2012 Patriots Mock Draft: 1st Edition

Patriots Mock Draft

Courtney Upshaw headlines Mike's first attempt at a Patriots mock draft.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Loyko

With the NFL season almost halfway through, and some teams already out of the playoff picture, fans are already looking ahead to April’s NFL Draft.

With the debacle this past weekend in Pittsburgh many Patriot fans are looking for answers on defense and how to improve the pass rush and  secondary. Using the current 2012 NFL draft order as our template, this will be our first of many Patriot specific mock drafts.

The Patriots are once again flush with draft choices in the top half of the draft. Owning both the Saints first round pick and the Raiders second round pick, the Patriots will have 4 picks in the first two rounds for the 3rd straight season.

The Saints did the Patriots a major favor by losing to the winless Rams. The Saints look likely to make the playoffs, however they are not the juggernaut many thought they would be entering the season. Sitting at 5-3 Patriot fans should be rooting against the Saints and Raiders in hopes of improving our draft picks in the first two rounds.

Current Team Needs- 

OLB- It’s painfully clear the Patriots don’t have many impact athletes on defense. Nowhere is that more evident than at OLB. Rob Ninkovich is a nice reserve, but they have to upgrade his spot. Keep in mind that the Patriots may end up switching back to the 3-4 next year, which would mean they need 2 OLBs. The secondary is awful, but the coverage is a product of pass rush, and this year, like the previous 4-5 years, the Patriots main need is to address the pass rush.

ILB- They need a MLB who can stay on the field all four downs. The main weakness on this team is they don’t have a linebacker who can cover and they are constantly exposed.

Weak Side DE- Andre Carter has done a great job, but he is on a 1 year deal and in his mid 30′s. They need to find players that can rush the passer, plain and simple. Forget a DE who can hold up against the run, this team is chalk full of DE/DT who play the run; they need players who can just rush the passer.

Safety- The Patriots don’t distinguish between their free and strong safety. Patrick Chung plays more like a strong safety, so they need to find at least one coverage safety. This might end up being the biggest need by the time the draft rolls around.

Cornerback- Devin McCourty and Ras-I Dowling will likely be the two starters heading into next year. They have to add depth to the position. While people are already willing to call Dowling a bust, I expect big things from him when he is healthy.

Center- The Patriots have drafted two tackles who figure to be bookends for years to come. The yalso have Mankins tied up long term and Marcus Cannon as a high ceiling prosepct. Dan Koppen and Dan Connolly are UFA’s after this season and I look for them to upgrade that position, even though Dan Connolly has been solid.

Wide Receiver- The only WR on the roster who has any long term value as of today is Wes Welker and he is a FA after this season. Deion Branch is solid in this system but isn’t nearly explosive enough. Taylor Price has 9 games remaining to show his stuff, otherwise they will need to draft a WR who can stretch the field. The past two/three drafts the Patriots have completely rebuilt the tight end position, the tackle position and last year the running back position for the future. I’d expect them to spend heavily on the defensive side of the ball, and just once I would like them to use some picks on some high upside athletes that can add speed and pass rush to the defense.

On To The Picks…

Round 1 Pick 23- Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama-
(Scouting Report)

Upshaw would the dream pick for most Patriot fans. He is as complete an outside linebacker as there is in this draft. Not only is he an explosive edge rusher who also excels in the run game. He is very solid on passing downs. He is the type of 4 down LB this team needs opposite Jerod Mayo.

Round 1 Pick 24- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama-
(Scouting Report)

Yep another CB. Jenkins is a special player. He reminds me alot of Asante Samuel with the way he reads and reacts to the ball. The Patriots like CB who can play a variety of coverages and Jenkins can do that. The former Florida Gator star was kicked off the team due to failed drug test for weed, otherwise he goes much higher. Belichick has shown that he will draft guys with red flags if he sure about them, just look at Aaron Hernandez.

Round 2 Pick 52- Robert Lester, FS, Alabama-
It looks as if the Patriots scouts won’t even have to leave the state of Alabama to scout this year. Lester in my opinion is the best fit at Safety for the Patriots. He is an instinctual ballhawk, who has very good cover skills. He understands defenses and anitipates throws. The Patriots require their safeties to be flexible in terms of where they play, Lester has the size to be active in the run game and the ball skills to be the center fielder we need on this defense.

