We're now just days away from the NFL Draft (three, to be exact, assuming you're reading this on Monday), which means we're getting our final lock at the 2011 NFL Mock Drafts. SB Nation already released theirs -- it has the Patriots trading up to No. 13 to take Alabama's Julio Jones -- and now Doug Farrar has unveiled his mock draft over at Yahoo!'s Shutdown Corner.
With the No. 17 overall pick -- the Patriots' first of two first-round selections -- he has New England taking a former member of the Crimson Tide, but not Jones:
17. New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders) -Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
It's been a long time - February of 2005, to be specific - since the Patriots have won a Super Bowl. Bill Belichick's team has an ungodly 73-23 regular season record from 2005 through 2010, so overall team excellence is not the problem. But when isolating the issues that are different since that last championship, point one is that 2004 was the last time New England had a dominant running back, when Corey Dillon pounded through for 1,635 yards, making the integrated offense off-the-hook dynamic. Now that Belichick is putting together personnel for that same kind of fast-break system, he could really use a do-it-all running back that can succeed on every down. Ingram doesn't fly off the tape, but he's the kind of smart, productive player the Pats have favored through the years.
Later in the first round, Farrar projects the Pats to take Danny Watkins, an OG from Baylor, with the No. 28 pick. Read Farrar's full mock draft at Shutdown Corner.
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