Ah, draft time once again. And once again, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have themselves set with plenty of picks, plenty of trading opportunities and some decent holes to fill with those picks. They have nine picks in this year's draft, six of those picks in the first three rounds and three of those picks in the top 33. The Pats have themselves primed for success in this draft, and there is plenty of excellent talent in the draft.
The Patriots have no shortage of need; however, as they need to use this draft to fill some important positions in their roster.
Without further ado, behold, the (possible) magic of the Patriots' (mock) draft!
With the 17th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the New England Patriots select...
Adrian Clayborn, defensive end out of Iowa.
For me, I just loved when I saw an Iowa game, and Clayborn is a MONSTER. He just never stops. He is versatile, as a man like Bill could use him almost anywhere on the line, even as a linebacker. He may have some adjusting to go through, but I am confident Belichick can raise him right, personal issues aside.
I expect (as I believe everyone else does) that Marcell Dareus, Robert Quinn, Von Miller, Da'Quan Bowers and J.J. Watt to go very early, and most mocks I've seen have Clayborn too low. If he is still on the board, I would take him. The big risk one could take is if he falls 11 picks down to the next pick, but I doubt he would fall past Tampa.
Another good candidate for this pick is Akeem Ayers or Cameron Jordan, if he falls.
Here is where I know that the Pats need an offensive lineman, with the mysterious future of Logan Mankins and the sudden retirement of Stephen Neal. I like this pick, but if Anthony Castonzo/Mike Pouncey fall to this pick, for the love of God, take one of them.
Another good candidate would be Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin or Danny Watkins from Baylor.
Here's where this gets tricky because I'm almost sure they'll trade this pick. The Patriots are in no need of a middle linebacker, because of Jerod Mayo's emergence, but with the pick of Clayborn, I wouldn't think it is bad to take an OLB, though I don't think they would. 'll go with the need of a wide receiver on this one, since Baldwin is tall, strong and can make tough, tough catches.
...and I thought the last one was tricky. This one might have to bandwagon with experts and go with a running back for depth. Certain situations, possibly some special teams, and to replace Fred Taylor. I'll go with White on this one, as his speed should be a good contrast to Green-Ellis'.
What could be a good idea here is to pick up a DB who can play as safety or corner, as a nickel, special teams and depth. This would also help with the rumors about keeping Meriweather so that they could replace him if needs be. This spot would be filled by Robert Sands, as long as he lasts to this spot.
If not, they could always try to get him on an earlier pick or take him with one of the picks they will surely get from trading.
This is where anyone that is projected to be of value is essentially gone, and casual fans are left wondering who that guy is. Herzlich is a risky pick because of his leg, but is a fierce competitor and locker room influence.
I'm sure he could develop and become a significant force, he just needs to get over the hump.