Beyond the 1st round: Center/guard

April, 11, 2011
4/11/11
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(Each day this week, ESPNBoston.com will highlight one position that the Patriots are projected to target in the NFL draft and highlight one prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, "Beyond the first round" focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks.)

[+] EnlargeBoling
Paul Abell/US PresswirePro Football Weekly's draft preview calls guard/tackle Clint Boling "smart, hard-working and dependable."
Second round: Clint Boling (Georgia)
Boling has versatility to line up at guard or tackle, something the Patriots generally value. At 6-foot-4, 308 pounds, he has prototypical size and is described by the Pro Football Weekly draft preview as “smart, hard-working and dependable.” Boling, who has a DUI from 2008 on his record, would have to check out off the field.

Third round: John Moffitt (Wisconsin)
Described by one NFL general manager as one of the stronger interior linemen in this class, Moffitt (6-4, 319) has experience at both guard and center. He was a team captain at Wisconsin and seems to have the personality and makeup of a player who would fit nicely with the Patriots’ current linemen.

Fourth round: Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State)
With NFL bloodlines, Wisniewski has experience at guard and center, with the Pro Football Weekly draft preview calling him “smart” and a “film junkie”. At 6-foot-3, 313 pounds, he has good size, although draft analysts don’t view him as a physical presence as much as a positional blocker.

Fifth round: Andrew Jackson (Fresno State)
At 6-foot-5 and 299 pounds, Jackson said he models his game after Logan Mankins, who also attended Fresno State. If he doesn’t emerge as a starter, Jackson could add value on special teams, where he blocked three kicks over his college career.

Sixth round: Zane Taylor (Utah)
One of the strongest offensive linemen in the draft, he totaled 41 repetitions on the bench press at his Pro Day, where he was run through drills by Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. He was a team captain.

Seventh round: Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)
A two-time team captain, he had solid production at the Division-II level, starting 44 games at center over four seasons and was named the Gene Upshaw Division II lineman of the year in 2010. Bill Belichick could have some fun with the Division II connection – Fusco opening holes for Danny Woodhead (Division II Chadron State).

(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft value chart and Pro Football Weekly draft preview.)

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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