This week, we will look at three new mock drafts and see who New England will be picking based on their suggestions. This series of articles will culminate in April when we go over Mel Kiper Jr.’s and Todd McShay’s Mock Drafts.
Pro Football Talk – They said New England would take J.J Watt, the DE out of Wisconsin with the 17th pick, so we will look at their 28th pick.
WR Jonathan Baldwin – Pittsburgh
Their Take: A deep threat receiver isn’t as big a need for New England as some have made it out to be, but Baldwin could add an entirely new element to Bill O’Brien’s offense. Mike Mayock has projected Baldwin to run a sub-4.4 at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, and the third-year junior averaged 18.26 yards per catch at Pitt.
My Take: One of the main weapons that the Patriots missed in their AFC Divisional Playoff loss to the NY Jets was their lack of a deep threat wide receiver. If New England doesn’t fit this need through free agency, Baldwin would be the ideal rookie fit. He gets yards after the catch which is always a plus in Bill O’Brien’s offense and can stretch the defense for Wes Welker and Brandon Tate to get their screen passes and turn them into big gains.
NFLDraftDog.com – They also have J.J Watt going to New England, but at number 28.
Pick #17: OL Gabe Carimi – Wisconsin
Their Take: Has dominated every defensive end he has came up against this year. Its almost unfair, an excellent team like the Pats with two number one draft picks.
My Take: Carimi is a physical offensive lineman coming from a physical university. He is 6”7 and weighs 327 pounds and played well against physical defensive linemen in the Big Ten last season. He won the Outland Trophy last season, which goes to the nation’s best offensive lineman. He runs a 40 yard dash time in the five second range which is decent at that position. This wouldn’t be a bad pick, but I think you can get him at #28 and save some money.
Pick #17: DE Cameron Jordan – California
Their Take: Outside of Vince Wilfork, not one Patriot lineman played over 50% of the season’s snaps. There’s an obvious need for a 5-technique end who can eat up space and contain inside. Cam Jordan is an elite player who has the experience in Cal’s 3-4 defense to contribute early in New England’s defensive line rotation.
My Take: This site puts the nail on the head in terms of need at this position for the Patriots. I have a friend named Wes Mills who is a huge California football fan. He told me if this kid went to a larger school like USC, this kid is a top ten prospect. He can rush the passer and can play a huge factor in terms of run defense. This would be as close to a Richard Seymour as New England has had in the past two seasons. However, I think he is more of a top ten pick than a top twenty pick. If Belichick wants him, he will have to make a trade.
Pick #28: OLB Akeem Ayers – UCLA
Their Take: The Patriots demand versatility from their outside linebackers in their base 3-4 defense. The regime usually targets players who fit their scheme and Ayers is an ideal candidate for the SAM linebacker role. Ayers has experience in UCLA’s 3-4 and has the balanced game to play all three downs at the next level.
My Take: Ayers would not be the ideal fit for New England like an Aldon Smith would be because the Pats are looking at obtaining a true pass rusher with this pick. However, he is versatile and can play both coverage and get after the QB, similar to who the Patriots took last year in the 2nd Round (Jermaine Cunningham). He had four sacks last season, and had six career interceptions. Look for him to blend into a defense that was one of the best in taking away the football last season.