2012 NFL Mock Draft: New England Patriots Pair Andre Branch with Jared Crick
The New England Patriots still have two outstanding areas they need to fill, and with Clemson's Andre Branch and Nebraska's Jared Crick in the 2012 NFL Draft, they could fill both of them.
In the 2012 NFL Draft, I have the Patriots selecting No. 25 and No. 31 overall. With the 25th pick, which they got via trade with the New Orleans Saints, I have them selecting Clemson defensive end Andre Branch, who could be converted to a 3-4 outside linebacker in their scheme.
At No. 31, I have the Patriots grabbing Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick, who could be developed as a 3-4 defensive end.
Crick isn't a spectacular athlete, but he has the strength, toughness and size to play on the defensive line in the NFL.
At 6-foot-6, 285 pounds, Crick is already being mentioned as the next J.J. Watt by ESPN's Mel Kiper, the Wisconsin defensive end who went No. 11 overall to the Houston Texans in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Watt was considered a top prospect in the 2011 draft, and that's high praise from Kiper.
If Crick develops into a J.J. Watt type of player, he projects to not only be a starter in the NFL, but a true impact player who will cause problems for running backs and quarterbacks alike, not to mention opposing offensive lines.
As a sophomore in 2009, Crick racked up 70 tackles and 9.0 sacks. In 2010, his numbers were nearly identical, with 70 tackles and 9.5 sacks.
Kiper has Crick as the No. 22 prospect headed into the 2012 draft as of now, and it's likely that's where Crick will end up being ranked by the end of his senior season with the Cornhuskers.
The Patriots ignored their needs at outside linebacker and defensive end in the 2011 draft. They can't afford to ignore them in 2012.
There's still free agency, of course, but adding some youth and depth to the Patriots' unquestionable weakness couldn't hurt, too.
|1. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples |
2. Washington Redskins: Andrew Luck
3. Denver Broncos: Matt Barkley
4. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Kalil
|17. Kansas City Chiefs: Manti Te'o|
18. New York Giants: Zach Brown
19. Jacksonville Jaguars: Vontaze Burfict
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cliff Harris
|5. Tennessee Titans: Jerel Worthy |
6. Buffalo Bills: Donte Paige-Moss
7. Seattle Seahawks: Dre Kirkpatrick
8. Cincinnati Bengals: Trent Richardson
|21. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon|
22. San Diego Chargers: Keenan Robinson
23. Indianapolis Colts: Jeff Fuller
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Travis Lewis
|9. Cleveland Browns: Alshon Jeffery |
10. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Martin
11. San Francisco 49ers: Stephon Gilmore
12. Oakland Raiders: Janoris Jenkins
|25. New England Patriots: Andre Branch|
26. Cleveland Browns: Mike Adams
27. Baltimore Ravens: Robert Lester
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kelechi Osemele
|13. Miami Dolphins: Landry Jones |
14. Detroit Lions: Luke Kuechly
15. Dallas Cowboys: Jayron Hosley
16. Houston Texans: Ray-Ray Armstrong
|29. Chicago Bears: Michael Floyd|
30. New York Jets: Brandon Jenkins
31. New England Patriots: Jared Crick
32. Green Bay Packers: Chase Minnifield
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