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Picks: OT Nate Solder, CB Ras-I Dowling, RB Shane Vereen, RB Stevan Ridley, QB Ryan Mallett
The Patriots were predictable in trading pick No. 28 to New Orleans for a future first-round pick. What was not predictable was the selection of Nate Solder so early in Round 1.
Solder is a great athlete, but he was our No. 5 overall tackle. This pick indicates the Patriots do not plan to retain Matt Light.
Ras-I Dowling at the top of Round 2 is a great pick. We did not have cornerback high on the Patriots' list of needs, but this makes sense. Dowling will line up opposite Devin McCourty, solidifying the cornerback position in New England.
The Patriots may lose BenJarvus Green-Ellis to free agency, and he may be hard to re-sign after a 1,000-yard season. That makes drafting one running back a smart pick, but two in a row?
Vereen is a speed/power guy who has the talent to be a three-down, featured back. Ridley makes sense as a goal-line guy. If the Patriots platoon the two runners right and fail to re-sign Green-Ellis, these will be smart picks.
Ryan Mallett...wow. The Patriots do need a player behind Tom Brady to groom for the future. Ryan Mallett's an interesting choice there. Great value, and if anyone can get his off-field issues under control, it's the Patriots.