Bill Belichick may go heavy for the defense in this mock draft. (USA TODAY Images)

With the NFL Draft almost a month away and free agency continuing, the Patriots are still in the early stages of team building. After an initial burst of activity, things have quieted down on the free agency front and teams are now taking their time to make decisions and add players.

New England continues to be linked to nearly every free agent or player release that comes up. And as of where they stand right now it is time for another mock draft. With that thought in mind, here is Mock Draft 3.0 for the 2014 season. Mock 1.0 and 2.0 can be found here: and found here: and had a few interesting selections that fell to the team.

This mock is using an ingenious idea by FanSpeak in which you get to play the GM of any team and using the big boards supplied by different scouting bureaus, FanSpeak, Walter Football or Optimum Scouting. All of these have different ratings for individual players so the automatic generation of picks for other teams differs depending upon ones’ selection.

In this mock, another big board (Optimum Scouting) was chosen so the picks will differ significantly which shows how volatile the board can be. The Patriots due to added picks in the 4th round due to compensatory considerations now have picks in Rounds 1, 2,3,4,4,6,6,7.

Round 1, Pick 29 — Scott Crichton, DE Oregon State :
Crichton is an intriguing pick because he is perhaps much more under the radar than some of the other edge rushers coming out in the draft. Not having the speed or burst of either Clowney or Ealy, Crichton has a relentless motor and will pursue sideline-to-sideline and is perhaps the best tackler in the DE class.

Crichton had 7.5 sacks in 2013, down a bit from his 9.5 in 2012 but was the man every opponent game-planned for at Oregon State and didn’t have a lot of support. He’s a well built, solid 6’3, 265 and is equally adept at stopping the run as rushing the passer.

Plays with passion and will get even stronger in the Patriots strength and conditioning program.

Round 2  Pick 62 — Stephon Tuitt, DT Notre Dame:
Tremendous frame at 6’6, 312, looks like a young Richard Seymour. Tuitt is very athletic and has such scary upside with his combination of size, quickness and power that the question is…how can he fall to the 2nd round?

Tuitt hasn’t taken to conditioning seriously and showed up overweight in 2013 and wasn’t as dominant as he should have been. As he got into shape his performance and production increased down the stretch.

Very versatile and can play a 4-3 as an interior lineman or slide out in 3-4 defense as a 5-technique. Can set and collapse the edge, powerful enough to be very good in run support and quick enough to get after the QB as a pass rusher.

Round 3, Pick 93 — Donte Moncrief, WR Ole Miss:
Moncrief is a big 6’2, 226 WR from Ole Miss who excels against tight man coverage, using his size and frame to get separation from opponents. While not possessing great straight line speed, he can accelerate quickly and breaks quickly for a big man.

Moncrief has good body control and very good hands and finished his career at Ole Miss as the third most productive WR in school history. In 2013 he snagged 59 passes for 938 yards and six TDs.

His excellent showing at the NFL Combine combined with his size and athleticism projects him to be a very good chain mover to the outside with the occasional ability to go deep. He still rounds off some of his routes but has tremendous upside at only 21 years old.

Round 4, Pick 126 — Preston Brown, ILB Louisville:
Brown projects to be a run stuffing ILB/MLB in the Brandon Spikes mold. Stout, physical and very instinctive while playing a downhill style. Brown is a sure tackler but not as limited as Spikes was in coverage.

Can drop back in coverage somewhat although that is not his strength. Was a productive force for the Cardinals in 2013 with 14 tackles for a loss, five sacks and three forced fumbles.

While somewhat limited to play in space, Brown is a guaranteed two-down run stuffer, short yardage linebacker who can spell Dont’a Hightower and provide a good physical presence.

Round 4, Compensatory Pick — Gabe Ikard, C Oklahoma:
Maybe a bit of a reach here at the end of the 4th round, most project Ikard to be taken in the 6th round, he is an experienced player, a four-year starter with 51 games experience for the Sooners. Ikard is a Patriots type player, tough, dependable and very highly intelligent.

Ikard set the protection and made the line calls, and has great work habits and character. His downside is that he’s limited athletically and has been pushed around a bit by more physical players.

He’s a guy that isn’t going to set the world on fire but can be the guy that comes into camp and works his way into getting and keeping a starting job.

 Round 6, Pick 182 — Joe Don Duncan, TE Dixie St. :
What?!?! Finally a TE in the sixth round? Don’t be shocked, just as always the Patriots do the unexpected and in this mock, they do just that. Duncan playing at Division II Dixie State, had five 100 yard games in 2013, totaling 71 catches, good for 1045 yards and 13 TDs.

Not a great blocker and but sneaky good athletically, Duncan good be in the running to compete as the move or “Joker” tight end spot for the Patriots. Has very good quickness off the line and has very good hands. Good size at 6’3, 267 makes him an intriguing pick, but has suffered numerous leg injuries requiring surgery.

With Rob Gronkowski coming back and Michael Hoomanawanui backing him up, there are still options in FA (Owen Daniels) and the move TE position may be fought over by DJ Williams and Mark Harrison. Duncan is a nice pickup for Day 2.

Round 6, Pick 190 — Tyler Starr, OLB South Dakota:
Played against sub-standard competition in the FCS but was able to quell many questions at the East-West Shrine Game. Good size at 6’4, 249 and was versatile playing both at OLB and DE.

Excellent speed and a good tackler Starr is not only good at rushing the passer but can play in coverage as well. Has outstanding special teams potential due to his above average vision to locate the ball and athleticism.

Starr ran a 6.93 three-cone time something the Patriots always covet but could use some more power at the next level. The Patriots need depth at LB behind the starters, Jerod Mayo, Hightower and Jamie Collins. Starr could immediately step in on some sub-packages and either rush the passer or cover.

Round 7, Pick 221 — Michael Schofield, T Michigan:
Schofield has the size (6’4, 303) to play tackle but may be better suited to move inside in the NFL or strictly right tackle due to his footwork.

Schofield is a tireless worker and with his wide base is able to wall off defenders. Good vision allows him recognize and pick-up blitzers. Keeps pad level low and over his feet.

He struggles with speed rushers, has only average strength and has little in the way of athleticism. He’d project to a guard with the Patriots and would be a nice developmental project.

Stay tuned to PatsFans.com as we’ll be keeping readers up-to-date on all the free agency and draft news as it unfolds.

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