By Tyler on April 17, 2014
The New England Patriots have been very active this offseason, signing such players as Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Patrick Chung. Still, Bill Belichick and company still have a lot of work to do to become Super Bowl Champions in 2015, and they will need a great 2014 NFL Draft to reach this goal. Keeping this in mind, I have identified five dark horse first-round candidates the Patriots should and could go after.
New England ranked 30th in rushing yards allowed in 2013, and there is heavy talk that they will pick up a safety to remedy this issue. Enter Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward, who has great quickness, can slot in at cornerback or either safety spot and picked up seven interceptions and 95 tackles in 2013. Ward is expected to go in the early 20s, but if he slips to 29th, there is no doubting the Patriots will pounce.
Despite a ridiculous 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame, incredible vertical ability and strength to go with 1,011 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 2013, Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin is expected to slide to the second round. That is unless the Patriots make him the 29th pick in the draft, which wouldn't be a huge surprise considering they could use a WR-TE hybrid to line up opposite Rob Gronkowski. Keep Benjamin on your radar.
Calvin Pryor is another player that could help the Patriots at safety, although most expect him to go between picks 15-20. The reason for this is that Pryor has excellent size at 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, ran an sound 4.58 40-yard dash, and is a great tackler both at the line of scrimmage and off it. In 2013, Pryor picked up three interceptions and 71 tackles, and it wouldn't be surprising to see New England snap him up if he slips to 29.
Despite having Tom Brady on board, New England ranked 10th in the NFL in passing yards in 2013 with a lack of impact options at wide receiver holding the offense back. Enter Odell Beckham Jr., who ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, has the on-field quickness to back this up, is a great route runner and can return both punts and kickoffs. Few expect the Patriots to pick up the former LSU Tiger, but he does look like a perfect fit for the organization.
Tom Brady is going to be 37 in August, and there have been whispers of the Patriots getting a replacement sooner rather than later. Johnny Manziel looks like a good option to be this man, as he has already interviewed with Belichick, has a huge arm and could use with some seasoning to move away from relying on running the ball. New England will surely have to trade up to get Manziel, but I wouldn't put it past them to pull off this stunner.
September 3, 2015 by Nik Zirounis
Here are five things to watch when the Miami Dolphins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason finale. Read More
September 3, 2015 by Troy Becker
With three preseason games in the books, it is the players last chance to impress the coaching staff. Here are 10 guys on the roster bubble heading into the Eagles' last preseason game. Read More
September 3, 2015 by Brad Berreman
RB Fred Jackson was arguably the league's most surprising cut ahead of Tuesday's deadline for teams to team to down to 75 players. Here's why he's a great fit for the New England Patriots. Read More
September 3, 2015 by Andrew Frosceno
Five dark horse candidates who may surprise people by making the 53-man roster. Read More
September 2, 2015 by Gil Alcaraz IV
The Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks are looking to end their 2015 preseasons on a positive note. Read More
September 2, 2015 by Ben Vasconcellos
Jay Gruden should have held an open quarterback competition. Read More
September 2, 2015 by Doug Green
Two Philadelphia Eagles, Bryan Braman and Kenjon Barner, are each being fined by the NFL for illegal hits in last week's game. Read on to find out why it's utterly ridiculous. Read More
September 2, 2015 by Ryan Quigley
The New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles will face off in Week 4 of the NFL preseason Thursday night. Here's what to keep an eye on. Read More