ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay has posted his latest mock draft, and he slots Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman to the Patriots at No. 29.
In his first mock, McShay picked Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard for the Patriots (he's now considered an earlier pick).
In his second mock, McShay had tabbed Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt to New England (he's now out of the first round).
So it's always interesting to monitor how things shift over time, and how when one domino falls earlier in a mock draft, it can have a significant trickle-down effect on other teams.
McShay, who was the first analyst we noticed making the connection between the Patriots and Chandler Jones in 2012 mock drafts, notes that Hageman would be a good value pick at No. 29. On Twitter recently, McShay said this of Hageman:
Minn DT Hageman has more "wow" moments than any DT in class. Pads rise way too often, motor runs hot-cold. But he's a rare talent.— Todd McShay (@McShay13) March 5, 2014
When Hageman converts speed-to-power, it's a nightmare for OL. If he learns better leverage + stays focussed on/off field, he can be special— Todd McShay (@McShay13) March 5, 2014
One thing that caught my eye in McShay's most recent mock draft was that Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III is still available when the Patriots were on the board at No. 29. Nix sliding to that spot almost has a similar feel to when Vince Wilfork was unexpectedly available at No. 21 in the 2004 draft, and I'd think the Patriots might lean in that direction if that's the way it unfolds.
What teams seem to be attempting to determine on Nix (6-foot-2 3/8, 331 pounds) is whether he'll ever be more than a two-down run-stuffer. Similar questions had been asked of Wilfork entering the draft, and into the early years of his career.
It's a fun scenario to consider.