By: Steve Balestrieri
With time winding down until the NFL Draft perceptions about certain players moving up and down the draft boards has been running high. The Patriots have been rumored to be in the market for an early round wide receiver as well as a quarterback.
While I don’t doubt the validity of these reports coming from inside sources, I still believe that the team will go for neither very early. With such a stacked draft, many teams may be putting out a smoke screen in order to perhaps lower the value of certain players it covets, hoping that others selecting before them buy into some of the negative hype surrounding players and lower their draft stock.
And of course the reverse is also true, some teams may act very interested in a player they have no intention on drafting. One can remember the very public courting of Tim Tebow by Bill Belichick in the north end of Boston prior to the draft. And with the extended time in 2014 prior to the draft, it seems we’re seeing even more of it….so caveat emptor.
With that thought in mind, here is Mock Draft 4.0 for the 2014 season. Mock 1.0 can be found here: and had a few interesting selections that fell to the team. Mock 2.0 can be found here and Mock 3.0 can be read here:
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, the Fanspeak big board was chosen so the picks will differ significantly which shows how volatile the board can be. The Patriots picks are in Rounds 1,2,3,4,4,6,6,7, but this doesn’t take into consideration the very real possibility that the team may opt to either move up or down in the draft utilizing trades.
Round 1, Pick 29 — Jace Amaro, TE Texas Tech:
Fits the Patriots mold perfectly in the ‘move’ TE position formerly held by Aaron Hernandez. Put up insane numbers at Texas Tech in 2013 operating primarily out of the slot (106 recpts, 1352 yds, 7 TDs) and like AH, operates more as an oversized (6’5, 260) receiver.
Good foot speed, nice wide catch radius and good hands although prone to the easy drops at times. Amaro has the speed to stretch the seam and is very good after the catch and with his size is tough to bring down.
Not a good in-line blocker and won’t function as a classic Y-tight end in the Rob Gronkowski role but if he’s still there at #29, the Patriots will be hard pressed to pass him up. One note on this however, Mike Reiss from ESPN Boston did say that if the Patriots view him as only a big receiver and not a true tight end, they may pass, so file that that one away for draft night.
Round 2 Pick 62 — 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. But once the Clowneys, Ealys and Fords start coming off the board, Crichton is sure to garner attention.
Not having the speed or burst off the edge 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. With the well publicized fact that both Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich played well over 90 percent of the snaps in 2013, the somewhat raw but talented Crichton should step right into a nice rotation at DE providing good pressure on the passer.
Crichton chose to forego his senior season to support his parents in Samoa, his mother works two jobs and his father still works despite having one leg amputated. He’s also known as a gym rat, so his strength, work ethic and solid background should all bode well for Bill Belichick when looking at him in Round 2.
Round 3, Pick 93 — Weston Richburg, C Colorado State:
Richburg is perhaps the most NFL ready center in the draft and could likely push Ryan Wendell for the starter role with the Patriots.
Possessing decent size at 6’3, 300, Richburg started 49 games as a four-year starter at Colorado State at center and is a highly intelligent, instinctive player who will thrive at the next level. Richburg is versatile and early in his college career played a few games at guard.
More technician than a mauler, Richburg can easily handle players much larger than himself. Richburg is more athletic than given credit for and can get outside for sweeps, screens and made all the calls for the offensive line
Former Cowboys’ GM Gil Brandt gave a ringing endorsement of Richburg stating “If a team is looking for the next Alex Mack, Richburg is that guy. He’ll be your starting center for the next 10 years.”
Round 4, Pick 130 — Andre Williams, RB Boston College:
Williams is a thickly built power runner (5’11, 230) who shows a good second level burst if he is a bit slow off the initial snap. He has decent straight line speed at 4.56 in the 40 and is a north-south runner who will be looked to replace LaGarrette Blount’s role as the short yardage back in the Patriots offense.
Williams was a workhorse for the Eagles gaining 3,739 career yards and 28 touchdowns in only 44 games. Last season he carried the ball a whopping 355 times for 2177 yards and 18 TDs in 2013.
He’s very limited in the passing game however, catching zero passes in 2013 and running sloppy routes with drops at the NFL Combine. His pass protection can also need some work as well but running back coach Ivan Fears can work with him on that.
Williams will have the luxury of playing behind Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden and gradually work his way into the lineup. Like Blount he has the power to break long runs on short yardage if he can get to the second level.
Round 4, Compensatory Pick (140) — Brandon Coleman, WR Rutgers:
Coleman has the size at 6’6, 225 to be a viable red-zone target in the Patriots offense and be the latest player to make the trek up the Jersey Turnpike to Foxboro from Rutgers.
Coleman logged in good production for the Scarlet Knights hauling in 94 career passes for 1808 yards good for a 18.2 YPR average and 20 touchdowns in 39 career games. Needs to work on his physicality especially at breaking the jam at the line of scrimmage but does have deceptive speed because of his longer strides.
Coleman was slowed by a knee injury during his senior season but is healed now and had the Patriots Nick Caserio at his Pro-Day in March. After adding the 6’3 Aaron Dobson in 2013 and the 6’2 Brandon Lafell in free agency this spring, Coleman would be an intriguing addition to a bigger WR core for New England in 2014.
Round 6, Pick 198 — Brock Vereen, S Minnesota :
A versatile, smart and instinctive player the 6’0, 200 lb Vereen would project to be a backup safety with excellent special teams value for the Patriots. Played 36 career games for Minnesota at safety, cornerback and nickel and Patriots fans know how much Belichick loves versatile players.
Has a pipeline to the Patriots already with his brother Shane being a running back for the team. His father played at UNLV and was drafted by the Buccaneers in 1979.
Vereen is has a very high football I.Q. and is known as a team-first player for Minnesota. Drawbacks are he has shorter than average arms and doesn’t excel in any particular area. And sometimes he over-thinks plays but would be a good depth addition.
Round 6, Pick 206 — Tyler Starr, OLB South Dakota:
Starr has proto-typical size at 6’4, 250 and was versatile playing both at OLB and DE. He was primarily a pass rusher at South Dakota notching nine sacks, 15 tackles for a loss and four forced fumbles in 2013 and was a two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defender in the FCS.
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. Versatile, Starr even played a little at cornerback at South Dakota.
Starr ran a 6.64 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.
Starr is very much under-the-radar as another former South Dakota linebacker who ended up with the Patriots, Matt Chatham. And like Chatham, he could carve out a niche as a sub-package linebacker and special teams maven.
Round 7, Pick 244 — Matt Patchan, T Boston College:
Patchan could step in and provide good depth for the Patriots in 2013 backing up starters Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer. He’s had a myriad of injuries including but not limited to a torn ACL, a torn pectoral muscle, a broken wrist and a bullet wound in the shoulder has slowed his progression.
Good size at 6’5, 305 with wide shoulders and long arms, Patchan has the look of an NFL tackle. Good athleticism and quickness in the running game but may not have the quickness in his feet to play left tackle. Patchan was instrumental in the Eagles rushing attack in 2013 where they ran for an average of 218 yards per game.
Plays a bit high at times in pass protection and has been vulnerable to the bull-rush and needs to work on his footwork but is talented and tough. His major questions are off the off-field variety but could be a coup in the late rounds for the Patriots.
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.