NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" show focused on the Patriots this week, with Charley Casserly and Charles Davis analyzing what Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and Co., might do in this year's draft (video here).
"When you look at their football team, a couple of areas I think they could probably use some help -- interior offensive line, possibly even offensive tackle depending on free agency, and I think they could use a running back. On defense, pass rusher/outside linebacker, and at defensive end," Casserly said, before taking a big-picture view.
"Now, this team went 14-2, so we don't want to act like they're in bad shape. This is a heck of a ballclub."
Casserly pointed to defensive ends Cameron Jordan (California) and J.J. Watt (Wisconsin) as possible first-round targets. If it's outside linebacker, Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) and Aldon Smith (Missouri) were mentioned, although Casserly noted those are "tricky picks" because it's a projection as both were 4-3 defensive ends in college.
At interior offensive line, Casserly leads off with Mike Pouncey (Florida).
"A little rich at 17, but certainly at 28 would be a sound pick," Casserly said, prior to adding that he'd wait on a running back until the middle rounds, which is a sweet spot at the position in this draft.
Davis touched on the Patriots' trade history, specifically moving down in the draft, and said it would hardly be a surprise if that happens again this year. If they stay at No. 17, Davis drew a line back to how the Patriots acquired the pick, in exchange for Richard Seymour.
"The irony of all that is what they're looking for -- defensive end/outside linebacker/pass-rushing type of a guy," he said. "They had that in Richard Seymour. They don't have him any more. They're looking to find someone to replace him."