Round 2 Pick 56- Billy Winn, DE/DT, Boise State-
(Scouting Report)

Many people will think this may be too low for Winn but I think he will slip a little bit, not because he deserves to but because he isn’t the sexiest player. With all the top tier pass rushers likely gone at this point in the draft, a player like Winn would fit the Patriots scheme extremly well. Winn is a versatile lineman who should easily be able to play any number of positions along the defensive line. Belichick has been preaching about pressure up the middle from interior DL and that is something Winn can provide. At 6’3″ 300 he can hold up against the run and also kick outside to defensive end. If the Patriots opt to switch back to the 3-4 could play 5-Tech.

Round 3 Pick 88- Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame-
Smith is a football player plain and simple. Not the most gifted player in the draft, however he makes up for it with his effort, instincts and compete level. Bill Belichick has shown that he will us multiple picks to address the same position and with the UFL quality players the Patriots have at safety spending multiple picks to address the position would be smart. Smith is a player who could excel on ST as well. He loves the game and those are the types of players this team needs.

Round 4 Pick 120- Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa-
(Scouting Report)

At this point in the draft I expect there to be a lot of slot type receivers available such as Marquis Maze, Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, etc. Well the Patriots don’t need anymore of them, so with limited number of bigger WR available, I give them McNutt here. He’s a big play WR who can stretch the field. McNutt has made plays for the Hawkeyes his whole career. Being a former QB, McNutt understands how to run routes and how to get open. Not the fastest WR in the draft but i’ll take a WR who can catch the ball and get open over a straight line speed guy anyday.

Late Rounds-
As of right now the Patriots final pick is in the 4th round. Do I expect the Bill Belichick to just take day 3 off? Of course not, there is noway that 3 rounds will go by without the Patriots making a pick. So below I list some prospects I would consider at various spots in rounds 5-7:

-Mike Martin, DT, Michigan / Quinton Saulsberry, C, Miss. St. / George Iloka, S, Boise St. / Tank Carder,LB, TCU / Mychal Kendricks, MLB,Cal / Rhett Ellison, TE, USC / Shea McClellin, DE, Boise St / Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada / Manny Abreau, OLB, Rutgers / DeQuan Menzie, CB, Alabama / Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina / Case Keenum, QB, Houston

Keep in mind this is very very early in this process. I will be updating this every couple of weeks leading up to the draft. There are so many varibles that aren’t known at this time. Go easy on me!

Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Mike's Mocks

21 Responses to “2012 Patriots Mock Draft: 1st Edition”

  1. Ken W says:

    I think the Patriots are one or two solid draft away from rebuilding the defense. they are 1 safety, OLB, DE, and corner away from a total make over from that championship defense that all Pats fans want back.

    You cant replace a Seymour, Bruschi, Harrison, Law, Samuel, McGinest, Vrabel and others over night. It takes time. I think we are doing pretty well so far.

    Vince, Mayo, Spikes, Chung, and McCourty

    The biggest part they they haven’t filled yet is that pass rushing player. The McGinest Vrabel role hasn’t been filled yet and it is one of the key pieces to the puzzle.

    Until they fill that pass rushing void this defense will struggle. But I have faith that Bill will hit on a few more players in the up coming draft like he has in the past few.

    2009- Chung, Vollmer, Edelman
    2010- McCourty, Gronk, Spikes, Hernandez, and if given a chance I think Price could be on this list also.

  2. Billy C. says:

    DWE,
    Why in the world would you give up on a season and have Brady play injured just so you can showcase Hoyer? With that scenario we will have no post season chance at all. I think I’m in the minority as a person who still believes this team has a chance to advance to the super bowl. The AFC is much weaker this year than in previous years and the opprtunity is ripe for almost any team to advance.

    • DWE says:

      I’d love too see them Gel and show some nut’s. I just with respect have reservation’s on the O-line. The “D” we can all say need’s real help, but that would be beating a dead horse. I am not ruling out the possability of them getting it together and doing something great….something that most wont see happening…..which is “not” going one and done yet again : (

      *If this team doesn’t begin too shape up, I just really feel that having a short time frame with Brady left, that in the inbetween, it would be actually kind of nice to see them have an off year, get a stack of MUCH BETTER PICK’s due to it, play and be able to shop Hoyer at the same time(which would respectively lead to even more pick’s), if not a staple bad ARS player instead for him which delete’s the need of an extra pick), and as well the whole time we play Ridley and Vereen as well non stop.
      We do not need a fist full of RB’s we have, we do not need Hoyer garnering the fact that they bought Mallet with that other 3rd rounder and we all assume he’s the next in line.

