2012 Patriots NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Dont'a Hightower Patriots NFL Draft

Dont'a Hightower brings the versatility needed to crack the 1st-round barrier for Bill Belichick. (Photo: ICON SMI)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

After an excellent win against the Denver Broncos, Patriots fans are antsy for some more football action. Hopefully, our second crack at a Patriots Mock Draft will satiate you a few minutes.

Despite their 14-3 run so far in 2011-2012, the Patriots have a lot of definable needs on both offense and defense, but will Bill Belichick find players that can fit his seemingly stringent guidelines and still present value?


1ST ROUND

27th Pick (Via New Orleans)
Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama (Scouting Report)

I hope they never do, but the rest of the NFL will eventually catch on that trading with the Patriots for future 1st rounders is not a great decision. Perhaps this year Bill Belichick won’t be able to find a cherry of a deal and will make two selections in the first round.

Dont’a Hightower will be near the top of the list to be selected if he isn’t able to keep the “free 2nd-rounder annuity” going.

Linebackers with a diverse skill-set never get old. Hightower has the skills to play nearly every linebacker position in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. He can even put his hand in the dirt and get after the quarterback in sub-packages.

With Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes holding down the inside positions, Hightower could rush the passer and set the edge from the OLB positions, while providing depth inside as well.

He isn’t incredibly fast, but his sudden physicality will make some plays for the Patriots defense – a unit that thrives on creating turnovers.

If a wide-receiver like Kendall Wright (WR, Baylor) is still available, the Patriots could look in that direction. However, I think that New England will be pursuing Josh McDaniels’ favorite receiver from his time in St. Louis — Brandon Lloyd.

32nd Pick
Fletcher Cox, DL, Mississipi State (Scouting Report)

After addressing the linebacking corps, upgrading the defensive end position might be next on the list. Brandon Deaderick, Ron Brace, and Gerard Warren have been decent, but nothing special. Shaun Ellis is almost certainly on his way out.

The Patriots have missed a truly dynamic 3-4 DE since Richard Seymour was traded to the Raiders. Fletcher Cox has the potential to be that sort of player.

His size (6’4″, 295) and ability to command a double team are key factors when evaluating potential 3-4 DE’s. He can get a bit overaggressive at times, which will need to be scaled back if the Patriots stick with their 2-gap 3-4 system.

Rushing inside from the 4-3 DT position is another thing that Cox brings to the table. Superb athleticism, a quick first step, and explosive power make him tough to handle one-on-one.

There are a strong set of defensive backs and interior offensive linemen that could still be available at this pick if the Patriots would chose to go that route. Mark Barron (S, Alabama), Chase Minnifield (CB, Virginia), and Peter Konz (OC, Wisconsin) could all be available.

Click on page two for the 2nd round.

Continue to Page: 1 2 3

Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Ben Jones, Don'ta Hightower, Fletcher Cox, George Iloka, Josh Robinson, Patriots Mock Draft, Shea McClellin

23 Responses to “2012 Patriots NFL Mock Draft 2.0”

  1. feanor82 says:

    Priorities: Defensive end, outside LB , corners, offensive line, 1 te. On free agency try to look for Jared allen, or anthony spencer for complementing the D

  2. TomB says:

    We could pick up Dre Kirkpatrick(CB who i think is the best on the list) now that he got busted weed as this would lower his stock in the draft. think so? or no?

    We need someone that is tall and physical im tired of all these corners that are short.

    • DWE says:

      He’s Rated top of the charts for a CB, and top of the round listing. EVERY team will want and need good safeties and good corners.
      I would doubt that he would fall literally from the top of the round, to the dead bottom area???

      I highly doubt Dallas would let him get past them if he even makes it to dallas on the list…
      Scandrik, Newman and Ball……….Well, some just plain suck, some are just old and slow, they’ve basically blow chunks for Dallas and I expect them to go after 2 d-backs actually.
      This doen’t account for all the other teams out there looking to help shut down guy’s like BRADY, BREESE, & ROGERS type QB’s so they can win some themselves……..

      Put in no particular order The Pats also need two off this list…………

      Barron (SS) Jayron Hosley(CB)
      Lester (FS) Antonio Allen (SS)
      Janoris Jenkins(CB) Arron Henry(FS)
      Chase Minnifield(CB) Markelle Martin (FS)
      Stephen Gilmore(CB)
      Me I’ll be happy with Jenkins and Barron governing our slot number………

    • TD says:

      That would be something, just like Hernandez 2 years ago. If he fell to the bottom of round 1, he would be great value.

