The NFL draft doesn’t take place until April 22, but it’s never too early to start projecting what the Patriots might do with their top selection, 22nd overall.
Rob Rang of NFLDraftscout has the Patriots selecting Penn State defensive lineman Jared Odrick in his most recent projection.
“He’s versatile, he’s technically refined, and he’s been a consistent player for Penn State for his entire career,” Rang said in a telephone interview. “He’s not necessarily a great athlete, but he doesn’t have a long way to go. He’s a sure product who plays hard, knows how to play the game, is intelligent, and has been a durable player throughout his career. Those are the type of characteristics I’ve noticed the Patriots have focused on in the past.
“When you factor in the potential questions with Vince Wilfork, and Bill Belichick’s history in the draft, a guy like Odrick makes a lot of sense. The Patriots drafted Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and Wilfork, all defensive linemen, in the first round. That was a big part of how he built that defense, going through the d-line. [Former Patriots vice president of player personnel] Scott Pioli did something similar in Kansas City, shocking the world by picking a d-end [Tyson Jackson] with the third overall pick last year. In a class as good as this one is on the d-line, I’d be surprised if the Patriots don’t add one at that point.”
Looking deeper into Odrick and the defensive tackle class, Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc. (Insider content) provides a nice breakdown of how teams might see value in picking a defensive tackle in the back half of the first round. Weidl sees Odrick as a nice fit at end for teams that play the 3-4 defense.