September 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Clemson Tigers offensive tackle Shaq Anthony (76) and offensive linesman Brandon Thomas (63) celebrate beating the Auburn Tigers while wearing the "Old Leather Helmet" at the Georgia Dome. Clemson won 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Matt Miller Has A Surprise Pick For New England

Nov 2, 2013; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Clemson Tigers running back Roderick McDowell (25) celebrates with Tigers offensive tackle Brandon Thomas (63) after scoring a touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers in the second quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A few days ago Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller released a mock draft, and he goes in a direction that surprised me. Miller has the Pats taking offensive guard Brandon Thomas in the first round. Here are his thoughts:

No one can accurately predict what Bill Belichick will do on draft day, but if the New England Patriots do keep this pick, the big board would be set up for the team to add an interior pass protector for Tom Brady.

Brandon Thomas played left tackle at Clemson but projects best as a guard at the next level—and a very good guard at that. Thomas would instantly be an upgrade for the team at right guard and could give them a plan for the end of Logan Mankins’ career. That, and his ability to help in the running game and in protecting the aging Brady, makes him well worth the No. 29 pick.

I haven’t watched much of Thomas, and while I trust Miller’s analysis of him, I don’t think the Patriots should go with an offensive guard in the first round. Yes, improving the interior of the offensive line is important for New England, but there are other pressing needs that must be addressed early on in this year’s draft.

I think they should go with a tight end, or maybe a pass rushing defensive end. Both are areas of need for the Pats, and there are plenty of solid prospects available this year (Jace Amaro, Kony Ealy, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Dee Ford).

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