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Mock thoughts: Focus on the line

3/29/2011

NFL.com's Pat Kirwan produces the third version of his mock draft and it has a strong focus on the line of scrimmage for the Patriots. He slots USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith to New England at No .17, then comes back with Temple defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson at No. 28.

As part of the two-round mock, Kirwan also gives the Patriots Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston at No. 33 and Oklahoma safety Quinton Carter at No. 60.

Kirwan also had Wilkerson and Carter going to the Patriots in his second mock draft. He had previously given them Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (17) and UCLA outside linebacker Akeem Ayers (33), but those players were off the board in those picks this time around.

ANALYSIS: Kirwan, like Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly, is anticipating that Bill Belichick will trade the No. 28 pick. He envisions a scenario in which a team looking for a quarterback will want to come back into the first round. If that is the case, the question then becomes what would the Patriots be looking for. One would assume any deal would have to include a 2012 first-round draft choice. Such a trade might be tough to pull off in Kirwan's scenario, though, as running back Mark Ingram is still on the board at 28 and the Patriots might view that as too good of a value to pass up.