Round 1 was a great first day of the draft for the New England Patriots. During the opening round, the Patriots began by selecting their offensive left tackle of the future Anthony Castonzo to replace Matt Light, giving the Patriots a youthful but powerful tackle combination. Following this move, the Patriots traded up to the 25th slot to take future right defensive end Cameron Heyward. They gave up a fourth round pick to do so but saw Heyward as worth the trade. The Patriots added two blue collar players who play the game with real attitude and passion. However, the first round also saw some talent slide into the second round. With the start of the second round, the Patriots are in a very strong position to trade the 33rd pick, with genuine first round talent still on the board. Although, with talented players coming in positions of need for the Patriots they could opt to pick one which would represent great value. The Patriots have a real decision to make as they would like to acquire a pick or two for next year's draft but will they pass up the opportunity?
TRADE: New England Patriots trade the 33rd pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the 45th & 2012 1st Round Pick.
33. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) Andy Dalton (6'2 - 215lbs) QB TCU
After a bidding war between the 49ers, Vikings and Tennessee Titans, the Patriots take advantage of the 49ers need to draft a quarterback and pluck a future 1st round pick in the deal while swapping 2nd round picks. They get such good value in part due to the number of teams vying to trade up to this spot. Dalton has underrated arm strength and can make all the throws but it is his accuracy and decision making which make him ideal for Jim Harbaugh's west coast system.
34. Buffalo Bills (4-12) Derek Sherrod (6'5 - 305lbs) OT Mississippi State
After upgrading their pass rush in round 1, the Bills seek to improve their offensive line in the second round. In Sherrod, the Bills finally find their long term replacement for Jason Peters and improve one of the worst offensive lines in football. Sherrod is an outstanding pass protector and solid run blocker who will provide good protection for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
35. Cincinnati Bengals (4-12) Jonathan Baldwin (6'4 - 228lbs) WR Pittsburgh
The Bengals took their franchise quarterback in the first round. With Chad Ochocinco likely done in Cincinnati, they need to provide Blaine Gabbert with some targets. Baldwin will stretch the field and provide a big target to compliment some of the other young Bengals receivers.
36. Denver Broncos (4-12) Kyle Rudolph (6'6 - 260lbs) TE Notre Dame
Denver needs to upgrade their tight end position, as they have not been productive in that area since the departure of Tony Scheffler. A player who has drawn comparisons to Rob Gronkowski, Rudolph is an excellent pass catcher with terrific size and strength who will not only provide a reliable target downfield, but his blocking will help with Denver's poor rushing attack.
37. Houston Texans (6-10) Aaron Williams (6'0 - 204lbs) CB Texas
After addressing their defensive line in round 1, the Texans look to improve their secondary with the top rated cornerback remaining. Williams is a solid cover corner with ability in both man and zone. He will benefit from Wade Philips' pressure schemes.
38. Arizona Cardinals (5-11) Clint Boling (6'4 - 308lbs) OG Georgia
The Cardinals were hoping Danny Watkins would fall to this spot but settle for the Georgia Bulldog. The Cardinals seem to want to add a quarterback through free agency so they address one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year. Alan Faneca looks older by the day - Boling will add some youth, versatility and much needed quality to a poor unit.
39. Tennessee Titans (6-10) Colin Kaepernick (6'5 - 233lbs) QB Nevada
Kaepernick's stock is improving by the day and here, he could come into an offensive system that would play to his strengths. He can rely on the run game and play action passing to allow his accuracy and athletic ability to thrive. Kaepernick has solid character and a great work ethic and could be the franchise leader Vince Young never was.
40. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) Marcus Cannon (6'5 - 358lbs) OL TCU
The Cowboys need an infusion of youth on their offensive line. Despite higher rated talents available, Dallas likes maulers on their offensive line and Marcus Cannon is exactly that. After a stellar career at TCU, Cannon could play right tackle or slide inside to guard for the Cowboys.
41. Baltimore Ravens (12-4) Akeem Ayers (6'3 - 254lbs) OLB UCLA
After trading back into the 2nd round, the Ravens put a halt to Akeem Ayers' slide in the draft. Ayers is a very good pass rusher and can drop into coverage. He will star opposite Terrell Suggs and thrive in the Ravens' pressure packages.
42. Cleveland Browns (5-11) Phil Taylor (6'3 - 334lbs) NT Baylor
After purging themselves of some defensive line players recently, Cleveland needs to find some quality up front. Taylor is seeing his stock fall due to health concerns regarding his foot. Either way, the Browns are adding a powerful presence in the middle of their transitioning 4-3 defense.
