Usually, a mock draft is one person making decisions for 32 teams. Instead, why not get 32 different groups of people to make the ideas for each individual team? That's the idea behind this week's mock draft, which uses the results from a Twitter-based mock draft with a different "front office" for each team.
In the past, my mock drafts have been conducted using FanSpeak's simulator. The tool allows users to pick a team to represent in the draft, with a computer filling in the blanks for the other 31 teams.
The Patriots were represented by Mike Loyko and James Christenson of NEPatriotsDraft.com, Derek Havens of PatsFans.com and myself. Here is what we were able to add to the Patriots' roster in the mock draft.
Round 1, Pick 29 — traded to Tennessee Titans along with pick 206 for picks 42, 112, 151 and 179, and defensive tackle Mike Martin
This is considered one of the deepest drafts in recent memory, so trading the first-round pick for more picks down the line is the sensible move. This trade gives us two more picks (from eight to 10) and we add a defensive tackle that can supply some depth to the competition with the likes of Joe Vellano, Chris Jones and Sealver Siliga. Martin played 234 snaps for the Titans last year, but could find a spot in the Patriots' rotation at defensive tackle.
Round 2, Pick 42 — Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)
We were all in agreement that Louis Nix should be the choice. Nix has been my choice in a couple of previous mock drafts, and the choice in the previous mock after trading down. At 6-foot-3 and 331 pounds, Nix has the frame of a two-gap defensive tackle in the mold of Vince Wilfork, although he has some work to do with regard to developing the technique to sustain his gap integrity.
Here's what Loyko had to say about the pick:
Nix was the player we would have selected at pick No. 29 before moving down. Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly are not guaranteed to be around in 2015. The Patriots lack a long term difference maker at the position and it's difficult to pass up big, athletic Nose Tackles, especially at this point of the draft. Nix can keep Wilfork's snaps down in 2014 and slide into the starting role in 2014, providing long term stability at a tough to fill position.
Round 2, Pick 62 — Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, Washington)
At 6-foot-6 and 262 pounds, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has the size and athleticism to create matchup problems, as he is too athletic to be covered by a linebacker and too big to be covered by a cornerback. He also has the potential to act as an effective in-line blocker. His 33 ¾-inch long arms give him a massive wing span to make him open even when he's covered. He doesn't have elite long speed, but enough to stretch the seam.
Here are Loyko's thoughts:
Patriots needed a No. 2 tight end, and one that can provide insurance for Rob Gronkowski. ASJ gives the Patriots a big, athletic Tight End with a massive catching radius. He and Gronkowski will create havoc in the middle of the field and down the seam. Patriots need to come out of the draft with one of the top 4 Tight Ends if they hope to go back to their high-powered 2-TE offense in 2014.
Round 3, Pick 93 — Jeremy Hill (RB, LSU)
Loyko called Hill a "big, versatile, pro-style running back (who) fits the Patriots scheme well (and) can immediately replace the production of LeGarrette Blount." The third round seems a bit rich for a player like Hill, who has good initial burst but lacks the second-level speed to get chunk plays. That said, in terms of a physical style of runner, Hill perfectly fills the void. If the Patriots are looking for a sure-handed back to complement Stevan Ridley, Hill fits the bill, as he did not lose a single fumble in his college career. He was incredibly productive, as well, with 1,401 rushing yards and 6.9 yards per carry as a sophomore (2013).
With Washington running back Bishop Sankey off the board at the top of the third round, my preference was to Auburn's Tre Mason, who I feel is the more versatile. It's less important to have a battering ram type running back than it is to have a versatile player who can be plugged in a number of ways. To land Blount, the Patriots only gave up a seventh-round pick and a player who was thinking about giving up football altogether. They could look for Blount's replacement in undrafted free agency.
Round 4, Pick 112 — Jack Mewhort (OL, Ohio State)
The Patriots still need to upgrade the interior of the offensive line, and Jack Mewhort could be the man for the job. He has experience at both right guard and left guard, meaning he could see time at either position even if he is a backup as a rookie — Dan Connolly and Logan Mankins have both missed time in the past two seasons. He also started 26 games at left tackle from 2012-2013. Not only is Mewhort a fit, he is also a disciple of Bill Belichick's good friend, Urban Meyer.
Mewhort is not considered an athlete at tackle, so moving him to the inside would mask those deficiencies a bit, and would allow him to put his anchor strength and powerful initial punch to good work in the running game. He is no slouch, either, and is adept at picking up blitzes.
