17. New England Patriots (14-2, from Oakland, 8-8), Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College: With three of the first 33 picks in April's draft, look for New England to address their needs along the offensive and defensive lines, and grab a pass rushing outside linebacker, as well. It'd be a strange day if there were still this many elite offensive tackles left on the board, but it's certainly possible. I think Castonzo's the right guy for New England. At 6-foot-7, 310 pounds, Castonzo's a local kid who excelled for four years at BC. Castonzo started as a freshman in 2006, protecting Matt Ryan in Chestnut Hill, and only got better as the years went on. A 53-game starter in college, he fits the Bill Belichick mold. He was the buzz of Indianapolis after his Combine workout Saturday, solidifying his spot as a top-20 selection.
This seems like a pretty solid pick for the Pats. Costanzo, like Solder and Carimi, has got a big frame, with good athleticism and quick feet for the position. He is a solid pass protector who gets a good initial burst, but because of his height and lack of core strength, can lose leverage at times. I like Costanzo a lot as a prospect, but I'd like to see him continue to add strength.
At 28, Schrager has the Patriots going with J.J. Watt, the defensive end out of Wisconsin:
28. New England Patriots (14-2), J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin: The Patriots front office would be quite happy to see Watt - a top-10 possibility after a strong set of workouts in Indy - slip to 28th. As versatile as any defensive end in this draft, Watt can play defensive end in a 3-4 or a 4-3. A five-technique guy, he weighed in at 292 pounds, a tad light for a 3-4 defensive end, but he can beef up. A 260-pound tight end at Central Michigan, Watt is a tireless worker who's developed into a terrific defensive end. A fine young man who'll wow with his football IQ, look for Belichick and Co. to scoop him up if he's still on the board this late.
I've been a little back and forth on Watt the past couple of months. I think he plays stronger than his listed weight, and I also think he's the ideal 3-4 right defensive end, as a guy who can create some havoc as a pass rusher, but has the ability to hold off against the double teams. Like Costanzo, I think Watt could benefit from adding another 5-10 pounds of muscle to his frame (if he wants to play a 2-gap 3-4). There's also the whole Tom Condon-Patriots issue, although I'd like to think the Patriots could look past that in evaluating their prospects.
At 33, Schrager has the Pats going with Jonathan Baldwin, the wide receiver out of Pittsburgh. Baldwin could be a nice find for the right team, but I'm not a big fan of this pick for the Pats. If the Patriots HAD to go receiver, I'd probably prefer them to go with Leonard Hankerson at this point.
At 60, the pick is Brooks Reed for the Patriots. While I would be ecstatic if the Patriots got Reed at this spot, I would be pretty surprised if he lasted that far.
Overall, it's just interesting to get another take on the Patriots draft, whether or not I actually agree with the picks that Schrager makes (although he does do a fair job addressing the Patriots' needs).