Round 1, Pick 23: Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut
Butler’s name has been connected to the Patriots as of late, and I would not be the least bit surprised if the Patriots pulled the trigger on him if he was around at 23. Butler has average size (just over 5-10), and is extremely fluid in coverage. He has great closing speed and has even played a little receiver (9 receptions in ’08).
Round 2, Pick 34: Larry English, OLB, Northern Illinois
This was a very hard decision for me between Larry English and Connor Barwin. In the end, I went with English, because of his consistent production over the last three years at Northern Illinois. Yeah, he isn’t the athletic and versatile freak that Barwin is, but he is a true pass rusher (and has proven he can defend the run), and that is exactly what the Patriots need.
Round 2, Pick 47: Jarron Gilbert, DE, San Jose State
I’m not sure Gilbert will be around at this pick, but if he is, he will be quite a steal. With Richard Seymour, Jarvis Green, Vince Wilfork, and Le Kevin Smith all entering the final year of their contracts, adding talent to the defensive line is a dire need for the Patriots. Gilbert is a freak athletically, and looks like he has the strength to defend both gaps in the 3-4.
Round 2, Pick 58: Andre Brown, RB, North Carolina State
Yeah, I see how some people will see how this pick is a reach considering Andre Brown health concerns, and the fact that he never topped 1000 yards in college. I see those issues, and I think he can get by them. If the Patriots believe his foot issues are behind him, I don’t think they will hesitate to snatch Andre Brown, who could be one hell of a steal if he lives up to his potential.
Round 3, Pick 89: Chip Vaughn, SS, Wake Forest
There’s a lot to like about Chip Vaugn. He can play in the box and is great in run support, but is fast enough to be developed in coverage. He can also be an impact special teams player, as he was the gunner for Wake Forest, and he also covered kicks.
Round 3, Pick 97: T.J. Lang, T, Eastern Michigan
Great character guy who gives full effort, is physical at the point of attack, and finishes his blocks 100% of the time. He could be groomed to take over at either tackle position.
Round 4, Pick 124: Johnny Knox, WR, Abilene Christian
Runs in the 4.2’s, fluid, runs excellent routes. Johnny Knox reminds me of a young Joey Galloway, and he could immediately make an impact on special teams as a returner, and could eventually be groomed to start in the slot or on the outside.
Round 5, Pick 170: John Phillips, TE, Virginia
Reminds me a little bit of a Kyle Brady with his blocking ability. He has excellent size and strength, and although he lacks top-line speed for a tight end, he has nice hands, and drives his legs for every yard after the catch.
Round 6, Pick 199: Brian Hoyer, QB, Michigan State
At 199, the Tom Brady pick, a quarterback of course. And a quarterback from a school in Michigan nonetheless. Brian Hoyer is a smart, great character guy who doesn’t possess great arm strength, but is an accurate passer with adequate size. But I really think that he could be a huge steal.
Round 6, Pick 207: Frantz Joseph, ILB, Florida Atlantic
Frantz Joseph will take over as the 2-down run stuffing inside linebacker the Patriots need once Bruschi retires. In my opinion, he is just the player the Patriots need, and it looks like he might actually be around at this point.
Round 7, Pick 234: Tony Fiammetta, FB, Syracuse
Not sure if he would be around at this point, but wouldn’t it be awfully nice if the Pats were able to get the true fullback they need in the seventh round, not to mention a natural leader like Fiammetta?