By Michael LeDuc @mike_leduc on May 13, 2014
Let's take a look at how the New England Patriots did in the 2014 NFL Draft. I will rank the prospects from worst to first in terms of overall talent and how each respective player fits with the team.
Gallon, the wide receiver out of Michigan, was the Patriots' last pick in the draft. He's not much to write home about, but he is sure-handed and quick. However, I think if you're going to select a wide receiver in the seventh round, that player should be a lot bigger.
He's not a bad pick at No. 179, and he definitely adds much-needed depth to the offensive line. Halapio is extremely physical and could be a solid offensive lineman in a few years, but obviously he's not skilled enough to be one of New England's top picks. The offensive guard is not very fluid or athletic.
Moore is a good, late sixth-round draft pick. The defensive end has plenty of upside for the Patriots to work with. He's strong and has impressive instincts. He's a terrific athlete and works extremely hard. His work ethic could bring him to the top of the depth chart in a couple of years.
White is by no means an every-down running back, but he is just what the Patriots need. He's not the most athletic or explosive runner, but he is strong, tough and, most importantly, holds on to the ball. Fumbles were a problem for the Pats last season, and White brings reliability to the running back corps. His skill set doesn't jump out at you, but White is an adequate fourth-round pick.
The Patriots were able to grab Thomas in the beginning of the seventh round after dropping two or three rounds. The defensive back can play effectively as a safety, cornerback or a nickel linebacker at times. Thomas is a hard hitter, competitive and versatile. He is awesome value at No. 206.
Stork isn't the biggest or most mobile offensive lineman, but the center is smart, tough, versatile and has great instincts. He's competitive and a effective pass blocker. Stork was the winner of the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center while also earning First Team All-ACC honors. He fills a great need for the Patriots as an interior lineman.
Whether it was smart to take a quarterback this early in the draft is up to debate, but Garoppolo has a terrific skill set. At 6-foot-2 he doesn't have great size, but it isn't bad either. He's has excellent passing vision with a quick delivery. His accuracy is above average and his arm strength is adequate. Garoppolo shows great confidence and leadership skills, and he is a very promising, young QB.
Some experts had Fleming as a top-10 offensive tackle, so getting him at No. 140 is good value. At 6-foot-5 and 323-pounds, Fleming has a massive frame. He's a powerful blocker and is able to control his opponents for long periods of time. He's durable and has intriguing length.
If Easley remains healthy, this could very well be the steal of the draft. He could have been a top-10 talent if it weren't for his ACL injuries, which should not be overlooked. When he is right, Easley is a force and is able to cause havoc on the defensive line. He's explosive and disruptive in the backfield. He can play anywhere on the defensive line but is most effective as an interior rusher. If healthy, this kid will be a star.
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