The 2014 NFL draft is going to be a vitally important one for the New England Patriots. The team has a few holes to fill and a few aging veterans who will need replacing, if not now, in the very near future. A guy like David Yankey or Jace Amaro could come in and immediately contribute.
The Patriots are in a transition stage. Their record and ability to, once again, make it to the AFC Championship Game would not make you think so, but it is true.
The reason the Patriots never have to go into a rebuilding phase completely is because they are constantly tweaking their team. Even after success, the team changes.
Bill Belichick's ability to adapt is his defining trait as a head coach. That includes changing the plan during a game, during a season and often during the team-building phase of the offseason. They are a game plan organization, looking for smart, versatile players that can help the organization shapeshift on a weekly basis depending on their opponent. Belichick and Tom Brady don't stay married to a specific offensive philosophy for too long. Belichick repeatedly says he only worries about putting points on the board, no matter how it gets done. They adjust their offense to their personnel perhaps more than any team.
It is a safe bet we will see changes to the team's game plan again this season, and the first place to look for change is in your players.
New faces are a thing we are used to seeing in New England. Just last year, there were a handful of new players who helped lead them to the AFC Championship—LeGarrette Blount, Kenbrell Thompkins, Jamie Collins and Logan Ryan just to name a few.
The most important part of the NFL draft is the first round. Obviously, Tom Brady is a testament to the fact value can be found later, but the first round is when you pull in your safe bets.
The Patriots five previous first-round picks consisted of Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty, Nate Solder, Chandler Jones, and Dont'a Hightower. It is safe to say the first round has a lot of value.
The hard part about the first round is deciding which safe player to select. Which position does your team absolutely need to fill? With the 29th pick in the draft, the Patriots need to choose carefully.
I am here to tell you the top-five positions in which the Patriots need to focus on, and the player at each position in the draft who will fit best for the team.
A few positions the Patriots could address but did not quite make the list are wide receiver, linebacker and quarterback. The Patriots will likely address these positions in the draft, but in the later rounds.