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Mocking the draft, episode one

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  March 30, 2011 12:00 PM

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ESPN.com, Todd McShay (subscription needed)

17. DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
If history is any indication the Patriots will make a move with at least one of their two first round picks, but for these purposes let's assume they stay home at Nos. 17 and 28 overall. The front seven is a clear need area and there's plenty of talent to choose from at this point. Watt has the size and skill set to be a very good fit at defensive end in Bill Belichick's version of the 3-4 defense, and putting Watt and a healthy Ty Warren around NT Vince Wilfork would quickly turn the defensive line from a weakness into a strength.

28. DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
After getting Watt earlier in the first round the Patriots would love to see Kerrigan still on the board at this point. He's not athletic enough to play on the outside in every 3-4 scheme but the Patriots like bigger, stronger outside linebackers who can get after the quarterback and Kerrigan has the instincts and motor to thrive in New England's system. The Patriots need to upgrade their pass rush and Kerrigan can do that.

NFLDraftScout.com, Chad Reuter

17. DE Cameron Jordan, Cal
Great fit for the five-technique spot in Bill Belichick's three-man front.

28. G Danny Watkins, Baylor
Watkins could slide into the left tackle spot if Matt Light does not return, play left guard if Logan Mankins holds out again after receiving the franchise tag, or compete with Dan Connolly for the right guard spot as a rookie.

CBSSports.com, Clark Judge

17. G Mike Pouncey, Florida
This is high for him, but consider it insurance against Logan Mankins. Could take an OT, too.

28. OLB Justin Houston, Georgia
Pats could use a WR, too, so Jonathan Baldwin or Torrey Smith always possible, but they need pass rushers.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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