Round 4, Pick 130 — Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, Eastern Illinois)
Jimmy Garoppolo is far from a main-stream name, but is one that James Christensen really likes as a fit for the Patriots. He is like Tom Brady as a prospect because he is not regarded as having a strong arm, but he is considered a cerebral quarterback in terms of his vision, decision-making and ability to read a defense. He has a quick release and can sell play-action fakes, as well. Most of his experience is in a spread attack, but with some practice taking snaps from under center, he can step in and lead the offense in a pinch.
Round 4, Pick 140 — Chris Smith (DE, Arkansas)
Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich cannot lead the league in snaps for defensive linemen for a second straight year. Chris Smith will need to strengthen up a bit if he wants to hold the edge on a consistent basis against the run, but he can immediately step in and contribute as a pass-rusher. He may look undersized at 6-foot-1 and 266 pounds, but the former Arkansas team captain is explosive off the snap (37-inch vertical at the scouting combine) and boasts 34 ⅛-inch long arms, giving him the ability to lock onto offensive linemen before they can lock onto him. Smith is exactly what the Patriots need, and didn't find in free agency — a third pass-rushing defensive end to round out the depth chart.
Round 5, Pick 151 (from Tennessee Titans) — Kelcy Quarles (DT, South Carolina)
After adding Louis Nix in the second round, Kelcy Quarles rounds out the depth chart. An athletic defensive tackle who emerged in 2013 playing next to defensive end Jadeveon Clowney at South Carolina, Quarles could be the kind of gap-penetrating defensive tackle the Patriots have been missing next to Vince Wilfork.
At 6-foot-4 and 297 pounds, Quarles isn't quite the traditional Patriots defensive tackle, but there isn't much "traditional Patriots" about the current incarnation of the defense. If Quarles can refine his technique and hone his combination of burst off the snap and strength at the point of attack, he could quickly ascend the Patriots' depth chart, where there are still questions around the development of Joe Vellano, Chris Jones, Sealver Siliga and Armond Armstead.
Round 6, Pick 179 (from Tennessee Titans via Jacksonville Jaguars — Marqueston Huff (CB/S, Wyoming)
On the third day of the draft (rounds four through seven), the goal is to find as many players as possible that can compete for a roster spot. The Patriots are short on depth at free safety, and Marqueston Huff has the ability to move over to cornerback if need be. He also has experience on special teams, and could immediately step in and contribute in that role. He has the speed (4.49-second 40-yard dash) to hold his own as a gunner. He earned the respect of his teammates, and was voted a team captain at Wyoming.
Round 6, Pick 198 — Jeoffrey Pagan (DE, Alabama)
At 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, Jeoffrey Pagan is less of a defensive end than a defensive tackle, although he played the three- and five-technique spots on Alabama's defensive line. Adding a Nick Saban disciple lifts the Bill Belichick pipeline products to two. He has the scheme flexibility to help the Patriots flip back and forth between a 3-4 and a 4-3 even when an offense goes up-tempo to prevent the defense from making substitutions.
Pagan is regarded for his ability to plug up multiple gaps at the line of scrimmage, with solid strength and anchor at 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds. He is not a top-notch pass-rushing defensive lineman, but that's why he's not rushing off the edge. It's not every day you get to draft a starting SEC defensive linemen in the sixth round, just one pick away from the Brady pick, but Pagan brings experience and versatility to the Patriots defense.
Round 7, Pick 244 — Brock Coyle (ILB, Montana)
Brock Coyle is another unheralded player with special teams experience that will compete for a roster spot. He may not have to compete too hard; with both Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher taking their talents elsewhere this offseason, the Patriots need to replenish the depth chart. He is not a top-notch athlete, or even a middle-notch athlete; he's not effective dropping into coverage, but he can stuff the run and he is a sure tackler. He would be a great replacement to fill Fletcher's role.
Previous mock drafts:
- Patriots mock draft 1.0: Ra'Shede Hageman part of defensive line rebuild
- Patriots mock draft 2.0: Best player available in all 7 rounds
- Patriots mock draft 3.0: First post-free agency mock draft
- Patriots mock draft 4.0: Eric Ebron would be a best case scenario for Patriots
- Patriots mock draft 5.0: Finding a new pass-catching tight end for Tom Brady
- Patriots mock draft 6.0: David Yankey's versatility could make him a first-round target
- Patriots mock draft 7.0: What if the Patriots don't pick in the first round?