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NFL Draft Day 3 Live Blog: Patriots Address Depth Needs On Final Day

By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
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New England Patriots seventh round pick Jeremy Gallon catches a pass for Michigan during the 2013 season. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

New England Patriots seventh round pick Jeremy Gallon catches a pass for Michigan during the 2013 season. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — After three days and 256 picks, the NFL Draft has come to a close.

Here is a list of each of the New England Patriots’ selections:

Round 1, 29th overall: DT Dominque Easley, Florida
Round 2, 62nd overall: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
Round 4, 105th overall: C Bryan Stork, Florida State
Round 4, 130th overall: RB James White, Wisconsin
Round 4, 140th overall: OT Cameron Fleming, Stanford
Round 6, 179th overall: OG Jon Halapio, Florida
Round 6, 198th overall: DE Zach Moore, Concordia (MN)
Round 6, 206th overall: DB Jemea Thomas, Georgia Tech
Round 7, 244th overall: WR Jeremy Gallon, Michigan

The biggest pick they made came on Friday night, when Bill Belichick tabbed Jimmy Garoppolo as a potential replacement for Tom Brady. While many felt the pick was made too early, the Patriots did get to address their need for depth on the offensive line and running back on Saturday.

With three offensive linemen drafted, it should make for some very interesting competition in training camp. It also provides the Patriots with injury insurance if any of their big blockers for Brady go down throughout the season.

Some also think they may have selected the steal of the first round in Easley, who has an injury history with two torn ACLs during his time at Florida.

But as with every draft, only time will tell how these players pan out.

6:50 p.m.: The wait is over for Michael Sam.

The SEC Defensive Player of the Year was drafted by the St. Louis Rams with the 249th overall pick in the draft.

The Radio City Music Hall crowd started chanting, “Michael Sam! Michael Sam!” after the pick. Sam becomes the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. 

The Rams are pretty solid on the defensive line so Sam will have to battle for a spot, but he could become one of the bigger steals in the draft.

6:36 p.m.: With their final pick in the draft, the Patriots gave Tom Brady a Michigan wide receiver to throw to.

The Pats drafted wide out Jeremy Gallon out of Michigan with the 244th selection. Gallon, a slot receiver, caught 17 touchdowns in four years with the Wolverines, including nine as a senior last season.

He set a couple records last season, one for the Big 10 single-game receiving yards (369) and one for Michigan’s single-season receiving yards (1,373). One big knock on Gallon is his size, as he’s just 5-8 and 185-pounds.

Here’s the scouting report from CBSSports.com:

STRENGTHS: Balanced athlete with quick, controlled feet. Runs routes with purpose and decisiveness to create some running room. Good patience in his patterns to hold defenders. Sharp footwork in/out of his breaks. Excellent awareness and sense of surroundings before and after the catch. Works back to the ball and has a great feel for defenders to elude and create. Strong, aggressive hands to pluck and does a nice job in contested situations to attack the ball, playing much bigger than his listed size. Natural body adjustments with focus to finish off-target throws, tracking the ball well downfield. Shifty cuts to sidestep defenders and follow blocks with good wiggle in space. Pesky ballcarrier to tackle. Tough and durable. Good experience on special teams as a kick and punt returner. Excellent production as a two-year starter, leading Michigan in receiving both years, including a record-breaking 2013 season. Broke Braylon Edwards’ single-season Michigan receiving yards record (1,373) and set a new Big Ten single-game record for receiving yards (369) vs. Indiana, which also ranks second in FBS history.

WEAKNESSES: Short, smallish frame with limited length and catching radius. Not a big target for passers. Will get pushed around by defenders and most cornerbacks tower over him. Struggles to win body positioning and too easy for defenders to extend their reach in front of him. Less than adequate speed and too often caught from behind, lacking multiple gears down the field. Average-at-best burst and not the most sudden off the line of scrimmage. Will have some drops when looking to run before securing and not as easy for him to finish 50/50 catches

Think Julian Edelman, New England’s 7th round pick in 2009.

One pick before the Patriots’ selection, Boston College defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers.

We’ll have a full recap of the Patriots’ draft picks coming shortly, and plenty of analysis throughout the evening and tomorrow. Also, tune in to a special NFL Draft Review Show with Bob Socci on 98.5 The Sports Hub at 8am tomorrow morning.

6:04 p.m.: A couple more local kids were just drafted.

Boston College kicker Nate Freese was drafted 229th overall by the Detroit Lions, and UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower then went to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 230th overall pick.

Blachflower caught nine touchdowns in his four years as a starter at UMass and left the school’s all-time receiving leader for a tight end. He was a team captain twice, but will be a 24-year-old rookie.

