As much as I like the instincts and passion for the game of Alabama OLB DeMarco Ryans, I think another candidate at linebacker will be chosen later this month by the Pats. Remember, just because they've seen this excellent young man twice (suberb character), there are other good types with similar production and better size and speed. Other teams are learning that the signals that New England sends are often used to confuse them. Like a few years ago pretending they were going to go for broke to nab Kentucky NT Dwayne Robertson. Made the Jets panic. They gave up way too much--weakening their draft that year--to land a mere talented project at #4: didn't do much in college, occasionally took plays off, came out too early, but put up impressive Mike Mamula-like workout numbers. So it's a disinformation campaign, much as it is in the Belichek Era with injuries. I think they spend time with draftees they have no intention of drafting to keep a smoke screen going. Bobby Carpenter is probably very high on their list of guys they think may be available at #21. If so, I think they'll go for him. They're just trying to keep it close to the vest. http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/olb/bobbycarpenter.html Like a Klecko, he comes from a pro football family. Football's his life. No rap records released by him by Chris Canty Productions. He has a high-intensity motor accompanied by excellent physical skills. I think the Giants covet him, though, and may try to trade up in front of the Patriots--much as we did against them in the Pete Carroll era with Damian Woody. Another candidate with first round talent who's slipped under many people's radar is DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Qwelll Jackson of Maryland. A warrior with all the intangibles, if underwhelming physical stats. http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/ilb/dqwelljackson.html We can't plan on both Vrabel and Colvin staying healthy the whole season. At least we have adequate backups at middle linebacker. Second round we will likely go for offense, running back. And here's an interesting guy. Might remind people in subsequent years of Barry Sanders; I'm intrigued by the UCLA 5'6" sparkplug: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/10/28/SPGTMFFHH91.DTL&type=printable I don't think Richard Marshall of Fresno State will be available where the Patriots pick. Yeah, he has decent speed and good size and comes from Pat Hill's program, which is getting a lot more attention this year, but we'd probably have to draft him in the first round to get him. A bit of a reach, if you ask me. And I'd love to draft DeAngelo Williams if he's available at 21. Don't think he will be, though. I'm not as keen on the Minnesota runner, Laurence Maroney. His great production is partially a result of the Gopher power running scheme and good offensive line play. I think he'd be a disappointment in NE. NE sits down and looks at three main variables: 1) Does the prospect have the talent to play at the next level? That doesn't mean his workouts have to wow them. 2) Did he play for a big program and produce big numbers? 3) Where does football rank in his life? Is it a priority? That's why a DeMarco Ryans, Bobby Carpenter, or a D'Qwell Jackson all fit the bill. My hunch is that Carpenter and Jackson are mid to late first-rounders. Ryans is probably chosen very early in the second round. And in the later rounds, don't forget to go for a backup project at NT. This guy is unseasoned but with a great deal of potential. Two years ago this heralded JUNCO transfer to Michigan STATE came in and immediately contributed even though he was only 270. Last year he played at 320 and effectively stuffed the run almost on the level with the best of them. Goodness knows where this Samoan will end up on the scale. He even returned a fumble 74 yards for a TD. And his undrafted brother has had a successful run with the NFL. http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/dt/domatapeko.html Are you reading this, Mr. Scott Pioli?