NFL Draft Round 2 Reset: Highlighting who's left for the Patriots
Who's left for the Patriots at No. 60?
By Phil Perry
CSN Patriots Reporter
After about three-and-a-half hours, five trades and one gas mask, the NFL Draft's first round has come and gone, and there still remains a gaggle of potential first-round talents to be had in the second. That's good news for the Patriots, who pick at No. 60 and 61 overall if they decide to sit tight on those selections.
Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio have four selections in all on Friday, as they're also slated to pick at No. 91 and 96 overall in the third round. Most of the top players on the board won't last that long, but there's a chance they slide to the end of the second. Here's a list of the best available at six positions the Patriots might be interested in: running back, offensive tackle, cornerback, receiver and defensive tackle.
RUNNING BACK: Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
If the Patriots want a dynamic runner who can make defenders miss in space, lower his shoulder to pick up hard-earned yards, and catch the football as fluidly as a wide receiver then they may be hoping Dixon falls to No. 60. The 5-foot-10, 220-pounder is a true all-purpose back who would serve as a complement to both Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount on the Patriots roster. He had some ball-security issues in college, but he put together an incredibly productive career, scoring 87 touchdowns -- second only to Navy's Keenan Reynolds.
Other top running backs available: Derrick Henry, Alabama; Jordan Howard, Indiana; Paul Perkins, UCLA; Devontae Booker, Utah; Jonathan Williams, Arkansas.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE: Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech
For teams willing to take risks on physical traits, there may be no better gamble than Clark. He has insane length (36-inch arms) and the foot quickness to mirror top speed rushers. He's coming from a college program that doesn't quite resemble a pro-style offense so there could be some growing pains with Clark as he polishes his technique, but he'd be afforded the luxury of time in New England playing behind Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer.
Other top tackles available: Jason Spriggs, Indiana; Kyle Murphy, Stanford; Shon Coleman, Auburn; Halapoulivaati Vaitai, TCU.
CORNERBACK: Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
That Alexander made it out of the first round without hearing his name called was one of the surprises of Thursday night. His ability to change direction out on the edge will allow him to plaster NFL receivers, and his attitude will make him think that he's one of the best in the game even after getting beat. He may be the most experienced trash-talker in the class. He likely won't last until No. 60, but at this rate, who knows?
Other top corners available: Kalan Reed, Southern Mississippi; Cyrus Jones, Alabama; Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech; Xavien Howard, Baylor; Tavon Young, Temple.
RECEIVER: Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
I'm still very confident that Shepard would be selected somewhere in the top 40 picks. The reason I believe he won't make it anywhere near No. 60 is because he is so clearly gifted in so many ways that I can't believe almost every team in the league will pass on him twice and allow the Patriots to scoop him up. He has strong, dependable hands. He's lightning quick in and out of breaks. And while he's only 5-foot-10, 194 pounds, he put up 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, and his 41-inch vertical allows him to play bigger than his size. He was a slot machine in college, but he got down the field with good speed (4.48-second 40-yard dash time) for the Sooners and produced in a big way, catching all 11 of his targets that traveled 20 yards or more in the air for 397 yards and four scores, per Pro Football Focus.
Other top receivers available: Michael Thomas, Ohio State; Leonte Carroo, Rutgers; Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh; Rashard Higgins, Colorado State; Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: Chris Jones, Mississippi
There are other available defensive tackles who may have been more consistent in their college production, but Jones is as explosive a player as there is at the position in this year's draft class. The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder can play defensive end in a 3-4 defense or tackle in a 4-3. Wherever he lines up, he'll find a way to get to the quarterback. His powerful frame and 34-inch arms allow him to put blockers on skates and disrupt opposing backfields. Players like Jarran Reed of Alabama or Jonathan Bullard of Florida (a defensive tackle/defensive end hybrid) may have been more reliable on a snap-to-snap basis last season, but no one has Jones' upside.
Other top defensive tackles available: Andrew Billings, Baylor; Sheldon Day, Notre Dame; Austin Johnson, Penn State; A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama; Hassan Ridgeway, Texas.