5:10 p.m.: The Jets just drafted Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, giving them three quarterbacks for next season.

Boyd will join Geno Smith and Michael Vick on the New York depth chart.

5:02 p.m.: More defense for the Patriots for their final pick of the sixth round.

With the 206th overall pick they drafted Georgia Tech corner Jemea Thomas. He’s 5-9 and 192-pounds and had three picks last season. He was a four-year starter at Georgia Tech.

Here is the scouting report from CBSSports.com:

STRENGTHS: Fluid athlete with the footwork to cover a lot of ground and puts himself in good position with his natural awareness to read/react quickly. Plays aggressive and physical for his size, and has exhibited impressive versatility, providing depth at safety and cornerback early in his career before taking over at the starting rover position in 2012 and leading the team with four interceptions that year. 

Exhibits physical nature and strength to finish when around the football. Has some experience as a punt returner. 

WEAKNESSES: May be questions regarding his durability at the next level, considering his physical play style in combination with his smaller size.

Thomas’s ability to play both corner and safety no doubt played a role in the Patriots’ selection. While they added Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner in the offseason, there are still question marks in the secondary in regards to depth. Thomas should help that. Scouts also say he is very good in punt coverage, so he could earn his spot on special teams.

Just one more pick for the Patriots in the draft at 244th overall.

4:39 p.m.: After bulking up the offensive line earlier today, the Patriots have shifted their attention back to the defensive line.

With the 198th overall pick, the Patriots selected defensive end Zach Moore out of Concordia — a DII school in St. Paul.

Here is a quick scouting report on Moore from CBSSports.com:

STRENGTHS: Workable framework with long arms. Dedicated himself in the weight room and has developed his frame, weight and bulk. Natural body control and moves light on his feet to string plays out, showing quickness and range. Flexible athlete with loose joints and smooth movement skills. Aggressive hand use to rip through blocks, while keeping his momentum. Versatile playing experience, lining up in multiple fronts and inside and outside. Played just about every spot on the defensive line in college as a three-year starter (31 career starts). High energy and won’t cheat himself or his teammates. Mature, hard worker who is used to working his way up from the basement level. Positive outlook on life with reliable football character. 

WEAKNESSES: Not very sudden and needs to improve his first step anticipation and burst. Bad habit of popping upright off the snap and needs to do a better job with his leverage, too often knocked on his heels. Will lose sight of the ball and needs to improve his backfield vision. Football sense and awareness are underdeveloped. Doesn’t show a diverse array of pass rush moves and needs to show more of a plan. Doesn?t always play with heavy hands. Will hunch and overextend himself at the waist. Struggled with academics and failed out of school in 2010.

Moore, who is 6-6 and 269-pounds, was a finalist for the Cliff Harris Division II Player of the Year Award. He’s commended for his leaping ability,and was a two-time captain in college.

But you can see from the CBS scouting report that he struggled with academics. He’ll be a 24-year-old rookie when he takes the field for the Patriots.

It was 14 years ago the Patriots drafted quarterback Tom Brady with the 199th overall pick in the draft, and that worked out pretty well. Maybe they should have traded back a spot for karma’s sake.

The Pats have two picks remaining in the draft, and will select again shortly with the 206th overall pick.

3:51 p.m.: The Patriots have drafted another Florida guy, this time taking guard Jon Halapio with the 179th overall pick.

The 6-4, 323-pound Halapoi made 43 career starts for Florida and was a team captain in each of the last two seasons.

Here is a scouting report NFLDraftScout.com:

Halapio was SEC All-Freshman in 2010 and started every game in 2011 and 2012 at right guard, but his senior season was marred by injuries, specifically a pectoral tear that he toughed out most of the season. He is tough as nails and a no-nonsense type of blocker, but the long-term durability is worrisome. Halapio isn’t the most fleet of foot and has technique issues to work through, but he is country strong with the initial hand punch to drive defenders and shield the pocket. – Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

Halapio is the third offensive lineman the Patriots have taken today, and that should make for some good competition in training camp.

Most importantly though Halapio has some wild hair, and great technique on the Gatorade shower:

Head coach Urban Meyer gets sports drink dumped on him by Jon Halapio after the Gators defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 51-24 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2010. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Head coach Urban Meyer gets sports drink dumped on him by Jon Halapio after the Gators defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 51-24 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2010. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

3:49 p.m.: The sixth round is underway, and the Patriots are on the clock for their first of three selections in the round.

3:05 p.m.: All is quiet on the New England front right now, but two quarterbacks just flew off the board in the fifth round.

First, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Georgia QB Aaron Murray with the 163rd overall pick. One pick later, the Cincinnati Bengals ended Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s long wait by taking him 164th overall.

