With the season officially over for the Patriots, talk has already begun about who they will be drafting in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. Regardless of whether a labor deal is in place or not, the draft will take place. The Patriots are in an enviable position, having two picks in each of the first three rounds, including the first pick of the second round (which they got in a trade from Carolina during last year’s draft). Now that the Patriots are done playing games, their draft slots are set. The Patriots will have the 17th pick overall, which is the pick they got from the Raiders in the Richard Seymour trade, and the 28th overall pick, which is their own. There are many things they can do with all of these picks, and the Pats will likely do some of the same trading around that frustrated fans watching last year’s draft.
Two draft experts have weighed in on who they see the Pats targeting.
Todd McShay of ESPN has the Patriots going defensive end with the 17th pick and running back with the 28th pick.With the 17th pick, McShay has the Patriots picking Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan, who would actually project as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. With the 28th pick, he has the Pats taking Alabama running back Mark Ingram. I can’t imagine Ingram falling this far in the draft but if that does indeed happen, this would be an exciting pick for Pats fans. He would add a dynamic threat to the backfield that features BenJarvus Green-Ellis (who will likely return) and Danny Woodhead.
Everyone’s favorite draftnik that fans love to hate, Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN, also has the Pats going DE and RB in the first round, and in that order, but his player choices are different. At 17th overall, Kiper has the Patriots picking Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt, who would actually play DE and not OLB like Kerrigan. At 28th overall, Kiper has the Pats picking Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure. I’m not as familiar with Leshoure as I am with Ingram, but if any readers have the scoop on Leshoure feel free to write in the Comments section.