Top prospects still available on Day 2: Defense

Top prospects still available on Day 2: Defense
May 9, 2014, 2:15 pm
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The Patriots bolstered their defense in Round 1 when they selected Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley with the No. 29 pick. Will they continue to add to that side of the ball on Day 2 of the NFL Draft?

There are plenty of talented defensive players still available. Here are a few in whom the Patriots could have interest:

Defensive end
The Patriots added to the defensive line on Thursday night, but they could use a true edge player to spell Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich -- two of the most highly-used defensive ends in the NFL in 2013.

Demarcus Lawrence, 6-3, 251, Boise State: A punishing tackler who can play out of a two-point or a three-point stance. He lacks ideal size on the edge, but 11-inch hands should help him leverage potential blockers. Ran a 4.83 40-yard dash and jumped 34.5 inches in the vertical. Big upside as a pass rusher. Met with the Patriots for a private visit.

Scott Crichton, 6-3, 273, Oregon State: Not a prototype in terms of size, but his energy and athleticism off the edge made him extremely productive in college. Could also play as a 3-technique if asked. Like Easley, a quick first step and a relentless style. Patriots were reportedly in attendance at his pro day.

Kony Ealy, 6-4, 273, Missouri: Teammate Michael Sam has garnered a lot of attention, but Ealy is the top prospect out of Missouri. Great length (34.25-inch arms). Good production in the SEC. Still lots to learn in terms of recognition and technique but will improve as he's coached.

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Defensive tackle
Would the Patriots continue to add to the interior of their defensive line after picking up Easley? They've said in the past that numbers at a position won't force them to pass up on a good player.

Louis Nix III, 6-2, 331, Notre Dame: Hard-to-move defensive lineman who plays with non-stop effort. Projected to go in the first round by many and likely won't last long in the second.

Stephon Tuitt, 6-5, 304, Notre Dame: Like his teammate Nix, received various first-round grades from scouts. Positional versatility along the line. Not the most consistent player, but has the tools to be extremely disruptive from various spots. Reportedly made a private visit to the Patriots.

Timmy Jernigan, 6-1, 299, Florida State: Not as physically imposing as either Notre Dame product, but very strong. Has a good motor and played various spots along the defensive line. Diluted urine sample at the Combine.

Ra'Shede  Hageman, 6-6, 310, Minnesota: Physical specimen who has played the 0-, 1-, 3- and 5-technique spots on the defensive line. Tools are there, but his inconsistency in college allowed him to drop out of the first round.

Will Sutton, 6-0, 300, Arizona State: After adding weight for his senior season, he didn't get back to the form that made him one of the best tackles in the country. If he can get back to where he was athletically, his competitive streak should make him a productive pro.

DaQuan Jones, 6-4, 322, Penn State: First-Team All-Big Ten last season. A strong 3-technique in college, he's projected to have the versatility to play almost any position on the line.

Caraun Reid, 6-2, 302, Princeton: First Princeton two-time All-American in over 20 years. Good quickness for his size. Started playing football in high school and is a student of the game. Surprise, surprise.

Ego Feguson, 6-3, 315, LSU: Good awareness at the line and physically gifted. Lack of explosion off the line helped to contribute to underwhelming numbers in college (only one career sack). Upside there.

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Outside linebacker
Again, New England's top edge players could use a breath every now and again. There are a handful of guys here who could be around at No. 62.

Jeremiah Attaochu, 6-3, 252, Georgia Tech: Great athlete -- ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at his pro day. All-time leader in sacks at Georgia Tech. Still raw, but potential to be a disruptive pass rusher in the NFL.

Kyle Van Noy, 6-3, 243, BYU: Very productive in college as a pass rusher, cover man and run supporter. Smart player who can do a variety of things well. Could stand to get stronger as a pro.

Telvin Smith, 6-3, 218, Florida State: Ran a 4.49 40 at the Combine and stood out as one of the better athletes at the Senior Bowl. Wins with his speed rather than his strength, but is a smart player who played a key role on the national champions.

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Cornerback
The Patriots just added Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis, but Revis could be gone after 2014, and Browner is a bit of an unknown commodity at this juncture. If a talented corner is still on the board, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for the Patriots to take him.

Bashaud Breeland, 5-11, 197, Clemson: An aggressive corner with good ball skills who worked in off-man coverage as well as press coverage. Can be over-aggressive at times and could improve his work in the running game.

Terrance Mitchell, 5-11, 192, Oregon: With a 4.61 40 at the Combine, he's not a burner like some others in this class. He did, however, have the best three-cone drill of any corner at the Combine (6.57 seconds).

Phillip Gaines, 6-0, 193, Rice: All the tools to play press corner, something the Patriots did often last season with Aqib Talib and will likely do with this year's group. Gaines is always around the ball. Room for improvement in his tackling.

Walt Aikens, 6-0, 203, Liberty: Three-sport athlete at Liberty (basketball, track), he has experience as a press corner and he also played a little free safety. Was dismissed from the Illinois program in 2010 after he was arrested for his involvement with an on-campus theft. Reportedly met with the Patriots during the pre-draft process.

Keith McGill, 6-3, 211, Utah: In the Richard Sherman mold, McGill is a tall corner with long arms and big hands. Played some free safety and has experience in the kicking game. Will need to get stronger to compete in the pro game.

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Safety
A few of the draft's top safeties -- Calvin Pryor, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Jimmie Ward and Deone Bucannon -- came off the board in the first round, but the Patriots still have a need at the position. After Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon, the bulk of the depth chart at safety is loaded with special teamers.

Terrence Brooks, 5-10, 198, FSU: More of a center fielder in college, he did a little bit of everything in college and displayed the kind of interchangeable safety skills the Patriots value.

Lamarcus Joyner, 5-8, 184, FSU: Had experience at both safety and nickel corner in college. Always plays at full speed and has a nose for the ball. Undersized.

Brock Vereen, 5-11, 199, Minnesota: Shane's younger brother has been touted as a smart player on and off the field. He's strong (put up 25 reps on the 225-pound bench press at the Combine) and described as the kind of team-first player that will allow him to fit in wherever he's selected.