Patriot fans!!! We are just over one week away from the 2011 NFL Draft! As you know, the Pats are right in the thick of things once again. Bill Belichick has even publically admitted that he is fielding offers from multiple teams and reported that the Pats will have options no matter which direction the team chooses to go. Of course, most experts feel New England will not “stand pat” but will be wheeling and dealing as usual.
Now I do not have any inside information as to what Belichick is planning to do. But I do know that the team has needs. They need a pass rusher (perhaps a DE or an OLB), running back, speedy receiver, and offensive linemen. There has been speculation that the team may choose to select a QB, perhaps Jake Locker or Ryan Mallet, as the heir apparent to Tom Brady.
Last week we looked at Jake Locker and the possibility of him joining the team (I highly doubt it). Today I am going to take a look at two players who have a good chance of being selected by the Patriots and filling some of their needs. Many draft experts believe that the Pats first pick could very well be defensive end J.J. Watt out of Wisconsin.
Let me just say that I love this pick! He is a true DE at 6-6 and 285 lbs. He has the size to play the 3-4 that the Pats use. He has experience playing in big games in the Big Ten. And he loves football. Watt had to fight to make the team. He had to earn everything. His story reminds me of a certain quarterback. He plays the run and the pass well. He has a non-stop motor and has enough versatility to play inside as well. This guy has “Patriot” written all over him!
Speculation is running rampant that the Patriots will trade their second pick in the first round. But lets just say that they don’t. The Patriots offense needs a between-the-tackles grinder. Danny Woodhead is a classic overachiever who will make some plays but he is not enough. They need someone who has size and who has the attitude to get tough yards in tough conditions.
And Mark Ingram should be available, depending who you listen to. Once again, I would love to see this pick happen. Ingram reminds me of Emmitt Smith. He is tough, doesn’t impress you with his forty time but has good football speed. You know he is tough, playing in the SEC for Nick Saban. And we all know how much Belichick likes to draft players who played for his buddies.
Ingram can break tackles, make guys miss, catch the ball out of the backfield, and protects the football. Ingram could make the play-action passing game of the Pats even more dangerous as teams will have to play Ingram honestly or he will gash them. Ingram would also help provide that much needed balance to an offense that has been more pass-oriented the past few season.
Will either player be available when the Pats pick? Would Belichick trade up to get either player? Questions like this are what makes watching the draft so much fun. One more week and we will finally have our answers. I, for one, am more than a little curious and excited to see what will happen.