2:04 p.m.:  With the 140th pick, the Patriots selected Stanford offensive tackle Cameron Fleming, adding some more depth to the o-line.

Here is the scouting report for Fleming from CBSSports:

STRENGTHS: Certainly looks the part of an NFL offensive lineman, boasting a massive frame with broad shoulders, long arms and with his weight evenly distributed throughout his upper and lower body. At least fair initial quickness as a run blocker, occasionally firing out when he needs to get to the second level. Powerful drive blocker. Latches on and controls opponents, keeping his feet moving through contact to move the defender off the ball. Uses his length and strong arms to catch rushers, pinning them inside or riding them out to keep the pocket clean. Missed two games with an ankle injury in 2011 but has otherwise remained healthy throughout his career.

WEAKNESSES: A bit lead-footed in pass coverage, struggling against speed rushers. Struggles with balance, coming off the ball too high. Drops his head on contact, relying on his power to knock defenders onto their heels but leaving himself vulnerable to swim moves. While powerful, isn’t necessarily nasty, which could concern some given the especially physical close quarters play of the interior, where some will project Fleming. Worth noting, as well, that all 38 of Fleming’s career starts have come at right tackle.

COMPARES TO: James Brewer, New York Giants – Like the 6-foot-6, 330-pound former Indiana Hoosier tackle, Fleming offers great size and power, but his lack of ideal quickness and agility could lead to a move inside in the NFL. If he commits to the position change, Fleming could develop into a starting option but it may take a year or two of development.

He started 38 games for Stanford against very good Pac-12 opposition. He’s also graduating in the spring with a degree in aeronautics and astronautics. So he’s wicked smart.

At 6-5 and 323-pounds Fleming is another big body on the line. He’ll provide injury insurance for Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon.

The Patriots currently do not have a pick in the fifth round, so go grab a snack and sit tight. They’re next scheduled pick isn’t until 179th overall — a pick they acquired from the Jaguars in last night’s trade. They also own two other picks in the sixth round, the 198th and 206th overall selections.

1:55 p.m.: Those Ryan Mallett to the Texans rumors can be put to bed, as the Texans drafted Pittsburgh QB Tom Savage with the 135th overall pick.

Also, Safety Brock Vereen was drafted by the Chicago Bears after the Patriots drafted White. The Vereen brothers could now play against each other in Week 8, something Shane spoke about with Bob Socci a few weeks ago.

1:40 p.m.: The Pats went running back at 130, drafting Wisconsin’s James White.

He rushed for over 4,000 yards and 45 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Badgers. Here is the scouting report from CBS Sports:

STRENGTHS: Compactly built with some deceiving body strength – good north-south momentum…low pad level and runs close to the ground with a fluid body type…nice cutback and burst to make defenders miss with quick feet to sidestep defenders and flip on the jets…stiff ankles but has some body wiggle to avoid tackles…good vision and patience at the LOS to read blocks, spurt through holes and get to the second level…knack for the big play with several productive runs on his resume…soft hands out of the backfield and very reliable as a pass-catcher.

High effort blocker and works hard to get in position, using proper technique…NFL bloodlines – relative of wide receivers Santana and Sinorice Moss…selfless player with high football character – waited his turn to be the starter in Madison…very productive career, finishing fourth in school history in rushing yards (4,015), third in rushing scores (45), first in yards per carry average (6.2) and first in receiving yards for a RB (670).

WEAKNESSES: Limited frame and strength, lacking the body type to add much more muscle to his frame – will likely never be 210+ pounds and added maybe 10 pounds since arriving in Madison…offers little power and won’t break many tackles…will be steamrolled at times in pass protection, simply lacking the base to anchor…lacks ideal long-speed to consistently run away from defenders…not overly elusive – wins more with hesitation than natural explosion and COD…questionable workload in the NFL and used to sharing the workload…only one season as the full-time starter.

At 5-10 and 197-pounds he’s not the big back the Patriots need to replace LeGarrette Blount, but he’s known for holding onto the football with just two fumbles in hir four years at Wisconsin.

He was named second-team All Big 10 last year after rushing for a career-high 1,444 yards on 221 carries and 13 touchdowns.

The Patriots are up again very soon with the 140th pick.

1:35 p.m.: We’re two picks away from the Patriots’ second of three fourth round selections, and four running backs have come off the board since they drafted Stork 105th overall.

They could go running back, but there’s also been a bit of a run at safety with three of them coming off the board in the round. One guy to watch out for at 130 — safety Brock Vereen, Shane’s younger brother.

12:55 p.m.: The New York Jets are loading up at wide receiver.

They’ve selected two wide outs in the fourth round, first Jalen Saunders with the 104th pick and then Shaq Evans out of UCLA with the 115th pick.

Evans is a bigger receiver at 6-1, 213-pounds, and had 47 receptions for 709 yards and nine touchdowns for the Bruins last season. He had 14 touchdowns over his four-year career at UCLA.

12:46 p.m.: Boston College running back Andre Williams has a home in the NFL, as the Giants selected him 113th overall.

The Heisman finalist ran for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Eagles in 2013.

12:21 p.m.: With their first pick of the afternoon, the Patriots added some depth to the offensive line.

With the 105th pick in the draft, New England took 6-4, 315-pound center Bryan Stork out of Florida State.

Patriots fourth round pick Bryan Stork (#52). (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Patriots fourth round pick Bryan Stork (#52). (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Here is CBSSports’ breakdown of Stork:

STRENGTHS: Tenacious and technically-sound center whose awareness and reliability made him an underrated factor in Jameis Winston’s Heisman campaign. Very good initial quickness, whether snapping the ball out of shotgun or the traditional exchange and turning to seal off defenders or releasing to block downfield. Shoots his hands into the chest plate of defenders and plays with his knees bent and butt down, maximizing his leverage. Alert and active. Seeks out extra opponents to block and switches quickly to handle stunts and blitzes. The unquestioned leader of the Seminoles’ offensive line. Leaves FSU with 40 career starts, including five at right guard and one at left guard. Also practiced at tackle prior to the 2012 season. 

WEAKNESSES: Top-heavy with a “beach physique.” Much thicker and stronger in his upper half than lower and struggles gaining movement at the point of attack as a result. Possesses just average body control when blocking on the move, too often failing to land and sustain effective downfield blocks.

COMPARES TO: Brian De La Puente, Saints: Competitiveness and savvy as a pass blocker could get Stork drafted, but like De La Puente (who played for four teams before latching on with the Saints), Stork could bounce around a bit as he gains strength before finding a true fit. 

Stork was a three-year starter who made 39 starts at FSU and blocked for the Heisman winner Jameis Winston last season. He’s a beast, winning the 2013 Rimington Trophy for top Center in college football, and will bring a very big physical presence to the line. He is also versatile, playing at both guards position in addition to center, and scouring reports say he was very good a veteran leader for this year’s National Champs.

This is a very good depth pick for the Patriots, as Stork can play behind center Ryan Wendell or guard Dan Connolly. He can also push both of those veterans in training camp.

He also spells his name like Bryan Cranston, so that has to be worth something.

New England’s next pick is 130th overall, about an hour away.

12:17 p.m.: Th Jets drafted wide receiver Jalen Saunders out of Oklahoma, and the Patriots are now on the clock. 

12:13 p.m.: After the Eagles and Redskins both picked a corner to start the fourth round, the Atlanta Falcons selected running back Devonta Freeman out of Florida State.

Running back is an area of need for the Patriots, with LeGarrette Blount in Pittsburgh and both Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley free agents after this season. We’ll see if that’s the position they target with their upcoming pick.

The Jets are on the clock now, with the Patriots on deck.

12:00 p.m.: Round 4 is underway with the Philadelphia Eagles on the clock. We should only be about 20-25 minutes away from the Patriots making their first pick of the afternoon.

New England owns seven picks in rounds four through seven, including the 5th overall pick in the fourth round. Things get underway at noon, and teams will have five minutes to make each selection.

Here is what the Patriots have on Saturday:

Fourth round (105th)
Fourth round (130th)
Fourth round (140th)*
Sixth round (179th)
Sixth round (198th)
Sixth round (206th)
Seventh round (244th)

* compensatory pick that cannot be traded

New England has made just two selections in the draft so far, taking defensive lineman Dominique Easley 29th overall and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round. They traded their third round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars last night to pick up addition picks today, including that early fourth-rounder, and there’s a good chance Bill Belichick has a few more moves up his sleeve.

There are still needs on the depth chart for the Patriots, with tight end, offensive line, safety and linebacker some of the more glaring needs. There are still plenty of good players out there to fill those holes, and expect Belichick and his staff to address those needs this afternoon.

There’s also the chance that backup quarterback Ryan Mallett gets dealt, though many are reporting the Patriots will enter the 2014 season with Tom Brady, Mallett and Garoppolo on the roster. We’ll see if a team in need of a quarterback (like Bill O’Brien’s Houston Texans) comes calling for Mallett at some point this afternoon.

Follow along as we bring you every transaction by the Patriots and some analysis of each selection, as well as some of the bigger picks of the afternoon. You can also hear a special NFL Draft edition of Gresh & Zolak until 2pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and Bob Socci will have a full recap of the Patriots draft on the NFL Draft Review Show Sunday morning at 8am.

MORE PATRIOTS COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON

 

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