As the NFL Draft comes and a team’s needs become increasingly evident.
For the New England Patriots, the absence of a constant pass rush
presence. The 2011 Draft has quite the selection for one the Patriots’
needs. With six picks in the first three rounds and nine total picks?
Expect some trades, of course but they should also focus on defensive
ends, running backs and possibly even a quarterback.
With the Patriots’ first pick at number 17, it would make perfect sense
for them to pick up a defensive end like J.J. Watt. The Wisconsin alum
finished his college career with the badgers with 26 career starts, 106
total tackles (76 solo) and 11.5 sacks. The tight end who switched to
defensive end when he transferred to Wisconsin is a viable choice for
the Patriots’ first pick at number 17. Watt is just becoming familiar
with the 3-4 scheme and has extensive experience as a dominant interior
pass rusher. For the sake of the Patriots, any sort of pass rusher
would be beneficial.
Most of the concern for the Patriots in this draft will most likely be
on the defensive side of the ball, but I believe that the lack of a
breakout number one running back is something that was a weakness this
past season. Now, before I get barraged with the Green-Ellis/Woodhead
arguments, those two were sufficient but lacked a consistent
explosiveness at every drive. At the end of the 2010 season though, the
Patriots were still ranked ninth in rushing yards and that was without
Kevin Faulk or Fred Taylor.
Since Corey Dillon, there has not been a stand out running back that
has enabled them to be a balanced offensive threat. An option for one
of their third round picks available is Stanford’s Owen Marecic, a true
full back who could add some depth to the running attack. Marecic fits
the Patriots in terms of versatility as he’s also skilled in playing a
linebacker. Marecic is just over 6-feet tall and weighs in at 245
pounds. If drafted, he’d tower over most of the receivers on the
With quarterback Tom Brady coming off of one of his best seasons and
with back-up Brian Hoyer looking sharper than ever (he did win that
famous trash bin drill at training camp), there doesn’t seem to be an
imminent need for quarterback. That being said, I believe that this
should be on the lower end of the priority list for the Patriots. With
several trades bound to take place on the Draft days, it would make
sense that picks available in the sixth or seventh round could be used
on a quarterback. Sorry, no drastic moves higher on the board for
Washington’s Jake Locker or Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett.
Kisha Tapangan is a contributing writer for PatriotsInsider.com She also maintains her personal blog Necessary Roughness and can be found on Twitter @KishaT. Be sure to check back for regular updates by Kisha
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