5 Prospects the New England Patriots Must Target in Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft

2014 NFL Draft: New England Patriots Day 2 Targets

Tom Brady Bill Belichick New England Patriots
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have historically put an emphasis on the middle rounds of the NFL draft. The Patriots select 29th overall, but nobody would be surprised if they trade out of the first round to pick up more selections. The Patriots hold two picks on day two of the draft with acquiring more being possible, if not likely. Here are five players the Patriots should target in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft.

5. Marcus Smith, DE/OLB, Louisville

Marcus Smith NFL Draft
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5. Marcus Smith, DE/OLB, Louisville

Marcus Smith Louisville
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The Patriots simply must address their lack of pass rushers in this draft. Marcus Smith is a very raw, but athletic prospect with some nice pass rush skills. On top of that, he has the raw ability to defend athletic tight ends. Smith is very versatile, and while he is far from a finished product, he has a ton of room to grow.

4. Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame

Troy Niklas Notre Dame
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4. Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame

Troy Niklas NFL Draft
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

New England has shown an unprecedented ability to use two tight ends as a huge part of its offense. If he falls to day two, Troy Niklas could become a steal for the Patriots. He is a big, athletic tight end with good blocking and receiving skills. Niklas has a similar skill set of Rob Gronkowski, which would give the Patriots insurance against their oft-injured star TE. Even if Gronk is healthy, Belichick would find a way to use Niklas.

3. DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State

DaQuan Jones Penn State
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

3. DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State

DaQuan Jones NFL Draft
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Depth along the defensive line is a big need for the Patriots, and DaQuan Jones seems like a great fit. At 6-foot-4, 322 pounds, Jones is a surprisingly athletic DT with incredible strength. He also shows great versatility, which is always a huge plus for the Patriots. I think Jones would be a fantastic pick on day two of the draft.

2. Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

Dominique Easley NFL Draft
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2. Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

Dominique Easley Florida
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive tackle will be an obvious target for the Patriots in this draft, and Dominique Easley seems like a player they will be targeting. Easley's stock is down as he recovers from his second torn ACL. That said, he seems to be recovering well. Forget the injuries and Easley is probably the best DT prospect in this class. He has great versatility and athleticism that makes him an obvious target for the Patriots in the second round.

1. Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU

Kyle Van Noy NFL Draft
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

1. Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU

Kyle Van Noy BYU
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Van Noy is a player who I really like in this draft, and while I believe he is easily a first round pick, it seems possible that he slips to the second round. If he does, the Patriots need to be in on him. Van Noy is an incredibly versatile LB. He does a great job in coverage and against the run, while also showing impressive pass rush skills. I think Van Noy would be an incredible weapon for Belichick and the Patriots from the start.


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