2011 NFL Draft: Todd McShay Has the Patriots Going Offensive in the First Round

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIApril 22, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 02:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide breaks a tackle by Ahmad Black #35 of the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay produced his sixth mock draft (Insider content) this past Wednesday and he has the New England Patriots acting very offensive minded in the first round. 

At 17th overall, McShay has Bill Belichick and company selecting offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo out of Boston College. And then at 28th, the Patriots are slotted in at draft Alabama running back Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner. 

If New England were to stay put and not trade away and draft picks (which is highly unlikely), then I don't believe that this would be a bad scenario for the Patriots at all. 

The 2011 NFL draft is quite the defensive draft with quality pass rushers and cornerbacks from the first round all the way to the latter rounds. If pass rushing "studs" like Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt are not available at 17th overall, it's not a problem at all—New England will have plenty of opportunities to address their pass rush. 

I'm starting to lean towards the Patriots in selecting Castonzo, as they appear to be very impressed with the local prospect. 

On March 23rd, the Boston College Eagles held their annual Pro Day, and according to sources, the Patriots were very impressed with Castonzo. In fact, New England's offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia ran the offensive linemen drills. 

The Patriots current left tackle, Matt Light, is moving up there in age and his future with the team is uncertain as he'll become a free agent once the NFL lockout dissolves. So, by drafting Castonzo, it would allow New England to part ways with their long-time left tackle. 

The Ingram pick is rather interesting in my opinion. There have been several reports that teams are concerned with Ingram's knee, and it might be critical enough that it could push Ingram out of the first round. 

However, McShay still has the Patriots selecting Ingram. 

Ingram would certainly improve New England's running game and would add another wrinkle in New England's offense. 

All in all, I think if Ingram proves to be healthy, then it's a brilliant pick. If New England could have a top of the league running attack, it would take so much needed pressure off of Tom Brady, which would presumingly cause Brady to be even more effective—if that's possible. 

Overall, if New England walks away with Castonzo and Ingram on next Thursday at the NFL draft, I'd be rather satisfied.

This draft is loaded with defensive talent, and I believe that Belichick is well-aware that it would be a smart decision to grab his offensive talent early, as it wont be available for a while.


This article was first seen at PatriotsPlus.net. Be sure to follow Tony Santorsa on Twitter @TonySantorsa.