With the third and final day of the 2011 NFL Draft set to kick off in just over an hour, I thought now would be an excellent time to look at a few prospects who the Patriots could target in day three of the NFL Draft.
- Don’t expect the Patriots to look at any more quarterbacks or running backs, although with the way this draft has been unfolding, you never know.
- I could definitely see the Patriots targeting a receiver in the later rounds. A couple of the bigger names are still available in Indiana’s big target Tandon Doss, Hawaii’s underrated Greg Salas, Nebraska’s Niles Paul and Abilene Christian’s explosive athlete Edmund Gates. But there are also some interesting under the radar players available. Chris Matthews is an underrated, big and physical receiving from Kentucky who I like in the fifth or sixth round. Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union) is a small school prospect who is a Taylor Price clone. LSU’s Terrance Tolliver is another big target who I like. Some other options include Hillsdale’s Andre Holmes and TCU’s Jeremy Kerley. As you can see, there are a lot of big targets still available, and I would really like to see the Patriots go after one of these targets with one of their four draft picks today.
- If the Patriots wished, they could draft a third tight end of the future. Luke Stocker, Virgil Green, Josh Baker, Julius Thomas, Kyle Adams, and Zack Pianalto are all still around.
- Along the interior offensive line, there are still some options available. Brandon Fusco, the center from Slippery Rock is a player who I really like. Marcus Cannon, who was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is another option at tackle/guard. Tim Barnes of Missouri remains on the board. Utah’s Zane Taylor is another guy I really like as a developmental guard. Arkansas tackle DeMarcus Love is projected to go in the fifth or sixth round and could slide over to guard. USC’s Kris O’Dowd is another top center/guard prospect still on the board. But the number one player who I think the Patriots should target would be Georgia’s Clint Boling. He is extremely versatile, although I doubt he would be available at pick 138. There are still options on the interior line, and I would expect the Patriots to use a pick or two in that area day three.
- On the defensive line, there are far fewer options that look like a fit. Arizona’s Lawrence Guy and UCLA’s David Carter are two players that look like they could be potential fits at right end. Alabama’s Frank Kearse and Northwestern’s Corbin Bryant are potential sixth or seventh round options at defensive end. I also like Christian Ballard, but I’m not sure if he’s a fit at defensive end.
- At outside linebacker, there are actually some good prospects still available. Texas’ Sam Acho would be the top option. Although he is short for the position, he was widely regarded as a potential 2nd round pick yet somehow still remains on the board. Pittsburgh’s Greg Romeus has all of the tools the Patriots look for in their 3-4 outside linebackers, but he’s fallen due to an injury filled senior season. Fresno State’s Chris Carter is shorter like Acho, but also like Acho, would be a steal at any point in day three. In addition, Oklahoma’s Jeremy Beal is still on the board (as expected). While I didn’t like him as a day one or two pick because he wasn’t particularly special as a pass rusher, he represents terrific value day three. There are also plenty of other options in the later rounds, and I would mind seeing the Patriots pick up a small school option at the position.
- I could also see the Patriots picking up an inside linebacker for special teams purposes. Casey Matthews is an instinctive player and high character player who could fill this role. Doug Hogue is athletic, versatile, underrated and would be an excellent back-up linebacker and special teams player. Other names on the board include Quan Sturdivant, Greg Jones, Mark Herzlich, Adrian Moten, Colin McCarthy, and Chris White.
- I don’t see the Patriots taking another cornerback, but I would like to see the Patriots add a body at safety. One of my favorite players in the draft, Florida’s Ahmad Black, is still on the board and could be available in the fifth round. Most of the other top prospects are off the board, although the likes of DeAndre McDaniel of Clemson and Shiloh Keo are still around. There are also some other late draftable prospects available, including Desia Dunn, Collin Zych, Justin Taplin-Ross, and Mark LeGree.
Overall, I would just like to see the Patriots add a couple of players along the front seven that the team could develop. I also would like to see the team pick up a bigger wide receiver as well as an interior lineman. Safety could also be an option.