Mock thoughts: Pats bolster DL, OL

March, 3, 2011
3/03/11
6:30
AM ET
Pat Kirwan, whose work on Sirius NFL Radio and NFL.com is appreciated at this address, produces his first mock draft. He focuses on the defensive line and offensive line for the Patriots.

At No. 17, Kirwan gives the Patriots defensive end J.J. Watt of Wisconsin.

"Things haven't been the same up front for the Patriots since Richard Seymour was traded to the Raiders," Kirwan writes. "At 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, with 34-inch arms and a size-11 hand, Watt has the physical credentials the Patriots like," Kirwan writes.

At No. 28, Kirwan likes Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod.

"The Patriots need a starting left tackle and Sherrod impressed me at the Senior Bowl. At 6-5, 321 pounds, and with long arms, he fits the bill," he said.

ANALYSIS: This would be an "attitude" type of first round, addressing needs at the line of scrimmage by tapping two areas of the draft that are considered deep by talent evaluators. Watt is viewed as a nice fit for teams that run the 3-4 defense, like the Patriots. Other analysts seemed to think he would be off the board by No. 17. Sherrod would give the Patriots a potential left tackle of the future (Matt Light is an unrestricted free agent), although if they have plans to flip Sebastian Vollmer to that side, they could address the interior line instead.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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