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Patriots Will Have Plenty of Options at 22; Pre-Draft Thoughts

With under five hours to go until the start of the 2010 NFL draft, I thought I would post some thoughts that I had on what the Patriots might do at pick 22. Feel free to sound off on my thoughts in the comments, as well as add your own ideas/thoughts. The plan is to start a Day One open thread at around 5 PM. But for now, lets use this space for discussion.

  • With three second round picks, the Patriots have the luxury to take the best player available at 22. They can also move up, move back, etc. The great thing about having those picks is that is puts no pressure for the Patriots to draft based on need at 22. They simply can take the best player available.
  • Speaking of best player available, there is a good chance that one of the top players in the draft falls to the Patriots. Possibilities are Dez Bryant, Brandon Graham, Rolando McClain, Dan Williams, CJ Spiller, and Jimmy Clausen. If Clausen were to fall to 22, that could make the pick a valuable one in terms of trades.
  • The most interesting name, and probably most realistic (along with Brandon Graham), would be wide receiver Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State. Dez is incredibly talented. He isn't the fastest, but has great, big, strong hands. He's fluid running routes, he can go up and win any jump ball. He is simply a game changing wide receiver who, if it wasn't for character concerns, would be a surefire top 10 (possibly top 5) selection. Now the question is, do the Patriots take him if he falls to them at 22? The Patriots did have him on a pre-draft visit, although that doesn't necessarily mean he is on their draft board. If he's around, with the luxury of three second round picks, I say the Patriots take the gamble.
  • I really wouldn't count out the Patriots moving up for an "elite prospect" at around 10-15. There has been some rumor that the Patriots may be interested in South Florida OLB/DE Jason Pierre-Paul, or possibly Derrick Morgan.
  • More draft thoughts after the jump...

  • The most popular mock draft "choices" for the Patriots seem to be Jared Odrick, Sergio Kindle, Ryan Mathews, Jerry Hughes, and Brandon Graham. However, there seem to be questions with each of these guys.
  • Jared Odrick, the defensive tackle/end from Penn State, looks to fit the bill of a 3-4 end on paper. However, he was more of a gap shooter in college, and could be a better fit as a 3-technique. This doesn't mean he can't move to the five-technique. I think he can. However, he certainly needs to add bulk to his lower body.
  • Sergio Kindle is another player commonly mocked to the Patriots. Kindle his the length of a typical Patriots' 3-4 outside linebacker. At 6-3, 250 pounds, with a great wingspan, and great speed (4.65), he would seem like a great fit for the pass rush needy Patriots. However, his lack of production in 2009 (without Brian Orakpo), is a little concerning. Nonetheless, a great athlete who could very well end up being the Patriots pick at 22.
  • We all know the story with Brandon Graham; great player but too short (6-1) to play the Patriots' 3-4. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and Brandon Graham could be that exception if available at 22. He plays with an extremely high motor and is a natural pass rusher. He is also stout against the run, despite his lack of height. His ability to defend the run and set the edge is often overlooked.
  • Jerry Hughes is also considered undersized for a Patriots 3-4 outside linebacker. However, he may be the best pure pass rusher in this year's draft. He has an explosive first step, is agile, and is comfortable in space. While he may not be the best at setting the edge, he has the potential to be a premier pass rusher. The Patriots also have interest in him, having brought him in for a pre-draft visit.
  • Ryan Mathews is a guy I really like. A complete back, Mathews has good vision and is great between the tackles. He has good hands, speed, strength, and willingness as a blocker. Another player I think the Patriots may consider at 22.
  • Don't rule out the Patriots taking another cornerback early. While it's not really a big position of need for the Patriots, don't be surprised if the Patriots walk out of the draft day one with a cornerback such as Kyle Wilson, Kareem Jackson, Devin McCourty, or Javier Arenas.
  • One more name to throw out there: Maurkice Pouncey. He might not be the sexy pick, but is smart, an excellent pass protector, and will be able to hold up against the big nose tackles in the AFC East.
  • Overall, just really excited for tonight. In fact, I can't wait. I couldn't possibly stress the importance of this draft to the Patriots.