  3. Jon says:

    I’m really interested to see if BB trades both first rounders this year. The Saints pick is #27 and the Patriots own pick will be somewhere between 29-32. Hopefully 32. I’m not sure how many teams will be looking to get back into the bottom of the first, or if they are what they offer in terms of compensation would be truly better than the best available player.

    Still, with the team needing to add reinforcements along the offensive and defensive lines, find a viable starting safety across from Chung (who himself is quite injury prone), and explore the future of the wide receiver position given Ocho being a bust, Branch slowing and Underwood being unimpressive, it feels like BB would want to have more picks to work with than he does.

    I’d like to see Waters, Branch, Wendell, Connolly, Koppen, Anderson and Carter retained for starters this offseason. Welker will assuredly be back, either with a new deal or the franchise tag slapped on. Beyond working to keep their own I don’t think we’ll see the splash moves again this year, although that’s not to see quality FA talent won’t be added. All that to point out the correlation between free agency and the draft.

    I think with their first five picks (if they keep them) the Patriots go WR, WR, DB, DE/DT/OLB, OG/OC. Not necessarily in that order.

    I think they double up on WRs in 2012 like they did with TE’s and RB’s the previous two years. A top tier DB and front seven player are both needed. I think an interior offensive lineman is a no brainer since they won’t be able to retain Wendell, Koppen, Conolly and Waters.

    And honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a TE taken with a mid-late round pick since they’ve only been carrying two and Hernandez tends to get nicked up a bit during the season.

    • TD says:

      I would think BB lumps the end of round 1 with the beginning of round 2 as far as value goes, with the break of one day between rounds.

      I would think the Saints are still looking for DLine help and/or replacement WR’s for their FA’s (Colston & Meachem) and BB could get another 2 fer (1st & 2nd).

      He could go the FA route for defensive improvements, DL & S

      • Bruschi54 says:

        There may be some quality defensive players on the market this off-season that would be an immediate help. Lot’s of speculation that the Steelers may be forced to release Woodley or Harrison due to their large salaries and how far over the cap they are. Either one would look pretty good in the red, white & blue.

        • Rockdog says:

          Always liked Woodley coming out of Michigan but not sure he has the cover skills. Harrison is too undisciplined and i don’t think BB would ever add him to this D.

  4. Lipper says:

    Its a must that our Pats get a Pass-rusher,Big time Wide-receiver, and a solid Corner-back

    • TD says:

      I don’t think we need a Big time WR, BB will be spending most of his WR budget on re-signing Welker, or according to Mayor Mennino, Wekler. We just need someone with Branch’s brain that has speed and quickness.

      What we need is playmakers on the D: DE, OLB and DB’s. Anderson & Carter are FA’s and I doubt Ellis, Guyton and all the smurfs at DB will be back. Also, cannot count on Mike Wright and Pryor.

      On offense Law Firm is a FA, Faulk is likely done, Hoyer is restricted FA, Ocho should be done and we need OL depth.

      • DWE says:

        Amen on “not” using a pick for a WR. Although a Branch replacement is clearly due.

        Free Agency will do us right I hope. That’s where the real help filling other slot’s will come from.

        The backfiled is where it’s at, Not only do we need em, but we sure want to keep other teams from tagging guy’s that’ll be able to shut TB12 and his receivers down don’t we???

        It’s a +/+ by taking backfield personel. We should want to sit looking somthing like:

        McCourty (CB), *Janorus Jenkins(CB).
        *Mark Barron (SS) Dowling(FS).

        Then the second round starts…

    • Rockdog says:

      Every time I watch guys like Welker and Branch, I say “just give me a guy who has quickness, runs precise routes and good hands”. I think guys without these qualities will not earn Brady’s confidence and therefore will not get on the field. As intriguing as a outside speed guy would be, I don’t think he would fit this team without the aforementioned traits.

      I’ve got to believe that Coach Belichick looks at this defense and says there are probably 3 spots where he would like to push the current starter: ROLB, FS and CB. I’m not sure he considers Cunningham a bust just yet but this will be final year for this experiment to show significant progress.

  5. TD says:

    Hightower would be awesome, but there are a lot of teams in front of us that could really use him also, most notably that team full of losers in the Meadowlands.

    Free Agency has a ton of players in 2012 also, especially at WR & DBacks. I would love for BB to exchange Ocho for Reggie Wayne.

