The NFL Draft is Thursday, which means you’ll clear your schedule, park yourself on the couch, and watch 31 teams draft a player before the Patriots trade their pick.

Yes, the NFL Draft can be maddening for Patriots fans. Heck, even when the Pats do make a pick, you’re left scratching your head as to who it is. Word to the wise: Brush up on the 2014 Rutgers football team. Oh, and lacrosse players… hey, you never know.

OK, let’s get serious now. Yes, the Patriots are your defending Super Bowl champions, something that you’ll be reminded of more than once Thursday (along with the urban legend known as “Deflategate”). But living in the past isn’t something Bill Belichick does – and if the Pats rest on their laurels, it’ll be a long 2015 season. We know Tom Brady is hard at work right now (sorry, Mr. President) but improving elsewhere through the draft is key.


Cornerback

Darrelle Revis, it’s been real – thanks for everything. You too, Brandon Browner. The Pats' two best cornerbacks were one-and-done and will take their Super Bowl rings elsewhere.The Patriots signed a few free agents, but forgive us if we don’t want to start the season with a secondary called the Legion of Whom? Can the Pats replace Revis in the draft? Of course not, but you gotta start somewhere. Perhaps the guy is just south of Gillette Stadium at the University of Connecticut. Byron Jones is a physical specimen, now holding the world record with a 12-foot-3-inch standing broad jump. The former-safety-turned-corner is quick and was superb in coverage before a shoulder injury ended his season. Also keep an eye on troubled cornerback Marcus Peters out of Washington – he could scare enough teams that he could fall to New England.

 

Offensive Guard

The Patriots haven’t been sending offensive line guru Dante Scarnecchia all over America for nothing. They’re in need of offensive line help, and Scar knows talent. He’s checked out Duke’s Laken Tomlinson, South Carolina’s A.J. Cann, and Florida State’s Tre’ Jackson, among others. It would be a surprise if the Pats didn’t take a guard relatively early in the draft. Protecting Brady from gigantic human beings looking to hit him extremely hard is still priority No. 1.

 

Wide Receivers

If you cringe at the thought of the Patriots drafting a wide receiver early in this draft, we totally understand. Other than seventh round pick of Julian Edelman in 2009, the Patriots have missed on every single wide receiver drafted since 2002 when they got Deion Branch and David Givens. 2002! So is this the year that changes? Don't expect one in the first round, but it could happen on Day 2. How about 6-foot-4, 232-pound Devin Funchess out of Michigan? Talk about a red zone threat, and one the Pats could use as a tight end – Belichick’s favorite position.