|NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson||02.14.11 at 7:36 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2011 NFL draft.
Position: Defensive Tackle
Weight: 305 pounds
Achievements: First team All-MAC (2009)
What he brings: With ideal size and ability as both a pass-rusher and run-stopper, Wilkerson is an ideal five-technique prospect. He played 11 games as a junior, racking up 68 tackles, 10 sacks, and a forced fumble in his final year as an Owl. The New Jersey native had steady enough production in his sophomore and junior campaigns that his stock probably wouldn’t get past being a late first-rounder at best, and given the Patriots’ plethora of picks in the first two rounds, they could stand to use Carolina’s pick on him to solidify a position that was in flux a season ago.
Where the Patriots could get him: No. 33 or 60.
Notes: Defensive line was a need that went unaddressed in the first six rounds of the last year draft, and though Gerard Warren did a nice job with Ty Warren out for the season, the former Warren is a free agent and the team needs another solid five-technique even with Ty Warren back. The team couldn’t exactly be blamed for ignoring the five-technique prospects early on in the 2010 draft, as the class was so thin at the position that they likely would have had to reach to snag a 3-4 end. Jared Odrick, the five-technique prospect out of Penn whom the Pats passed on to take Devin McCourty, played in just one game last season. He sustained an injury in Week 1 against the Bills and ended up breaking his foot while working his way back in practice and ended up missing the rest of the season. The Patriots haven’t taken a 3-4 defensive end in the first two rounds since Marquise Hill in 2004.
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