This is one in a series that covers each team, offering viewers information for homework, suggestions and then the opportunity to make a draft pick.
When the NFL Draft begins selections in Philadelphia April 27, the New England Patriots will be bystanders unless they trade up. Their first pick is in the third round, No. 72 overall.
Here is an in-depth look at the team's needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com's experts.
Who would you pick and why?
1. Defensive end: The off-season saw Jabaal Sheard (Colts) and Chris Long (Eagles) depart, while Rob Ninkovich continues to age and show a decline in production. New England could look to add another a young edge playmaker with potential to pair with developing star Trey Flowers, who had a breakout second half of 2016 capped by an impressive Super Bowl. Many consider edge players one of the deepest groups in this year's draft.
2. Tackle: With left tackle Nate Solder heading into the final year of his current contract and no logical replacement on the roster, New England could seek tackle depth on draft weekend to protect itself at the position moving forward. After adding to the youth movement on the interior of the line the last few years, the Patriots may need to dig into a tackle class that's not overly impressive.
3. Tight end: The top of the depth chart at tight end is stocked, but Rob Gronkowski and newcomer Dwayne Allen certainly have injury histories. Adding a developmental No. 3 tight end might be enticing, especially given the depth of the position in this year's draft class.
4. Running back: At running back, New England could very well be in line for a young, big-bodied talent to replace LeGarrette Blount in the committee backfield, joining the likes of versatile newcomer Rex Burkhead and James White/Dion Lewis. With Blount a pending free agent and the rest of the backs on the roster with just one year left on their contracts, the Patriots could be on the hunt for a longer-term solution at the position.
5. Slot receiver: While the receiver position is deeper for the Patriots than it's been in quite some time, the import slot spot could be a target for a developmental prospect. Julian Edelman is heading into the final year of his contract and history shows that guys in his position can have short shelf lives. Head coach Bill Belichick likes to be prepared for future needs, so finding a young player to groom for the slot for the future can't be ruled out even with Edelman still playing at a high level.
Rob Rang: Trey Henderickson, DE, Florida Atlantic. Given their needs up front, an instinctive and relatively pro-ready edge rusher like Hendrickson -- the reigning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and FAU's all-time leader in sacks (29.5), tackles for loss (41) and forced fumbles (seven) -- could be a target.
Dane Brugler: Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio. Basham was the MAC Defensive Player of the Year and has the juice off the edge to put pressure on the pocket in any scheme.
Pat Kirwan/Jim Miller: No third-round pick.
(Kirwan, Miller picks based on last Friday's mock on SiriusXM Radio. Listen to their next mock Friday, April 21, on SiriusXM NFL Radio channel 88).
Frank Cooney, IMO: Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic. Actually this isn't my opinion, but it is based on good advice. The Sports Xchange insider covering the Patriots says Hendrickson is the best fit. NFLDraftScout.com Sr. analyst Rob Rang emailed me the same name without knowing it matched our insider's choice. There is a trend there, eh?
OK, it's your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out top 1,000 players rated by NFLDraftScout.com, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.
Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and 25th year on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.