This is my first attempt at a mock draft. While I know trades are going to happen, I chose to do one without trades just to have a projected selection at every pick the Pats currently have. I'm pretty sure most of the players I have chosen will be available where I have them, but I would love to here your input on my choices.
Pick 17: Akeem Ayers,6'4, 256, OLB, UCLA
The thing about Ayers that jumps out at me is his incredible instincts. He always seems to make the right call on almost every type of play. His coverage skills are pretty good and his speed is above average. His pass rushing could use some fine-tuning, but right now he looks like a good speed rusher with a high ceiling. He contains runners well, and he is a fundamental tackler. I have no doubt that with some good coaching, Ayers will become an elite OLB. Other possibilities: Ryan Kerrigan, JJ Watt, Mark Ingram
Pick 28: Derek Sherrod, 6'6, 300, OT, Mississippi State
I think Sherrod isn't given enough credit for his agility and good footwork. His size looks good on paper, but he can be overpowered. He has shown that he is consistently good as both a run and pass blocker. He is very quick and nimble on his feet, and he contained many of the speedy DEs in the SEC. He definitely needs improvement with his hand work and will need to bulk up a bit to handle power rushers. Sherrod is an all around solid player and is a fundamentally sound OT. Other possibilities: Gabe Carimi, Mike Pouncey, Muhammad Wilkerson, Cameron Heyward.
Pick 33: Muhammad WIlkerson, 6'5, 305, DE/DT, Temple
I went back and forth between him and Cameron Heyward, who we would likely have to take at 28, but I went Wilkerson because of potential. He probably won't start right out of the gate, but I think he develops into an elite DE/DT. I like Wilkerson's strength and pass rush capability. His lack of quickness and explosiveness concern me a little. Wilkerson is a great run stopper and a decent pass rusher, and if he is slowly worked into the defense, he could be a solid player on the front 7. Other possibilities: Phil Taylor, Cameron Heyward
Pick 60: Ben Ijalana, 6'4, 320, OG/OT, Villanova
I really hope Ijalana will be there at 60. He has good athleticism and decent size for a guard. He is a very powerful guard, which makes me think he will transition to the NFL better than some think. His quickness is excellent. He could improve his technique and footwork, but Ijalana has great potential and I think he could be a strong point in an OL for years to come. Other Possibilities: John Moffitt
Pick 74: Dontay Moch, 6'2, 240, OLB/DE, Nevada
This is probably my most unconventional pick. He will be mostly an OLB in the NFL, but he is capable of being a 3rd down DE. He is undersized, but he is surprisingly powerful for his size. I have watched a lot of WAC football, and this guy is a beast. Moch's biggest asset is his speed, which is rumored to be in the 4.2s. His draft placement will rely heavily on his combine speed. He is a solid tackler and great pass rusher. Many are unsure how well Moch will transition to the NFL, but he, IMO, will become a solid OLB if his cover skills get better.
Pick 92: Terrence Tolliver, 6'4, 210, WR, LSU
Tolliver has some potential character issues, but his size and speed are very good. He is a bit of a project, but if he refines his route-running, he could be a solid receiver and a good deep threat.
Pick 124: Curtis Marsh, 6'0, 195, CB, Utah State
An under-the-radar corner, Marsh is fast and physical at the corner position. His instincts need some work, he will need a lot of reps and probably won't play much corner in his first year. Having said that, he could play some Nickel back with the Pats and could certainly develop into a shut-down corner.
Round 5: John Clay, 6'1, 250, RB, Wisconsin
A very big and physical RB, Clay has surprisingly good speed. He is great at tacking on an extra 2 or 3 yards to a play. He needs to work on pass protection and his receiving out of the backfield. Overall, a very coachable running back with size that not many NFL running backs posess. Note: I was on the fence between Clay and Royster out of Penn State.
Round 6: Jason Kelce, 6'3, 280, C, TCU
Kelce's athleticism isn't great, but he should be an NFL ready center/guard. His ceiling appears to be pretty low, but don't sleep on Jason Kelce's ability to be an everyday center.
That sums up my mock draft. I think it is pretty realistic and fills all of the Patriots' needs well. If this actually happened, I think the Pats would have bolstered their front 7 and O-Line while adding a few potential skill players, making them the favorites to win it all next year. Please voice your opinion and don't be hesitant to criticize. I would like to here everyone's input.