■ Safety Duron Harmon, Rutgers, (third round, 91st overall): This one still remains a bit of a headscratcher because Harmon does appear a bit limited on film. He’ll be compared to the safeties taken in the fourth round — Duke Williams (105, Bills), Shamarko Thomas (111, Steelers), Phillip Thomas (119, Redskins) — for years to come. Thomas will be the most interesting case because the Steelers traded up to get him and needed a play-making safety. Harmon is a tough, smart, and physical safety. He shows best close to the line of scrimmage against the run and in coverage. With the Patriots hoping Tavon Wilson becomes a full-time starter at strong safety, Harmon fits the bill as a possible replacement for Wilson as the “money” position in the dime — the third safety who plays a hybrid role against tight ends and the run. PROJECTION: As a third-round pick, Harmon is going to make the team, which will make roster cutdowns interesting. McCourty, Tavon Wilson, and Harmon are locks. Adrian Wilson has the inside track on the other spot, but that’s not definite. So Adrian Wilson, Steve Gregory, and Nate Ebner will be fighting for one, maybe two, spots.
■ Receiver Josh Boyce, TCU (fifth round, 102d overall): Tested unbelievably well at the combine but it doesn’t match up with his game film. Boyce reminds a lot of Packers receiver James Jones. Both are strong, thick receivers who can bounce off tacklers and make plays down the field. Jones ran a 4.54 coming out of San Jose State, and Boyce plays closer to that than the 4.38 he ran at the combine. Boyce also doesn’t show his terrific three-cone drill speed on film. But he’s a good solid, all-around receiver. Has some Anquan Boldin-like qualities as a physical receiver. Extremely smart. His Wonderlic score of 23 tied with many for second-highest for receivers this year. That’s the highest known score for a drafted Patriots receiver since Deion Branch (26 in ’02), and a promising indicator that he’ll be able to process the Patriots’ passing game. Boyce has inside/outside versatility, but the strength of his play indicates that he’s an X boundary player. That being said, Boyce has done so many things that it wouldn’t shock if he learns some of Aaron Hernandez’s roles as the flex tight end. Boyce has that kind of versatility. PROJECTION: Depending on how quickly he comes on, Boyce should end up as the backup to Dobson at X with Mike Jenkins, Andre Holmes, and Kamar Aiken in the mix. Boyce’s arrival should push Donald Jones, who can play inside and outside, over to Z behind Amendola to compete with Edelman.
■ End/linebacker Michael Buchanan, Illinois (seventh round, 226d): Has a frame that’s reminiscent of Willie McGinest, and he has the potential to be that kind of hybrid player, but at 252 pounds, he’s nowhere near heavy or strong enough to play that role on the field. Has a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see what the Patriots do with him. PROJECTION: If Collins is an end for the Patriots, then the Patriots go from being very thin at the position to having too many guys. They currently have nine edge players: Ninkovich, Jones, Collins, Cunningham, Justin Francis, Jake Bequette, Jason Vega, Marcus Bernard, and Buchanan. Roll the ball out and see who sticks. Cunningham and Bequette will be on the spot.
■ Linebacker Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers (seventh round, 235): At just under 6-1 and 240 pounds, the former Scarlet Knight will have a tough time ascending to a starting position. PROJECTION: He’s almost the same size as former special teams standout Tracy White, who hasn’t been re-signed. Beauharnais is likely White’s replacement and is a similar heady player that is a very good tackler.