Patriots beyond the first round: Cornerback

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 cornerbacks, attempting to identify good fits for the team:

Second round: Ronald Darby (Florida State) -- The 5-foot-10 5/8, 193-pound Darby runs well (4.38 time in 40), which is an asset that counters concerns scouts might have from him being a bit undersized. He enters the draft after his junior season and some media-based projections have him sneaking into the back half of the first round. He has played against top competition and practiced against it regularly (e.g. Kelvin Benjamin).

Middle rounds: Eric Rowe (Utah) -- The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Rowe has excellent testing results at the combine, running a 4.45 in the 40, putting up 19 repetitions on the bench press, a 39-inch vertical leap and a 6.70 time in the 3-cone drill. A taller, longer cornerback in this year's crop of prospects, he was a three-year starter at safety before moving to corner and might not make it out of the second round.

Middle rounds: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Oregon) -- This would be a pick with 2016 in mind, as Ekpre-Olomu sustained a serious knee injury in December. He was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the country's top defensive back, and was projected as a high-round pick before the injury. How far he slips remains a question.

Middle rounds: Alex Carter (Stanford) -- Entering the draft after his junior season, the 6-foot-0, 200-pound Carter showed explosion from a testing standpoint with a 40-inch vertical leap. He's viewed as a physical tackler (which could show up on special teams) and a versatile player who might also fit at safety.

Middle rounds: Doran Grant (Ohio State) -- He tested well, running a 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash while putting up 21 repetitions on the bench press, and at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds has adequate size. A two-year starter, he was a first-team all-Big 10 selection in 2014 and is one of the better run-support corners in the draft, so he could also project to a role on special teams.

Late rounds: Ladarius Gunter (Miami) -- He has good size (6-1, 202) and was a two-year starter at Miami. He didn't run well (4.6s in the 40) but might have opened some eyes at the Senior Bowl. Media analysts say he's strong in run support and would be a consideration on special teams.

Late rounds: Damian Swann (Georgia) -- Described as versatile and competitive by media analysts, the 6-foot-0, 189-pound Swann was a team captain in 2014. He's played safety and cornerback, has shown a knack as a blitzer at times and could be considered for a role on special teams as well.

Beyond-the-first-round series

Monday: Off-the-line linebacker

Tuesday: Wide receiver