Our last Patriots Mock Draft wasn’t very well received to say the least… we can’t make everyone mad twice in a row, right?
Just a reminder, our mocks are not our dream scenario for the Patriots, they are merely what we see the bosses in Foxboro doing with their selections.
Round 1 (OAK) – #17
Even though the quantity is there at the defensive end position with Ty Warren and Marcus Stroud joining an already crowded depth chart, the quality of the 3-4 bookends could certainly improve. Muhammad Wilkerson (DL, Temple) has the best chance of being available when the Patriots are on the clock.
Cam Jordan and JJ Watt might be better prospects in the opinion of many, but whether Bill Belichick thinks they are worth using some draft capital to trade up is a completely different story.
Wilkerson has the prototypical size and strength, while playing in a college 3-4 like Jordan. He has great stamina and is rarely blocked effectively one-on-one. While he isn’t there yet, we see Wilkerson as the closest thing to Richard Seymour in this draft.
If the Patriots choose to go another way, offensive line and outside linebacker could get some looks. If Aldon Smith or Robert Quinn tumble down draft boards, they could be some very intriguing edge rushers.
Round 1 – #28
Rightly so, nearly every fan and pundit alike seems to think that this pick will be moved to a team looking to draft a quarterback. We see the 49ers jumping up and sending picks 45 and 76 to the Patriots.
That said, if the Patriots are in love with an offensive lineman like Anthony Castonzo, Mike Pouncey, Gabe Carimi, or Derek Sherrod, they may pull the trigger.
Round 2 (CAR) – #33
If the Patriots do pass on an offensive lineman in the first frame of the NFL Draft, they’ll need to address it early in the second. Nate Solder (OL, Colorado) has perhaps the most potential of any of the offensive tackles in this draft, and also will be the most malleable for O-line Coach Dante Scarnecchia.
Solder was formerly a tight-end, adding to the long line of players new to football, tight ends, and wrestlers that the Patriots have employed across their line. It’s almost as if Scarnecchia wants some rawness in the player so he can mold them just as he sees fit.
Like current RT Sebastian Vollmer, Solder can play both left and right tackle. We’d see Vollmer moving to the left side and Solder the right, especially at the start of his career.
Round 2 (WAS) – #41
The top of the second round has been a place that the Patriots have targeted the last couple of years – grabbing guys like Pat Chung, Rob Gronkowski, and many more. We see them continuing to target this high-value area by moving up from pick #60 to #41 by sending the Redskins pick #76 acquired earlier from San Francisco. We also have the Patriots picking up a 7th rounder from Washington.
Continuing the tradition of drafting non-traditional blockers, 26 year-old Danny Watkins (OL, Baylor) makes sense as a guy that can come in right away and start at either guard position – wherever the need may be.
Rodney Hudson, who has shown that he can put on some weight, Clint Boling, and Stefen Wisniewski are other guards/centers that might warrant a look here.
Round 2 (SF) #45
With a triumvirate of veteran running backs possibly leaving Foxboro, the Patriots will need to restock their stables with some young horses to help out Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead.
Ryan Williams (RB, Virginia Tech) is their perfect complement, an incredibly tough inside runner with the elusiveness to make a couple of guys miss. He will need a year to further his studies of the pass-protection game, but having Woodhead available blunts that immediate need.
Durability is our only major concern with Williams. He only played two college seasons, and was injured for the majority of one of them. If he checks out medically, Williams has only begun to show what kind of player he can be.
Round 3 (MIN) #74
Why draft only one running back when you can draft two? Demarco Murray (RB, Oklahoma) would give the Patriots a legitimate four young running backs to go to battle with for the next four or five years.
Murray is a smart runner that is ready to contribute immediately on all three downs, but should shine on third. Shane Vereen, Kendall Hunter, and Jordan Todman are other options for this running back role.
Round 3 – #92
While he was initially a first-round pick for us when we started our 2011 NFL Draft coverage back in 2009, we’ve been a bit down lately on Jeremy Beal (DE/OLB, Oklahoma). Along with many draft writers, we dropped him after poor performances at the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and Pro-Days.
After re-watching some tape though, we’re starting to heat back up on Beal. Similar to Brandon Spikes, Beal is just a football player. He won’t wow you running, working out, or in fake drills, but he does show great instincts and a wondrous motor on the field.
His work-ethic and leadership skills are legendary in Oklahoma – we’d like to see him bring those to New England as well. Texas’ Sam Acho is another option that should be available in the third round.
Round 4 – #125
If the Patriots were able to address the majority of their “wants” in the first three rounds like this draft, you’d have to figure this pick would be on the block. If they stay here though, KJ Wright (OLB, Mississippi State) makes sense as a potential pass-rush specialist.
Wright is a hard-working player that has the skills to cover the ROLB position as a 3-down player once he learns the defense. In the meantime, he could serve in a Tully Banta-Cain 3rd down role.
If there is a quarterback that the Patriots like that is still on the board here, such as Ricky Stanzi or Greg McElroy, expect that option to be explored as well.
Round 5 – #159
Again a possible trade-out possibility, the Patriots will be looking for the “Best Value Available” here. Chris Matthews (WR, Kentucky) is a tall down-field threat that can also be used in jump-ball situations. Certainly a developmental prospect, Matthews would probably need a year to get in synch, similar to Taylor Price in 2010.
If the Patriots are still looking for more slot receivers, Dwayne Harris and Stephen Burton are two great prospects from non-BCS schools.
Round 6 – #193
The Patriots will certainly trade a pick forward at some point in this draft, so we’ll have the Patriots trade this 6th rounder forward for a fifth-round selection in 2012.
Round 7 (WAS)
The Patriots have a lot of options at safety right now, with Brandon McGowan, Josh Barrett, Jarrad Page, and others waiting in the wings. Mana Silva (S, Hawaii) is an intriguing guy, eight picks in 2010, that the Patriots might try and stash away on the practice squad or provide competition for the special teams spot with Tracy White and Matthew Slater.
Mark LeGree is another day three option that we like at safety, although he will likely be gone by the 5th round.