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What they’re saying

03.09.10 at 10:07 am ET
By isn’€™t batting an eye when it comes to the 2010 NFL Draft. From interviews with experts to original mock drafts to weekly looks at potential Patriots, this is the place to be leading up to draft weekend, April 22-24.

Free agency has been hectic thus far, but it has certainly helped indicate which positions the Patriots might/should go after in the draft. Given the signing of Vince Wilfork, Tennessee’s Dan Williams no longer makes sense for the Patriots in the first round. Similarly, the team’s retaining of Stephen Neal makes guard less of a priority. Depending on where Leigh Bodden ends up, cornerback could become an even greater need, and with the Chris Baker release leaving the Patriots tight-endless, Pats fans just may want to begin reading up on the likes of Rob Gronkowski.

Even with New England doing an admirable job of retaining its own players, it was the non-signing of Julius Peppers that highlights what remains its biggest need: pass-rushing outside linebacker. After a weekend of free agents moving, here’s what draftniks around the web think the Patriots should do in April.

In a mock draft that was updated on Saturday, has the Patriots taking versatile Penn State defensive lineman Jared Odrick at pick No. 22. Of Odrick, NEPatriotsDraft writes that “the PSU lineman can line up as a 5-technique or 3-technique, showing some versatility.” Matt McGuire of Walter Football also sees the Patriots taking Odrick and calls the lineman a “logical reach for the Pats.”’s Chris Steuber writes in his Monday mock draft that the Patriots need to add Missouri outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon for the sake of taking pressure off Jerod Mayo.

TA Draft has the Pats making up for losing out on Anquan Boldin by taking Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate. also updated its mock on Monday and has the Patriots going with defense, but rather than the usual suspects of Odrick, Weatherspoon, Ricky Sapp, and Brandon Graham, the site has Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan falling to No. 22. Morgan might seem an odd fit because he appears better suited to remain at 4-3 end than moving to linebacker in a 3-4, as he would have to do with the Patriots. likes Texas DE/OLB Sergio Kindle for the Patriots, writing that New England “desperately needs to add some juice to their sluggish pass rush.”


The last edition of this came before Florida cornerback Joe Haden got the opportunity to run, so it’s worth highlighting that his 4.58 second 40-yard dash has taken him from being a potential Top 5 pick to perhaps not even being selected within the first 10. He might still be the best cornerback in a deep draft at the position (though former Browns scout Daniel Jeremiah has it on good authority that multiple teams don’t believe he is), but he isn’t among the handful of elite players anymore.

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