ESPNBoston.com's Field Yates teams up with ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay and ESPN Insider's Chris Sprow to produce the Patriots' 2013 "draft guide."
The guide includes:
Positional needs. Yates lists his viewpoint of the team's four top positional needs, noting cornerback is arguably one of the greatest (that was before it was learned that Alfonzo Dennard would be available in 2013). Defensive end, receiver and defensive line also are mentioned. Yates also adds a "quiet need" -- a position that might appear settled but could warrant attention (linebacker).
Depth chart & free agency. Yates looks closer at the depth chart and picks one position where a starting job could be up for grabs. He also answers the question, "What did free agency solve for the Patriots?"
Areas of strength & weakness in the draft. Sprow highlights the positions in which the Patriots have been successful in the draft, and those in which they have been hurt. The good? "The Patriots turn first-round picks into immediate help," Sprow writes. "They have picked in the first round in four of the past five years, with five picks overall. The earliest of those selections was at No. 10 (Jerod Mayo, 2008). Each of those selections -- Mayo, McCourty, Nate Solder, Jones and Dont'a Hightower -- started at least 13 games as a rookie, and each heads into 2013 as a starter. Is that good? Well, when you utilize rookies while averaging 12 wins per season over that period, it means you're drafting for need early, and effectively. And again, this is being done without top-10 picks."
Best fits in the draft. McShay identifies three players -- Syracuse guard Justin Pugh, UConn cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson and North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams as three quality fits with a high draft choice.
Success story. Kiper answers the question, "What must happen to this to be a successful draft in New England?" by focusing on pass-rush help.
To read the piece, CLICK HERE (Insider content).