New England Patriots' 7-Round Mock Draft: What Will Bill Belichick Do?
It’s exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, and frankly there’s not really any good reason for attempting it.
That is of course unless you happen to be a fellow GM or a fledgling sports writer who doesn’t mind a little public humiliation. (I’m talking about predicting what BB is going to do now, not the elbow thing. You don’t really think I sit around the computer wasting away my day on YouTube or Facebook watching people do insanely mind boggling, time wasting stuff do you?)
The only satisfaction I can take out of this exercise in futility is that while I’ve taken a little chunk of my life and devoted it to writing words that will probably bear little if any resemblance to reality, there is a small but growing number of you that have taken a little chunk out of your life as well to actually read what I’m thinking.
That, coupled with the fact that more than a few of you have slyly attempted to lick your elbow while watching out for the wandering eyes of your fellow office workers, indicates to me that I am not alone in my desire to do the impossible.
I am going to predict the Patriots 2011 draft, and you should stop trying to do that.
1st Round Pick #17 (From Oakland)
Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin
Pats move down in the 1st round (possibly with KC at #21) and grab Wisconsin Tackle Gabe Carimi.
The Patriots pass on JJ Watt and don’t make a move to grab the slightly more highly regarded (by the media anyway) local favorite Anthony Castonzo. In what has become an annual right of spring Pats fans and NE media scratch their head.
Carimi was a four year starter at left tackle for Wisconsin having replaced the legendary Joe Thomas. Like Thomas, Carimi won the Outland trophy as a Senior.
Though some scouts feel Carimi projects to a RT in the NFL, his experience at LT at Wisconsin gives the Patriots versatility and allows them the option of moving Vollmer to LT or attempting to use Carimi there.
Matt Light’s days as starting LT in NE are coming to an end.
1st Round Pick #28
Muhammad Wilkerson DL Temple
Considered by some a better candidate for a 4-3 DT Wilkerson is about as agile as a 315lb human being can be.
Wilkerson won’t be the dominating pass rusher that NE fans clamor for but will do a solid job against the run and will move inside to the DT spot as a situational pass-rusher in the 4-3.
Will compete for playing time right from the start.
2nd Round Pick #33 (From Carolina)
Don’t really expect the Patriots to select at #33.
Look for them to move down 5-12 spots and add a significant 2012 pick to their inventory or use it to ultimately allow them to move their other 2nd round pick (#60 overall) up a few spots.
Randal Cobb WR Kentucky
Cobb was originally an All-SEC freshman Team QB before finding a home at receiver.
Had a breakout year in 2010 with over 1,000 yards receiving as well as 400+rushing yards and nearly another 1,000 yards on returns.
Cobb doesn’t possess the frightening type speed associated with many #1 receivers but brings an elite overall athleticism to the party.
2nd Round Pick #60
Bruce Carter OLB North Carolina
A serious season-ending knee surgery not only knocked Carter out of the lineup in 2010 but probably knocked him out of the 1st round of the draft here in 2011 as well.
Carter is a supremely gifted athlete who will need to recover fully from his ACL injury in order to fulfill his potential. The Patriots figure to be a team that could afford to allow him to recover and overcome any complications without rushing him into the lineup.
A drop-off in productivity as his career advanced at North Carolina may be a concern but dynamic athletes like Carter don’t grow on trees and I’m betting Bill Belichick takes a chance on him.
3rd Round Pick #74 (From Minnesota)
Chimdi Chekwa CB Ohio State
A severely dislocated right wrist suffered in the Sugar Bowl shouldn’t prevent Chekwa from dropping below the 3rd round.
4.38 speed and 39 starts against high level competition are Chekwa’s primary assets.
Expect Chekwa to spend a year sitting behind McCourty, Bodden, and Arrington in New England.
3rd Round Pick #92
Will Rackley OG Lehigh
Despite his small-school background Rackley may be long gone by the time the Pats pick at 92.
Considered a solid technician with all the physical tools Rackley’s only question mark revolves around the level of competition he faced in the Patriot League. A solid performance in the East-West Shrine Game may have eliminated that concern as well.
A four year starter who should be off the board no later than the third round.
Could compete for a starting position following the retirement of Stephen Neal and pending the return of pro-bowler Logan Mankins.
4th Round Pick #125
Chris Carter OLB Fresno State
Carter is an interesting prospect who has shown flashes of athleticism which may suggest he could develop as a situational pass rusher.
In a draft filled with exceptional depth and quality at the DE/OLB spots Carter could drop as low as the fifth or sixth round though I have seen rankings that have him as high as a third round pick as well.
If Carter were to show enough promise it may very well spell the end for Tully Banta-Cain
5th Round Pick #159
Zane Taylor C Utah
An exceptionally strong, if not pretty, athlete
Taylor reportedly struggles to get to the 2nd level which could potentially keep him from being a viable reserve at OG.
If Taylor is to make the roster he would likely have to do so strictly as a center as the heir-apparent to current starting center Dan Koppen.
6th Round Pick #193
Anthony Allen RB Georgia Tech
A younger set of powerful legs to compete with Sammy Morris for the reserve/short yardage back position.
Allen’s claim to fame at Louisville and then, after transferring, Georgia Tech is never having lost a single fumble.
Lacks a second gear but is considered a powerful runner who averaged over 100yds/game as a senior.