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This is the third year in a row that the Patriots have 4 picks in the first 2 rounds. This is what I would like to see the Patriots do. Not really a mock, more of a wish list:
17- JJ Watt, DE. He would be a perfect fit for the Patriots. He rushes the passer well and is stout against the run. Also a good character guy.
28- Nate Solder, T. Time to find Light's replacement. This guy is huge. I could see him and Vollmer as huge bookends on the O-line.
33- Akeem Ayers, OLB. Very physical player, good in pass coverage. Projected as a high first, early second round pick. If he is available at 33, I can see BB drafting him.
60- Mike Leshoure, RB or Ryan Williams, RB. Not sure if LeShoure will be available at 60. I don't think any RB other than Ingram will be drafted in the first round. BB may have to move up a little to get him. If he is gone, then Williams would be a good alternative. Both are good inside runners that would help in BB's running back by commitee approach.
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Mock Draft's maybe fun but I don't think they make much sense.
Instead I'd like to try an "Unmock Draft" outlining the way I suspect and do think the Patriots and the mind of Belichick works, and players he would be considering. I think he favors Defensive linemen as primary needs for a great Defense. BB has said "... there are only so many agile, 300 # linemen..." BB expects to draft smart Senior leaders, as LOT candidates in Round two, ". ..you draft Left Tackles and fill in elsewhere..." and move them as required elsewhere on the line. He believes under the CAP, you can't afford enough, by going with Blue Chip OL players.
I think he creates a group of players with whom he would be comfortable near his Draft positions. As the draft proceeds near his pick, BB selects from who is available, or positionally trades up, or out. If he has selected a position, that removes from consideration that position in a subsequent pick. If a player from a draft position falls, he an an automatic primary candidate in the next pick grouping, and may be a trade up possibility.
However, I do expect two early selections from DE-->> OLB conversion candidates, as there are two openings on the roster for those players, while success is problematical, and Belichick expects failures, and two+ years of seasoning. That is why he won't draft higher for them.
First round (#17) in order of interest:
Cameron Jordon, Mo Wilkerson, JJ Watt, Anthony Costonzo, and Ryan Kerrigan are his favorite likely available players overall, while Quinn and Dareus are unreachable.
First round (#28) in order of interest. All sliders from #17 grouping, and Cameron Heyward, Nate Solder, Jabaal Sheard, Kyle Brooks.
Second round (#33) in order of interest:
All sliders and James Carpenter, Mikel Leshore or Mark Ingram.
Second Round (#60) in order of interest: All sliders plus raw Colin Kaepernick, (40 Wonderlic, 6'5" and 1000 rushing and 2000 yds passing, every season) and Greg Romeus (w favorable Dr. opinion)
Third Round (#74) in order of interest: All sliders plus RB (perhaps Derrick Locke or Kendall Hunter or WR (???) candidate, and Curtis Brown CB.
Third Round (#90) in order of interest: All sliders plus Brandon Fusco, Greg McElroy and Greg Romeus (w unfav Dr. opinion)
I expect Greg Romeus to be a draft pick, as he has ideal size, 6'5" 270#s 4.6 ish 40, and needs a red-shirt year due to surgery. A potential 1st round pick if healthy, so this is a way to invest a draft pick for a higher reward a year later. It's like trading out for a 2012 pick, but you can begin the DE--> OLB transition, even while injured, saving a year of seasoning.
I hope we get 2 of the following for the first 2 picks and trade pick 33 to a
lousy team (the Panthers again?) for a 1st rounder next year:
One OL: Castonzo, Tyron Smith or Pouncey
One DL: Jordan, Watt, Heyward or Wilkerson
I'd love a pass rusher, but I'm scared of converting a college DE into an NFL
OLB. A quote I read in a draft preview: The toughest thing to project is
converting a college DE into an NFL OLB. That quote was by Belichick, himself.