By: Jake Mackey
The New England Patriots made their first picks of the 2016 NFL Draft on Friday night with four picks in the second and third rounds. Here is a recap and breakdown of each player the Patriots selected:
Pick 60, Cyrus Jones, CB Alabama: This pick fit everything that the Patriots needed at corner back. The corner back depth chart is paper thin behind Malcolm Butler, and the starting nickel back currently is Justin Coleman who showed to be inconsistent at times. Cyrus Jones played on the outside and in the slot during his time in Tuscaloosa. Based on film study, he struggles against bigger bodied receivers, but fares well against smaller slot type receivers, given his size; 5-10, 197 pounds. In addition, Jones is an extremely versatile player, as is the case with most Bill Belichick draft picks. Jones played wide receiver at the start of his college career, and he was also the best punt returner in the nation last season, returning four punt returns for scores, one shy of the FBS record. Expect him to contribute mostly on special teams in 2016.
(GIF Credit: SBnation.com)
Pick 78, Joe Thuney, OG North Carolina State: The Patriots certainly needed depth along the offensive line in this draft, and Joe Thuney fits that need at multiple spots. The thing that stands out the most about Joe Thuney is that he has played at every offensive line position in his college career. He went into Raleigh as a back up center, then in his sophomore campaign he started at right guard, right tackle, and left tackle. Expect Dante Scarnecchia to experiment with Thuney at all positions along the offensive line, not just guard.
Pick 91, Jacoby Brissett, QB North Carolin State: This was without a doubt the most interesting pick by Bill Belichick on Friday night. Jacoby Brissett will now be the third quarterback on the Patriots roster, and very well may succeed Jimmy Garoppolo as the back up behind Tom Brady. Brissett has an NFL body at 6-4, 231 pounds, and definitely an NFL arm. He played in a read-option heavy offense in college, although on film he doesn’t come off as a player that can only succeed in that type of system. In addition, he has sneaky quickness. Due to the fact that the offensive line in front of him in college was atrocious, Brissett had to learn to use his legs. When Brissett takes off he looks like a tight end running down the field. However, the pressure that he was under in college has lead to him at times panicking in the pocket and making poor quarterback decision. Jacoby Brissett won’t start in the first four weeks of 2016, however it does tell you as a Patriots fan what the team’s plan is for Jimmy Garoppolo.
(GIF Credit: Sportingnews.com)
Pick 96, Vincent Valentine, DT Nebraska: At 6-4, 329 pounds Vincent Valentine is a large human being. He was projected to go in the later rounds, therefore on the surface this appears to be a Tavon Wilson, Duron Harmon type of pick for Bill Belichick. Nevertheless, the Patriots lost quite a few bodies along the defensive line this offseason in Dominique Easley, Akiem Hicks, Chris Jones, and Sealver Siliga. Therefore, the more beef added the better. Valentine will be a work-in-progress for sure, and his conditioning could use some work. In the end though, Valentine will be used for rotational purposes which is key at defensive tackle.