I am new here and I am a huge Pats fan. I have looked into the draft very carefully. This years draft features a ton of defense and more specifically, defensive linemen. Clearly, our biggest need is a Defensive End, a position that is very deep in the draft. Many have suggested that the way to go is to take a DE with pick 17. That would be pretty smart and, to me, would be the safe choice.
However, there is one gamechanging OLB that could be available at 17-Akeem Ayers out of UCLA. I have read a few posts on this site about the Draft, but I haven't seen any mention of his name. He is a good fit with the Lions, who may take him at 13. But if they pass on him, he will almost certainly be available at 17. OLB is still a position we need to address this offseason, and I see no better potential acquisition than him. He is extremely versatile, able to drop into coverage, stop the run, and rush the QB. He would fit into our 3-4 perfectly, and he is much more athletic and talented than other OLB prospects. As we have seen with Jerod Mayo, first round LBs can become great players and game changers on D. When you look at the Steelers and Bears, arguably the teams favored to make the Super Bowl, they both have a solid D, and namely, a solid group of Linebackers.
Now, the biggest problem with this is the fact that we would have failed to get a DE. That was my first thought, but when I look at the teams who pick 18-27, I don't see any team that is certain to take a DE. For the most part, I have read that Watt and Kerrigan would be the best fits for us. I don't see a huge difference in talent between the two, and both will most likely be available at 17. That being said, I would bet that at least one of the two would be available at 28, and I would guarantee that Ayers won't.
The Offensive Line is also a position we need to address. Gabe Carimi, Anthony Costanzo, and Tyron Smith would all be good fits, and would be practical to take at 17. Although picks 18-27 are likely to include a few O-linemen, I would bet that at least one will be available at 28.
The Pats could go with a RB, but guys like Woodhead and Green Ellis have done well. Don't get me wrong, we must draft a RB at some point, but there are usually at least a few good running backs available in rounds 6 and 7, just look at Arian Foster and LeGarette Blount. A guy like Ingram could be a great back, but since we already have a few decent RBs, I would prefer to take one later on.
The Conundrum: with picks 17, 28, 33, and 60, the Pats have a lot of options. One thing is clear: they must get a DE, an OT, and an OLB. But the Pats must rate their priorities and fill their needs somehow.
Bottom Line, I think Ayers will be a stud for years to come and I see him fitting into the Pats' 3-4 well. I would take him if he's available, and get an OT and a DE with picks 28 and 33. However, I wouldn't be disappointed if they took a DE or an OT with pick 17.
Thanks for reading and I am interested to hear your feedback.