I've sort of made a habit this past month or so. Whenever I have a spare piece of paper. To scribble down a quick patriots mock. I've probably done a hundred or so scenarios. It's a nervous habit, and it passes the time. But it's at least given me a pretty good grasp of what order to draft each position and where certain players just don't make sense.
One fact that is sort of tough to avoid is how, i'll use the word, uncertain the tackle position is. Outside of the top 20-25 picks. I'm now in full fledged support of drafting an offensive tackle at #17 (we'd probably be able to afford dropping down a few spots to the 19-20 range, and still have carimi, castonzo and solder available.)
I like the tackle prospects in that order.
1. Gabe Carimi
2. Anthony Castonzo
3. Nate Solder
Castonzo has the greater upside to Carimi. But I just feel more comfortable taking carimi, and sticking him in at right tackle, right away. He's a fairly sure thing there, and while he may never be able to protect TB's blind side, Sebastian Vollmer has played a good share of snaps on the left side.
If we're going to spend a top pick on a tackle. It's to afford the luxury of not paying Matt Light, and hopefully in turn afford to pay Logan Mankins. So a project like Tyron Smith and Nate Solder wouldn't be ideal.
17th Overall Selection: Gabe Carimi OT/Wisconsin
28th Overall Selection: Cameron Heyward DE/Ohio State
Certain posters (you know who you are) have swayed me and while Heyward may never rack up double digit sacks. He would be a natural fit at the Right End position, effectively replace Richard Seymour and i truly believe he'd be a good fit for the pats.
33rd Overall Selection: Danny Watkins OG/Baylor
A guard with a mean streak, whose a slight reach at this position. Sound familiar? The biggest hit on Watkins is his age. But he clearly will not be available at 60 and this is another situation where the patriots could trade back a few slots and get their guy in Watkins.
My vision for the O-line is as follows:
Sebastian Vollmer - | - Logan Mankins - | - Dan Koppen - | - Danny Watkins - | - Gabe Carimi
Watkins and Carimi are the two most NFL ready offensive lineman in the draft and this could be a bonus with a training camp that will almost certainly be shortened by a lock out.
60th Overall Selection: Allen Bailey OLB/Miami
There's been some shared interest between the Pats and Bailey. They've brought him in multiple times for a visit and I could see them jump up a few spots to grab Bailey somewhere in the middle of the second. Bailey would project as an *elephant*-type outside linebacker the patriots system, and has a Willie Mcginest-type frame. He's very raw, and a very big risk. But I want to see the patriots take a chance on Bailey.
74th Overall Selection: Quinton Carter S/Oklahoma
Rich Hill described him as a "smart player, who takes great angles" and while his hits are vicious, they aren't reckless. Brandon Merriweather with a brain, maybe? He might not have Merriweather's speed, he can make up for it by playing smart and buying into the patriots system.
He may be available at 74, though its far from likely. Jaiqauwn Jarrett seems to have gained some a lot of support around the web, but I think Carter is the better pick if available. Merriweather in my eyes, is a goner. There was a good chance he was gone before his (mysterious) off the field incident, and it's a good idea to plan for life after the first rounder.
90th Overall Selection: Edmund Gates WR/Abilene Christian
Bill tends to take project wide receiver's at the end of the third. (Brandon Tate and Taylor Price were both selected towards the end of the round) Gates is my favorite of the three I'd look at toward the end of the round.
Cecil Shorts III and Tandon Doss are also possibilities.
4th Round: Jacquizz Rogers RB/Oregon State
Redundant? Maybe. Rogers, has Woodhead-type size (his roughly an inch and a half shorter) and put up monster numbers at Oregon State. He doesn't bring much to the table that Woodhead doesn't. He'd be another body, another play-maker, who can catch passes out of the back field.
I also like Alex Green RB/Hawaii.
5th Round: Brandon Fusco C/Slippery Rock
A solid project at center, who would hopefully develop behind Koppen. Don't know much about the late round center's, but i've seen his name a lot around here.
6th Round: Chykie Brown CB/Texas
Brown was brought in once for a work out with the Pats. The lesser of the three Texas cornerbacks, Brown would be nothing more then a project at corner, and maybe he could find a niche as a nickleback. Not a great tackler. But there aren't a lot of great options this late in the draft.
Well that's it. I can't wait for the draft, and I hope to come away from it satisfied. Because I've wasted too many hours obsessing.