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NFL mock draft roundup: Experts say Patriots will likely get defensive

04.17.12 at 3:40 pm ET
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With the the 2012 NFL Draft ready to kick-off a week from Thursday, media outlets across the country are putting the finishing touches on their mock drafts and projections for who each team will pick. Here’s an overview of some of the media’s prominent mock drafts and who they have the Patriots drafting in the first round, along with some second-round projections.

Rob Rang: CBS Sports

Round 1, Pick 27 – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor:

Rang notes that the Patriots have shored up their receiving corps with the signing of Donte Stallworth, Anthony Gonzalez and, most importantly, Brandon Lloyd. However, he has Belichick picking up the burner out of Baylor to be the long-awaited receiver that can “stretch the defense” while also being effective out of the slot, calling saying he could have “too much value to bypass.”

Round 1, Pick 31 – Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse:

Rang has the Patriots going after a top pass-rusher with their second pick, calling Jones a “natural replacement candidate” for the roles that were filled by Mark Anderson and pre-quad injury Andre Carter. This pick assumes that the Patriots expect to retain their 4-3 look defensively for next season. Jones projects well to play with his hand on the ground as opposed to a Courtney Upshaw from Alabama, who Rang still had on the board at 31.

Round 2, Pick 16 – Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall:

The Patriots use two straight selections on edge rushers in this mock, a move that would appease many fans, and lead to a young, athletic rotation at defensive end, similar to the way the New York Giants continually roll their rushers in and out.

Round 2, Pick 31 – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama:

A year after taking Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett in the third round, Rang has the Patriots going after what may be this year’s version of baggage-ridden prospect in Jenkins, in continuation of Belichick’s to take chances on such players, While there is no question about Jenkins’ talent (not many mocks have Jenkins falling out of the first round), he must overcome question marks over his maturity.

Mel Kiper: ESPN

Round 1, Pick 27 – Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise St:

More of a tweener, McClellin played defensive end at Boise State, but projects well as a 3-4 outside linebacker, leaving him as a versatile piece for Belichick to utilize in his defense. McClellin can pressure the pocket, but receives higher grades from his lofty football IQ, strength and ability to play his assignment, particularly in the run game.

Round 1, Pick 31 – Derek Wolfe, DL, Cincinnati:

At 6-foot-5, 295, Wolfe is a load on the defensive line and, according to Kiper, projects as a 3-4 defensive lineman. Kiper notes that the lesser-known Cincinatti prospects isn’t quite the “explosive” player that a lot of fans are looking for, but plays with good leverage and could be a good fit up front.

Todd McShay: ESPN

Round 1, Pick 27 – Nick Perry, DE, USC:

McShay has the Patriots going for a pass-rusher at No. 27, with Perry being the best one available in terms of what the Patriots are looking for. With a similar frame and skillset, Belichick could select Perry with the intention of having him make up for the loss of Anderson.

Round 1, Pick 31 – Jerel Worthy, DL, Michigan St:

Worthy is a powerful, disruptive force on the defensive line, particularly as a penetrating 3-technique in a 4-3 defense. The questions with Worthy, though, lie in his consistency and ability to maintain a strong bull rush and a high motor on every play. At his peak, Worthy could be demon on the Pats’ interior like Albert Haynesworth in his prime. If he lacks consistency, he could flounder, like Albert Haynesworth past his prime.

Don Banks: SI.com

Round 1, Pick 27 - Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse:

Jones once again goes to this Patriots in this mock, but at their first selection. However, Banks does have many of the draft’s top pass rushers coming off of the board quickly. If there is a similar run on April 26th, the Patriots would likely wait and see who falls to them rather than trade up. In this case, they land Jones.

Round 1, Pick 31 – Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan St:

Another analyst expecting the Patriots to take the All-American, Banks calls Worthy an excellent value at the 31st overall pick, provided Belichick actually holds onto the selection, of course.

Dane Brugler: CBS Sports

Round 1, Pick 27 – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama:

Brugler boldly predicts Kirkpatrick to fall to the Patriots, despite many experts grading him as the No. 2 cornerback in the draft. Blessed with tremendous size a 6-foot-2, Kirkpatrick is a great value if he stays on the board this long. According to Brugler, Kirkpatrick brings great range, length and could see time at safety.

Round 1, Pick 31 – Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise St:

Brugler is another draft expert projecting McClellin to continue shooting up draft boards. After a solid career in Boise, McClellin has impressed scouts in both his workouts and at the Senior Bowl, displaying the ability to get after the quarterback, drop back in coverage and play in space.

Round 2, Pick 16 – Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State:

Versatile, with the ability to play inside and outside, Osemele gets the nod as the Patriots’ first pick of the second round here. At 6-foot-6, 333 pounds, he brings prototypical size to the position.

Round 2, Pick 31 – George Iloka, FS, Boise State:

Iloka is the second Bronco taken by the Patriots in Brugler’s mock and could end up being even more versatile than his teammate, showing an ability to line up at safety, cornerback and even linebacker. Belichick would certainly be inclined to include such a moldable talent in his defensive schemes.

Wes Bunting: NationalFootballPost.com

Round 1, Pick 27 – Devon Still, DT, Penn State:

Bunting has the Patriots starting off with a safe selection to help build up their interior defensive line. Though not a dynamic pass-rusher, according to Bunting, Still provides a consistent presence inside, particularly in stopping the run and brings great size and strength from the position. He also brings the ability to play inside in a 4-3 and at defensive end in a 3-4.

Round 1, Pick 31 – Mark Barron, FS, Alabama:

Barron, who is projected to go to the Cowboys at No. 14 or Jets at No. 16 in most mocks, falls to the Patriots in this mock. Despite injury concerns, Barron is still the consensus pick at the top safety in a weak class and would be a welcome selection at the end of the first round.

Peter Schrager: Fox Sports

Round 1, Pick 27 – Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia:

Glenn, who played left tackle as a senior at Georgia, would project to fill in the question marks at guard for the Patriots, with Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer expected to hold down the tackle spots. Glenn is a rare athlete, a 345-pounder who has been clocked under five seconds in the 40-yard dash and a great value at this point in the draft.

Round 1, Pick 31 – Kendall Reyes, DT, UConn:

At No. 31, the Patriots are projected to pick Reyes, a soild prospect that has been overlooked somewhat in a crowded class of defensive tackle prospects. Shrager views Reyes as a rising prospect after solid showings at the combine and the UConn pro day that would move in alongside Vince Wilfork as either a tackle in a 4-3 or move outside to a 3-4 defensive end.

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