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Peter King on M&M: ‘I totally understand why the Patriots’ traded out of first round 04.26.13 at 12:52 pm ET
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Peter King

Peter King

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King broke down the first round of the NFL draft with Mut & Merloni on Friday, looking at the trade the Patriots made and who they might target in the upcoming rounds.

King said he was shocked at the way the first round went, with just one quarterback being drafted.

“I am in St. Louis, and so I was with some of the Rams people kind of in the middle of that trade they made with the Bills, and the Rams all thought, we don’t know what they’re doing, but we think they’re going for [Matt] Barkley at 16,” King said. “I even texted Barkley’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, and said, I think you’re going to be very happy tonight. Instead I talked to him at 1:30 this morning and not only was he unhappy, I have no idea now where Matt’s going to go in the second round.

“If you’re Matt Barkley or Geno Smith, this draft has turned into your worst nightmare, really. I just think it was a very strange year for quarterbacks, a ‘beauty in the eye of the beholder’ year for quarterbacks. And they don’t necessarily have a solid landing place this morning.”

Instead of taking the 29th overall pick at the end of the first round, the Patriots traded it to Minnesota for second, third, fourth and seventh-rounders. King said he thinks the Pats were hoping to take cornerback Desmond Trufant, who was selected by the Falcons, with that pick. However, he said he thinks the Patriots are perfectly comfortable with the players who will be available in the later rounds, especially since they’re in the market for a cornerback, of which there are plenty remaining.

“Whoever it was, clearly the Patriots got there and said, we don’t love what we’re seeing,” King said. “To me, one of the things I liked about that trade was, you know that the Patriots need, coming out of this draft, a corner, and you know they want to get a wide receiver. So to me, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that, say, their fourth or fifth corner is available at 52. And maybe their fourth or fifth wide receiver is available at, say, 59.

“And now they have the ability to take guys who they probably would have attempted to take late 1 or, let’s say the traded back a few spots, high in the second round. And now they’ve replenished spots in the draft that they didn’t have because of trades like the [Chad] Ochocinco and the Aqib Talib trade. I can’t sit here and say that it was genius or it was lousy, but I totally understand why the Patriots did it.”

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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Boise State CB Jamar Taylor 04.24.13 at 7:12 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Jamar Taylor (AP)

Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor appears to be the kind of player the Patriots like — a talented athlete with leadership skills (team captain) and a solid work ethic. (AP)

JAMAR TAYLOR

Position: Cornerback

School: Boise State

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 192 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Mountain West first team (media, coaches)

What he brings: Taylor started every game in his senior year, bringing physical play, athleticism and impressive speed to Boise State’s defense. He’s shown the ability to play both man and zone coverage, excelling at the former, and he reads plays well, recognizing routes and anticipating passes. Observers have noted his fluid hips and ability to pursue receivers in motion. As an aggressive defender, he occasionally can be faked out and take an extra second to recover. He missed four full games and most of another in 2011 with a stress fracture in his leg, although after a full 2012 season in which he stayed healthy, that isn’t much of a concern. He hasn’t played press very often, and some scouts have speculated that he could struggle in that area.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: In 2012 at Boise State, Taylor recorded 51 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, and 2.5 sacks. He also had nine pass breakups, four interceptions and three forced fumbles. He was a team captain in his senior year. He’s been praised for his work ethic, and while some aspects of his game need work, his instincts are good enough to make him one of the more highly sought-after cornerbacks in the draft.

Related articles: Idaho Statesman: Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor’s talent, work ethic could land him in NFL

Idaho Statesman: Boise State’s Jamar Taylor making a good impression

Idaho Press-Tribune: Former BSU cornerback Taylor focused on workouts, not draft hype

Video: Here’s a look at Taylor in action from a couple of games in 2012.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, Jamar Taylor,
NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Georgia DT Johnathan Jenkins 04.22.13 at 7:12 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Johnathan Jenkins (AP)

Johnathan Jenkins is a solid but unspectacular player who can line up in multiple spots on the defensive line. (AP)

JOHNATHAN JENKINS

Position: Nose tackle

School: Georgia

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 346 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-SEC second team (coaches)

What he brings: Jenkins stands out for his size — especially his width — and his strength, though his width does limit his mobility somewhat. When he positions himself well, he’s very difficult to move, and he’s played multiple positions on the Georgia defensive line. Some say he gets out-leveraged occasionally by smaller offensive linemen who get underneath him, and while his quickness is impressive for his massive size, it’s not particularly remarkable overall. He’s effective in battling through blocks to the quarterback, showing good technique and consistent effort as well as overpowering physical strength, but his main role is to clog up lanes and prevent the run.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: Jenkins left Gulf Coast Community College as a highly regarded junior college prospect in 2009, landing at Georgia and appearing in 14 games in his first season. In his senior season, he made 50 tackles, two for a loss, and one sack. NFL.com projects him as a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme.

