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A look into what mock drafts are saying: Part two

04.26.11 at 2:13 pm ET
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Day two of mock draft roundups consists of a few surprises in the first and second rounds, as well as some later-round possibilities.

Offensive lineman is the focus for the Patriots in the three mock drafts reviewed Tuesday. Two have the Pats grabbing a young and promising O-lineman with the 17th pick, while Sports Illustrated’€™s Don Banks says that despite the recent ill will between Watt’s agent and the Patriots, New England builds off of the pass-rushing need, and goes with J.J. Watt at pick 17.

Banks takes into account a single trade in his latest first round mock release, which involves the Patriots moving out pick No. 28 to the Vikings for a future draft pick. This would, according to Banks, enable the Vikings to select Jake Locker as the quarterback of the future in Minnesota at a sensible spot in the draft. (The 12th pick was too high to take a shot at Locker, and it looks more and more likely each day that Cam Newton will be the first overall selection by the Panthers.) Watt satisfies the need in New England for a pass-rushing defensive lineman, while he has Cal’€™s Cameron Jordan going to the Vikings’€™ with the 12th pick.

In a draft lacking depth at quarterback, Banks predicts four QB’€™s to be selected in the top 32. TCU’€™s Andy Dalton goes to the Seahawks at pick 25. Dalton’€™s experience at TCU and his ability to run the football when necessary make him a favorite to be the third quarterback selected over Locker and Christian Ponder.

ProFootballScout.com has the Patriots taking USC offensive lineman Tyron Smith with the 17th selection, over other offensive line favorites like Florida’€™s Mike Pouncey and Wisconsin’€™s Gabe Carimi. Although Smith has size (6-foot-5, 307 pounds), Pouncey should be considered first because of his versatility on the line. Labeled as a center, Pouncey can play any line position, which could come in handy if one of the aged veterans goes down with an injury. ProFootballScout has Pouncey being taken by the Chiefs at No. 21.

Even farther down the list is Boston College‘€™s Anthony Castonzo, whose stock has increased over the past few weeks, yet his positioning slips, according to ProFootballScout.com. Castonzo as an offensive tackle is best fitted in aiding the running game, which New England could always use help with. Set Castonzo opposite Sebastian Vollmer, and the Pats have an offensive line foundation for the future.

At pick 28, John Crist of ProFootballScout.com has New England taking outside linebacker Justin Houston of Georgia, who bounces from a range of different places depending on the mock draft. Houston made the move last year from defensive end to linebacker, and says he would be that pass-rushing force Patriots fan want to see.

Fox Sports’€™ Peter Schrager delves three rounds into the draft after filling the similar offensive lineman and pass-rushing needs every draft has for the Patriots. Jumping down to pick 74 in the third round, Schrager sets New England up with Boise State wide receiver Titus Young. Young was one of the two receiving threats the Broncos boasted in their near undefeated season in the fall. Young and Austin Pettis are both third-round talents according to Schrager, but both bring huge upsides and great work ethics to the NFL.

Although wide receiver isn’€™t a necessary position for the Pats, there’€™s nothing wrong with continuing to build on an offensive unit destined for success. Yes, everything worked out last year offensively, but the organization can’€™t keep it up forever. Bringing in Taylor Price last season and (potentially) Titus Young this year are signs that an up-and-coming receiving core are important to the future success at the skill positions.

In some mock drafts you’€™ll find the Patriots taking Virginia Tech’€™s Ryan Williams, a sophomore running back whose stock fell a bit this season, but can make an immediate impact if he lands with the right team. Schrager has Williams being selected by the Dolphins in the third round, which would make a lot of sense for a team lacking skill position players.

Going back, if the Patriots are seriously considering taking an offensive lineman in the first round, it’€™s hard to go wrong with the talent that will be present with the 17th pick. Between Pouncey, Castonzo, Carimi, Smith, Nate Solder, and Danny Watkins, the Pats should have some options available at either of their first-round picks.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Andy Dalton, Anthony Castonzo, Jake Locker
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