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Mock thoughts: All Illini for Pats?

2/15/2011

Russ Lande of the Sporting News puts together a first-round mock draft and he focuses on both sides of the ball for the Patriots.

At the No. 17 pick, Lande gives the Patriots defensive lineman Corey Liuget (Illinois). This was the pick the Patriots acquired from Oakland for Richard Seymour, and Lande makes that connection when describing Liuget.

"Since trading Richard Seymour, the Patriots’ defensive line has not been a strength," he writes. "Liuget has the potential to be an elite 4-3 tackle or 3-4 end because of his combination of size, strength and explosive athleticism."

At the No. 28 pick, Lande gives the Patriots running back Mikel Leshoure (Illinois).

"The Patriots need a big, powerful back who can also make big plays — and Leshoure has that potential," Lande writes. "He also fits the Patriots’ system well because he is so good in pass protection."

ANALYSIS: This is the type of first round that has an "attitude" feel to it. A player like Liuget could potentially be a long-term fixture at right defensive end, teaming with Vince Wilfork and a returning Ty Warren to form a solid three-man front. At running back, the Patriots have a solid 1-2 punch in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead, but they figure to be looking to complement them and build more quality depth. Leshoure has an intriguing skill set as a bigger back, although the question some will have is whether there is solid value in selecting a running back in the first round.