- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The AFC East, on Wednesday, concludes its draft-week series highlighting three possible players for each team, with a look at the New England Patriots. The reigning AFC champs hold the No. 27 and No. 31 picks.
Prospect No. 1:Boise State OLB Shea McClellin
Why: He’s often compared to former Patriot great Mike Vrabel, who was a favorite of New England coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots need pass-rushers, and McClellin looks like a good fit in New England’s system. He has a good burst and motor coming off the edge. The Green Bay Packers, who hold the No. 28 pick, also are being linked to McClellin. So New England might have to get him at No. 27, and not wait until No. 31.
Prospect No. 2: Notre Dame S Harrison Smith
Why: Smith is an intriguing prospect who is shooting up the draft boards. He’s projected to be an late first- or early second-round pick. Smith has good measurables, high football I.Q., and adequate speed for the back end of the secondary. Smith could be a strong target with the No. 31 overall pick.
Prospect No. 3: Alabama S Mark Barron
Why: This would require a significant trade up, which is exactly what I did with New England in this week's blogger mock draft. As AFC East general manager, I worked out a trade with the Seattle Seahawks to move up to No. 12 to select Barron, the best safety in the draft. New England had the 31st-ranked pass defense. Trading up to get Barron would take an un-Patriot type of move.