10 players Patriots could target with picks No. 60, 61 in NFL draft

Ryan Hannable
March 16, 2016 - 11:49 am
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[caption id="attachment_107103" align="alignright" width="400"]Leonte Carroo could be a player the Patriots target in next month's draft. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports) Leonte Carroo could be a player the Patriots target in next month's draft. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports)[/caption] The Patriots' strategy going into the 2016 NFL draft changed dramatically on Tuesday. New England acquired a second-round pick (No. 61 overall) from the Cardinals along with offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper for defensive end Chandler Jones. Although the Patriots still don't have a first-round pick, they now will select at Nos. 60 and 61. Instead of getting likely one impact player via the draft, they now can get two. Here are 10 players (in no particular order) the Patriots could target with their two second-round picks in the draft. Kentrell Brothers, linebacker, Missouri -- Brothers may be gone by the time the Patriots select at No. 60, but he would be a nice addition to the defense. The linebacker led the nation in tackles in 2015 and spoke highly of the Patriots at the combine. "What I love about the Patriots is they don't take any B.S.," Brothers said. "You need to be able to act well. You can't be getting in trouble and stuff like that. When I do watch film, I do watch the Patriots and they have two physical linebackers in the middle. Their defense in general is physical. I wouldn't mind playing for them at all. They have a great scheme." Leonte Carroo, wide receiver, Rutgers -- This one wouldn't surprise anyone with the Patriots' recent history drafting Rutgers players. During his senior season at Rutgers, he played in eight games, recording 39 receptions for 809 yards and 10 touchdowns. Carroo is friendly with current members of the Patriots. "I talk to Logan [Ryan] and Duron [Harmon] all the time," Carroo said at the combine. "I played with them my freshman year. Two great players that I gave looks to on scout team as a young freshman and competed against. They told me that the Patriots is a hard organization and they work hard and I would be the right fit for their team." Scooby Wright III, linebacker, Arizona -- Wright is coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season, but even with that he still will forgo his senior season at Arizona. Wright is similar to a current Patriot drafted out of Arizona in Rob Gronkowski, as both battled injuries leading into the draft. If Wright didn't get hurt, he may have been a first-round pick -- just like Gronkowski. Tyler Boyd, wide receiver, Pittsburgh -- The Pitt product can do a lot of things besides just lining up as a receiver -- even getting some snaps in the backfield -- which is something the Patriots like. At 6-foot-2, he has size that the Patriots now lack with the departures of Brandon LaFell and Brian Tyms. He will miss his senior year, but finished this past season with 85 catches for 873 yards and six touchdowns. Michael Thomas, wide receiver, Ohio State -- Thomas has been linked to the Patriots, as he will reportedly have a pre-draft workout with the team. Thomas was a big contributor at Ohio State playing in 39 games, including 27 starts, and caught a pass in the final 29 games he played in. He leaves Ohio State No. 13 in all-time receptions with 113. Derrick Henry, running back, Alabama -- The Patriots will need to add a running back going into training camp whether it is through the draft or via free agency. If they go the draft route, Henry seems like he would be a nice fit. The Heisman trophy winner could be gone by the time the Patriots select at No. 60, but if he's available, he may be worth the pick. Bill Belichick could also get a good evaluation from good friend Nick Saban. Belichick was also present at Alabama's pro day. Tyler Matakevich, linebacker, Temple -- He may not be the biggest name out there, but Matakevich is a player the Patriots generally like to go after in the draft. He was a captain at Temple and broke the school's record for career tackles, finishing with 493. In his senior season, he had 138 tackles, 4.5 sacks and five interceptions. Matakevich also is a local product, growing up in Stratford, Connecticut and playing one year at Milford Academy. Kyle Murphy, offensive line, Stanford --- If the Patriots want to go with an offensive lineman in the early rounds, Murphy could be a good fit. New England has selected a few Stanford players in recent years in Jordan Richards, as well as Cameron Fleming. Murphy was already talking like a Patriot at the combine. "I've talked to a few of their scouts — both here and at the Senior Bowl and I obviously have loved watching the Patriots ever since I was a kid," Murphy said. "They are always playing great football, particularly up front. They have always had great offensive linemen and great tackles in particular. They're always a great team to watch. I'm not about all the BS you see in the media. [Bill] Belichick obviously runs a real clean, tight ship. They've got [Cameron Fleming], Jordan Richards and Tyler Gaffney that I played with — all sand up guys. It's a great opportunity for those guys to play in that organization." Nick Vannett, tight end, Ohio State -- Some may not think tight end is a need to be addressed in the early rounds in the draft, but the Patriots have been known to surprise people. If so, Vannett seems like a good option even though he wasn't used much as a receiver at Ohio State. He has been compared to Rob Gronkowski and Vannett spoke of that at the combine. "I'm going to do my best to keep that going because that's a helluva comparison," Vannett said. "He can go down the field vertically and create mismatches and make a play in the pass game as well as block an in-line [defensive end]. There's not much he can't do. That's who I want to be." Braxton Miller, wide receiver, Ohio State -- Miller is one of the more intriguing prospects in the entire draft, as not many people know exactly what he will be as a receiver. It's also hard to predict where he will go in the draft. His athletic ability could move him up to the first-round and a team taking a chance on him. Belichick's connection with Urban Meyer could help him decide whether or not Miller is worth a pick if he's available late in the second round.