43. Minnesota Vikings (6-10) Christian Ponder (6'2 - 229lbs) QB Florida State
Even if the Vikings acquire a veteran QB in free agency, they ultimately need to find a long term solution at quarterback. Christian Ponder could be their guy. He is a highly intelligent and accurate passer with above average arm strength. He would be a great leader for this franchise.
44. Detroit Lions (6-10) Ben Ijalana (6'4 - 317lbs) OG/OT Villanova
The Lions continue their excellent drafting run under Jim Schwartz with the addition of Ijalana. He will start at guard until he is accustomed to the level of competition before possibly moving to tackle. This will be a great move to protect the oft injured Matthew Stafford.
45. New England Patriots (14-2) Brooks Reed (6'3 - 263lbs) DE/OLB Arizona
After trading down, the Patriots get their man by dipping into the Arizona talent pool again to add another ‘attitude' player in the ever improving Reed. He is an aggressive pass rusher with an array of moves and he constantly plays in the opponent's backfield. He will be a great compliment to Cam Heyward to solidify the right side of the Patriot front seven for the next five or ten years.
46. Denver Broncos (4-12) Davon House (6'0 - 200lbs) CB New Mexico State
Despite the resigning of Champ Bailey, the Broncos need corner depth with the uncertain future of Perrish Cox who is facing a sexual assault trial. House is an excellent corner who plays physical defense. After beefing up the defensive line in round one, the Broncos add some speed and youth on the back end.
47. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) Ras-I Dowling (6'2 - 198lbs) CB Virginia
The Eagles need a cornerback and the supply is starting to run down so they find a trading partner in the Rams, who look to recoup a pick after their 1st round trade up. The Eagles move up over the Jaguars to take Ras-I Dowling. Dowling is a physical corner who the Eagles will need to counter some of the big receivers in the NFC East.
48. Oakland Raiders (8-8) Stefan Wisniewski (6'3 - 313lbs) C/OG Penn State
Oakland could use an offensive lineman and this pick makes too much sense, as Wisniewski's uncle played at a pro bowl level for Al Davis for years. Wisniewski has the talent to play early. He is a great pass and run blocker and plays with superb technique. Although not the strongest, he uses his intelligence and technical ability to maneuver opponents.
49. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) Rahim Moore (6'1 - 196lbs) DB UCLA
The Jaguars need to address their secondary and so take the highest rated player available in Rahim Moore. Moore can play at Safety or as a Nickel Corner so provides solid versatility. He also has good leadership skills and is a very intelligent player.
50. San Diego Chargers (9-7) Justin Houston (6'3 - 270lbs) DE/OLB Georgia
After addressing the defensive line in round one, the Chargers add explosive pass rusher Justin Houston to their OLB rotation. The Chargers cannot wait around for Larry English to start producing so add Houston to upgrade an already impressive defense.
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6) Mikel Leshoure (6'0 - 227lbs) RB Illinois
A luxury pick for the Buccaneers, they add the talented runner out of Illinois. Despite the outstanding rookie season posted by LeGarrette Blount, Cadillac Williams is a free agent and not getting any younger. Leshoure is a solid player who hits the whole hard and has decent speed.
52. New York Giants (10-6) Martez Wilson (6'4 - 250lbs) LB Illinois
After addressing their offensive line in round 1, the Giants look to make a much needed upgrade at linebacker. Wilson will fit nicely into the Giants aggressive defensive scheme and could play any of their linebacker positions. He also has the size that Giant fans are accustomed to seeing from their linebackers.
53. Indianapolis Colts (10-6) Stephen Paea (6'1 - 303lbs) DT Oregon State
After addressing their offensive line in the 1st round, the Colts look to improve their ailing run defense with this selection. Paea is a powerful defensive tackle who can hold up well against double teams and will provide a run stuffing presence.
54. St. Louis Rams (7-9) Allen Bailey (6'3 - 285lbs) DL Miami
After getting their receiver in round 1, the Rams address their defensive line here at 47. Steve Spagnuolo understands the value of good pass rushers and they find one in this Hurricane who they can pair with Chris Long at defensive end.
55. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) Leonard Hankerson (6'2 - 209lbs) WR Miami
The Chiefs need to add more pass catching targets for Matt Cassel. They pluck the talented Miami product to play opposite Dwayne Bowe. Hankerson is a talented pass catcher and is a high character player. He can stretch the field somewhat and go up and make the catch in traffic. Scott Pioli will love Hankerson's raw talent and work ethic.
