Published April 28, 2011
Who will be the next players to join the Patriots after the first round of the NFL draft tonight? Short answer: no one knows. The Pats and their famously tight-lipped coach aren’t giving many clues. Plus, the team and Bill Belichick have been known to trade draft picks in order to get themselves better situated for the future.
We do, however, have ideas on what the Patriots should be looking for and we know who the experts surmise will be donning the blue and silver. The NFL draft stretches over three days. In advance of tonight’s first round, here’s what you need to know:
Patriots’ picks: The Pats have two first-round picks: No. 17, obtained from Oakland in a trade two years ago, and No. 28.
Patriots’ needs: There’s no question that the Patriots will be looking at a defensive end or an outside linebacker who can rush the passer. Both the offensive and defensive line need help, as ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss told Morning Edition today. The Pats could also look to pick up a running back or a cornerback.
Five names to know:
Robert Quinn: DE, North Carolina. At one point Quinn was considered a star prospect before the NCAA ruled him ineligible for the 2010 season for taking improper benefits. Still, he has the speed and strength the Pats covet.
Muhammad Wilkerson: DE, Temple. Reiss has the Pats taking Wilkerson at No. 17.
Mike Pouncey: G, Florida. The brother of standout rookie center Maurkice Pouncey, who plays for the Steelers. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King thinks the Pats will take him at No. 17.
Danny Watkins: G, Baylor. The Canadian-born Watkins is known as a tough, lunch-pail kind of guy, perfect for the Pats. The Herald’s Karen Guregian thinks the Pat’s will take him at No. 28.
Mark Ingram: RB, Alabama. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner would be a bit of a surprise pick by the Pats, who generally don’t give running backs first-round grades. But, he’d fill a need.
Best bet: Look for Belichick to draft a pass-rusher at No. 17 and trade away the 28th pick to a team looking to jump back into the first round to draft a quarterback. But with the Pats, anything could happen.