By Will Gellman @Will_Gellman on May 3, 2014
With less than a week until the 2014 Draft begins, here is my official seven round mock draft for the New England Patriots. This mock draft does not reflect any potential trades, and all selections are where the Patriots are currently slotted to pick.
Marqise Lee had a rough 2013 season. After dominating in 2012, he suffered a knee injury last year. After that, he clearly did not look like himself. That is at least, until the Sugar Bowl where he caught seven passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns against Fresno State. When healthy, he is a dominant receiver with big play ability who plays bigger than his 6-foot frame. The Patriots could get a steal if they were to draft him 29th overall.
Craig Loston is a rare safety with a deadly combination of speed, size, ball skills and bone-crushing hitting ability. He has everything you look for in an SS at the NFL level. He needs to be more disciplined in his hits to avoid suspensions or fines at the next level, but he can surely put the fear of God in opposing offenses. With Loston, the Patriots would get a hard-hitting safety that they have lacked since Rodney Harrison left town.
In 2012, Will Sutton was one of the most dominant defensive lineman in college football. In 2013, his play dropped off after bulking up to try to improve his draft stock. If Sutton can get back into the 270-280 pound range, he could return to his dominant 2012 form when he had 23.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. The Patriots can afford to take their time with him with Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly starting.
Travis Swanson has a very nice blend of size, strength, run and pass blocking ability. He played with Ryan Mallett in 2010, so they are at least somewhat familiar with one another. Bill Belichick should be able to get the scoop on Swanson from Mallett as a result. Swanson's speed is a concern, but he makes up for it with strength and blocking ability. The Pats have a need at center with Ryan Wendell coming off a bad year, and Swanson could help.
Cassius Marsh is a DE with a good mix of strength and speed. Perhaps overshadowed by fellow teammate Anthony Barr, Marsh registered 14 sacks and 95 tackles combined the past two seasons. He may not have played against top competition in college, but he has high upside and should be available when the Patriots are on the clock with the 140th overall pick. The Pats could use a pass rusher, and Marsh could be a sleeper for them in the mid rounds.
Ladarius Perkins is a sleeper RB and a jack-of-all-trades. Perkins can catch, block, run with authority, and has surprising strength despite being just under 5-foot-8. Perkins also has very good speed, running a 4.46 40 yard dash at the combine. He was a team captain in college and all indications are that he has tremendous character. The Patriots could use an RB after losing LeGarrette Blount, and Perkins would be an ideal fit for them.
James Morris is a solid LB. In his first three years, he proved to be very good in the run game, but mediocre in pass rush, totaling just 2.5 sacks in his first three seasons. In 2013, however, he transformed into an overall monster. That year, he had 106 tackles including 17 for a loss, seven sacks, four interceptions and three pass deflections. He won't blow you away with size or speed, but he could be an adequate Brandon Spikes replacement.
Colt Lyerla has arguably the most red flags of any prospect in the draft. He left the team for personal reasons, and plead guilty to unlawful possession of cocaine, raising questions about his character; if not for his issues, he'd be a high pick in the draft. He has very good speed for his size, makes unbelievable catches, is very strong, and is a versatile player. He lined up at TE, RB and WR during his career; NE might just kick the tires.
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