACL injury could potentially cause him to fall right into the Patriots' arms.
Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
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The Patriots still are in need of a dependable outside receiver. It is unclear how much of a factor Michael Jenkins will be for NE, and the Pats could invest in a wideout with good size for the future.
Terrance Williams was arguably the best wide receiver in all of college football last season. He led the country in receiving yards with 1,832 and hauled in 12 touchdowns.
A first-team All-American, Williams would give the Patriots a tremendous red-zone threat. He is big, fast and can block well on the outside, leaving openings for outside running plays.
Williams would be a safe bet for the Pats with their second-round picks, or maybe even at No. 83 in Round 3.
Robert Woods, WR, USC
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With two picks in Round 2, the Patriots should strongly consider adding a wide receiver. Robert Woods of the USC Trojans has the potential to become a No. 1 or 2 receiver in the NFL.
Woods has a great all-around game and has game-changing ability. He runs crisp routes and has good vision and quickness as a receiver.
This past season Woods played opposite to one of the top receivers in college football, Marqise Lee, which effected Woods' production, as Lee was Matt Barkley's top target. Still Woods found the end zone 11 times in 2012.
He has the talent to become a star, and NE should keep him on the radar.
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
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The Patriots need to strengthen their pass defense, and one way to do that is to add a pass-rusher. Alex Okafor is a powerful defensive end who can stop the run and bring pressure.
Okafor does a great job of overpowering offensive linemen and slipping into the backfield with an impressive swim move. Last season he gathered 12.5 sacks for the Texas Longhorns.
At 6'5" Okafor has the build and the strength to become a force on the defensive line. Adding another pass-rusher to team up with Chandler Jones will strengthen the Patriots defense immensely.
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
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It is very likely that Bill Belichick will take advantage of the depth of defensive linemen in this draft. Sticking another big, rugged defensive tackle next to Vince Wilfork would do wonders for NE.
A big body like Kawann Short would be an ideal match for the Patriots. Short has a huge wingspan and can be disruptive in the middle.
His wide frame gives him the power to stuff the middle of the field and disrupt plays much like Wilfork. His ability to get into the backfield and make plays (14.5 tackles for loss in 2012) would make him a great fit for the Patriots.
Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
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The Pats' secondary will likely improve this coming season but still could use some playmakers. Johnthan Banks, who has the skill to force big turnovers, would help to make their secondary very solid.
Banks was given the Jim Thorpe Award this past season as the nation's top defensive back. He snatched four interceptions for the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2012.
This competitive cornerback has great length for his position at 6'2", giving him an edge on jump balls. Though he needs to get stronger, his ability to force turnovers in the passing game makes him a viable option for the Pats.
Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
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When thinking of great edge pass-rushers today in the NFL, 6'5" J.J. Watt comes to mind. Margus Hunt has even better size than Watt at defensive end.
Standing at a towering 6'8", Hunt has the build to become an animal as a pass-rusher. He can power through an offensive line with a bull rush and make plays in the backfield.
Hunt can affect the game in so many ways with his size and length. He could very well become an immediate factor on defense for the Patriots.
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
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One of the most interesting stories of this draft will be where Tyrann Mathieu ends up. Of course Mathieu has shown his skill on the field, but it is his off-field actions that have caused his draft stock to fall.
The New England Patriots could take a chance on the Honey Badger in the right scenario. Mathieu still has great speed and was exciting to watch on the field for the LSU Tigers in 2011.
Will the Pats be willing to take a chance on Mathieu, who has a troubled past and lacks ideal size? They have shown plenty of interest in the defensive back and he was brought in for a pre-draft visit earlier this month.
If NE could teach Mathieu the "Patriot way" as they have with Randy Moss and Corey Dillon in the past, then his strong coverage skills and explosiveness may be well worth a Round 2 or 3 pick.