(Each day over the next week, ESPNBoston.com will focus on one position in the NFL draft and highlight a prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, “Beyond the first round” focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks)
Second round: DL Jesse Williams (Alabama)
Coming out of a pro-style program under coach Nick Saban, the 6-foot-3, 323-pound Williams has NFL size and lined up at nose guard (2012) and end (2011) for the Crimson Tide. This looks like a deep draft for players in Williams' mold (the bigger interior defensive linemen), and the key for the Patriots will be finding the right fit. Williams, who clogs this up in the middle and has also shown the ability to push the pocket at times, could be groomed behind Vince Wilfork.
Third round: DE Michael Buchanan (Illinois)
At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Buchanan is a defensive end/outside linebacker type whose physical makeup and athleticism figures to appeal to the Patriots. He was arrested for DUI in 2010. The Patriots drafted Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette in the third round last year, so a pick like Buchanan might be a case of duplication one year later.
Fourth round: NT Kwame Geathers (Georgia)
The 6-foot-5, 342-pound Geathers has NFL size and also NFL bloodlines, making him a developmental prospect worthy of consideration in the middle rounds. He's viewed as more of a run-stuffer than a pocket-rusher at this point, but appears to be the type of player who could evolve into more once brought into an NFL strength and conditioning program.
Fifth round: DL Kapron Lewis-Moore (Notre Dame)
A versatile defensive lineman, Lewis-Moore (6-3, 298) tore his ACL in the national championship game and could fall into a similar category as the Patriots' third-round selection of receiver Brandon Tate (knee), who began his career on the physically unable to perform list. If the Patriots feel they have the luxury to be patient, Lewis-Moore could be a good long-term investment at this point in the draft, similar to Tate and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon in the 2011 fifth round.
Sixth round: DE Lavar Edwards (LSU)
At 6-foot-4, 277 pounds, and with 35.5 inch arm length, he projects to defensive end in the Patriots' scheme. While signing a veteran end remains a possibility for the Patriots, who visited with Dwight Freeney and John Abraham in free agency, a player like Edwards would be more of a developmental type.
Seventh round: DL Arby Jones (Georgia)
With good size (6-3, 313) and 35-inch arm length, Jones has some traits that could be interesting to the Patriots (similar to Georgia DL Kade Weston in 2010). He has shown versatility in playing different spots along the line and is said to have solid "football character."
(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft preview and ESPN's Scouts Inc.)