After the first two days of the 2014 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots must be pleased with themselves heading into Saturday’s final rounds.
The Pats used their first round selection on Florida Gators defensive lineman Dominique Easley. The Gators prospect has has two ACL injuries, but the team is confident that he will be ready to be the explosive defensive player he was in Gainesville. Many of those Florida defensive players tend to make an impact at the next level and the Pats love versatile lineman and linebackers coming out of college.
With their second round choice, the 62nd overall, the Patriots selected Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. This likely means that backup Ryan Mallet is going to be traded at some point, or that he will just play his final year in New England and be a coveted free agent target much like Matt Flynn was a couple of years ago. Garoppolo has a very strong arm and reminds many of a Joe Flacco type pro, but he obviously has a long way to go before reaching that conversation.
It was tough to see the Pats pass on capable centers and tight ends with the choice of Easley in the first round, but admittedly, I am a fan of the Garoppolo pick. He will have two to three seasons to try and take over for Brady after he is finished playing. Worst-case scenario, the Pats find Brady’s replacement down the road if JG doesn’t work out.
The Patriots traded their third round pick to Jacksonville for a fourth round and a sixth round selection. This was classic New England and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them land a player that ends up contributing to the team this season with one of those picks.