Grading the New England Patriots’ 2014 Draft Picks

Grading the New England Patriots’ 2014 Draft Picks

New England Patriots Draft
Photo Courtesy of @bpm_sunshine via Twitter

The New England Patriots had a variety of needs heading into the 2014 NFL Draft but failed to adequately address any of them. Instead, they drafted players with red flags, bust potential, worrisome injury histories and throwaway roster cuts. Here are grades and analysis for every Patriots 2014 NFL Draft pick.

Round 1, Pick 29 – DT Dominique Easley – Grade D

New England Patriots Draft
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

Round 1, Pick 29 – DT Dominique Easley – Grade D

New England Patriots Draft
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

He injured both knees in college during routine practice drills and only played two full seasons while with the Florida Gators. There were rumors the Seattle Seahawks were interested as well, but they are defending Super Bowl champions and had the luxury to waste a pick on a “what if” player. The Patriots' defense was an injury nightmare in 2013, so bringing in an injury-prone DT with middling college production is baffling.

Round 2, Pick 30 – QB Jimmy Garoppolo – Grade F

New England Patriots Draft
Andy Marlin – USA TODAY Sports

Round 2, Pick 30 – QB Jimmy Garoppolo – Grade F

New England Patriots Draft
Andy Marlin – USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots usually waste a pick on a QB later in the draft, but this year they decided to get it out of the way early. Garoppolo doesn’t help the Patriots win now and won’t help them win in the future. People became enamored with his quick-release while overlooking the mediocre talent he played against in the FCS. He is often compared to Tony Romo which should have sent red-flags flying.

Round 4, Pick 5 (105) - C Bryan Stork – Grade C

New England Patriots Draft
Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

Round 4, Pick 5 (105) - C Bryan Stork – Grade C

New England Patriots Draft
Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

Stork was decent starter at Florida State and is capable in pass protection. He is a good technician but lacks athleticism and missed the NFL Combine due to knee and shoulder issues. The grade is lower because of the “if he can stay healthy” issue which unlike Bill Belichick, I tend to look at as being serious. The NFL is tougher, longer and more grueling on the body, and if injuries have already been an issue, they aren’t going to just go away.

Round 4, Pick 30 (130) – RB James White – Grade C-

New England Patriots Draft
Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports

Round 4, Pick 30 (130) – RB James White – Grade C-

New England Patriots Draft
Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports

White is nothing special and will be just another cog in the RB machine. He isn’t built to be a starter and lacks speed. Although he is a solid blocker with pass catching ability, he is nothing more than a rotational player or a fill-in when Steven Ridley is having fumble issues. There’s nothing special about this pick.

Round 4, Pick 40 (140) – OT Cameron Fleming – Grade C

New England Patriots Draft
Brian Spurlock – USA TODAY Images

Round 4, Pick 40 (140) – OT Cameron Fleming – Grade C

New England Patriots Draft
Brian Spurlock – USA TODAY Images

Fleming is a developmental offensive lineman who will most likely be riding the bench for the most of the 2014 season. The problem is he seems capable of only playing tackle, and the Patriots didn’t really need help at the position with starters Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer with Marcus Cannon as a backup. Fleming is nothing more than an unnecessary insurance policy.

Round 6, Pick 3 (179) – OG Jon Halapio – Grade C

New England Patriots Draft
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

Round 6, Pick 3 (179) – OG Jon Halapio – Grade C

New England Patriots Draft
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

Belichick’s attachment to Gator players continued with the Halapio pick. He is another developmental player who will serve as camp competition and probably be a roster cut because the Patriots have an abundance of offensive linemen. He had a disappointing 2013 college season and lacks the quickness and agility of top prospects.

Round 6, Pick 22 (198) – DE Zach Moore – Grade C

New England Patriots Draft
Photo Courtesy of @PioneerPress via Twitter

Round 6, Pick 22 (198) – DE Zach Moore – Grade C

New England Patriots Draft
Photo Courtesy of @PioneerPress via Twitter

Moore was a late-round grab bag pick who has sleeper potential, but the Division II rookie will have an uphill battle to make a team that already employs five defensive ends. He might end up on the practice squad and perhaps under the correct tutelage could become a situational player, but chances are being drafted will be the highlight of his NFL career.

Round 6, Pick 30 (206) – CB Jemea Thomas – Grade B

New England Patriots Draft
Kevin Liles – USA TODAY Sports

Round 6, Pick 30 (206) – CB Jemea Thomas – Grade B

New England Patriots Draft
Kevin Liles – USA TODAY Sports

Thomas may be undersized, but he is proficient at playing press coverage and can play the slot corner position where anyone would be an upgrade over Kyle Arrington. Unfortunately, given Belichick’s refusal to relieve Arrington of his duties, Thomas will be relegated to a special teams role where he will contribute and be unquestioningly effective at it. Thomas is a solid late-round pick.

Round 7, Pick 29 (244) – WR Jeremy Gallon – Grade D

New England Patriots Draft
Matt Kartozian – USA TODAY Sports

Round 7, Pick 29 (244) – WR Jeremy Gallon – Grade D

New England Patriots Draft
Matt Kartozian – USA TODAY Sports

Gallon is just another undersized WR on a team that is overloaded with them. He has some ability as a returner, but the Patriots have invested too much money in other small, diminutive slot receivers for Gallon to ever make the team. For a team that needed a deep-threat at WR to only come away with Gallon is disappointing. He is a throwaway selection who will be lucky to make the practice squad.


Around the Web