The NFL decided to push back the draft a couple of weeks this year, and while the teams received some additional time to gather their information on the various prospects, the extra wait has been interminable for fans. It's been more than three months since the Patriots season ended but it's finally time to see what they will do come draft time, and the possibilities are seemingly endless.
Despite the fact that New England went 12-4 and advanced to the AFC Championship Game in 2013, Bill Belichick has plenty of holes to fill on his roster. Various mock drafts have the Patriots interested in a variety of positions, including but not limited to defensive line, safety, tight end, offensive line, running back and pass rusher. Of course with Belichick involved a trade can never be ruled out of the equation either.
So, this week we'll take a crack at determining what the Patriots might do Thursday night – or Friday night depending on how Belichick decides to play it.
Our Samsonite Make Your Case question of the week is: Who will the Patriots take with their first pick?
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
I am beating the drum loudly for Washington State All-American safety Deone Bucannon. I think he's the perfect blend of size, speed and physicality that would be a big boost to the safety position next to Devin McCourty.
But I also think that you can get Bucannon in the second round, so my preference would be to see the Patriots trade out of the first round, add extra picks in a very deep draft (or for next year) and then snag the safety who would be a boon to the back end.
Bucannon is the one, just not the one in the first round when you can land him later. Trader Bill can make it happen!
PFW's Paul Perillo says ...
The Patriots could literally opt to go in any direction with their first pick. Personally I believe edge rusher and safety are the two biggest needs at the moment but I'm not in love with most of the options at those positions at No. 29. The Patriots also could use some youth at defensive tackle, and Notre Dame's Louis Nix is definitely a viable candidate at that spot.
Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly both are coming off injuries and are in their mid-30s. Even if they bounce back they are not long-term solutions at the position. Nix is 6-2 and 331 pounds and moves surprisingly well for a man his size. He's an aggressive defensive tackle who can penetrate and stop the run while serving as that elusive interior lineman who is capable of collapsing the pocket at times.
Nix enjoyed a productive career playing at a high level for the Fighting Irish and I feel he'd serve as a nice bridge between Wilfork and the future. Nix is the pick.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in the Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.