2011 NFL Draft: 10 Players the New England Patriots Should Target

Max HollanderContributor IFebruary 18, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: 10 Players the New England Patriots Should Target

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    The Patriots, for the second season in a row, were one-and-done in the playoffs after entering the postseason as arguably the top team in the league.

    Yes, they have a stellar roster filled with star-studded talent, but obviously something is not working in the playoffs.

    With this draft loaded—and I mean LOADED—with top talent, the Patriots will be able to add exactly what they need to make sure next season ends in a Super Bowl. Anything less would leave Bill Belichick disappointed.

J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

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    The New England Patriots love guys that are less noticed and under-recruited—making J.J. Watt from Wisconsin the ideal selection for them at pick No. 17.

    Watt is a playmaker, perfect to add depth to their big strong defensive line. He proved this season how much of a hard worker he can be, which should make him an ideal candidate to put up with the craziness that is New England.

Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri

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    Aldon Smith has elite-level talent. His size, speed, length and ability to be a versatile player make him ideal to be drafted by the Patriots and fit into their 3-4 scheme.

    While at Missouri, he was able to run down speedy backs, burn offensive linemen and even drop into coverage and intercept passes. Smith would thrive in Belichick's system and nowhere else.

Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

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    Sherrod is the type of offensive lineman you want on your roster. He is the kind of player that was great at never messing up. He wasn't that one of a kind offensive lineman, but he was the kind of lineman you could always count on.

    With his size he will be able to take on the big defensive linemen the NFL has to offer and show them he won't be an easy route to the quarterback.

Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

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    Anthony Castonzo proved he could block and block well while at Boston College, and that's why he has been in talks of being potentially taken in the first round.

    If he manages to slip into the second round, the Patriots should seriously consider this guy. With their offensive line questionable regarding returning players, Castonzo could immediately fill any void left by a departure.

Ahmad Black, S, Florida

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    Ahmad Black is an athlete—a sheer playmaker and speedster that any team would love to have on its depth chart. The Patriots always could use help in the secondary, and this is a player that could make his imprint on the NFL next season.

    Now the Patriots would love for him to fall to the fourth round, but they may have to trade up to the third round to snag him.

Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue

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    Despite Kerrigan not having supreme size, speed or strength, he is a guy that always seems to make plays. To say the least, Kerrigan is an amazing football player with a nose for the football.

    Now saying that, where should a guy that has a nonstop motor and nose for the ball go? To New England and play for Bill Belichick—end of story.

Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

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    Cameron Heyward is a speedy defensive end with the ability to chase down running backs out of the backfield—a desirable trait among defensive ends.

    The Patriots have made it clear they want to improve their defensive line for next season after having an injury-filled corps this past year. Heyward has that size plus the ability to make any team looking for his services.

Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois

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    After recently deciding to enter the NFL draft following his electrifying junior season, Leshoure is the type of player the Patriots need.

    With their second pick in the first round, New England should take a running back that they could add to their backfield. Leshoure is a powerful back with the exceptional quickness that the Patriots always look for in players.

Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor

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    New England has been stressing the uncertainty of its offensive line for next season, which had in turn led to the need to draft top-caliber offensive linemen.

    Danny Watkins is a player you didn't hear much about during the season, but now scouts are going crazy about this guy. He is an extremely strong guy that can fill in at guard if the Patriots end up having a likely hole there.

Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal

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    Cameron Jordan had an impressive Senior Bowl after an impressive season for the Cal Golden Bears. Jordan is an ideal 3-4 defensive lineman with his long and agressive style of play.

    Jordan can run down speedy running backs, which makes him a versatile player and a perfect fit for the Bill Belichick style of defense.

    Jordan could be their first-round pick, and if not, they would be lucky to steal him in the second round.