New England Patriots 7-Round Mock Draft

23) Rashaan Evans

The Patriots are in desperate need of help at the second level. They go back to the Alabama well that has worked for them before in selecting Rashaan Evans. He can step into the middle of the Patriots defense and allow Don’t’a Hightower to be used in a more complex way.

Evans has great vision and instincts – shooting gaps and making plays in the backfield consistently. He plays the run extremely well, and could slot in perfectly between Hightower and Kyle Van Noy. If he falls to the Patriots, they should make the decision quickly and build a stronger defense.

31) Da’Ron Payne

Bill Belichick goes with an Alabama double dip in the 1st Round, solidifying the middle of the Patriots defense. Da’Ron Payne has great size, burst off the line and rises to the occasion at the biggest moments.

Pairing Payne, more of a rushing tackle, with run stuffers such as Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown will solidify the middle of a lackluster Patriots run defense. He will also provide some pop as a rusher on passing downs. He plays with leverage and uses his hands well. A more consistent game is needed to truly excel, but the Alabama double dip should help the Patriots immediately.

43) Anthony Miller

The Patriots seem to have a crowded wide receiver room, but with Julian Edelman coming off a torn ACL, Malcolm Mitchell dealing with knee injuries and many others having their future less than solidified, its time to stock up for the future.

Anthony Miller is a perfect Patriots receiver. He runs great routes, tracks the ball well, can use his quickness to get open over the middle from the slot, make plays on the outside and compete at a relentless level. While many want a quarterback or offensive tackle at or before this pick, not reaching and getting impact players, such as Miller, will benefit the Patriots more in the future.

63) Duke Ejiofor

The Patriots are in obvious of edge help, and get a solid rotational piece at the end of the 2nd Round. Duke Ejiofor is not going to jump off the screen with supreme athleticism, but his consistent play makes him an appealing addition to the New England front.

Ejiofor plays with great hand placement and good power. He does not bend off the edge particularly well, but has a good set of pass rush moves that allow him to overtake opponents. He is a perfect addition for sub-rushing packages – bumping down inside and causing major problems. He pairs quite well with Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise, Adrian Claiborne and others.

95) Brian O’Neil

With all the major players gone at tackle earlier than the Patriots picks in the opening rounds, they snag a developmental piece to work with Dante Scarnecchia. Brian O’Neil fits the mold of a Patriots left tackle to a tee at 6-7 and nearly 300 pounds.

He plays with great footwork and movement skills – displaying impressive athleticism for someone of his size. He has also shown great awareness in identifying line games and pass rush moves, quickly ending the chance of the defender. He needs to play lower, and with more attack and power in his game. He also needs to make sure he does not leave his chest open as often, as bull rushers will take advantage in the NFL. He is not the day one starter that some wanted, but he is a good piece for the future.

198) Luke Falk

The Patriots need someone to develop behind Tom Brady, but trading up as far as they need to in order to move up for the consensus “top guys” just doesn’t make sense with the holes to fill on the Patriots roster.

Luke Falk ends up being they guy, for now. Falk had a very good college career, airing it out for more than 14,000 yards at Washington State. His experience allows him to see the field well, and he certainly looks the part of a pro-style quarterback at 6-4. He has a very good release with the ball coming out quick. He does not have an NFL arm, however, and can sail a lot of throws. His intermediate game is not always there, one of the staples of the Patriots system. Is he the heir apparent? Probably not. Falk is worth a pick, and can learn under brady, though.

210) Roc Thomas

The Patriots have a decent stable of running backs with James White, Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee, Jeremy Hill and Brandon Bolden all on the roster. That group is far from perfect, however, and is not necessarily set up for long-term success. New England can take a late-round flier on a dynamic back in Roc Thomas.

He is a smaller, stout back who runs with pretty good power behind his pads for his size. He gets downhill, and knows when to cut back thanks to good field vision. He often gets into the back of his blockers, however, and could use some work in pass protection. He would not be a guy that would make an impact in year one, but could develop into a nice piece for the Patriots backfield.

219) Zach Crabtree

With all the questions at tackle, it only makes sense for the Patriots to load up with as many tackle prospects as they can. Crabtree is another big, strong tackle with some upside. He has long arms and a good initial punch. He pops up way too fast, getting himself off balance. He would be a long term project, but adding more competition to the tackle position cannot hurt for Bill Belichick and company.