  6. STEVEN G says:

    1ST things 1st. I love McCourty at saftey n i believe Moore n especially Edelman r starting quality corners. With that said i would go with a size wr with last pick. If the draft fell like this this would be the 1st time in a long time that i would stand up n clap. Hightower(fav olb). Cox(fav de). Ioka(coild start if MC at cb), Jones(top 3 c), Adams(top 5 wr). would be outstanding

  7. brightonbob says:

    1. The website is excellent and from a diehard fan, if this stuff was on the globe website they would have to shut it down becuase fans would spend so much time there it would break the servers.

    2. I don’t think you can do this without evaluating what the team will do in free agency. The team won’t finish the season and then draft they will have free agency and you need to factor that in. Will certain guys like ochocinco get cut prompting the need for certain players. will other teams in front of them sing free agents or lose players that will force them to take guys or take a pass on guys.

    3. finally the thing I think you need to take into consideration is that in the last several drafts belichek has done stuff we didn’t think he would do at all, and you might want to have a post, on this is a wild card scenario. I did not expect for example that last year they’d go with running backs and offensive linemen but in hindsight they did looking at a roster with an aging backfield. so this year you might do an alternative draft plan-I could see them adding Wr’s in the draft given that ocho-welker-branch are all in their 30s.

  8. Ryan says:

    I think they take Sanu out of Rutgers with on of their first picks. Hopefully he isn’t a bust. He fits what Bill has been looking for and Bill can get all the info he wants on the kid with his ties to Rutgers.

  9. Asap says:

    Wow! If we have this draft, I’d be doing backflips. I don’t know if Adams would ever turn into a legitimate WR, but could use him on special teams.

  10. Ken W says:

    Cox, Upshaw, Hightower, or Konz: any of these guys with the first two picks would be great. The I like Jarius Wright in the 2nd along with a corner or safety.

  11. Bruschi54 says:

    If the first 2 rounds of the draft played out as predicted, it would be great news heading into next season. I think Hightower is going to be solid 10 yr NFL player who is just what the doctor ordered for this defense. I like both 2nd round picks and agree that OC will be a priority in this draft, especially if Konz from Wisconsin is still on the board with one of the 1st round picks. If they take a run at experienced F/A safety (Landry/Redskins) in off-season, I would expect them to change gears and go WR in top 2 rounds. Ras I Dowling still factors big into next season if he is healthy.

  12. DWE says:

    I’d like to see a much better Safety or Corner picked earlier. I’d also like to see D. Poe out of Memphis added to our D-line. He’s young, moldable and Vince Wilfork as a mentor…..he’s got LONG TERM Patriot material all over him.
    These would be our first TWO need’s IMO. After that…….eh’

    ALSO; Sign and Trades are called for this off season for sure.
    Packaging guy’s we know are not needed/wanted should be an off season first.
    1/. HOYER, 2/. Cunningham, 3/. Guyton and 4/. Arrington are the first four on the sign and trade/package list for me, even if they all went in one deal together. & Any other player(s) which some see as unwanted, uneeded, not cutting it or just plain expendable would garner another decent pick, if not a key player.

    • billy c says:

      You might get a fifth for Hoyer, sixth for Arrington, signed Roger Goodell football for Cunningham, and a Jason Seahorn poster for Guyton.

      • Ryan says:

        Guyton will be cut. As for Arrington I’m guessing he will be kept, as long as he keeps improving unless the trade is right. Cunningham I’m sure will be kept as well, not having an off season killed anything he could have built off of. A good trade for Hoyer would be awesome.

      • DWE says:

        LMFAO! Jason Seahorn Poster……DAM. That was some seriously funny *&%4, billy c, THANK YOU for a very much needed laugh this morning…….!

        Agree actually, Hoyer has never really been played or shopped- so unless a team is really desperate he wouldn’t garner much more than a 4th i wouldn’t suspect. & Yah’ Cunningham would be better served somewhere else for sure(he does have talent, but not used right here IMO). Trying to transform and make a HYBRID out of guy’s that just don’t have it in them hasn’t worked out for a handfull of DE/OLB guy’s in the “VALUE” catagory.
        SO, yes, I’d be quite happy with simply packaging up a handfull of em for even ONE decent pick. 2 of the 4 I mentioned have potential and the other two are for good measure.

        I’m sure there are a choice select few more on the roster, we could go back and forth with/about to package, BUT…anything we could get IN RE: ADDING A PICK TO THE LIST BEFORE THE DRAFT STARTS IS A MAJOR BOOST, and again a cpl of guy’s could and would clearly be better served and used on another team.



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