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2014 NFL Draft Handicapping Tips – New England Patriots

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots really had their depth put to the test last season after some injuries left them vulnerable at many key positions. Those trials and tribulations have given the team a good idea of where they need to improve entering this season, and they certainly won’t be looking for project players with an aging Tom Brady in tow.

The Patriots will be looking for players to hit the ground running, and this is a great draft for filling the kinds of needs they have.

New England Patriots (12-4)

Draft picks (by round)

Round 1 – 29
Round 2 – 62
Round 3 – 93
Round 4 – 130, 140
Round 6 – 198, 206
Round 7 – 244

Here are five things to expect from the Patriots on draft day:

Pats 2014 NFL Draft Predictions

They add a difference-making defensive tackle

Vince Wilfork has shown the impact a defensive tackle can have in Bill Belichick’s system, but it’s gotten to the point where Wilfork can no longer be relied upon. Even when he’s healthy, he’s been coming off the field for a fair number of snaps.

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Trading up to get Pitt’s Aaron Donald isn’t out of the question, though Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan seems like a more likely candidate for the team’s top pick. Waiting for the second round and swiping Florida’s Dominique Easley isn’t out of the question either.

They draft a good, proven running back

The team has really evolved into a more run-oriented team, though they’ve gotten a little thin in the backfield in recent years.
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Washington’s Bishop Sankey and Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey both fit the bill. Sankey should still be around for the team’s second round selection, while Carey will be there for their third.

They draft a tight end

The offseason departure of Aaron Hernandez really hurt the team’s plans entering last season, and the absence of Rob Gronkowski for an extended period hurt as well. Gronk can’t be counted on to stay on the field given his injury history, so bringing in someone that can step in when he’s down is an attractive option.

Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins would be a great complement to Gronkowski given his ability to block as well as catch the ball, while Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro has all the pass-catching tools to make him a favorite of Brady’s.

They draft multiple interior linemen

That’s on both sides of the ball. The team handed out plenty of snaps to guys they weren’t expecting to give any snaps to on defense, while age has hurt the team’s interior offensive line. This is something that can be addressed in the later rounds, though protecting Brady isn’t something to mess around with.

They trade up, or down, in the first two rounds, and are better in the long run for it

Early indications are that there are multiple teams looking to trade down, while few are looking to trade up. With not many trade partners out there, there could be value for the savvy general manager that looks to go left while others go right, and the Patriots have made a habit of pulling off smart moves on draft day, and it appears this one will be ripe for the picking.

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