Predicting a New England Patriots draft is like trying to predict what the weather will on a certain day three months from now. You can look at trends and needs and make a rough guesstimate for what Bill Belichick might do, but ultimately it's a fairly futile exercise.
Of course that doesn't stop us from trying to find the perfect Patriots fits, the handful of players that can put the team over the top and set them up for long term success.
But it's especially hard to project before free agency happens.
Will the Pats re-sign Wes Welker, Aqib Talib or Sebastian Vollmer? Any of those moves would significantly impact their needs and what direction they might go.
Ultimately the Patriots will not enter the draft with any glaring needs. That's just how they operate. If you need to get a starter or fill a significant hole on draft weekend, you're in trouble.
So based on that it frees us up to make some projections based on where the Pats most need some young talent. Over the last few years they've added promising players in the draft, and this year will be another chance to add to that base of players who can become long-term building blocks for sustained success.
Here's our first Patriots-only mock draft of the offseason!