Charley Casserly and Brian Billick, both of whom are contributing to draft coverage for NFL Network, are holding a conference call today.
Here is their opinion when asked about the Patriots’ needs and what they might do in the draft:
“The areas to me that they can get better are outside linebacker, inside linebacker, corner and offensive tackle," Casserly said.
“The corner from Connecticut, [Darius] Butler, is probably in that range. Then at outside linebacker, you have guys like Clay Matthews, who a lot of people like in the last part of that first round. Larry English, but I don’t know if he fits their mold as far as the size factor goes. Those are some names, value-wise, who would fit into that part of the first round.”
Billick looked through a wider lens when assessing the Patriots’ possible approach.
“What intrigues me the most about New England this year, and it tends to be something we see over and over again, you’re looking at all these picks in the first three rounds that they have, and their history to not hesitate, and some of these they will toss off to bank for next year as well, because they realize there are only so many guys they are going to take that can make their football team,” Billick said.
“To sit there with the six picks that they have in the first three rounds, they have a lot of latitude to however their board lays out. They can go up and get a guy if they covet a guy, which hasn’t necessarily been their m.o. – and I’m not sure this is a draft that you would isolate that. I think they’re in great shape to fit the needs that Charley outlined.”
One other aspect of the call that stood out was Casserly listing the percentages of landing a starting player in the draft.
Casserly cited on a 10-year study – which evaluated drafts after four years had passed – and listed the following numbers of success: