ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay held a conference call Thursday and he shared his insight as to some of the “value” areas that could be there for the Patriots late in the first round (27th and 31st).
“I look at the Patriots, and if they were to stay home and use these two picks, I think they have a great opportunity to get some players at the positions they continue to need – that’s in the secondary, pass rusher and also wide receiver,” McShay said.
McShay then broke down some possible options who might be under consideration at each position:
Receiver: “Michael Floyd [of Notre Dame] would be a good fit, a guy who can get down the field and has some size. Kendall Wright [of Baylor] I think also could be a good fit; he’s undersized like some of their other guys, but he has explosive, explosive speed. He can get down the field and provide that big play, vertically, that they’ve been missing. He also can help in the return game should they choose and he’s great after the catch.”
Cornerback: “It will be interesting to see if any of these corners drop. By any of them, I mean Dre Kirkpatrick from Alabama. Obviously Bill Belichick has a great relationship with Nick Saban and will have a great feel for Kirkpatrick and whether he fits what they want to do or not. He certainly looks like a corner who would fit what they like in terms of the versatility. He’s not an elite man-to-man cover corner, but very instinctive in zone. The knock on him, outside of the baggage, is that he gets there and bats down a lot of balls and is in position to make tackles after the catch, but doesn’t make a lot of big plays. Janoris Jenkins would be another guy, a Florida guy who was dismissed from the team and played at North Alabama this past season. I think he has very good man-to-man cover skills and certainly can play on the outside for them and I think would upgrade their corner situation.”
Safety: “Mark Barron from Alabama could drop a little bit [hernia]. He won’t be working out at the combine.”
Pass rushers: “Chandler Jones, the Syracuse defensive end, I know I’m probably higher on him than most guys. But I do think he has a chance to be a really good player and I love his versatility. I think he would fit New England from that perspective. Andre Branch is another one, out of Clemson – 6-4, 260, could play defensive end but also could drop when they go back and forth in their four-man front and three-man front. There is some depth to this class. Ronnell Lewis is another one, from Oklahoma. They can find a pass rusher should they decide to draft one.”