Pats draft big board: college players to watch

Jeremy Hayes
Journal Staff

The NFL Draft might not be until April, but all the teams in the league are keeping their eyes on the top college players in America. The New England Patriots are a force every year in the draft and they have two first round picks again this year.
Questions will come up all season about the missing pieces on the Patriots, but hopefully they finally find the answer in the 2012 draft.
Jared Crick is a defensive tackle from Nebraska and is a huge defensive impact standing in at around 6-5 and 285 lbs. He has averaged about nine sacks as a starter at Nebraska. This guy has “Patriot” written all over him, and he could play defensive end in the 3-4 or tackle in the 4-3.
He is a big threat who also could be compared to JJ Watt of the Houston Texans. I personally have said for the past two years that Belichick wants this type of player on his team, and I think that we will make a strong push for him.
Michael Floyd is a wide-receiver from Notre Dame that the Pats needs to keep an eye on. There have been two wideouts in the past three years that I thought could be dominant in the NFL, being Julio Jones and Floyd. Floyd is Notre Dame’s all-time leader in receptions, touchdowns, and yards but that title doesn’t even begin to describe his talents.
At 6-3, I have never seen a wide receiver be able to get open like he can, and he is a well-rounded player. The question is will he fall to us in the draft and can he learn the “Patriot way?”
If the New England Patriots needed help somewhere, no one would argue that our secondary is being abused and that we need more depth after cutting Brandon Meriweather. Ray-Ray Armstrong is a tall 6-4 safety, and although he does not have flashy statistics at Miami, he is a solid football player.
With all the problems in Miami, people might stay away from players like Armstrong, but I think the Patriots would want a man like him to work out and become a better all around defensive back.
Do not panic about Dan Koppen, drafting a center does not mean that we will get rid of our great veteran, but he is not getting any younger. The best center in the draft is Michael Brewster, 6-4 310 pounds, and he is a realistic second-round pick for New England.
He is a leader on the Buckeyes, and when he plays well, his team plays well. He is everything a lineman should be- tough, physical, smart, and an All-American football player.
This may be a bit of a reach, but Luke Kuechly is one of the best players in the draft. Now that New England uses the 3-4 and the 4-3, Luke’s size (6-2, 237 pounds) is perfect to play both inside and outside linebacker.
Belichick would use Kuechly like he uses Dane Fletcher, move him around the field and let him make plays. If he falls in the first round for us to grab, don’t be surprised if we draft a local.

Pin It