AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26: Courtney Upshaw #41 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a defensive stop against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Yesterday was the unofficial start to the 2012 NFL season as the best college prospects made their way to New York City to learn where they'll be playing football next season at the 2012 NFL Draft. And what a day it was, if you are a fan of the New England Patriots.
With the clear area of concern being the front seven, Bill Belichick became extra aggressive and actually traded up to grab Syracuse defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones at No. 21 overall as well as Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower at No. 25 overall. Talk a pleasant surprise!
As exciting as yesterday's first round was for me and for many others, there's six more rounds in this thing! On tap for tonight will be the second and third rounds starting at 7:00 p.m. The Patriots currently hold selections at No. 48 and No. 62 overall. After that, they'll be mere spectators. Unless, of course, they trade down! Let's take a look at what direction the experts think BB will go in tonight's second round.
Check out the second round mock drafts from around the web and what I think they'll do, after the jump!
48. New England Patriots, Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
62. New England Patriots, Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana
48. New England Patriots (via Oakland): CB Brandon Boykin (Georgia)
Quick hit: Fills two needs with potential help in the slot and as an explosive returner
First round: DE Chandler Jones (21st); LB Dont'a Hightower (25th)
62. New England Patriots: DL Brandon Thompson (Clemson)
Quick hit: If they don't trade for more picks, the 6-foot-2, 314-pound run-stuffer could add some beef up front.
48. Patriots (from Raiders) - Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
62. Patriots - Ben Jones, C, Georgia*
48. New England Patriots: Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina. The Patriots need a safety and Allen had a solid week at the Senior Bowl. He is a solid tackler.
62. New England Patriots: Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California. Earlier in this round I had them taking a safety. Schwartz is a good technician and competitive. He is the brother of NFL guard Geoff Schwartz.
48. New England Patriots: Casey Hayward, CB Vanderbilt. The Patriots will want to spend one of their remaining selections on a cornerback. They've shown lots of interest in Casey Hayward.
62. New England Patriots: Zach Brown, ILB North Carolina. The Patriots were obviously expected to add a pass-rushing linebacker early in the 2012 NFL Draft. They're also seeking a smaller linebacker who can cover. Zach Brown was once considered a first-round prospect, so he offers tremendous value here.
48. New England Patriots: Kendall Reyes, DT Connecticut.
(From Oakland). Baggage-laden cornerback Janoris Jenkins of North Alabama might be a strong consideration here, but the Patriots also like Reyes, and he comes relatively problem-free. The remaking of New England's defensive front seven gets another brick in the wall.
62. New England Patriots: Lamar Miller, RB Miami
After three defensive picks to open the draft, the Patriots get themselves a new toy in the backfield to help offset the loss of BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
As you can see, the "experts" are split on who Bill Belichick will select with his two second round picks. I can already alert you all (not that you didn't already think it) that one of these picks will likely be traded, most likely No. 48, so that BB can stockpile some picks for later tonight or on Saturday.
However, I do believe the Patriots will make a second round selection, and they'll take a corner or a safety. Be on the look out for them to take a Janoris Jenkins, Brandon Boykin or a Trumaine Johnson possibly. But again, I'm not Bill Belichick, and I have full confidence in whatever he wants to do. Stay tuned!