Potential Patriot Picks in the 2016 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft kicks off Thursday night, and while the Patriots do not have a first-round draft pick due to the hogwash that is Deflategate they still have eleven selections.  With the selections, there will be some studs, some duds, and some surprises. Here are some good fits for the Patriots in this year’s draft class. Quarterback Jake Rudock, Michigan. With Monday’s news that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension has been reinstated the Pats will most likely draft a QB to play behind Jimmy Garoppolo.  Rudock may not be a household name but neither was Brady when he was selected 199th overall in the 2000 draft.  Rudock makes the plays that need to be made, is accurate with the short and medium pass and is competitive.  Sounds like another Michigan player we all know and love. Running Back.  C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame. The Patriots have a question at running back.  Sure Dion Lewis is coming back, but will the ACL injury be a bother on his quick cutting style?  Blount signed a one-year deal, but he isn’t the future.  Prosise is a talented yet raw player who can run and catch the ball.  Prosise averaged 6.6 yards per carry last year. Before 2015 he was a receiver, so you know he can catch the ball.  Prosise could be the running back that breaks the mold of a big back, receiving back model as he is both at 6′ 220 lbs. Wide Receive Tajaé Sharpe, Massachusetts There are other names on the board that draftniks like better, but for my money Sharpe could be the steal of the draft.  Sharpe was the offense at UMass catching 111 balls for 1,319 yards.  He is tall at 6’2″ and could use some more meat on the frame.  He has great hands and can play all over the field.  With the Patriots Sharpe could be a nice complement to Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Chris Hogan.  If the Patriots do not select him the Steelers will and he will be a household name. Each year I have a draft binky and this year its Sharpe. Tight End  Thomas Duarte, UCLA. The Patriots have behemoths Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett in the fold, it’s time for a flex tight end.  Duarte is 6’2″ and 231 pounds.  He has good hands.  He lined up mostly in the slot or flexed out wide in the Bruins offense.  Bennett only has one year left on his contract, making drafting his replacement a higher priority.  With a year in the Patriots system, Duarte could flourish in 2017.   Offensive Line  Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech. If the Patriots had a first round pick, I believe they would have selected one of the better tackles on the board.  Nate Solder is coming off of injury and Sebastian Vollmer is not getting any  younger.  The Patriots were decimated with injuries at the position last year.  Clark has a lot of potential but needs some coaching.  With Dante Scarnecchia back in the fold at offensive line coach that is exactly what he will get.  At 6’5″ and 315 lbs Clark meets the Pats requirements for size at the tackle position. He is athletic and with Scars coaching could develop into a fine tackle. Defensive Line  Sheldon Day,  Notre Dame. Last year the Patriots drafted Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers as developmental pass rushing defensive ends. This year with the team making over the interior of the line with the departure of Hicks, and the release of Easley, the Patriots need a defensive tackle who can push the pocket.  Sheldon Day is that guy. At 6’0″ and 293 lbs he is on the smaller side for a DT. Day had 45 tackles, 15.5 for a loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles last season and has the ability to be disruptive in the middle of the field. Linebacker. Jordan Jenkins, Georgia. Jenkins is a late round pick and with the Patriots holding five sixth rounders expect them to use the sixth round as this year undrafted rookie free agent class. Jenkins fits the bill for size and speed the Pats like at the linebacker position at 6’3″ and 259 lbs.  Jenkins shows up more on the field than he does at the underwear Olympics.  He isn’t a sack master, but his 59 tackles and 10 tackles for loss show he can make plays on the field. Secondary.  Cyrus Jones, Alabama. The Patriots need a slot corner to go along with Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler. Jones is just that. At 5’9″ 196 lbs, he is never going to be confused with Richard Sherman. Jones, however, has shown the ability to be good in tight spaces where a slot corner needs to be.  He will never be a shutdown outside corner, but there is room for him on the team.  Jones also could contribute on special teams and that is as good as gold in the Belichick System.

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