      Hoyer = a pick, Hoyer and Vereen =an even better pick, kicking the tires on all of em’ = what we can get for the loose baggage, + ALL of our standard picks become that much better than they normally are just by taking ONE YEAR and seeing what we really have.
      *respectfully, I do not think the mojority of the fan base would mind if one out of how long……? That the Pat’s sat back and checked out what they REALLY had, and inturn macked the hell out the following year with a rebuild and re-birth of a “SOLID BASE”, which we currently do not have on “D”.

      It’s a want and a need that the team could actually really use, again I highly doubt that accross the sproting realm that many would say much as it is a clear and phyisical need. Scout’s, reporter’s, show host’s on radio or t.v., other coaches…….

      If they actually had a chance to make it to another Superbowl and actually had a chance too win, then o.k.. If BB’s holding back and playing pawn on us all, and 3/4 through the year we just straight stomp on team’s left and right, and do the unthinkable…….WOW, I’d be just as happy as all of us on here, but I just don’t see it.

      I was actually a proponent of respectfully tossing the year previously so that specifically all of last years pick’s were Mack-Dad pick’s across the board.
      This would have WITHOUT QUESTION gave us a minimum 75% better draft be it player’s and additional pick’s accorss the board + still using that BB Draft genious would have reaped us far more even this year in return as well.

      This team need’s more than just settling on veteran cast-off’s and nobodies, and that is what the “D” is currently made of as well as that In Alot of Opinion’s, the O-line need’s more security.

      This team accoss the sporting realm(with respect) is “soft & finness” by compairison to the SB day’s of being more smashmouth and when the Defense played offence and the offence played defence.
      *It was all wheel’s spinning.

      That is just simply not the case anymore.

      A Division Title is great, but with respect as well, the Buffalo Bill’s………?
      the Miami Dolphin’s….?
      Hell, even the Jet’s have actually been really toned down by compairison.

      So a Division Title too me….IMO is actually with this offence a NO BRAINER.
      But the AFC Title is another story, and beating the contending team regarding the NFC is even more of a challenge with this current line up……..

      the 2 Dick MacPherson year’s and the Pete Carroll year’s IMO and many other’s were downed so that we had the pick’s to grab guy’s like what the re-birth started with.
      Bledsoe and Chris Slade #1 and #2 in 1993′(OH’ and Troy Brown in the 8th round).
      They built from the ground up mind you with the laughing stock of the NFL….The Pat’s.
      1994- saw WILLIE McGINEST at #1 and Max Lane at #8(similar to Troy Brown #8, but still two guy’s “minimum”).
      1995 #1 TY LAW, #2 Ted Johnson and #3 Curtis MArtin. 3 alpha sytle dog’s running with the pack…….
      1996- Really saw thing’s coming to it’s fruation: Terry Glenn at #1, Lawyer Malloy at #2 and Teddy Bruschi at #3.

      I’ll move straight to 1999 with #1 Damian Woody, #2 Katzenmoyer and #3 KEVIN FAULK.

      Bottom line, is this team need’s a year with top notch draft pick’s across the board, not the reoccuring mediocre all across the board and reoccuring veteran cast off’s…..
      Two and three guy’s a year were the minimum………the standard, and that was building from the ground up with the laughing stock of the leage since it’s existance.
      I should think that governing that Brady has a finite window left(through 2014), we should at least begin to fill the roster’s missing spot’s with SOMETHING OTHER THAN SUB-PAR PERSONEL so that we do not get blown out of the play0off’s for year’s and year’s in a row again and again.

      I just think quite simply, it’s what the team actually does need. Humble themselves, and re-group…….with firepower in their hand’s to compliment Brady before he either A/. Get’s hit to much and get’s damaged before he goes without a 4th, or he get’s fed up and just say’s, O.K., we’re done here but I’m still feeling like Playing, and I’ve got thig really big hnouse in Cali with my kid’s and a bombshell hottie in it………I think I’m gonna go play for the 49′s for about 3 or 4 year’s before I retire fully from the leage, and he snap’s a 4th title there instead, Becuase they’ll build around him what he need’s on both sides of the ball, and we just are not.

