With the NFL draft slated to begin in just under four hours, the common question remains: who will the New England Patriots select at No. 27 and No. 31 -- the team's two first round picks? ESPN's Todd McShay projects the team to select Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw and Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith.
Earlier, the Boston Globe also released its final mock draft, which varies from McShay, slightly. The Globe has the Pats taking Montana cornerback Trumaine Johnson and Stanford tight end Cody Fleener in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts.
Outlook: New England will try to deal one of its picks in the first round - maybe both - because value is not good here. Bill Belichick has never taken an OLB or WR in the first round. The team's biggest weakness was big plays defensively. They need more talented players in the secondary and Johnson, despite some character concerns, fits the bill. Could be available later if Patriots trade back.
Outlook: The Patriots won't be taking another TE. But with the Giants really needing one at the next pick, some team (Colts or Panthers?) will want to jump them to grab the draft's clear top TE, which has become a position of desire, or QB Brandon Weeden. Fleener and Andrew Luck were college teammates. If the Patriots stay, OLB Vinny Curry, WR Stephen Hill, DTs Devon Still, Jerel Worthy and Kendell Reyes would be considered. Curry would be the favorite.
For more on the Patriots, please be sure to check out our blog Pats Pulpit and SB Nation Boston for all the latest news and updates. For more mock draft information, check out Mocking The Draft. Prospect profiles can also be found at the National Football Post, an SB Nation partner.