<
>

Hitting four need areas in McShay mock, Patriots would be pleased

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has put together his annual "Grade: A" three-round mock draft, which is different from the traditional mock draft in that it is less of a projection and more a reflection of value as the draft unfolds. McShay's picks for the Patriots address four of the top five projected "need" areas, so it's clear he's matched up value with need.

I think the club would be pleased if McShay's mock draft becomes reality.

The chance to come out of the first 96 picks with a projected top-four corner who contributes on special teams (Alabama's Cyrus Jones), a developmental receiver who is known as a good route runner to feed the pipeline at a position where the team trends older (Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd), another penetrating defensive tackle (South Carolina State's Javon Hargrave) to layer the depth chart for the future with Alan Branch and Terrance Knighton having contracts that expire after the season, and a potential three-down running back (Notre Dame's C.J. Prosise) would make the Patriots that much stronger.

After these four picks, the Patriots aren't currently scheduled to select again until the sixth round (196th overall). Of course, that could always change with trades during the actual draft.

Swing offensive tackle and quarterback are two areas they might target in this scenario with their later-round selections.