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Day 3 of the draft is where teams become champions and champions become dynasties. For example, the Super Bowl winning Seahawks have several starters, including the prominent Richard Sherman who was drafted in the 5th round. After drafting the grand Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2nd round, The Patriots traded their 3rd round pick (93rd overall) for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 4th (105th overall)and 6th (179th overall) round picks. Belichick now has seven picks left in the draft with plenty of possibilities to play with. So, who are the new prospects joining the Patriots in training camp?
The Pats started the day off by drafting Bryan Stork, the Remington Trophy winner for the best center in the nation. Stork is a smart, pass-blocker who can play center and guard and loves playing the game. Stork is a big body can easily pick-up blitzes and adjust according. Stork would have gone earlier if it were not for his short arms, lack of lateral movements with his hips, and lack of explosiveness. Stork will be a great pass protector but a bad run blocker. Stork fills a position the Pats need because the lofty Ryan Wendell provides an uncertain proposition for protecting Brady.
The Pats then drafted James White, a system back from the run-heavy Wisconsin Badgers. White is a small, elusive back who has a great feel at the line of scrimmage and is strong football smarts. White had only two fumbles in 754 carries (Belicheck’s favorite stat) and should mix well with Ridley and Vereen. White will never be the number one starter, but The Hooded One will find some use for him in specific schemes. Look for White to be the new system player who real fans love and oblivious fans have no idea who he is.
The Patriots ended the 4th round by drafting the big Cameron Fleming from Stanford. Fleming is 6’5”, 320 pounds and is classified as a giant, quick, run-blocking tackle. Fleming may struggle with pass protection and going one-on-one with quicker pass rushers. Fleming’s number one intangible is the fact that he is very intelligent. Fleming finished his degree in aeronautics and astronautics this spring. Belicheck continues to add good, solid offensive linemen to the uncertain O-line the Pats currently possess.
The Patriots traded away their 5th round pick and gained three 6 round picks. Again, the Patriots add more depth to the unreliable offensive line by adding Jon Halapio from Florida. Halapio looks like a Maori warrior with his 6’3” 323 pound frame. Halapio represents the warrior mentality as he played with a reported 80% pectoral tear and also played with an eye injury that required stitches. Moreover, Halapio was a leader and team captain of his Florida team. From everything I could find, Halapio is extremely slow but is quite functional in a phone booth. Halapio may have more intangibles than tangibles, but we all know the story of a skinny QB from Michigan who had all the intangibles in the 2000 draft.
Okay, Who? Moore is a Div. II standout who averaged a sack a game. Moore was also a finalist for Division II player of the year. Moore might be a rare, developmental athlete who happens to play football. Moore had a freakish 10.3 feet broad jump for a guy who is 6’5” and 270 Ibs. Moore will not be an instant impact player, as Will Smith, Chandler Jones, and Rob Ninkovich will justifiable start over Moore. Belicheck will groom and sculpt Moore and from all the reports I have read this pick is a steal. Moore was projected to go in the 4th round, so if the Pats can make Moore a starter he can be one of the biggest steals in this draft.
My immediate response to this pick was, why? I thought we already had enough defensive backs. However, Thomas is a competitive, hard-hitting corner who was actually a good run-defender, which is a rare attribute for his position. Also, Thomas is praised of how hard working and dedicated he is to the game. Thomas is absolutely chiseled, and played every secondary position possible. While he may have large hands, he did not have spectacular combine workout topped with an abysmal 4.55 40-yard dash. So, where does Thomas fit in? Thomas will make an impact on the team on special team, and could be the second coming of Larry Izzo.
The Patriots finished the 2014 NFL draft by selecting Jeremy Gallon in the 7th round, a wide receiver from Michigan. Gallon has very good route-running ability and solid hands. Also, Gallon has good vision after the catch and extremely passionate about the game. Unfortunately, Gallon lacks the size (5’7”) and speed (4.49 40) to be a breakout receiver. Although, Gallon may lack in the physical department his running back-like build could make him a versatile member of the offense. Also, Gallon could potentially return kicks making him that much more valuable.
The Patriots greatly needed more players since they only took two studs in the first two rounds. The Patriots made up the meat and potatoes of their draft, by keeping their picks and selecting seven different players. The Patriots greatly helped Brady by selecting three offensive linemen, and added interesting prospects to their already talented team.