Patriots

Morning sports update: 3 players the Patriots could take on Day 2 of the NFL Draft

Several players who were projected to go in the first round are still available for New England.

Xavier McKinney Alabama
Alabama safety Xavier McKinney had four forced fumbles and three interceptions last season. SAM CRAFT/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Patriots decided to trade out of the first round during the NFL draft on Thursday. New England sent the 23rd pick to the Chargers (who took linebacker Kenneth Murray) for the 37th and 71st picks.

Looking ahead to the second day of the draft (which starts at 7 p.m. tonight), the Patriots have the following picks:

Second round

  • Pick 37 (fifth in the second round)

Third round

  • Pick 71 (seventh in the third round)
  • Pick 87 (23rd in the third round)
  • Pick 98 (34th in the third round)
  • Pick 100 (36th in the third round)

And here’s a glance at some of the top remaining players:

A few players the Patriots might take: Predicting who Bill Belichick will draft is a tough call, since the Patriots’ coach has a penchant for surprise picks.

Still, here’s a look at a few players who have been linked with New England and make sense as possible selections on the second day of the draft:

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Xavier McKinney, safety: The Alabama safety has been linked with the Patriots for weeks. He was interviewed by New England at the combine, admitting that it was “one of the hardest meetings I had.”

Given that Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung (the Patriots’ current starting safeties) are both over 30, a versatile player from Nick Saban’s program might appeal to Belichick.

A.J. Epenesa, defensive line: A productive defensive end, Epenesa was seen as a possible choice for New England had they kept the 23rd pick.

At 6-5, 275-pounds, Epenesa has drawn comparisons to former Patriots pass rusher Trey Flowers.

Cole Kmet, tight end: Kmet is big (6-6, 262 pounds) and fast (he ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash at the combine). He’s generally regarded as the top tight end in the draft, which is obviously a position the Patriots will need to upgrade.

Asked about the possibility of replacing Rob Gronkowski in New England, Kmet said he has tried to model his game after the Patriots legend.

Trivia: Jeff Okudah, a cornerback from Ohio State, was taken third overall in the draft on Thursday. He was the first cornerback taken in the top three since 1997. Name that player.

(Answer at the bottom).

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Hint: Originally drafted by the Seahawks, he also played for the Patriots in 2009.

More from Boston.com:

Tom Brady’s internet in Derek Jeter’s home continues to struggle:

With no people around, a bear was spotted at Sugarbush ski area:

On this day: In 1983, Hawks center Tree Rollins and Celtics guard Danny Ainge got into a fight during the two teams’ playoff series. After Ainge tackled the 7-foot-1 Rollins, the two wrestled in a tangled mess of players.

At the bottom of the pile, Rollins bit Ainge’s finger.

“I had to get a rabies shot and a tetanus shot, but they had to let the bite drain so it didn’t get infected,” Ainge recently said to Boston Herald writer Steve Bulpett. “So they stitched it up loose so it could drain.”

Classic rewind: Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter in 2001, the first at Camden Yards.

Trivia answer: Shawn Springs

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