BOSTON (CBS) — He got you ready for the NFL Draft in the month leading up to the league’s annual event, so now Bob Socci is here to break down all nine of the Patriots’ selections in the NFL Draft Review Show.
The Patriots added four new players to their defense and five to the offense during the draft, and nine additional signings from the undrafted free agent market.
Highlighting their selections is Alabama corner Cyrus Jones, whom Bill Belichick and company added in the second round with the 60th overall pick. To discuss Jones’ role on the team as a rookie, Socci welcomed Kevin Duffy of MassLive.com to the show on Sunday.
“It’s one of those positions where, you’re looking at long-term depth. They don’t have a ton of cap space, and Logan Ryan is one of 42 guys who will be a free agent at the end of next season,” noted Duffy. “You’re going to need other guys to develop, and they have some in Darryl Roberts and Justin Coleman, but Jones as a second round pick is a better prospect than those guys.
“I don‘t know if he’s a dynamic athlete but he’s a really strong press corner. The plan will be for him to play on the outside,” he said of Jones. “I don’t know if he’ll be a Day 1 starter because of what they got out of [Malcolm] Butler and Ryan a year ago, but with so many of these positions, guys will play a little here and there for their first two years and then they’ll be ready to go. Kind of how Ryan exploded onto the scene in his third year.”
Duffy thinks that Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, whom New England drafted in the fourth round, has the best value of all of New England’s picks:
Socci also welcomed his boothmate, Scott Zolak, to the show to discuss the newest members of the Patriots. He is most impressed with Mitchell, whom he saw make countless plays in big games while at Georgia.
“Out of anybody that they drafted, the guy I do remember is Mitchell. I remember because he would go up and catch the ball at its highest point in traffic. That’s pretty good for a collegiate athlete,” said Zolak. “Normally they run and wait for the ball to come to them, and everything has to be perfect. Give me a guy, when you’re the quarterback, who can throw the ball in traffic and trust a guy to go up in traffic and contend for it, or at least not let a defender pull it away.”
With a loaded roster, where can we expect to see the biggest competition?
“Offensive line is going to be interesting,” said Zolak. “Dante is going to hammer down on these guys, and if you don’t respond you’re going to get your ass cut quickly.”
The Patriots drafted two players from NC State in offensive lineman Joe Thuney and quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Socci welcomed Mike Maniscalco of Buzz Sports in Durham, North Carolina to discuss those two, and what they will bring to the New England depth chart.
“[Thuney] can play everywhere on the offensive line, and you know the Patriots love those guys with that versatility. He’s intelligent so it won’t take him too long to pick up what Dante is going to teach him and what he has to do along the line,” he said. “He has to get stronger if he’s going to be a starter in the NFL, but this is a guy who can bide his time and fill in at positions, can get the reps he needs. It’s a great fit.”
Maniscalco said he wasn’t surprised that Brissett got drafted, just surprised that he went so early to a team with two quarterbacks already on the roster. But he sees a promising career from a kid that is willing to put in the work, both on the field and in the film room.
“We thought he could be a steal in the late fourth or fifth round, but he is such a tremendous leader and a tough, tough individual. He has an arm that can make all the throws; inconsistency is the only thing that plagued him,” noted Maniscalco.
“He has the desire to be great, and you notice that being around him,” Maniscalco added. “I don’t know if he’ll ever be a starter or he’s the heir apparent, but he’s a guy who if you put him in the game, he’s not going to be lost or be the guy who didn’t study the playbook. It might not work out because the talent level might not be there, but he has the big arm, he has the size and now it’s just a matter of him getting the reps. With that team, I can’t see any reason why he won’t get better and show he can play in the NFL if you need him.”