Updated: Curran's Preferred Patriots in 2014 Draft

Updated: Curran's Preferred Patriots in 2014 Draft
May 9, 2014, 7:15 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

Thursday, we presented a list of players at the top of the draft that had some of the attributes the Patriots traditionally seek.
 
They love production. Proof a player has done things. They like to see good performances on tape against NFL-bound competition. They like players at the top of the draft from bigger conferences (2013’s class being an exception). They like team captains and good leaders. They like quick feet. They like nastiness and versatility. They like special teams ability. They like being able to get recommendations from coaches who know how they operate and what they value.
 
The selection of Dominique Easley, who we had on our list, satisfied a number of those criteria.
 
Here’s the updated group of players that have checkmarks in many of those categories and a look at the best players available at a few perceived positions of need.
 
Projected: Second or third-round pick
 
A 6-5, 250-pounder who had 25 sacks and 41 tackles for loss in 2012 and ’13 combined. Team captain with a massive hands, 34-inch arms and a 35-inch vertical. He had the best time in the three-cone drill at the Combine among outside linebackers and can play up or down. No injury issues.
 
Projected: First-round pick (Went 15th to Pittsburgh Steelers)
 
A 6-1, 237-pounder with awesome speed, quickness, explosiveness and production (249 tackles in his sophomore and junior seasons combined). Runs a 4.4. 40. Tremendous in coverage and pursuit. Team captain for Urban Meyer at OSU. No injury issues.
 
Projected: Second or third-round pick
 
A 6-3, 220-pounder who’s just 20 years old until August. Caught 174 balls in his final two years at Penn State playing for former Patriots OC Bill O’Brien in a pro-style offense. Shows good physicality. No injury issues.
 
Projected: Second-round pick (Went 27th to the Cardinals)
 
A 6-1, 211-pounder and three-time captain for the Cougars. Led the Pac-12 in interceptions and plays on all special teams. Had 220 tackles his final two seasons and hits like a mule kick. Doesn’t miss games.
 
Projected: Fourth-round pick
 
A 5-11, 199-pound free safety/nickel corner and brother of Patriots running back Shane Vereen. Great leader and worker who is a special teams weapon and can play both corner and safety. Very intelligent and savvy reader of offenses. Runs a 4.47. Doesn’t miss games.
 
Projected: Second or third-round pick
 
A 6-3, 220-pounder who quarterbacked Nick Saban’s Alabama team to back-to-back BCS National Championships. Four-year starter and mature leader who is accurate and smart on short and intermediate balls and understands how to play in big games and that the quarterback position is about making the right play as often as possible, not the sexy one. Team captain who went 36-4 as a starter.
 
Projected: Third-round pick
 
A 5-11, 230-pounder who ran for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns his final season at BC. Smart, competitive, highly productive, very respected pounder. Had some injury issues as sophomore and junior. Runs well in traffic and understands pass protection.
 
Projected: Second or third-round pick
 
A 6-4, 302-pounder who will likely switch to guard in the NFL. Plays fast and mean. Incredible footspeed for a man his size. Can play anywhere on the offensive line. Very professional demeanor and a team captain who never missed a game for Wolfpack.
 
Projected: Third or fourth-round pick
 
A 6-6, 265-pounder from Iowa where he played under Kirk Ferentz and was tutored by tight ends coach D.J. Hernandez, brother of Aaron. Solid blocker, huge target with smooth athleticism and ability to take on contact. 
 
Projected: Late first or early second-round pick (Went 28th to Panthers)
 
A 6-5, 240-pounder with an 83-inch wingspan who played in all 28 games for the Seminoles over the past two seasons and made the game-winning catch in the BCS National Championship Game. Goes up to high-point the ball and plays with physicality. Would be a fascinating combo with Rob Gronkowski.
 
Projected: Second or third-round pick (Went 29th to Patriots)
 
A 6-2, 288-pound interior lineman who is coming off ACL injuries to both knees. Very explosive player (ligaments included, apparently) who was a team captain and extremely hard worker. It has been opined that, if not for the injuries, he’d be a top-five pick. 
 
BEST PLAYERS AVAILABLE
OG: Xavier Su’a-filo, UCLA; Joel Bitonio, Nevada.
 
WR: Marqise Lee, USC; Allen Robinson, Penn State; Cody Latimer, Indiana; Jordan Mathews, Vanderbilt; Donte Moncrief, Mississippi; Davante Adams, Fresno State; Martavis Bryant, Clemson.
 
RB: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State; Tre Mason, Auburn; Bishop Sankey, Washington; Andre Williams, Boston College
 
TE: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech; Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Washington; C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa; Troy Nicklas, Notre Dame
 
DL: Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota; Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame; Kony Ealy, Missouri; Louis Nix, Notre Dame; Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
 
QB: Derek Carr, Fresno State; A.J. McCarron, Alabama; Tom Savage, Pittsburgh; Jimmy Garoppolo, Northern Illinois
 
S: Ed Reynolds, Stanford; Brock Vereen, Minnesota
 
CB: Keith McGill, Utah; Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska; Phillip Gaines, Rice
 
LB: Kyle Van Noy, BYU; Chris Borland, Wisconsin, Trent Murphy, Stanford