Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports
Arkansas C Travis Swanson (middle) is a smart technician at center.
Team needs: OL, SS, DE, RB
This could be the spot where the Patriots finally address the lack of depth on the offensive line. One option at center could be Travis Swanson (Arkansas), who has experience in a pro-style offense and started all 50 games of his Razorback career. He is not as versatile as the Patriots would typically prefer their linemen to be, and he could also stand to get a bit stronger, but he has the sound technique and high football IQ the Patriots love in their centers.
If the Patriots want to add another player to the mix for the starting spot at strong safety, though, they may look to the brother of a player currently on the roster: Brock Vereen (Minnesota), Shane's younger brother. Brock has some versatility to play either free safety or strong safety, having played both spots in college. He also contributes as a gunner on special teams, giving him even more value to the Patriots.
Don't sleep on the defensive end spot as a need, either. The Patriots signed Will Smith on Monday, but they have failed to develop depth at the position for years. If a player like Marcus Smith (Louisville) or Kareem Martin (North Carolina) is still on the board, the Patriots could instantly boost their sub-package pass rush, an area where they have struggled for years. In particular, Marcus Smith is regarded as a stand-out pass-rusher, with 14.5 sacks in his senior season.
The Patriots could also begin looking at running backs in this spot. There will be plenty worth a third-round pick, including Bishop Sankey (Washington), who is a lot like Stevan Ridley in that he has great first-step quickness, good vision, a lack of long speed and some trouble holding onto the ball. With over 700 career touches in college, though, it's understandable that he would put the ball on the ground a few times. He enters the NFL with plenty of experience, as a result of all those carries, but also some questions about how much tread is left on the tires.