2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Patriots hoping to make most of 5 draft picks

By HOWARD ULMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-23 14:29

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The New England Patriots head into the NFL draft with their usual needs at wide receiver and in the secondary.

Maybe Bill Belichick will make better choices than he did in his other 13 years as their coach.

He'll have only five chances, the fewest picks in team history, barring trades, so there could be increased emphasis on signing players who don't get chosen in the three-day draft that ends on Saturday.

``They're always part of the equation,'' Patriots director of player personnel director Nick Caserio said. ``We're going to be adding 20 more players to the team before we go to training camp. That could come from draft picks. It could come from undrafted free agents. Whether or not they play a larger role this year, possibly. There are still street free agents that are available. You're always looking at a multitude of ways to put your team together.''

Two free agents, defensive lineman Justin Francis and running back Brandon Bolden, made contributions as rookies last year. BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the Patriots in rushing for two seasons after not being drafted and before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals a year ago.

But drafted players have a better shot at productive pro careers, even if that often hasn't been the case with the Patriots. Five of the eight defensive backs they picked in the first four rounds during the past six years are no longer with the team.

At receiver, the Patriots have chosen four in the last seven years. Jeremy Ebert, a seventh-round pick in 2012, is the only one who remains. And with the departure of their top two receivers from last season, Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, the Patriots need help at that position.

So how can they avoid the same mistakes?

``As a team, we look at everything that we do: on the field, off the field, strength and conditioning, draft, etc.,'' Caserio said. ``We're always trying to find ways to improve our systems and make them better, whatever it may be.''

The Patriots added veteran receivers Danny Amendola, Donald Jones and Michael Jenkins in the offseason as new targets for Tom Brady. But of the eight players they drafted at that position over the last 10 years, only Julian Edelman has made an impact, only as a backup.

Wide receivers who could be a good fit include DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson, Keenan Allen of California and Markus Wheaton of Oregon State. In the secondary, they might choose among cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes of Florida State and Jamar Taylor of Boise State, and safeties Matt Elam of Florida and Eric Reid of LSU.

The Patriots also could use a speedy defensive end and might consider Damontre Moore of Texas A&M.

The secondary is considered a strong position in this draft.

``One of the things that's probably unique about that position is you've seen a few more players have actually played multiple positions. Some of them have played safety, have played corner, some have played the nickel position, like the Matt Elam kid,'' Caserio said. ``You're looking for guys that are versatile, can play multiple spots. Some of those players have played in more passing-oriented divisions and conferences.''

The receiving and offensive line groups also have good depth, Caserio said.

But the Patriots have just one pick in each of the first, second and third rounds and two in the seventh, the 29th choice in each.

They traded their fourth-rounder to Tampa Bay last Nov. 1 for cornerback Aqib Talib, who improved the secondary, and an extra seventh-rounder. The fifth-round choice went to Washington on July 29, 2011 for defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who played just six games with the Patriots.

And the sixth-rounder, plus a fifth-rounder last year, went to Cincinnati for wide receiver Chad Johnson the same day the Patriots obtained Haynesworth. Johnson, then called Chad Ochocinco, had only 15 catches in 15 games in his one season in New England.

The Patriots have had three strong drafts after a weak stretch. In 2010, they added defensive back Devin McCourty, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and linebacker Brandon Spikes. In 2011, they chose offensive tackle Nate Solder and running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. And last year they drafted defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

The fewest picks the Patriots have had were six in 2002.

``You know going in, `OK, you have X amount of selections that you're going to make.' You have to be prepared every time your name comes up,'' Caserio said. ``That doesn't change from one year to the next. However many picks you have, you make the pick and if there's an opportunity that's out there that makes sense for you to (trade), then you consider if it's the best thing for ourselves at the time, then we'll do it.''

But the draft is just one step in the process as the Patriots try to build a team that can do better than a 12-4 record but an AFC championship game loss to the Baltimore Ravens 28-13 at Foxborough.

``It's ongoing,'' Caserio said. ``It really never stops.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Josh GordonJan 25 09:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be under contract through the 2016 season, and he will only be a restricted free agent after that year due to his looming [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 25 04:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon has reportedly failed another drug test and will be subject to a one-year banishment, according to multiple league sources.

