2014 NFL Draft: 5 Last-Minute New England Patriots Rumors to Know About

2014 NFL Draft: 5 Last-Minute New England Patriots Rumors to Know About

Bill Belichick
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots typically play their cards close to the chest. It's the way Bill Belichick and company run the franchise. With that said, rumors have still surfaced regarding the club's draft plans. Here are five examples.

5. Patriots Are High on Ryan Shazier

Ryan Shazier
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

5. Patriots Are High on Ryan Shazier

Ryan Shazier
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Despite perhaps more pressing needs elsewhere, the Patriots are rumored to be high on Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, who would likely need to be nabbed with New England's first-round pick. Shazier isn't the most physical prospect, but his speed is unmatched at the linebacker position in this class. He could potentially give the Patriots' linebacker corps the explosiveness it's been missing.

4. Patriots Will Draft a RB on Day 2

Carlos Hyde
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

4. Patriots Will Draft a RB on Day 2

Carlos Hyde
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley are entering the final year of their respective contracts while LaGarrette Blount is now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Needless to say, the Patriots may consider selecting a running back during the draft. Ohio State's Carlos Hyde could be a tempting option in the second round.

3. Patriots Will Draft a TE Early

Troy Niklas
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

3. Patriots Will Draft a TE Early

Troy Niklas
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

There is a strong chance Rob Gronkowski, who suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Week 14 last season, won't be ready for the start of 2014. Not to forget the void left by Aaron Hernandez's imprisonment for an alleged murder, either. The Patriots are expected to select a tight end in one of the first three rounds. Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Notre Dame's Troy Niklas are all perceived possibilities.

2. Stevan Ridley Will Be Traded During Draft

Stevan Ridley
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2. Stevan Ridley Will Be Traded During Draft

Stevan Ridley
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The aforementioned Stevan Ridley, who only has one year remaining on his contract, has had a troubling history of ball-security lapses. His four lost fumbles in 2013 were undoubtedly deemed unacceptable by Bill Belichick. Ridley being traded has been floating around as a possibility for quite some time, and there are some who believe this week's draft will be the opportune time to finally deal him.

1. Patriots Will Draft Tom Brady's Successor

Teddy Bridgewater
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

1. Patriots Will Draft Tom Brady's Successor

Teddy Bridgewater
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots drafted Ryan Mallet in the third round of the 2011 draft to potentially succeed Tom Brady. However, there is a strong chance Mallet will pursue signing with a new team next offseason. Thus, the Patriots are expected to seek a new future franchise quarterback as early as Thursday night's first round. Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater headlines the list of passers New England has shown interest in this offseason.






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