The Patriots are sure to be active today with EIGHT draft picks today (one 4th, five 6th, two 7th) and could be in line to get some great value on day three. Let's take a look at some potential targets for them.
1) Devontae Booker, RB - Utah: The Patriots met with Booker privately earlier this draft season and he is still available as we enter day three territory. Booker has ideal size as a running back (5'11", 219 lbs) and can produce in both the run and passing game as well. He has excellent field vision, can be useful in short yardage situations, and is not afraid to help on pass protection. Despite being available on day three, it would be surprising to see Booker enter round five, so the Patriots could use one of their 4th round picks on him.
2) Kenneth Dixon, RB - Louisiana Tech: Dixon is another running back who is going to be available today surprisingly after being thought of as one of the better running back prospects in this draft. I had him pegged as a player the Patriots would target yesterday potentially, but to get him a day later wouldn't be too bad either. Here is what I said yesterday: Dixon has the right size to play running back effectively despite being under six feet tall (5'10", 215 lbs). He has never shied away from pass protection. He has terrific lateral quickness and explosion especially at the second level of a defense. He has a nose for the end-zone (87 career touchdowns in college) and can catch well out of the backfield. With Belichick drafting Shane Vereen and James White in prior years, it's clear he likes a running back who can catch the ball. Dixon would have the chance to be a three-down running back on day one and could spell both LaGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis early on (if not permanently) as both are coming off season-ending injuries. Dixon most likely would be off the board in the fourth, so they would most likely have to spend a fourth round pick on him.
3) Daniel Braverman, WR - Western Michigan: Literally, the first line on Braverman's draft profile on NFL.com says: "Looks like a Patriots slot receiver from jump street." It's clear that Braverman fits the mold of a slot receiver a la Wes Welker potentially (not saying he is the next Wes Welker, but plays like him). He is very good in open space with the football and also a dangerous target in the red zone due to his route running. Someone like Braverman could fit in perfectly as a future slot receiver in New England if he can bulk up perhaps (5'10", 177 lbs). Braverman would probably be available in the sixth round and it's possible they go after him.
4) Sheldon Day, DT - Notre Dame: Once talked about as a "day one" prospect even a year ago, Sheldon Day surprisingly slips into day three today and could end up being a really good value. He was an All-American this past season who has experience at both defensive end and defensive tackle, which the Patriots could value with his versatility. He does have some questions about whether his size (6'1", 293 lbs) can help him at next level as he does not have as much bulk to him. But it allows him to show off his above-average athleticism and his ability to shed single blockers easily. Day will probably be taken in the fourth round and the Patriots could be compelled to use one on him if he is still there for them.
5) Hassan Ridgeway, DT - Texas: Malcom Brown's teammate at Texas, Ridgeway may be even more talented than Brown was coming out last year. He is built well with a good top and bottom half, he has power to break through the line and most single blocks and can handle double teams well. Ridgeway does have some conditioning and injury concerns, which has caused his draft stock to drop a little. But otherwise, he could be a steal in the fourth round and reunite Brown with Ridgeway (who together, could cause a lot of problems). The team did meet with him at the combine, so they do know a bit about him already.
6) Keenan Reynolds, RB - Navy: If Braverman was a no-brainer "Patriots guy", then Reynolds must've already been picked by the team. The team has been very interested in Reynolds from the start, who played quarterback at Navy. He set the all-time FBS record with 88 touchdowns in his career and excelled in the run game as an option quarterback. The Patriots took Joe Cordona last year in the fifth round despite knowing he had to serve his military duty and may not be afraid to do it again with Reynolds. He is an explosive runner who does have some fumbling issues, but this is a no-brainer pick for the Patriots as he is also a very strong leader. They can probably get him with one of their sixth round picks today.
7) Dan Vitale, TE/FB - Northwestern: I had the pleasure of talking with Dan Vitale a week ago and he told me that the Patriots were one of the teams that had expressed the most interest in him. They met with him on his Pro Day and he has the desired position versatility. He played "superback" in college, playing at fullback, tight end, and even slot wide receiver at times. He is not afraid to block, has good hands and is a terrific route runner. Also known as a "locker room guy", his high character will be attractive to the team as well. He could be available in the sixth round where the Patriots have several picks.
8) Joshua Perry, OLB - Ohio State: Another "locker room guy and leader", the Patriots don't mind having high character guys in their locker room. He is a solid tackler and can get off to a good start on screen and running plays due to his recognition on the field. Perry is always ready to go, even playing at a high level in the fourth quarter and leaves everything on the field. He is a great talent and most likely will be taken in the fourth round, but luckily the Patriots have two picks in that round and could use one on him there.
9) Glenn Gronkowski, FB - Kansas State: The obvious connection is here: Glenn is Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski's younger brother. The team has met with him on multiple occasions at the Senior Bowl and at the combine as well. The Patriots are one of the few teams left in the NFL who do use fullbacks and that is Gronkowski's position. He is a solid goal-line option and also has solid vertical speed as well. There is a chance Glenn goes undrafted today, but if a team shows interest in him today in order to make sure they grab him, the Patriots could grab him late.
10) Cody Core, WR - Ole Miss: Core has ideal size for the NFL (6'3", 205 lbs) and is often forgotten about because he played opposite Laquon Treadwell at Ole Miss. But Core does have NFL appeal as he can use his leaping ability to climb up and grab receptions and can get yards after the catch as well. He also has 18 career tackles on special teams, so his special teams appeal could make him a worth day three pick. He is still learning as a route runner, but could turn into something good given the proper coaching. Core could be there for the Patriots (who also had a private workout with him) in the sixth round and could be a selection for them.
11) Steven Daniels, ILB - Boston College: A local prospect, Daniels being picked by New England obviously would bring some nostalgia. He is a Brandon Spikes clone as a good two down thumper who can play against the run well. His size does leave some things to be desired (5'11", 243 lbs), but he does have terrific upper-body strength regardless. He can anticipate the run, clog lanes, and shake off blocks as well. Because of his lack of range, he probably won't be useful on passing downs. Daniels fits the "Brandon Spikes" role perfectly and the Patriots often had some of their best defense when Spikes was there, and with the hometown connection, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Patriots take a local boy after meeting with him on their local day as well. He'll probably be there in the sixth.