Earl ThomasJan 23 09:02p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) will play in the Super Bowl, head coach Pete Carroll said Friday, Jan. 23.

Dennis PittaJan 23 04:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) met with some specialists last week, but the team is not expected to have an update on his status for a few weeks, [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 23 01:12p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel had a big proponent last year in owner Jimmy Haslam, but Haslam now thinks the team needs a quarterback in order to get their [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamJan 23 10:32a

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) said he'll rehabilitate his shoulder injury after the Pro Bowl, but he hasn't made a final decision on surgery. 'It's something we [ More ]

Mark IngramJan 22 06:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram, who will be eligible for free agency this offseason, wants to return to the team next year, and he thinks the interest is [ More ]

Vernon DavisJan 22 06:22p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had just two touchdowns in 2014, and they both came in Week 1. He also wasn't targeted at all in the red zone [ More ]

Geno SmithJan 22 05:32p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith has a lot of talent and promise, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. At the same time, Bowles acknowledged that the quarterback [ More ]

Brian HoyerJan 22 04:52p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer could be re-signed this offseason, according to his agent. Hoyer is expected to meet with general manager Ray Farmer and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in the near future.

Johnny ManzielJan 22 02:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will be working with a new offensive coordinator this year in John DeFilippo, but DeFilippo is unsure if the team's quarterback next year is [ More ]

Joe FlaccoJan 22 12:52p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have his fourth difference offensive coordinator in as many years in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. However, head coach John Harbaugh is confident Flacco [ More ]

Tom BradyJan 22 10:12a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is now scheduled to speak to the media Thursday, Jan. 22, and he could come under fire due to the report of deflated [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 21 09:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) has had knee surgery, head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 21. While there has been concern Burfict might have to begin the [ More ]

Mike WallaceJan 21 09:03p

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace's future with the team is unclear. General manager Dennis Hickey would not say Wednesday, Jan. 21, whether Wallace will be back or if his [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 21 04:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could benefit from new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, according to Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. Carr said DeFilippo will do great with Manziel, adding [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 21 04:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) said he will practice in a brace, but should not have any limitations on gameday.

Marc TrestmanJan 21 03:53p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said he wants to learn the specificities of the team's offense instead of changing it. Head coach John Harbaugh said Trestman's familiarity and [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles should be able to develop under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, according to general manager Dave Caldwell. Caldwell said Olson has the ability to [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles developed bad habits and may need to start over, in the opinion of NFL Films guru Greg Cosell.

Latavius MurrayJan 21 12:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray is likely to be the team's lead back in 2015, and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans tailor his system to Murray's talents. Musgrave [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 21 11:03a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning plans to return in 2015, pending the results of his annual physical, according to three sources The Denver Post's Woody Paige trusts. The test [ More ]

Rashad JenningsJan 21 10:23a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings could have a veteran running back to complement or compete with him next season. The team could possibly add a change-of-pace back and [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 21 09:13a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson was suspended and deactivated for the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 18.

Joique BellJan 20 11:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell had minor surgery last week to clean up his knee and Achilles' tendon. He is expected to return in time for organized offseason workouts.

Doug MarroneJan 20 05:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said the team is committed to remaining a zone-blocking team. However, new assistant coach and offensive line coach Doug Marrone didn't use a [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 20 05:13p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning remains unsure of his future with the team, but head coach Gary Kubiak said he plans to sit down with Manning and talk about [ More ]

Tyler BrayJan 20 04:23p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (knee) has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Marc TrestmanJan 20 03:43p

Free-agent head coach Marc Trestman (Bears) was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as the team's offensive coordinator Tuesday, Jan. 20. Trestman was previously the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

C.J. AndersonJan 20 01:33p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished the year with 849 rushing yards, 324 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, is looking forward to his role in new head coach [ More ]

Latavius MurrayJan 19 09:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray could benefit from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who has used a run-heavy style in the past.

Reggie WayneJan 19 07:03p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) is unsure if he will be returning for another season. Wayne was targeted just twice in the loss to the New England Patriots [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group