In preparation for the 2011 NFL Draft's first round -- beginning Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network), SB Nation's Brian Galliford has released his final 2011 NFL Mock Draft, and no surprise, it has Auburn's Cam Newton going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers.
As for the New England Patriots, Galliford projects a couple familiar names Bill Belichick (familiar in the sense that a lot of mock drafts have these two players going to the Pats in the first round): J.J. Watt and Mark Ingram.
Watt would be the Patriots first of two first-round pick, at No. 17 overall:
The Patriots have drafted three defensive linemen in the first round during the Bill Belichick era. They'll have a hard time not making it four with Watt.
And then with the No. 28 selection, they'd pick Alabama running back Mark Ingram -- a great value pick (he's seen his stock slip in the past couple months due to concerns about his knee):
After re-vamping their offense to a two-tight end attack last year, the missing piece is a true workhorse running back. That's what Ingram gives the Pats.
Interestingly enough, Robert Quinn, the DE from North Carolina that the Patriots are reportedly so interested in they're talking to the Cleveland Browns about their No. 6 overall pick, is projected to ... the Browns, with the No. 6 pick.
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.