If you’re the type of NFL fan that hates all the mock drafts and speculation that dominates the narrative between March and late April, then you’ll be pleased that we’re less than a week away from the 2011 NFL Draft finally arriving. If you love putting together mocks and analyzing those filed by others, then you’re in seventh heaven for at least another week.
ESPN’s Todd McSahy recently published his annual scenario based mock draft ($). The premise is simple: McShay makes a pick for each of the 32 first round slots, but also presents two alternative scenarios that could materialize. When trying to forecast what the New England Patriots might do in the ‘11 Draft, this approach is a good one for several reasons. Firstly, the Patriots have two picks in the first round, so it’s helpful to read opinions about the myriad options at New England’s disposal. Secondly, the Patriots have a history of pulling off multi-faceted maneuvers (read: trades) in recent drafts, so it’s interesting to hear an expert’s opinion about how and why they might do something similar again this year.
So, what did McShay lay out as likely scenarios for the Pats’ picks at No. 17 and No. 28? Let’s take a look. At No. 17, McShay penciled in Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo. Here was his explanation:
Scenario 1: Offensive tackle is not a top need but the local product Castonzo has been on the board too long at this point, and with current LT Matt Light entering his 11th season and set to be an unrestricted free agent Castonzo makes sense.
In Scenario 2, McShay mentioned defensive ends JJ Watt and Cameron Jordan as viable options to help improve the front-seven defensively. Finally, he mentioned the possibility of a trade in Scenario 3.
Scenario 3: I can envision a scenario in which the Patriots try to work a trade, possibly with the Redskins if Quinn is on the board at No. 10. The Patriots already have six picks in the first two days and they don’t need any more, so packaging some in order to fill a need seems possible.
I think this makes a lot of sense. There’s only 53 roster spots, and obviously the Patriots have a solid roster as is. So quite simply, all those draft picks aren’t at all valuable if there’s limited space on the roster for them to earn a helmet.
With the Patriots second pick in the first round at No. 28, McShay has the Pats selecting Alabama running back Mark Ingram. Here’s why:
The Patriots are looking to get more physical on offense and Ingram fits the bill. He’s not a huge back but he runs low, has exceptional instincts and picked up more yards after contact than any back in this class. The relationship between New England coach Bill Belichick and Alabama’s Nick Saban doesn’t hurt, either.
He then mentions the possibility of trading down with a team that might be interested in acquiring a quarterback in this year’s draft. To conclude, McShay presents a third scenario for the Pats at No. 28.
Scenario 3: Names like Locker, Reed, Boise State WR Titus Young, Pittsburgh DE Jabaal Sheard, Miami DE Allen Bailey and Alabama OT James Carpenter could also be in play whether New England stays put or trades back.
We’ll see what happens when the festivities begin next Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Once thing is for sure — fans of the New England Patriots will continue to have lots to talk about once the dust finally settles on the 2011 NFL Draft.