- Mike Reiss, ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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Each day over the next 10 days, this space will focus on one position in the NFL draft by highlighting a prospect in Rounds 2-7 who might fit for the New England Patriots. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, "Beyond the first round" focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks. Today, it's center.
Second round: Weston Richburg (Colorado State)
A two-year captain who has played tackle, guard and center, the 6-foot-3 3/8, 298-pound Richburg has 49 career starts on his resume and would appear to fit best in a zone-based scheme like the Patriots'. One question is how he'd match up against bigger defensive tackles.
Third round: Travis Swanson (Arkansas)
Another two-year captain who has extensive experience (50 career starts), the 6-foot-5, 312-pound Swanson combines intelligence, unusual reach, and an edge as his physical measureables are a bit unique for the position.
Fourth round: Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma)
Like the majority of centers who make the cut here, the 6-foot-3 5/8, 304-pound Ikard makes the line calls, which reflects his football intelligence. He is a two-time captain, has experience at guard and center, and his 7.30 time in the 3-cone drill ranked among the best at the position.
Fifth round: Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt)
With Bill Belichick in town to run the Nashville half-marathon, he worked out Johnson on Friday and had a film session with him Thursday, the Tennessean reported. Johnson (6-foot-5 7/8, 297 pounds) is known for his versatility and intelligence; his 7.40 time in the 3-cone drill was among the best at the position.
Sixth round: James Stone (Tennessee)
At 6-foot-3 5/8, 306 pounds, with 33 7/8-inch arm length and 10 1/8-inch hand size, Stone has some desirable physical measureables. A four-year starter in the SEC, he's faced some of the top competition in the country, with one NFL-based question coming in -- how he would handle bigger defensive tackles.
Seventh round: Jonotthan Harrison (Florida)
One of the Gators' captains in 2013, the 6-foot-3 1/2, 304-pound Harrison has 39 career starts on his resume and his combination of height and arm length figures to appeal to those eyeing a developmental prospect.
(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., NFL.com and independent analysis.)
Each day over the next 10 days, this space will focus on one position in the NFL draft by highlighting a prospect in Rounds 2-7 who might fit for the New England Patriots.