Where the draft picks stand as Patriots roster takes shape
|08.27.13 at 12:54 pm ET|
With the Patriots roster slowly but surely taking shape as cuts come into the picture, it’s worth taking another look at the team’s 2013 draft class and where each of the rookies stand as the the regular season approaches. Here’s a quick look at the group, which did not feature a first-round pick.
Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss (second round, 52nd overall)
Collins has done some of the expected and some of the unexpected in his first camp. He was brought in to add a pass-rusher to the team’s rotation at linebacker, but he’s also seen some time playing inside (he even started in Jarod Mayo’s place against the Lions). His best performance of the first three games came against the Buccaneers, as he led the team with six tackles (three solo and one of which was for a loss).
It would seem given that he’s played both outside and inside that the Patriots are kind of letting him feel his way around and find a spot, something Bill Belichick hinted at when they drafted him. Assuming he ends up playing mostly outside, the Pats can use two of a group of Dont’a Hightower, Rob Ninkovich and Collins.
Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall (second round, 59th overall)
The Patriots have thrown to Dobson a ton in the preseason — 21 times, to be exact — and he hadn’t done much with it in the first two weeks. Targeted a total of 13 times in the Philadelphia and Tampa Bay games, Thompkins had just four catches for 65 yards. He nearly matched that production in the next game against the Lions, reeling in four catches for 50 yards.
All in all, Dobson hasn’t been bad, but undrafted free agent Kenbrell Thompkins has been better. With that being said, expect both rookies to be lined up outside for the Pats when the season starts, but Thompkins should be considered to contribute ahead of the higher profile Dobson.
Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers (third round, 83rd overall)
Ryan had a good week when the Patriots practiced with and played against the Buccaneers, as he had a pick-six against Bucs starter Josh Freeman and practice and returned another interception for a touchdown in the game, the latter of which was against Mike Glennon.
The Patriots have their starters at corner with Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard and nickel Kyle Arrington, but Arrington appears to have played himself into the backup slot corner role behind Arrington. Ras-I Dowling would probably be more likely to play outside than Ryan, but that could change, as the 2011 33rd overall pick remains unproven.
Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers (third round, 91st overall)
Harmon was the biggest head-scratcher of the draft at the time, as he was ranked as the 26th-best safety (good enough to make someone an option as an undrafted free agent), but he ended up being the ninth safety taken.
The Patriots know that Devin McCourty will be one of their starting safeties, and even if Adrian Wilson is on the bubble, they have lots of bodies at the position with Steve Gregory and 2012 second-round Tavon Wilson. Belichick was as complimentary of Harmon as he could be about a rookie recently when he said that he has had “a good camp.” So there’s that.
Josh Boyce, WR, TCU (fourth round, 102nd overall)
A foot injury kept him off the field in rookie minicamp, but the injury suffered at the combine is in Boyce’s rearview mirror now. He’s production in games has increased has been greater in the second and third preseason games, as he had no catches (one target) against the Eagles, three grabs on four targets against the Bucs and two catches on five targets against Detroit.
Michael Buchanan, DE/OLB, Illinois (seventh round, 226th overall)
Buchanan finds himself in a battle with the likes of Jake Bequette, Jermaine Cunningham, Justin Francis and Marcus Benard for a job as a defensive end. Given that he probably isn’t a serious candidate to make a big impact as a rookie, he might be better off redshirting in some way, shape or form.
Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers (seventh round, 235th overall)
Beauharnais looks to be a smart special teams guy for now, with the potential that he could at some point contribute as a linebacker. It’s hard to see him making it to the practice squad if they waive him, as some team would surely grab him.