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5 Storylines To Follow For New England Patriots Throughout 2014 NFL Draft

5 New England Patriots Storylines To Follow During 2014 NFL Draft

Tom Savage
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is almost here, and the New England Patriots, just like any other team, have several storylines that will keep fans glued to their television sets. Here are five key storylines to keep a watchful eye on throughout the duration of the 2014 NFL Draft.

5. Tom Brady's Heir Apparent

Tom Savage
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

5. Tom Brady's Heir Apparent

Tom Savage
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A big question that has been debated for a while now regarding the New England Patriots is when they should plan for life after Tom Brady retires. Who is the next guy and when should they go get him? Given the fact that the Pats have used several pre-draft visits on quarterbacks this year, the possibility of the team drafting a quarterback is something to watch closely in the coming days.

4. Ryan Mallett Trade

Ryan Mallett
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

4. Ryan Mallett Trade

Ryan Mallett
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With Ryan Mallett's contract set to expire after the 2014 season and Tom Brady under contract for several more years, some have begun to speculate that Mallett could be shipped out of town during the draft. Teams covet QBs with size, arm strength and players who have been coached by Bill Belichick. Mallett possesses all of those qualities. A potential Mallett trade is something to watch on the first or second day of the draft.

3. Stevan Ridley Trade

Stevan Ridley
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

3. Stevan Ridley Trade

Stevan Ridley
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps less likely than a Ryan Mallett trade, I have previously talked about the potential of Stevan Ridley being traded during the draft. Why? He is fumble-prone, is on a contract year and will likely be looking for a long-term extension and a big payday in free agency next year. The Patriots may not be willing to pony up for a fumble-prone guy. It is yet another thing to watch during the draft.

2. Potential Michael Sam Selection

Michael Sam
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

2. Michael Sam Selection

Michael Sam
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Much controversy surrounded DE Michael Sam, although in his case it has nothing to do with football or character concerns. It is because he is the first openly-gay player in NFL history. The New England Patriots are one of only a handful of teams that are linked to Sam; they have a need at DE, and the organization has publicly endorsed him as a player. Sam will be a player to watch for the Patriots in the late rounds of the draft.

1. Patriots' First-Round Draft Pick

Kevin Faulk and Roger Goodell
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

1. Patriots' First-Round Draft Pick

Patriots Draft
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Always a major storyline during the draft for every team, it is imperative that the New England Patriots make the most out of their first-round picks. Who will they take 29th overall? Will they trade up or trade down? What position will they target? Their first-round selection, for obvious reasons, will be a noteworthy thing to watch on day one of the draft.