Patriots: biggest players in NFL Draft’s 2nd round

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patriots logoBy Paul M. Banks

It’s hard to believe that a NFL playoff team from last season has so many holes to fill this draft. It’s even more unfathomable when considering the same team finished 2007 as the only 16-0 team in NFL history. Yet they have many needs (3-4 DE/LB, WR, TE, RB, OL) to fill just three years later.

Time to start rebuilding the New England Patriots, who possess 12 selections in the 2010 NFL Draft, including four of the first 53. New England was awarded four compensatory selections with one in the sixth round and three in the seventh round. The Pats are without a third-round pick due to a trade with Oakland for LB Derrick Burgess.

Here’s what I’m projecting them to do with those four picks in the first two rounds.

22. New England Jermaine Gresham TE Oklahoma

Now that the Patriots have let Ben Watson go, instead of over-paying for him, they have NOTHING at TE. You or me could possibly beat out a way-past-his-prime Alge Crumpler. Actually, did Crumpler even have a prime?  Got to grab Gresham here! Unless those trade rumors are true. You know the ones you heard about the Pats sending one of their second round picks to Chicago for Greg Olsen.patriots

44. New England (from Jacksonville) Damian Williams WR USC

This will be Randy Moss’ last season as a Patriot (and quite possibly his last stop in the NFL). After him, the Pats have Julian Edelman, a Wes Welker that will be gone a majority of next season, and….um Tory Holt who’s on his last legs, at WR. Although Holt did haul in over 50 passes and accumulate almost 800 yards receiving last season, so he’s no slouch. Williams was a big loser during combine week, but in this wideout class he’s still a winner, and will become a very rich man in this era of no salary cap.

47. New England (from Tennessee)  Jonathan Dwyer RB Georgia Tech

Dwyer got way too much positive press, once again proving the mainstream media’s east coast bias. I guess that will continue as he now goes to one of ESPN’s favorite teams.

It’s been a very bad year to be a New England Patriots running back. The Pats’ “starter” Laurence Maroney (a 2006 1st-rounder out of Minnesota) was benched and presumably sent to Siberia after a critical goal line fumble in midseason. They may really need to find a new man to carry the rock.  And adversity is now spilling over to off-the-field, and affecting retired Patriots running backs. For more breaking news on retired Patriots RB Corey Dillon, his DUI and divorce, go here.

53. New England Sergio Kindle DE/LB Texas

His ability to play multiple positions in the front seven is reminiscent of current Patriot Adalius Thomas (but Thomas may not even be a Pat by the time Kindle arrives) Nevertheless, Kindle makes perfect sense as Foxboro has made no secret they’re going in a younger direction in the defensive front 7. And if you saw how badly they were obliterated by Baltimore on both sides of the line of scrimmage in the playoffs, you’ll agree that they badly need to reconfigure their depth in that area in 2009.

The Pats are also likely to consider two big prospects out of Penn State that have been (fairly or unfairly, depends on who you talk to) labeled with red flags: DT Jared Odrick and OLB Navarro Bowman. The hope is that these guys with “character issues” may be able to generate some pass rush in 2010. In ’09, the Pats were to efficiently rushing opposing passers what actor Bruce Willis is to playing more than one character. (Seriously, has he ever effectively played anyone who wasn’t a self-loathing tough guy loner with an estranged family?)

Acquiring Oakland’s 2011 first-round pick for Richard Seymour was a good move; as they will likely have a top ten pick in the next draft, but they still haven’t found someone to fill that gap. I’m not sold Damione Lewis is that someone either.patriots female fans

New England also has to think about upgrading and rejuvenating their offensive line. Especially at Right Guard where ex-Pro Bowler Stephen Neal has publicly said his career is winding down. And lately he hasn’t been Mr. dependability when it comes to starting all 16 games in a season too.

No matter which will they go, the Pats will be a very interesting team to watch during this draft weekend.

To see the whole NFL Mock Draft go here

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