Patriots first round draft pick Dominique Easley. (USA TODAY Images)

For the New England Patriots, things unfolded pretty well on Thursday evening for the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Patriots stayed at #29 and selected Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley with their first selection.

Easley was high on the Patriots radar and injury concerns aside, he was the guy that Bill Belichick wanted. With perhaps their biggest need addressed for now, the question remains what will the team do on Day 2?

With that in mind, Rounds 2-3 take place on Friday night and the Patriots have, right now, a selection in each with Pick #62 in Round 2 and Pick #93 in Round 3. The biggest needs of the team now rest at Tight End, Offensive Line depth, Safety, Defensive End, Linebacker, Running Back, and Wide Receiver.

Running back and wide receivers are positions I think they address on Day 3, but there are still plenty of quality players available at all of these positions. One other position, quarterback, isn’t considered a big position of need because some reports have the Patriots trading back-up QB Ryan Mallett to Houston. Some of those reports have been refuted by others, stating that according to the Patriots, “Mallett is not available.”

Some of the more notable players still on the board include:

Tight End:
Jace Amaro
– Texas Tech
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Washington
Troy Niklas –  Notre Dame
C.J. Fiedorowicz – Iowa

Many of the draft pundits had the Patriots taking Amaro with the #29 pick, and now both he and Jenkins fall to the second round. With the Patriots not picking until #62, chances are both could be gone unless the team were to move up. Niklas and Fiedorowicz have been linked to the team as well and either may be in the Patriots sights on Friday night.


Bill Belichick has many directions he can go on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
(USA TODAY Images)

Offensive Guard:
Xavier Su’a-Filo – UCLA
David Yankey  - Stanford
Cyril Richardson  - Baylor
Gabe Jackson – Mississippi State

Su’a-Filo has been linked to the Patriots as well as a possible first round selection. Like the top two tight ends, he and Yankey may be gone before the Patriots selection in the 2nd round. Richardson and Jackson are both big, physically imposing linemen and would give a needed shot of youth for the Patriots if they were to be chosen.

Center:

Travis Swanson – Arkansas
Weston Richburg – Colorado State
Bryan Stork – Florida State
Tyler Larsen – Utah State

Swanson started 50 consecutive games and has the core strength and balance to be imposing in pass protection. Richburg started 49 games, is durable, has never missed a game, is very intelligent and a good athlete.

Defensive End:
Kony Ealy
- Missouri
Scott Crichton
- Oregon State
Demarcus Lawrence
- Boise State
Trent Murphy
- Stanford
Jackson Jeffcoat
 - Texas

I thought that the Patriots would jump on Ealy and take him when he was available at the end of the first round. He should go really quickly in the 2nd round. Crichton has the size and strength to be an every down player. Lawrence is the guy to watch for New England. He is versatile, he’s played all along the defensive line, and could be used standing up by the Patriots as an Outside Linebacker.

Safeties:
Ed Reynolds
– Stanford
Craig Loston – LSU
Ahmad Dixon – Baylor
Dion Bailey – USC

Reynolds comes from a Patriots bloodline. His father, Ed, was a LB for the Patriots from 1983-91 and he’s coming off ACL surgery, so there’s that…. Loston is a versatile downhill player who is as good in coverage as he is in the box. Dixon is a big hitter who played the “Bear” role as the Safety/LB hybrid, similar to the Patriots “Money” position.

Linebacker:
Yawin Smallwood
– UConn
Kyle Van Noy – BYU
Christian Kirksey – Iowa
Trevor Reilly – Utah
Jordan Tripp – Montana

Smallwood is an excellent coverage linebacker and regularly covered running backs and receivers for the Huskies. He has the frame to play inside or outside. Van Noy is another good coverage linebacker who can do a little bit of everything.

Running Back:
Tre Mason – Auburn
Bishop Sankey – Washington
Carlos Hyde – Ohio State
Jeremy Hill – LSU
Andre Williams – Boston College

The Patriots are in the market for a running back since all of their current players become free agents in 2015 and LaGarrette Blount bolted for Pittsburgh via free agency. Hyde is a powerful runner with very good size who could excel in Blount’s short yardage game. Williams was a workhorse at Boston College and Sankey is more of an all-purpose back.

Wide Receiver:
Marqise Lee – Southern California
Allen Robinson – Penn State
Jarvis Landry – LSU
Martavais Bryant – Clemson

Lee dropped, perhaps surprisingly, from the first round after knee injuries slowed him in his final year. However, he possesses explosive straight line speed. He’s very elusive after the catch, and is also a good blocker.  Robinson is a big, athletic target who finished with 97 catches for over 1400 yards in 2013.

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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