56. New Orleans Saints (11-5) Ryan Williams (5'10 - 212lbs) RB Virginia Tech
After improving their pass rush in round one, the Saints look to make improvements to their running game here. It's getting more difficult to see Reggie Bush having a future in the Bayou and with the amount of injuries to their running back corps in 2010, they could do with a complete back to compliment the recently resigned Pierre Thomas.
57. Seattle Seahawks (7-9) Sam Acho (6'2 - 262lbs) DE/OLB Texas
The Seahawks address their defensive line with Sam Acho at the end of the second round. Acho is a solid pass rusher who plays with good strength and explosion. He had a great senior bowl and has terrific character.
58. Baltimore Ravens (12-4) Titus Young (5'11 - 174lbs) WR Boise State
With their second selection in this round, the Ravens address their need at wide receiver. Despite some solid veterans at the position in 2010, the Ravens never had a player who could consistently get open deep down the field and stretch an opponent's defense. Despite some character concerns, Young could be that player for the Ravens. He runs good routes and is an explosive deep threat.
59. Atlanta Falcons (13-3) Christian Ballard (6'4 - 283lbs) DL Iowa
Tomas Dimitroff has previously stated the Falcons purely draft for need. Here, they need a pass rusher to provide depth on their defensive line. Ballard is a talented defensive end who also has the size to move inside on obvious passing downs.
TRADE: New England Patriots trade the 60th pick and a 2012 3rd round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the 70th pick and a 2012 2nd round draft pick.
60. Cleveland Browns (5-11) Marvin Austin (6'2 - 309lbs) DT North Carolina
With the move towards the 4-3 defense, the Browns need some attacking players. After acquiring Phil Taylor in round 2, the Browns move up into the end of the round to nab the top remaining defensive tackle in the fearsome Tar Heel. If Austin's motor can improve, he could be a dominant force inside with Phil Taylor for the remade Browns' defensive line.
61. San Diego Chargers (9-7) Curtis Brown (6'0 - 185lbs) CB Texas
The Chargers choose to upgrade their secondary with their second selection of this round. Brown has good size and speed and is equally proficient in man and zone coverage. He is a solid character player who will work hard to improve his game.
62. Chicago Bears (11-5) Rodney Hudson (6'3 - 299lbs) OG Florida State
Continuing their makeover of their offensive line, the Bears add a player who has drawn comparisons to Olin Kreutz. Although slightly undersized, Hudson will use his power and technique to start at Guard for the Bears, although he will be a long term replacement for Kreutz at Center.
63. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) John Moffitt (6'4 - 319lbs) OG Wisconsin
After addressing their secondary in the first round, the Steelers go back to their offensive line in Round 2. Moffitt fits the personality of a typical Steeler lineman - a strong run blocker and efficient pass protector who plays with nastiness.
64. Green Bay Packers (10-6) Dontay Moch (6'2 - 248lbs) DE/OLB Nevada
The Packers address their need for a pass rusher in the second round with the freakishly athletic Nevada product. Moch has unbelievable speed but like Clay Matthews when entering the league, needs to add some bulk. However, he was very consistent in college and will fit in with this attacking defense.
The second round brings about a typical flurry of trade activity for the Patriots. In a great piece of business, the Patriots exploit the 49ers need for a quarterback by swapping second round draft picks and plucking a 2012 1st Round Draft choice to put the Pats once again in a controlling position for the 2012 NFL Draft. The Patriots confidently trade down from 33 since there are plenty of pass rushers still on the board including Akeem Ayers, Justin Houston and Brooks Reed, who the Patriots eventually select.
Selecting Reed with the 45th pick represents solid value and allows the Patriots to pair Reed with new defensive end Cam Heyward on the right side of their front seven. Reed brings good versatility, intelligence and an attitude of toughness which has been missing from the team's play recently.
Furthermore, after seeing limited value in the slot, the Patriots trade out of the 60th pick into Round 3, while picking up an additional 2012 2nd round pick - again, a great piece of business for the Patriots who feel they can find better value at the top of the third round and gain another likely premium selection for 2012 - the only downside being they give up a 2012 3rd round pick. However, they enter the 3rd round in 2011 with three 3rd round picks, one of which I think will be traded away to gain a future 3rd round pick.
I will put up my complete 7 Round Patriot Mock tomorrow.