Related articles: ESPN: John Jenkins of Georgia Bulldogs ruled academically ineligible to play in Capital One Bowl

Columbus (Georgia) Ledger Enquirer: Big John is a big pro prospect

Atlanta Journal-Constituion: Big John Jenkins says he bought into UGA’s vision of ‘Dream Team’

Video: Here is a look at Jenkins vs. Alabama in the 2012 SEC championship game.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, Johnathan Jenkins,
NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: NC State CB David Amerson 04.17.13 at 7:11 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

David Amerson set an ACC singe-season record with 13 interceptions in 2011, but his production dipped in 2012. (AP)

NC State’s David Amerson (eight) set an ACC single-season record with 13 interceptions in 2011, but his production dipped in 2012. (AP)

DAVID AMERSON

Position: Cornerback

School: NC State

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 205 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-ACC second team (media, coaches), 2011 All-America first team (Walter Camp, ESPN), 2011 All-America second team (AP), 2011 Jack Tatum Award (nation’s best defensive back), 2011 All-ACC first team, 2011 ACC single-season record for interceptions (13)

What he brings: Amerson has been praised for his size, physicality and overall athleticism. A safety in high school, he kept a physical edge to his game when he transitioned to cornerback. However, his play in 2012 fell off considerably from where it was in 2011, and recently his fluidity, speed and foot quickness have drawn some criticism. Both ESPN and NFL.com mention that he is susceptible to getting beaten on double moves because of his aggressive style.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: Amerson is ranked behind Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes and Rutgers’ Logan Ryan among junior cornerbacks in the 2013 draft. In 2011 he improved on his freshman year, but in 2012 he struggled in big games, most notably when he was beaten for four passing touchdowns in a 44-37 loss to Miami. After recording 13 interceptions in 2011, second most in a single season in NCAA history, he had five in 2012.

Related articles: CBS Sports: Report: NC State CB Amerson heading to NFL

The News Observer: What’s wrong with NC State’s David Amerson?

Football Outsiders: Futures: NC State CB David Amerson

Video: Here’s Amerson vs. Clemson in 2012.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, David Amerson,
NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Houston CB D.J. Hayden 04.14.13 at 7:08 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

D.J. Hayden missed the last month of the 2012 season after a heart issue, but he's been cleared to play. (AP)

D.J. Hayden missed the last month of the 2012 season with a heart issue, but he improved his stock with a solid effort at Houston’s pro day. (AP)

D.J. HAYDEN

Position: Cornerback

School: Houston

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 191 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Conference USA first team, 2011 C-USA Defensive Newcomer of the Year, 2011 All-C-USA second team

What he brings: Hayden still is recovering from a freak injury he suffered in practice in November, and he did not work out at the combine. In the nine games he did start in 2012, he had four interceptions and eight pass breakups. He’s been praised for his impressive instincts, speed and awareness on the field, which make him a strong defender against the run. His size and strength are just average for the position, and that combined with the injury could prevent scouts from seeing him as elite. But NFL.com notes he’s a tougher, stronger tackler than his size indicates, and if teams are confident in his health, his draft stock could continue to rise. He strengthened his case at Houston’s pro day last month, running a reported 4.33 40-yard dash.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 3

Notes: Hayden collided with a teammate in practice and tore his inferior vena cava — the vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart — in November. Because of the way veins heal, he doesn’t run a risk of repeating the same injury, an injury that’s usually suffered in car crashes and has a 95 percent fatality rate. His sternum is still healing, which made working out impossible for a time, but after dropping to 167 pounds, he’s now back up to 191. It’s hard to predict whether this injury will have any long-term implications, since most people who tear their inferior vena cava don’t live to tell about it, much less play football, but so far Hayden has done all the right things to get back to his pre-injury level.

