The Patriots selected Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers with their first pick in the draft. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)
FOXBORO — Day 2 of the NFL draft has come and gone and the Patriots made two trades.
New England made one trade to move down and then another to move up. The Patriots traded out of pick No. 72 with the Titans to pick at No. 83 where they selected defensive end Derek Rivers, and then traded up to No. 85 overall with the Lions to select offensive tackle Antonio Garcia.
With so few needs, the Patriots were able to be very specific with what they wanted and moved up and down the draft board accordingly.
Rivers played at FCS Youngstown State so there is some question of how his play will do against better competition, but he did have a good week at the Senior Bowl against Division 1 competition. This past season was his best as he finished with 58 tackles, 19.5 tackles for a loss and 15 sacks. He is also the school’s all-time leading sack leader, having 19 more than the second-highest player.
An edge rusher was at the top of their list of needs, and were able to address it with their first pick. The defensive end has a lot of power when getting off the line, but needs some work in stopping the run. He likely will get some playing time as the fourth edge rusher in the defensive end rotation, but his biggest impact will be come the road.
The selection of Garcia is certainly for the future, as he has some things to work on.
At 6-foot-6, 302 pounds he is very athletic, but many think he needs to add weight and improve on his technique to have success in the NFL. It would appear 2017 will be a red-shirt year of sorts for Garcia and give him time to work with offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia to potentially be Nate Solder’s replacement at left tackle. One thing to keep in mind is Garcia has the ability to flip over to the right side of the line if necessary, which the Patriots value in their tackles.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s Day 3, the Patriots don’t have any glaring needs with their three draft picks. They will have one fourth, one fifth and one seventh.
New England will have the 25th selection in Round 4 (No. 131 overall) as its first pick and perhaps if tight end Jake Butt is still around the Patriots would take him. Many had him pegged to them in the third round, so if he’s available in the fourth it would be a no brainer.
Other positions to keep an eye on are linebacker, safety and cornerback.
While the players selected on Friday weren’t the biggest of names and at skill positions, they did fill the biggest teams on the roster which would make Day 2 of the draft a success — at least on paper.