It's absurdly early, but after last night and with the college football regular season almost over and the NFL season starting to take shape, I thought I would make a 1st cut at looking forward to what some of our offseason moves and the draft could possibly look like. It's impossible to predict what the Pats will do the day of the draft, much less almost 5 months in advance. The purpose of this exercise is not to predict what will actually happen, but to start to get an idea of who is out there, what teams' needs are, what general direction things could possibly take, and throw out some ideas. Don't get too caught up on the specific choices. Predictions: - Pats finish 12-4 and end up the #3 seed in the AFC. NO beats San Diego in the SB. - Pats bring in a new OC and DC. Offseason Needs: 1. The pass rush. 2. Bolster the OL. 3. Bolster the DL. 4. Depth at RB, WR and TE. Assumptions: - Pats re-sign/tag Vince Wilfork, Logan Mankins, Leigh Bodden, Ben Watson and Stefan Gostkowski. - Pats release or do not re-sign Jarvis Green, Stephen Neal, Shawn Springs, and Pierre Woods. None are worth their current $. - Kevin Faulk is either not resigned or is extended at low cost. - Adalius Thomas is either traded, cut, or his contract is restructured. Derrick Burgess is probably gone too, though if Thomas is cut we might keep Burgess if he will sign for reasonable money. - With all our key re-signings and the likely restrictions in an uncapped year on signing external free agents, I don't see us being active in FA. I've also incuded several potential trades for the Pats. Not saying any of these will happen, but the point in this mock is mainly to throw out ideas. 1. Pats trade Matt Light to KC for KC's 2010 3rd round pick. With Sebastian Vollmer emerging as a dominant LT, the aging Light is expendable. KC needs an OT, and Pioli and Cassel know Light, who can step in from day 1. This would allow KC to use their first 2 picks on playmakers for their defense. 2. Pats trade James Sanders to Denver for Denver's 2010 3rd round pick. Broncos need depth at safety. Renaldo Hill will be 31 and Brian Dawkins 36. Sanders is young, can play SS and FS, is capable of starting, and has a relatively cheap contract. McDaniels likes to pick up Pats guys that he knows. With Meriweather, McGowan and Chung, I could see the Pats trading James Sanders to free up money and let him get more playing time elsewhere. 3. Pats trade Adalius Thomas to Atlanta for Atlanta's 2011 2nd round pick. Falcon's need depth at OLB and DE, and Dimitroff knows what Thomas can provide in terms of versatility. Falcon's traded their 2010 2nd rounder for Tony Gonzalez, so they might be willing to do the same for Thomas. I could also see the Pats trading back from the 1st round, or even trading the pick into 2011, if they don't think there is adequate value. I could even see the Pats trading for Julius Peppers (I could see BB preferring a vet), but I don't see how to make the money work. One other major assumption: for this mock I've assumed that all draft eligible juniors declare. This obviously won't happen, but with record numbers likely to declare given the possibility of a 2011 lockout/rookie salary scale, I see no reason at this point to exclude anyone. So, without further ado, on to the draft (juniors noted with an *). Because of the 10,000 character limit, I've had to spread this over several posts. 2010 Mock Draft Round 1 1. St. Louis (1-15): Jake Locker*, QB, Washington Rams built their O-line last year, now they go after a franchise QB. I think Locker will be the best pro QB out of this group. 2. Tampa Bay (1-15): Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska TB gets it's cornerstone defensive player. Can't go wrong with Suh. 3. Cleveland (1-15): Casey Clausen*, QB, Notre Dame Quinn and Anderson aren't the answer. Browns go to Notre Dame again for a QB, hoping for better success. 4. Detroit (2-14): Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma St. Lions get a solid LT to protect Matt Stafford. Okung and Cherilous will make nice bookend tackles. 5. Oakland (2-14): Gerald McCoy*, DT, Oklahoma. Raiders get a penetrating DT in the Warren Sapp mold, to pair with Richard Seymour (if he stays). Taylor Mays, Carlos Dunlap, Brian Bulaga and Bruce Campbell are also options. You never know what Crazy Al will do. 6. Kansas City (4-12): Eric Berry*, S, Tennessee KC needs O-line help but gets it via trade with the Pats so that they can add the premier defensive playmaker in the draft. 7. Washington (5-11): Brian Bulaga*, OT, Iowa With Locker and Clausen off the board, Washington has to go OT here to replace Chris Samuels. Bulaga should do the job. Dan Snyder could go for Sam Bradford here, but I think OL makes more sense. 