From a logical standpoint, it seems that New England’s two biggest first-round needs on Thursday are at wide receiver and cornerback. With Brandon Spikes‘ and Rob Ninkovich‘s contracts coming up at the end of the season, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities to see a linebacker or pass rusher taken in the first round either.
The Patriots also have needs at defensive tackle and guard, but the right players would have to be there for the team to pull the trigger. If the intention is to make the New England fan base as mad as possible — as it usually seems — Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio could also go with a tight end or running back, though lets not mention that anymore, we don’t want to give them any ideas.
Fortunately for New England, wide receiver and cornerback are very deep in this class, and there’s so many first-round defensive ends in this draft, one may slip to them all the way at No. 29. One player that seemed to be destined for a Top 10 selection just months ago, but now appears to be dropping, is former Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. Werner is the prototypical size for a New England defensive end, and could be dangerous across from Chandler Jones in the Patriots’ 4-3 alignment.
Teams also like the proposition of Werner standing up and playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, and the Patriots have been known to show their fair share of that look with either Jones or Ninkovich standing up on the edge. Werner was highly productive with the Seminoles, totaling 23 1/2 sacks in three years.
Of course, the Patriots could also trade out of the first round entirely, as they’ve done in the past.