It’s almost that time of year, when owners, coaches, general managers, and the rest of the front office lock themselves in a room and heavily debate which players to draft to improve the team. This room is called the “War Room” for a reason. Everyone in this room is heavily opinionated and has become attached to a prospect that they don’t believe the team can do without.
In this segment, we will put ourselves in the war room and go over the picks we believe teams need to make when they’re on the clock. We’ll cover all 32 teams, but today’s segment is dedicated to the: New England Patriots.
ALERT! The Patriots don’t have a pick in the 7th round! Of course this is extreme sarcasm. When you look over the Patriots draft picks, in the upcoming draft, that’s the only flaw you see. And how weak of a flaw is it to not have a 7th round pick when they have 2 picks in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round. The rich get richer as New England has 9 picks total. Of course they’ll be some idiotic team that will give the Patriots more ammunition for the future by trading away a top pick next year for one of the Patriots picks this year. It’s what New England does better than anybody else, every year in April.
In this War Room, I’m going to make the selection as if New England won’t move any of these 9 picks…which has absolutely, zero chance of happening. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if New England traded their 2 first round picks to move up and acquire AJ Green or Julio Jones. But, as tempting as that is, I’ll stay put and make the picks.
The Patriots haven’t had a star running back, in quite some time. With Tom Brady aging, look for Belichick to make his job as easy as possible. That’ll mean getting him a true number 1 running back to split carries with Danny Woodhead and Benjarvis Green-Ellis and also building the best line around him. There are questions across the whole offensive line. Matt Light shouldn’t be brought back, Stephen Neal has retired, and Logan Mankins has only been franchised. They’ll need to add at least 1 tackle and a guard.
On the defensive side of the ball, they need depth and a youth movement at some positions and a talent upgrade at others. Free safety has become a position of need with the questions surrounding Brandon Meriweather’s off-field issues. They could also benefit from drafting a player to become the new starting nickel back and eventually move into the starter position opposite of Devin McCourtey. Belichick will look for a pass rusher in this draft as well as a defensive end to put in the mix with the old guys up front.
I mentioned the intriguing trade possibility of New England moving up for AJ or Julio. Even if they don’t go that route, with the agenda being, “make Tom’s job easier” they definitely look for a receiver to groom in the Randy Moss role.
New England Patriots Mock Draft
Round 1 Pick #17: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: There’s talk of the running backs sliding in this draft and that New England should wait until their pick at 28, to try and get Ingram. While I believe that they’ll only be one running back draft in the first round, I also don’t think Ingram makes it past Tampa Bay at 20. Belichick will take the best running back in the draft at 17 without a second thought.
Round 1 Pick #28: Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida: I have the Patriots getting their interior lineman here. If Pouncey can be a shade of his brother, then it’ll be a steal of a pick. I have Pouncey available at this pick because I believe that Danny Watkins is a better interior lineman and will be taken first. If I’m wrong, then pencil in Watkins with this pick.
Round 2 Pick #33: Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona: New England has to improve in their pass rush this season. If Reed gets past the picks 26-32, then his name will already be on the card with a member of the Patriot organization standing next to the stage ready to turn it in.
Round 2 Pick #60: Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana: Looking for a big play receiver with good height? Tandon Doss has gone under the radar for the most part, during this draft analysis process. He does not have elite speed but he’ll be more than capable of doing what the Patriots will need from their number 1 guy.
Round 3 Pick #74: Jarvis Jenkins, DE, Clemson: Jenkins doesn’t move like most 310 pounders. He’s extremely mobile and is cut in the mold of a New England Patriot defensive end. There are a few players a year, that when I hear that they took a team visit to a certain organization, it just clicks as a perfect fit. When I heard that New England had Jarvis in the facilities, I made a mental note as a done deal. Jenkins will either be a Patriot or a Jet. Mark it down!
Round 3 Pick #92: Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU: Sebastian Vollmer looks to be ready to man down the left tackle position. Barksdale will have some bumps along the way but should be able to play the right tackle position at the next level. Bringing in Barksdale with Pouncey, should put a smile on the face of Tom Brady and it doesn’t hurt to add Mark Ingram behind him.
Round 4 Pick #125: Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech: Don’t expect Carmichael to come in and be Devin McCourtey but he’ll be able to work into the nickel back spot around the midpoint of the season. Until he’s ready for that, I’m sure the Patriots can find a use for his sub 4.4 speeds.
Round 5 Pick #159: Richard Sherman, FS, Stanford: It seems that most people like Sherman as a cornerback, well they’re wrong. He’s a free safety at the NFL level and will be a good one at that. Sherman has great length and will be able to patrol the back side of the secondary and protect the backs of the other younger players, i.e. McCourtey, Carmichael, Butler. Even if Meriweather is found innocent, Belichick won’t be caught off guard again and will have a player in place to replace him.
Round 6 Pick #193: Mark Herzlich, ILB, Boston College: New England isn’t hurting for inside linebackers but Herzlich is a high character guy that was a top collegiate player until he discovered he had cancer. Most thought that Herzlich wouldn’t play football again but he beat cancer and battled back. It might sound similar to how Tedy Brushci came back after a stroke and it doesn’t hurt that Herzlich and Bruschi have struck up a friendship. With their last pick, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Bill take a chance on a player with smarts and heart, even with the health risk involved.
That’s how it played out in our Mock of the New England Patriots “War Room”