Related articles: WEEI.com: Alive and well: Cornerback prospect DJ Hayden proves his heart at combine

Yahoo! Sports: Cornerback D.J. Hayden excels at Houston’s Pro Day months after near-fatal heart injury

Houston Chronicle: Cougars honor injured teammate Hayden

Video: Here’s a look at Hayden in action vs. UCLA in 2012.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, DJ Hayden,
NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o 04.09.13 at 7:08 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Manti Te'o's stock has been dropping due to his off-field issues and disappointing scouting combine performance. (AP)

Manti Te’o's stock has been dropping due to disappointing scouting combine effort that followed an unimpressive performance in the national title game. (AP)

MANTI TE’O

Position: Linebacker

School: Notre Dame

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 241 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Maxwell Award (nation’s most outstanding player), 2012 Walter Camp Award (player of the year), 2012 Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year), 2012 Lombardi Award (best lineman), 2012 Nagurski Award (best defensive player), 2012 Lott IMPACT Award (best defensive player who made a positive off-field impact), 2012 Butkus Award (top linebacker), 2012 All-America first team (AP, Walter Camp), 2011 All-America second team (AP, Walter Camp), Academic All-America second team

What he brings: Te’o likely could have gone in the first round of last year’s draft, but he elected instead to return to Notre Dame for his senior year. For the most part, his play in 2012 cemented his reputation as a powerful, smart defender. He’s proven his ability to play against both the run and the pass, and his play-reading skills improved from his junior to his senior year, as did the fluidity of his coverage. Te’o isn’t blindingly fast, but his agility and his anticipation generally compensate for any lack of speed.

A fundamentally sound, consistent tackler, Te’o only had one real down moment in his senior year, and that came in the national championship against Alabama. Te’o fell short of expectations, failing to challenge Alabama’s offense much as the Irish lost a lopsided 42-14 game. Scouts still rate him very highly, but his last performance at Notre Dame did raise some concerns he’ll have to overcome. In the middle of last season he was all but a lock to be drafted early in the first round, but his stock continued to fall at the combine, where he disappointed with a 4.82-second 40-yard time. Though he improved on that time at his pro day, he might now be more likely to become a late first-round pick or an early second-rounder.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1 or 2

Notes: It may be a while before the public can think of Te’o without remembering the bizarre “girlfriend hoax” that dominated headlines early in 2013. Any team with an interest in Te’o will have the chance to discuss the matter with him in private, and it may be that his performance against Alabama will have more of an impact on his draft position than the off-field controversy. Before the hoax — and before it was revealed that Te’o had lied to reporters after finding out his girlfriend wasn’t a real person — Te’o was widely seen as an example of integrity: He’s an Eagle Scout, he spends time volunteering and he was a co-captain for the Irish.

Related articles: Yahoo! Sports: Manti Te’o runs in the 4.7s at his pro day, but questions still remain

Pro Football Talk: Report: Manti Te’o won’t be in New York for draft

Deadspin: Manti Te’o's Dead Girlfriend, the Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story of the College Football Season, Is a Hoax

Video: Here’s a look at Te’o in action vs. Miami in 2012.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, Manti Te'o,
NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Florida safety Matt Elam 04.07.13 at 7:13 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Matt Elam (AP)

During his two seasons at Florida, Matt Elam (right) came up big in the Gators’ most important games. (AP)

MATT ELAM

Position: Safety

School: Florida

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 208 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-America first team (AP, Sporting News, SI.com, CBSSports.com), 2012 All-America second team (Walter Camp), 2012 All-SEC first team (AP, coaches)

What he brings: Despite being on the smaller side for his position, Elam has impressed with his playmaking ability, athleticism and timing. He shone especially in big games against rivals like Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee in his two years as a starter. He’s physical given his size but doesn’t rely only on his strength, utilizing his sense of timing and anticipation to knock away passes at the last second or avoid blocks. CBS Sports calls his lateral agility “good, but not great” and says he sometimes leaves his feet and lunges to make hits, but notes that overall he’s an instinctive, versatile player, the kind who could thrive at the NFL level.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: Elam made 26 starts at safety during his time at Florida, where he appeared in 39 total games. He had 176 tackles, 23.5 tackles for losses, 13 pass breakups, six interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He was voted a team captain in 2012, but he also has had minor encounters with the police regarding alcohol possession offenses, in July 2010 and July 2011.

Related articles: Palm Beach Post: Florida junior safety Matt Elam could be bound for NFL draft

Cleveland.com: Florida’s Matt Elam learned about life from his brother Abe

St. Louis Rams: Florida S Matt Elam Speaks

Video: Here’s a look at Elam vs. LSU in 2012.

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