<
>

Patriots beyond the first round: Receiver

A majority of the media coverage entering the NFL draft focuses on the first round, so the "beyond the first round" series is meant to fill out the picture for the New England Patriots, who enter the draft with nine selections, beginning with the final selection of the first round (No. 32).

The "beyond the first round" series continues with wide receivers, attempting to identify good fits for the team:

Second round: Rashad Greene (Florida State) -- Named a permanent team captain in 2013, the 5-foot-11 3/8, 182-pound Greene is a quick, sudden type of receiver, which is generally what the Patriots target. He appears to have flexibility to play in the slot and outside, which is versatility the team also seems to value. He's also considered to be a prospect who has risen up to play some of his best football in big games.

Middle rounds: Stefon Diggs (Maryland) -- Entering the draft after his junior season, the 6-foot-0, 195-pound Diggs is another receiver who appears to have the versatility to line up both inside and outside, and he is viewed by analysts as a dangerous threat with the ball in his hands after the catch. His 10-yard split of 1.53 reflects his initial burst. Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio checked him out personally last week.

Middle rounds: Jamison Crowder (Duke) -- Media analysts note how the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Crowder can quickly accelerate once the football is in his hands and also smoothly gets in and out of his breaks. His ability to catch the ball is reflected in his 193 receptions over the last two seasons. Crowder projects more as a slot receiver who also factors as a punt returner.

Middle rounds: Tre McBride (William & Mary) -- The 6-foot-0 1/4, 210-pound McBride was the CAA Special Teams Player of the Year in 2013, mainly for his work as a kickoff returner, and one of the things he's shown a knack for is catching the football outside his frame. Like the other receivers on this list, he does some of his best work after the catch.

Late rounds: Dres Anderson (Utah) -- The son of former NFL receiver Willie "Flipper" Anderson, the 6-foot-1 7/8, 187-pound Anderson had a late-season knee injury that has affected the pre-draft evaluation by teams. Media analysts have noted his second gear when tracking the deep ball, while one of his best assets is run-after-the-catch ability.

Late rounds: Deon Long (Maryland) -- The 6-foot-0, 192-pound Long is one of the older rookies in this year's class, turning 24 this summer, and Belichick and Caserio got a closer look at him last week. He could line up in multiple spots and media analysts note that he's shown the ability to get the desired release off the line of scrimmage.

Beyond-the-first-round series

Monday: Off-the-line linebacker