With plenty of picks, Pats like their chances

With plenty of picks, Pats like their chances
April 26, 2013, 12:15 pm
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A docile little draft has suddenly turned rich with opportunity for the Patriots.
 
The deal with the Vikings Thursday night was a masterstroke for a team that was pick-needy.
 
But the deal for picks -- Nos. 52, 83, 102 and 229 -- stands apart from the execution of the picks.
 
The Patriots did great with Tuna Compensation 16 years ago. But when it came time to use the four picks they got over the next three drafts, the Patriots were like a blindfolded kid whacking at a pinata, selecting Tony Simmons, Andy Katzenmoyer, Sedrick Shaw and Damon Denson.
 
How the Patriots use the four picks they grabbed from Minny -- especially how they use the ones they picked up for Friday’s action -- trumps the act of the deal.
 
And they feel very good about the potential to make hay today.
 
“We feel pretty good going into tomorrow,” personnel director Nick Caserio said after the first round ended Thursday night. “We have four picks [for rounds two and three] and we were going into the day with only two picks.
 
“There’s a lot of players who could have gone in this round very easily,” Caserio also noted. “They haven’t. We felt the second and third round had some value in this draft and we hope we can capitalize on that.”
 
Who are some of those players and at what positions? Here’s a reset as the Patriots prepare for the second and third rounds:
 
PATRIOTS DRAFT  PICKS
Second round (52)
Second round (59)
Third round (83)
Third round (91)
 
WIDE RECEIVER
Justin Hunter, Tennessee: The 6-4, 196-pound Hunter is the best “X” receiver on the board and a tremendously athletic player with huge potential. Drops for the Vols have caused a drop for Hunter.
 
Robert Woods, USC: Career leader in receptions for USC operating out of the pro-style offense with Matt Barkley at quarterback. Very productive in all three seasons at USC and at 6-0, 201 he’ll likely be able to walk right in and be more NFL-ready than a lot of receivers.
 
Keenan Allen, Cal: At 6-2, 206 and having played in a pro-style offense with the Bears, there’s a lot to recommend Allen as a first-round pick. He was a team captain as a junior who also has kick and punt return ability and interchangeability inside and out.
 
Terrance Williams, Baylor: He’s 6-2, 208 and while the offense he played in at Baylor wasn't sophisticated, he was eye-poppingly productive -- 97 catches for 1,832 yards last year for the Bears.
 
CORNERBACK
Jamar Taylor, Boise State: A better zone or off-man cornerback than a press guy, Taylor has nice size and plays with intensity at 5-11, 192. His versatility is attractive as are his intangibles.
 
Johnathan Banks, Mississippi State: Played against those SEC receivers and performed well. He’s 6-2, 185 and was named the Jim Thorpe Award winner given to the nation’s top defensive back and also was a team captain. Certainly a prospect the Patriots might like because of the class of competition he’s faced.
 
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, UConn: At 6-1, 195 pounds, Wreh-Wilson is an experienced (39 starts at UConn) player who’s got great size and measurables.
 
Tyrann Mathieu, ex-LSU: Electric corner who screwed up royally and got kicked off the Tigers, the Honey Badger is a boom-or-bust guy.
 
DEFENSIVE END/TACKLE
Margus Hunt, SMU: The 6-8, 277-pound Hunt is an intriguing prospect who will need some fine-tuning.
 
Kawann Short, Purdue: A 6-3, 299-pound interior defensive lineman who dominates in 1-on-1 matchups and was a four-year starter in the Big-Ten.
 
Tank Carradine, Florida State: A 6-4, 276-pound defensive end who had an ACL injury in 2012 and will likely start training camp on PUP. He’s got versatility and, depending on what scheme the Patriots plan to use, could have some relevance.