      So Yah’, I think the Pat’s should Humble themselves, regroup, toss a year and call it bookwork. Then come back with FIREPOWER and take one more before Brady leaves for San Fran and then retires, or just retires outright from us without that 4th one.

      Either way I’d trust that BB wouldn’t end with us having a Vernon Gholsten type guy with the better pick’s either.

      If not this year, then definetly next. No body would rag them for it, This team would actaully be respectedalong with what it’s already done for being smart enough to know that they need to re-group.

  3. Karim says:

    First shot at 2012 Patriots Mock Draft

    Round 1 : Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
    Round 1 : (traded)

    Round 2 : Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
    Round 2 : Matt Reynolds, OL, BYU

    Round 3 : Brandon Taylor, S, LSU

    Round 4 : Mike Martin, DT, Michigan

  4. Lundahl says:

    I don’t agree with the ILB need. We already have Mayo and Spikes. For sure, it would be the dream pick to get Upshaw or even Hightower. But… is BB really going to draft an outside linebacker in the first round ? I doubt it. But I’d take a DE/DT or pure pass rusher DE instead of a CB in the first round and pick a CB in the second round. BB will draft allot of safeties this year. I actually suspect BB trades down.

    • TD says:

      boy, you’re really going out on a limb with the trade down LOL. Not sure if he will draft a lot of safties, but I’m sure the bus will be full of undrafted rooks.

      I’d like him to have a spy in the Packers camp to see what WR’s they like. Gonna need another OT to develop after he cuts Light next year and some LB’s if he sticks to the 4-3.

      • Lundahl says:

        BB using his first two draft picks would be very surprising.

        • DWE says:

          Using the pick’s is one thing, NOT WASTING THEM IS ANOTHER.

          Depending on where they sit, it should be almost obvious that one 1st will be used and one 1st will stay.

          It’s about as predictable and old as our defensive scemes.

          In the end this will actually(cough-cough) SHOULD BE an actual great draft by the value number system. We need an entirely new defence except for a few guy’s….Wilfork who’s been around for a while and soon enough will be retireing, a cpl guy’s like both Spikes and Mayo.
          Fletch and Nink IMO are great plug-in/back-up’s or trade bait.

          In addition, we’ll need about a 1/2 the offence as well. So no matter what, when, who and how much?
          *At least filling of possition’s should be done. The quality and such or course is yet 2b deturmend.

          This is going to be a year of change……..hopefully for the future and the better. If they were smart, they’d fake a Brady injury and use that “TIME” wisely to play and shop HOYER.

          You play and showcase some of Hoyer’s talent so when the time comes he can go in a package deal with another Patriot and get some more draft pick’s…………or preferably a known staple commodity player worth of the trade that “ISN’T” a veteran cast-off, a veteran unwanted or a veteran has-been.

          Make all our draft pick’s that much better, shop Hoyer or Hoyer+1 for another pick all in one shot………….Who need’s a quarter back???

          Personally, I think since Ridley showed so much promise that they ought to just use Vereen as much as possable, see what he’s actually worth and if we’re good with The 3x Combo of BJ-GE, Woody, and Ridley, then Shop Vereen as well.

          A second round pick and how much has he taken the field??
          Play that SOB alot!!

          If we get rif of Vereen and Hoyer for an actual price rather than just keep letting player’s go outright, then it’ll go along way in the upcoming draft.

        • JMayo says:

          Well he did so in the 2003 draft picking Wilfork at #21 and Ben Watson at #32

        • JMayo says:

          Soory I meant the 2004 draft

  5. Wgleton says:

    Mike, Appreciate the great work you’ve put into developing this mock draft. I have a few speculation/projection related questions.

    If we were to draft Upshaw, where would he project in both of the Patriots 3-4 and 4-3 schemes? In the 4-3 we are running now, could he significantly impact our defense replacing Ninkovich or is he essentially a more well rounded Spikes, therefore allowing him to be a 4 down player? His projection is more obvious in the 3-4 as that is what he is playing now at Alabama, therefore my question most particularly pertains to the 4-3.

  6. TD says:

    I doubt the big impact players everyone wants will be available with ours and Saints 1st rounders. We will be picking in position 24-32. The top LB’s/pass rushers, DL’s and DBacks will be gone as everyone needs those players every year.