8. Buffalo (6-10): Sam Bradford*, QB, Oklahoma Edwards and Fitzpatrick aren't going to win many games. Bills gamble on Bradford. The Bills could go OT here, but there's nice depth in this draft, and Ralph Wilson wants a franchise QB to build around. 9. Tennessee (6-10) -> Joe Haden*, CB, Florida Wanted Suh badly, but settles for the best CB in the draft. DE Derrick Morgan may be an option as well. 10. San Francisco (from Carolina (7-9)): Rolando McClain*, ILB, Alabama McClain and Willis will terrorize opposing offenses for years. Wish we could have paired him with Mayo. Derrick Morgan could be the pick here was well. 11. Seattle (7-9): Bruce Campbell*, OT, Maryland Walter Jones retires, and Seattle replaces him with an athletic OT who could just possibly become another Jones. 12. Miami (7-9): Dez Bryant*, WR, Oklahoma St. Miami desperately needs receivers for Henne to stretch the field and provide some big-play capability. 13. Jacksonville (8-8): Derrick Morgan*, DE, Georgia Tech Jags are thrilled to get the best DE in the draft. An unstoppable force. Harvey and Morgan should be nasty. 14. Chicago (7-9) -> Denver: Terrance Cody, DT, Alabama Broncos get a mountain of a man to anchor the middle of their 3-4. 15. San Francisco (8-8): Taylor Mays, S, USC SF needs OL help, but can't resist the size/speed of Mays. OT Anthony Davis might be an option here as well. 16. NY Jets (8-8): Carlos Dunlap*, DE, Ohio St. Jets take a 6'6" 290# physical freak and try to get him to play 3-4 DE, where he's not at all suited. Cameron Heyward could be the pick here as well. 17. Atlanta (9-7): Greg Hardy, DE, Mississippi. Falcons get a pass rusher to complement John Abraham. Brandon Graham will also get consideration. A LB like Travis Lewis or a DB could also be the pick here. 18. Houston (9-7): Jason Pierre-Paul*, DE, USF. Pierre-Paul is raw but has huge upside, and should give Houston another freak opposite Mario Williams. S Earl Williams is also an option. 19. Baltimore (9-7): Damian Williams, WR, USC With Derrick Mason close to retirement, Baltimore needs youth at WR. TE and CB are also options here. Jermaine Gresham is also tempting. 20. NY Giants (9-7): Earl Williams*, S, Texas With Kenny Phillips' future in doubt and a porous secondary, the Giants need help quickly. Williams makes plays. Greg Hardy could also be an option here if he falls. 21. Arizona (10-6): Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas Kindle will wow people at the combine, and the Cards think he will fit in nicely in their hybrid scheme. 22. Dallas (10-6): Anthony Davis*, OT, Rutgers. Flozell Adams will be 35. Dallas gets a massive LT to groom as his replacement. Cowboys like big lineman, and Davis should be good. If Taylor Mays falls, he's a Cowboy. 23. Seattle (from Denver (10-6)): Ryan Mallet*, QB, Arkansas After going OL, Hawks get the 6'7" raw but strong-armed Mallet as the future successor to the 6'8" Matt Hasselbach. 24. Pittsburgh (10-6): Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho Iupati will be a beast for the Steelers, and will pair with Willie Colon on the right side. OG/CMaurkice Pouncey could be the pick as well. DB could also be an option here. 25. Green Bay (11-5): Charles Brown, OT, USC Another Trojan - Green Bay needs to protect Rogers. Brown is probably the best ZBS tackle prospect in this draft. 26. Philadelphia (11-5): CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson With Bryan Westbrook's career in doubt, Philly gets a replacement in the versatile, speedy Spiller. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Spiller give Phill incredible speed on offense. DE could also be an option. 27. New England (12-4): Cameron Heyward*,DE, Ohio St. The son of Ironhead is a young Richard Seymour at 6'6" 290#. 28. Cincinnati (12-4): Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma Carson Palmer gets an elite weapon to add to his arsenal. Gresham will help stretch the field. 29. Minnesota (14-2): Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan. Minny gets a pass rusher to pair with Jason Allen. Everson Griffen could be the choice here too, or Greg Hardy if he slips, but Graham is making a strong case as one of the best DEs in the country. 30. Indianapolis (15-1): Travis Lewis*, LB, Oklahoma Undersized playmaker who covers a lot of ground. Top 15 talent who slips because of his position. OT is a need, but Lewis is just too good to pass up, and there's enough depth to go OT in round 2. DT Brian Price will also get consideration. 31. San Diego (12-4): Arthur Jones, DE, Syracuse. San Diego desperately needs 3-4 DEs, and with Heyward gone Jones is the best available prospect. Allen Bailey might be an alternative. 32. New Orleans (15-1): Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri Saints are elated to get Weatherspoon here. Will be a nice complement to Jonathan Vilma, and a big upgrade at WLB.