The Patriots got over the debacle of not having a first round pick and picked up some good men after all.

As always, very good talent would slip down the board and there would be plenty of good players for Bill Belichick to chose from on Day 2.

Cyrus Jones – CB – Alabama (SEC) – 2nd round (60th) 

With pick No. 60, Belichick managed to land one of the best cornerbacks in the SEC: Cyrus Jones joins New England from the Alabama Crimson Tide. He was a wide receiver in the earlier stages of his career but transitioned to cornerback. That coaching decision was made by one of Belichick’s closest coaching allies: Nick Saban. Draft selections out of Alabama have served the Patriots well recently. Former Saban players include Dont’a Hightower.

Jones likely possesses the ability to play right away. Picking him was ideal, especially since there are no cornerbacks signed beyond 2017 beside Darryl Roberts.

Jones will likely be the third cornerback on the depth chart behind Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan. He is also expected to contribute in the punt return game. Last year Jones returned 42 punts for 530 yards and four touchdowns.

Joe Thuney – OL – NC State (ACC) – 3rd round (178th)

A trade would mean the Patriots would not select again until the third round, 78th overall. With their weakness at the offensive line position in 2015, the Patriots attempted to solidify their holes by drafting Joe Thuney from North Carolina State.

He is a player who only allowed two sacks, one quarterback hit, and four hurries his entire senior year playing in the ACC. Thuney also possesses the important ability to play both the left, and right side of the line at tackle and guard. Thuney isn’t a very lengthy, or overwhelmingly large framed prospect but is known for his physicality and finish. Thuney is the type of player that possess the ability to replace Marcus Cannon (finally, someone). He projects to be an NFL starter or ideal offensive line utility man.

Pro Football Focus rated the Thuney pick as the second best overall on draft Saturday. He will likely start camp with reps at both guard and tackle. Belichick likely hopes Thuney will be the answer to Cannon’s bloated $3.4 million dollar contract. He will also compete on the depth chart with LaAdrian Waddle, Cameron Fleming, and Keavon Milton.

Jacoby Brissett – QB – NC State (ACC) – 3rd round (91st)

Quarterback was not a position that I expected would be addressed in this year’s draft class. I believed Belichick would be signing a free agent QB instead. However, Belichick chose NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the third round, ninety first overall. Brissett was originally enrolled at the University of Florida before transferring to NC State. Now both Brissett and Thuney are together on the Patriots after spending time as teammates on the Wolfpack. Brissett is another player with connections to Foxborough. Charlie Weis coached him in Florida for a season. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Bill Parcells had told “his people” about Brissett during the draft process. Salguero also added that Parcells said Brissett is player who needs a few seasons to develop.

Brissett will immediately head to the back of the quarterback depth chart. With the Deflategate penalty looming over New England, he will back up Jimmy Garoppolo through the first four games of the season. Once Brady returns, Brissett will get the time to develop that he needs as the number three quarterback on the depth chart.

Vincent Valentine – DT – Nebraska (Big 10) – 3rd round (96th)

Five picks later, Belichick chose Vincent Valentine (Nebraska) 96th overall. Interior defensive line depth was a need for the Patriots with the loss of Dominique Easley and Chris Jones. Valentine is a certain nose tackle inside the heart of the defensive line. Many online rankings had Valentine being selected closer to the seventh round than the third. Oddly enough some scouts believe that this pick could end up being one of the best in terms of value. It’s also important to note that this enforces the belief that Belichick is returning to a 3-4 defensive front.

Valentine shouldn’t be starting on the defensive front anytime soon. He has Malcolm Brown, Terrance Knighton, and Alan Branch in front of him. Much like Brissett, Valentine will likely be a developmental project for the Pats in 2016.

Malcolm Mitchell – WR – Georgia (SEC) – 4th round (112th)

In the fourth round, Malcolm Mitchell (Georgia) was taken by the Patriots one hundred and twelfth overall. If the above video is any indication, Mitchell can catch the ball a hell of a lot more consistently than Brandon LaFell. In 2015, he was targeted ninety five times and only dropped three passes.

