The 2011 NFL Draft is about three weeks away, but uncertainty is still the prevailing theme in most mock draft, with varying outlooks week to week. The latest SB Nation 2011 NFL Mock Draft is no exception, with Cam Newton edging out Blaine Gabbert for the No. 1 overall pick. In fact, Gabbert slips all the way to the Cincinnati Bengals and the No. 4 pick this week (Alabama's Marcell Dareus and Texas A&M's Von Miller are Nos. 3 and 4, respectively).
As for the local 11, Brian Galliford sees the Patriots going defense with their first of two first-round selections.
17. New England Patriots: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue. Over the past couple of years, Bill Belichick has been using more 40 front, a departure from the staunch 3-4 he ran during the early part of the century. Why? He hasn't had the edge rushers. Kerrigan would team with '10 second-rounder Jermaine Cunningham to change that.
Then with the No. 28 pick, New England is tabbed to take Nate Solder, an offensive tackle from Colorado.
Boston College's Anthony Castonzo, one of the draft's top offensive lineman, is projected to at No. 13 -- his highest projection yet -- to the Detroit Lions.
There are value-based picks that the Lions could make here, but taking Castonzo makes too much sense. He's a versatile, intelligent athlete with good upside that could start on either side of the line. Protecting Matt Stafford is a top priority.