In response to titletownfan's comment:
I firmly believe that the Patriots will sign John Abraham and another veteran Free Agent WR, loosly taking care of our needs, but with much more to come in the draft. I suspect we will trade Mallett for (hopefully) a 2nd round pick, and move down a few times with our picks. The Pats are supposedly high on Kafka, and have been since he was drafted, and could roll with him as the backup. I suspect we will make 6-8 selections in the draft broken down as follows:
2-3 in Rd 1-2
1 Rd 3
1 Rd 4
1 Rd 5-6
2 Rd 7
As for needs, I think the Pats will absolutely take a DT, WR, and CB in the early rounds. From the 4th onwards, I envision the Pats targeting a coverage LB, OL depth, HB depth, and perhaps even a Kicker in the 7th, as Ghost's cap charge is awfuly high for an average kicker.
These are some specific players I think the Pats should target:
WR (late 1st-early 2nd): Keenan Allen
Seems like a classic Patriots receiver. Great hands and route running ability, and doesn't really have a glaring weakness. Has good size as well. His lack of elite speed seems to knock him down the board, but that shouldn't be an issue for the Pats who have had bad luck with burners (Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson), and will gladly take a player with above average speed like Allen.
DT (late 1st-early 2nd): Jonathan Hankins
A big, tough DT who is very hard to move and very good at stopping the run. In addition, while he isn't a top pass rusher, he has shown the ability to be disruptive in the backfield, and has potential to strengthen his pass rush abilities. The Pats tend to start strong run defenders on the line (Wilfork, Warren, Love etc), and don't tend to emphasize pass rushing in a starter. They have Armond Armstead to provide the interior pass rush that players like Mike Wright and Myron Pryor have provided in the past, and will likely add John Abraham giving the team ample pass rush on the DL, meaning they can target a very balanced DT like Hankins, who should start next to Wilfork this year.
CB (2nd-3rd): Logan Ryan
A big and physical corner who is good in both man and zone coverage, who can be a quality backup to Dennard and Talib as an outside CB. Also is pretty good in run support. Kyle Arrington should not see any time outside, and having Ryan on the team adds another layer of depth, and allows Arrington to stay in the slot where he excels. Ryan could be had in the 3rd round, a great spot for us to add to our solid CB crew. BB likes Rutgers players, and seeing as though Ryan fits the bill of the CB we need, you have to imagine BB would pounce on Ryan in the 3rd.
OLB (4th-7th): Jamie Collins
A fast and physical prospect from a small school, Collins has the athleticism to succeed as a coverage LB here in NE. He showed some pass rushing ability too, albeit against weaker competition. He's a bit raw, but despite being the star of the Southern Miss defense, still played all four Special Teams units, something BB will like. Collins could hopefully be had in the 4th, although his top-notch athleticism might put him a bit higher, where the Pats would be unlikely to pounce. With most needs filled, the Pats can afford to take a chance on a raw but athletic talent like Collins.
At Kicker, there are two from Florida and Florida State (Caleb Sturgis and Dustin Hopkins) who are good and could be had in the 7th. As I said earlier, some competetion for Ghost would be good considering his cap hit, and Pats don;t have many holes to fill allowing them to use a 7th rounder on a Kicker. Wouldn't take either unless they lasted till the 7th though.
At HB could the Pats take a flyer on Marcus Lattimore? He might be out for a while, but you can never have too much talent, and the Pats could stash him on IR if needed. If not, he can add depth to the HB crew that lost Woodhead. Perhaps he gives Bolden a run for the spot? I suspect they look more at a pass catching back later on, perhaps from a small school. These guys tend to surprise.
I suspect the Pats will also add an interior OL prospect or two. Pats tend to look at tough and physical guys who did well in college (i.e. Mankins), as opposed to the athletic raw prospects they get at Tackle (Solder, Vollmer), so I imagine they try and find a big school experienced mauler somewhere on Day 3. Not sure who fits yet. Ideas?
I do like the idea of Allen as an option in Rd 1 if he's available, same with Hankins... also love Logan Ryan as a Day 2 option at CB... good size, active kid that can blitz and is excellent in run support.