    Given BB’s past history, he won’t be moving up and I’m glad he did not do that last year. I remember all the clamor for moving up to get: Quinn, Aldon Smith, Clayborn, JJ Watt. Good thing he drafted Solder.

  7. rdf63 says:

    Spend the first three rounds only on defense and forget about drafting a CB, RB or any other specialty position. Use the first 2 rounds and draft for the defensive front seven and use the third round for a hard hitting safety!
    1. LB – Zach Brown – UNC…tackling machine with incredible speed and reminds me of a Willie McGinest. Once he puts weight he will be a NFL force. For example, his stats from a game against Wake Forest…tallied nine tackles, an interception, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. OLB – Manti Te’o – Notre Dame may be available and worth consideration.
    1. DE/OLB – Courtney Upshaw – Alabama…hard hitting physical player or DE – Vinny Curry-Marshall.
    2. DT – Jerrell Worthy-Michigan State….may be the best DT in the draft
    2. DE/DT – Melvin Ingram – SC…produces results and can cover or S – Mark Barron-Alabama who is a hard hitter with terrific instinct.
    3. T.J. McDonald- S-USC….big and physical safety or C – Webster – OSU. The Pats should not pick a Center any higher. If not Webter is not available pick Alabama’s starting center William Vlachos.
    4. SS – Harrison Smith – ND…Only player in ND history with more than 200 tackles, 15 tackles for losses and 15 pass deflections.

    Why no WR in the top 3 rounds. Get a solid Front 7 and Tom Terrific will get better field position and can score at will.

  8. tim kavic says:

    Mike:
    I very much like your picks- probably would prefer Devon Still to Billy Winn, if he is available. I think that Courtney Upshaw could be the next Lamar Woodley.Also would consider Vinny Curry,though he hasn’t faced great teams yet. Finally I saw Marvin McNutt play against my college team, Pitt, earlier this year. He wold be great- Pats need more size and/or speed at WR but his size and athletic ability are impressive….Tim

  9. JMayo says:

    I understand your approach.
    I like the name of Mike Martin that you throw as a late round possibility. What do you think of another Wolverine for the Patriots in the late rounds: center David Molk?

    • MikeLoyko says:

      I really like Mike Martin as a possible pick, former state champion wrestler, been the best player on D for the last 3 years. Reminds me a little of Dan Klecko and Mike Wright. Definitely an old school player. Molk would be in consideration, its just so tough to tell right now what center they would target. I just through saulsberry’s name in there because he plays multiple positions and i like what i saw from him this year

  10. JMayo says:

    Some interesting picks but overall this mock draft is way too much based on team needs, and we all know Belichick does draft for need but for value.
    I like the Jenkins pick though. I could totally see Belichick take a chance on him if he slips to the end of the first round. The kid has Top 15 talent.
    However, I really wonder if Billy Winn can be efficient as a 5-technique.
    Plus, I would definitely take Mark Barron over Robert Lester

    • MikeLoyko says:

      We are 6,almost 7 months away from the actually draft. There is only 1 way to do a mock right now in my mind. That is to look at team needs and try to project a pick to a need. Otherwise you are just throwing names out there. Mark Barron would probably not be there late in the second round. Plus Lester is more of a coverage safety who I think can play both safety spots. Barron is the more traditional strong safety.

  11. Bill says:

    Congrats Mike.

    You are a man of courage for admitting to Pat’s nation that the Pat’s cannot win a playoff game this season.

    I can script the 38-24 playoff loss post game press conference.

    TB: Well, we made some mistakes, but we’re going to learn from those mistakes. We’re going to work harder, we’re going to be better prepared for next season.

    12 hours later he will be on a beach in Costa Rica and you’ll be shoveling 12 inches of snow from your driveway, wondering who the Pat’s need to draft to win the Super Bowl.

    Fire BB. Trade Brady. And pray for a rainy winter.

    • MikeLoyko says:

      I never said the Patriots aren’t going to win a playoff game. I still expect them to be the number 1 seed in the AFC and win a playoff game. The thing that is clear though, is this team needs to take it to another level and the only way to do that is to add playmakers and athletes to the defense.

    • john says:

      you cant call yourself a pats fan if you want to trade tom brady



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