Tim Graham, who covers the AFC East for ESPN.com, has been producing a daily "reader" mock draft on his blog. The Patriots' pick is up today at No. 17.
Two of the top defensive ends are available in Wisconsin's J.J. Watt and California's Cameron Jordan. For those eyeing the interior of the offensive line, Florida's Mike Pouncey is on the board. Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, a defensive end/outside linebacker, is one of the most disruptive pass rushers and he's also there for the picking. Or perhaps there is another prospect that catches the eye.
This No. 17 pick is the selection the Patriots received from the Raiders in the Richard Seymour trade.
Assuming there is confidence in being able to sign him -- which is always a consideration but could become easier with a rookie salary cap/slotting system -- I'd go Watt here. Then, upon arriving at the interview podium, it could be said: "We were surprised he was available at this point."