Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki, who traditionally has one of the highest percentage of hits for teams in his mock drafts, produces version 3.0. Like he did in his second mock draft, Nawrocki pointed out that the Patriots are likely to trade a first-round pick.
But in filling out this third version of his mock draft, Nawrocki gives the Patriots running back Mark Ingram (Alabama) at No. 17 and offensive tackle Nate Solder (Colorado) at No. 28.
This is a change from his second mock, in which he had defensive end Cameron Jordan going to the Patriots at No. 17.
"No one used a multifaceted, three-back approach last season better than Bill Belichick did, but the downside of not having a three-down featured back who does not need to leave the field is that opposing defensive coordinators are often easily tipped off to what is coming," Nawrocki writes. "Belichick could be comforted knowing that Ingram comes from a well-run NFL program like Nick Saban's. With rules in place to encourage passing, the contrarian Belichick looks to increase running, and there is only one first-round runner in this year's draft."
Nawrocki then has Jordan going No. 18 to the Chargers.
ANALYSIS: In this scenario, the Patriots would likely turn around and draft defense at No. 33 and perhaps 60 as well. Ingram would team up with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead to form a strong 1-2-3 punch, solidifying the position both in the short- and long-term. The Patriots haven't drafted a running back since 2007 and they figure to do so this year. The question from this perspective is how high they do so. I have doubts that Ingram would be available at that point, but if he is, I think it would be a strong selection. There are still some solid defensive prospects available into the second round to address other needs.