This out today from Pro Football Weekley:
The Way We Hear It - NFL pro football rumors and insider news from Pro Football Weekly
3 rumors are particularly relevant. One directly concerns the Pats, the other two could indirectly affect their draft.
1. "Among the reasons the Patriots haven’t made much headway in extension negotiations with their top-tier veteran talent scheduled to hit free agency after next season — headlined by NT Vince Wilfork and DE Richard Seymour — is the pulsating uncertainty of how their draft class will shape up. With 11 picks total and nowhere near that many roster spots available, New England may very well be the biggest X-factor in the draft from a wheeling-and-dealing standpoint.
Without knowing how much money they’ll be sinking into their draft crop, they currently lack a suitable foundation of knowledge with which to work on extensions. Word out of Foxborough is that the team is spending far more time and resources scouting and hosting the defensive draft prospects than those on the offensive side.
In addition to Wilfork and Seymour, top reserve DE Jarvis Green, who’s coming off a subpar 2008 campaign, is also slated to hit free agency in 2010."
2. "Based on the caliber of draftees the Chiefs have hosted recently, there is a real possibility that the team is considering trading out of the third overall slot and picking up additional picks in the late-first or early-second round. Kansas City doesn’t currently own a second-round selection, and during his time with the Patriots, GM Scott Pioli showed a penchant for making Draft Day trades to collect more draft choices." KC has been hosting players like Barwin and Laurinaitis, who are way too low for #3 and way to high for #67. There are several rumors that they would love to trade down.
3. "With holes scattered throughout their defense, sources say the Broncos are likely to take a ‘best defender available’ strategy to this year’s draft as they prepare to use at least one of their two first-round picks on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker, D-line and quarterback are expected to be the team’s top priorities, but the club has not ruled out selecting a cornerback at No. 12 or 18 and could strike if Ohio State’s Malcolm Jenkins is available. Free-agent acquisition André Goodman, who started every game for the Dolphins last season, is penciled in as a starter at corner opposite Champ Bailey, but the club has very little depth at the position."
The best case scenario that I can see for the Pats would be something like this for the top 13:
1. Detroit - Matt Stafford, QB
2. St. Louis - Jason Smith, OT
3. Cleveland (swap with KC for a #2) - Aaron Curry, LB
4. Seattle - Matt Stafford, QB
5. KC - Eugene Monroe, OT
6. Cincy - Michael Crabtree, WR (especially if they move Ocho Cinco)
7. Oakland - Darius Heyward-Bey, WR (Mayock's current pick, as Al Davis loves speed; I had this in my 3/15 mock)
8. Jacksonville - Jeremy Maclin, WR
9. Green Bay - Brian Orapko, DE/OLB
10. SF - Michael Oher, OT
11. Buffalo - Everette Brown, DE
12. Denver - Malcolm Jenkins, CB
13. Washington -Andre Smith, OT
With the Jets and TB needing a QB and Josh Freeman still available, with Tyson Jackson and Rey Maualuga still on the board for Denver and San Diego, and with New Orleans looking to trade back, there would be a lot of room to move up to 14, 16, or possibly even 18.