Mocking the NFL draft

Trying to guess what Patriots coach Bill Belichick is going to do in the draft every year is about as easy as picking winning MegaMillions numbers, but every year there are dozens of mock drafts that attempt to guess what the Patriots and the rest of the NFL’s teams will do in the first round.

A few brave souls even try to predict the second round.

The Patriots have two first-round picks this year, Nos. 27 (from New Orleans) and 31 (their own), having traded one of their two No. 1s last year to the Saints. Here is a roundup of what a few draftniks think the Pats might do, along with some selected comments:


Charles Davis,
27. OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

31. S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
The Patriots are really emphasizing getting better on defense, and the rangy safety from Notre Dame has been opening eyes this offseason. Truthfully, though, we’ll all be surprised if New England actually uses both first-round picks, won’t we?

Albert Breer,
27. C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Konz may lack the positional versatility New England covets, but he has everything else needed to be Tom Brady’s center.

31. DE/OLB Shea McClellin, Boise St.

Chad Reuter,
27. DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

31. DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut
Keeping the versatile Reyes in the Northeast makes sense — he has the athletic ability to play inside as a three-technique and outside as a 3-4 defensive end.

Nolan Nawrocki, – Nawrocki does a “fit-based” mock, taking team scheme, need, and talent into consideration
27. DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Coach Ron Zook clearly excelled recruiting elite pass-rushing talent at Florida and Illinois, and Mercilus falls in a similar class as Zook’s two former first-round standouts, Jarvis Moss and Derrick Harvey, from a physical standpoint. Much like the two first-round picks, Mercilus has raw positional instincts, but he showed improvement as the season progressed and has the speed and length to mold and potentially make the Patriots’ defensive front more multiple.


31. S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame

Pat Kirwan,
27. DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut

31. DE/OLB Shea McClellin, Boise St.
It is a surprise pick, but McClellan is a Belichick-type player. Maybe he moves down for him, or maybe he takes him right here. McClellan probably reminds the Patriots of Mike Vrabel.

48. S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame

62. S Antonio Allen, South Carolina

Clark Judge,

27. DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

31. S Mark Barron, Alabama
The Patriots have a lot of defensive backs but not many good ones. Barron would be perfect as the big hitter the Pats haven’t had since Rodney Harrison.

Rob Rang,
27. CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama

31. DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse
With the Patriots expected to maintain at least some elements of the 4-3 defense that served as their base scheme last year, adding talent and youth at defensive end is required. Former starter Mark Anderson left via free agency and Andre Carter is recovering from a torn quad. Jones’s length, power, and high-revving motor make him a natural replacement candidate.

Wes Bunting,

27. DT Devon Still, Penn St.
He’s not the most dynamic of pass rushers. However, he’s a big, strong player with a good get-off, long set of arms, and knows how to play the run. He’s a potential anchor inside who can push the pocket and give the Patriots a lot of 3-4 and 4-3 flexibility.

31. S Mark Barron, Alabama

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