Mitchell joins rare company in the Patriots locker room, both he and Martellus Bennett have previously published books for children.

Mitchell isn’t just a good guy, he played some damn good football in his career at Georgia. However, there hasn’t been much luck for the Patriots in the NFL draft at wide receiver since Julian Edelman. Hopefully Mitchell can buck the trend. He has garnered comparisons to Patriots great Troy Brown with his ability to play wide receiver, special teams, and cornerback. He is also the second player in this year’s Patriots draft to have been converted from a different position (cornerback). Another interesting tidbit about Malcolm Mitchell: he could barely read in high school, learned how in college.

Kamu Grugier-Hill – CB/ST – E. Illinois (FCS) – 6th round (208th)

Round six brought more cornerback depth for the Patriots, as they drafted Kamu Grugier-Hill 208th overall. Grugier-Hill attended the same school in college as Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G actually joked around that he helped the team scout Grugier-Hill, “Most teams don’t have that extra set of eyes”, Belichick joked. He didn’t need any help from Garoppolo to get NFL looks. Grugier-Hill has very athletic combine numbers and recorded seventy tackles, six and a half sacks last season in college.

https://twitter.com/Jordanems/status/726537919733858304

Analysts believe that with the athleticism and talent of Grugier-Hill he will eventually be an important special teams performer. A 4.4 forty yard dash will put you on the radar of teams like the Patriots. Grugier-Hill will also join the bottom ranks of safety, linebacker depth charts.

Elandon Roberts – LB – Houston (AAC) – 6th round (214th)

Six picks later, the Patriots chose the leading tackler in all of FBS football: Elando Roberts, 214th overall, linebacker, Houston. Roberts is viewed as more of a run stopping linebacker than coverage guy. Scouts are not sure if Roberts can be well balanced enough to succeed. His leadership traits might give him a chance to land a roster spot on the bottom end of the depth chart. Mike Reiss of ESPN believes that Roberts’ chances hinge on his special teams performance in camp.

Ted Karras – OL – Illinois (Big 10) – 6th round (221st)

In their second to last pick, the Patriots chose Illinois OG Ted Karras 221st overall. Karras is known as being very strong with good technique, but lacks some athleticism. However, he makes up for his lack of natural athleticism with a sense of toughness. He also only had two penalties all of last season. Karrras will be a fan favorite if he makes his roster. He has a pregame superstition where he pours water over his head and screams like a madman.

Karras faces an uphill battle against other recently drafted Patriots offensive guards like Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason. The other two players have a year under their belt and Karras will be a rookie.

Devin Lucien – WR – Arizona State (PAC-12) – 7th round (225th)

With their final pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the Patriots selected Arizona State WR Devin Lucien. Lucien joins his childhood friend and high school teammate Chris Harper in New England. Hopefully he has stronger performance in clutch situations than his friend Harper. Lucien’s numbers are strong, he only dropped five total passes in his last two seasons. Interestingly enough, Pro Football Focus rated Lucien as a third round prospect in their draft outlook. The Patriots managed to land him in the seventh round.

Devin Lucien faces a battle to make the roster. Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell, and Chris Hogan are almost locks. Nate Washington and Keshawn Martin are in the second tier of receivers. More competition below that: DeAndre Carter, Aaron Dobson, and Chris Harper.

Takeaways:

  • Belichick is likely transitioning to a 3-4
  • Thuney might be Cannon’s replacement if he can perform
  • Trend of drafting versatile, multi-positional players continues
  • Patriots making long term preparations for life without Brady
  • Mitchell might eventually replace Amendola if he develops (and if Amendola contract talks head sour)
  • Chandler Jones trade becomes Jonathan Cooper, Joe Thuney, Malcolm Mitchell

Hits: Cyrus Jones, Joe Thuney, Malcolm Mitchell, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Vincent Valentine, Devin Lucien

Misses: Ted Karras, Elando Roberts

Wildcard: Jacoby Brissett

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