FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The fun begins Friday for the Patriots.
"We feel good going into tomorrow," director of player personnel Nick Caserio said late Thursday night. "We have four picks and went into the day potentially having only two picks. ... We feel there are some players littered throughout this draft, some players [still available] that could have gone in the first."
A few thoughts on directions the Patriots could go:
Receiver. Three pass-catchers went in the first round -- Tavon Austin (8, Rams), DeAndre Hopkins (27, Texans) and Cordarrelle Patterson (29, Vikings) -- leaving the likes of Southern Cal's Robert Woods, Oregon State's Markus Wheaton, Baylor's Terrance Williams, Cal's Keenan Allen, Texas Christian's Josh Boyce and Marshall's Aaron Dobson still available, among others. The Patriots can get a quality receiver (or more than one) and the draft sets up nicely for them to do so on Friday. They don't come much faster than Wheaton, who would be the choice from this perspective.
Cornerback. Four cornerbacks went in the first round – Dee Milliner (9, Jets), D.J. Hayden (12, Raiders), Desmond Trufant (22, Falcons) and Xavier Rhodes (25, Vikings) -- but this position is considered to have some of the best depth in the draft. UConn's Blidi Wreh-Wilson, if he's still available when the Patriots select, could be a good fit. Others to consider: Boise State's Jamar Taylor, Mississippi State's Johnathan Banks and Mississippi State's Darius Slay.
Coverage linebacker. If the Patriots are serious about adding more of a coverage element to their linebacker corps, Kansas State's Arthur Brown is among those still available. UConn's Sio Moore and Southern Mississippi's Jamie Collins also could fit.
Interior offensive line. It's hard to imagine the Patriots not coming out of the draft with an interior lineman, and even after nine offensive linemen were selected in the first round, this is still considered a deep class. UCLA's Jeff Baca is a midround possibility who could appeal to the Patriots because of his position flexibility and athleticism. Tennessee guard Dallas Thomas also took a pre-draft visit to the Patriots and might be of interest. Still a lot of guard options to consider.
Wild card. Since they've given themselves more margin for error with the extra draft picks, the Patriots could consider someone like Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine, who is coming off a torn ACL. A pick like that might be hard to make with just five overall selections, but perhaps now the Patriots would be more willing to delve into that area. Carradine is a potential difference-maker in the front seven. Also, defensive lineman Margus Hunt, whose age (26) might lead him to drop on draft boards, could be the type of prospect who lands on the radar.
Patriots draft picks
Second round (52)
Second round (59)
Third round (83)
Third round (91)
Fourth round (102)
Seventh round (226)
Seventh round (229)
Seventh round (235)