Should the Patriots add another tight end to protect themselves at an important position where they now look very thin? Do they still need another speedy receiver? Or is it more important to bring in help on the offensive and defensive lines? With the free agency period winding down, the focus for the next five weeks switches to the draft, which is pushed back from its usual April slot to May 8-10. New England will enter the draft in good shape. The team does not appear to have one gaping hole that must be filled. With the team’s draft history, that probably would not make any difference anyway. The team insists it always goes for the best available athlete, especially in the early rounds. The national experts who rate and predict what will happen in the draft say the strength this year is in the depth. Much of the discussion leading into the selection process will be around quarterbacks, with three — Blake Bortles of Central Florida, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville — expected to go in the top 10. What is more important for the Patriots and many other teams is the overall quality. Virtually all those who compile rankings say this group has more useable players than in any recent season. Players with ability of second-round picks in some years will still be available into the third and even the fourth round, they say. The Patriots have choices 29, 62, 93, 130, 140, 198, 206 and 244. It is foolish trying to predict what the Pats will do in any draft, other than to expect a trade or two or three. If the team ends up with eight picks, as it now has, they could be distributed something like two defensive linemen, two linebackers, a wide receiver, a tight end, an offensive lineman and a running back. A possible wildcard? That would be quarterback. Ryan Mallett remains Tom Brady’s backup, but his contract expires at the end of this coming season. Based on players in the draft, wide receiver is one position that stands out.
NFL Draft will be a shore thing for Patriots
Providence Journal | Apr 1