Originally written on Patriots Daily  |  Last updated 11/19/14

By Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

With six picks this year in the top four rounds, New England should get busy starting April 26. No one knows which direction Coach Bill Belichick will take, so instead of guaranteeing failure with predictions (check out our upcoming mock draft!) we’re focusing on positions we’d like to see Mr. Kraft and Co. address.

DAY ONE (Round One): The Pats have two picks in the first round (27 and 31 overall), and we hope – nay, we insist – they use at least one of them on a pass rusher. We won’t dwell on New England’s recent, lackluster picks, but we can shoot a wistful glance toward the Texans’ roster and get a sense of what we’re missing (Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed and Brian Cushing).

Rumors abound regarding a trade up for North Carolina monster Quinton Coples (6-foot-6, 284). We’re not making predictions, but if we were, that would be a poor one. Still, we’d take any player who would force an opposing offense to game plan for him.

Late first-rounders who could help the cause include Clemson’s Andre Branch and Syracuse’s Chandler Jones, college defensive ends who fit the larger outside linebacker mold teams like the Patriots covet.

Also consider: a defensive lineman, like Kendall Reyes of Connecticut (6-4, 299). He’s a versatile guy who can get after the QB when necessary.

What about a receiver? No. Just, please: No. Finding the right receiver for this offense has been such a crapshoot, an early draft pick doesn’t seem worth it. We’d rather have three Julian Edelmans than one Chad Jackson, you know?

DAY TWO (Rounds Two and Three): The Pats enjoy picks 48 and 62 overall in the second, and 93 overall in the third.

We’d love more defense here, including a larger lineman like Washington’s Alameda Ta’’amu, who measures only slightly smaller than a Ford Focus at 6-3, 350. We’re also fans of Mike Martin of Michigan, a 6-1, 305-pound fireplug who ran a 4.9 40-yard dash. This season, Martin hustled all over the field like a Jack Russell Terrier on an Easter Egg hunt, proving himself an ideal 4-3 interior lineman.

In the defensive backfield, we’d love it if Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson were still available, but after his combine performance (including a 4.33-second 40 and 38.5-inch vertical leap), it’s hard to see him sticking until midway through the second. Despite a relatively slim crop this year at safety, Trenton Robinson of Michigan State might be worth a look.

Keep in mind, with the state of New England’s defensive backfield, Artrell Hawkins could come out of retirement for another cup of coffee and we wouldn’t complain. (Actually, we would. I mean… come on.)

Round Three might provide time to look for an offensive lineman. The futures of veterans Matt Light and Brian Waters remain in doubt, center Dan Koppen missed almost all of last year with an injury, and guard Logan Mankins had postseason surgery.

Come to think of it, maybe we should look for an offensive lineman earlier. But if not, we offer up Miami of Ohio’s Brandon Brooks, who just stunned onlookers at his pro day earlier this month with his size (6-5, 346), speed (5.0-second 40) and strength (36 bench reps of 225 pounds). At center, consider Philip Blake of Baylor, an All-Big 12 choice who may have had a little something to do with quarterback Robert Griffin III’s success.

DAY THREE (Round Four): If Coach Belichick gets the job done on defense and offensive line early, he’ll have some flexibility here. We’d like to get a receiver to give youth a chance in preseason competition, as names like Anthony Gonzalez and Donte Stallworth give the roster a distinctly 2007 feel. And not in a record-breaking type of way.

Two names come to mind for a mid-round pick: Fresno State’s Devon Wylie (5-9, 188) has a lot of power for a little guy (39-inch vertical) and averaged over 15 yards per punt return. Florida International’s T. Y. Hilton (5-10, 183) was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. This guy did everything except fetch Gatorade, catching 72 passes for over 1,000 yards, averaging 23 yards per punt return and 30 per kick return, even rushing 19 times for a 6.5-yard average.

Barring a series of downward trades (oh please oh please fortheloveofGodno), the Pats should finish early, which will give them a chance to contact potential rookie free agents (RFAs). From Randall Gay to BenJarvus Green-Ellis to Dane Fletcher, New England has provided a hospitable home to RFAs for years.

Below, some potential rookies who could help out in camp, and maybe beyond that:

Defensive End Broderick Binns, Iowa. Binns had 12 tackles for loss in 2011. He’s a bit on the stocky side (6-1, 261), but his timing and prowess helped him defend nine passes last season. Add to that a potentially thorough scouting report from Belichick buddy and Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz, and Binns would be worth a look.

Receiver Elvis Akpla, Montana State. Okay, one, he’s named Elvis, which is awesome. Two, he performed a circus catch considered one of the best of 2011 (you can link to the video here). Akpla averaged over 18 yards per catch on his way to 1,145 yards for the season.

Running Back Jonas Gray, Notre Dame. A stout back at 5-10, 223 pounds, Gray’s injury history will keep him off draft boards, but his production (and experience under former Irish coach Charlie Weis) should force New England’s higher-ups to offer him a spot at camp. Gray averaged 6.9 yards a carry in 2011 while scoring 12 TDs.

Thoughts? Comments? Favorite clam chowder in your area? Feel free to post your ideas below.

Chris Warner can be reached at chris.warner@patriotsdaily.com


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kentucky seeks one kind of history, Coach K makes another

Matt Stafford's fiancee rips newspaper over article

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Frozen Four: Providence earns first bid since 1985

Report: Discussions to bring NFL team to L.A. are progressing

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chris Mullin expected to take St. John's job

Michigan State beats Louisville, punches Final Four ticket

Ex-NHL player viciously attacks opponent before game

Rick Barnes a possibility for Tennessee coaching job?

Report: NFL looking into Bill Belichick's camera ideas

Saints CB Brian Dixon arrested in Miami

WrestleMania 31 results: Rollins cashes in, Rousey appears

Five soon-to-be NBA free agents with a lot on the line

WATCH: Russell Wilson hits home run during Rangers BP

Hooked 'em: Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Adam Morrison trolled fan who made JJ Redick comment

Jim Harbaugh finished fourth in student government election

WATCH: Notre Dame gets warm reception upon return home

WATCH: Kris Letang hospitalized after hit

Aaron Rodgers, sportswriter get into it over on-court access

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

Mark Few: I put Coach K up there with John Wooden

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Report: Chris Mullin to take St. John's job

Report: NFL looking into more cameras

CC Sabathia goes off about spring stats

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.