It's early, no doubt, but analysts are already producing their first mock drafts of the season. At this point, one of the best parts about the projections is simply getting familiar with some of the prospects.
Along those lines, Wes Bunting of National Football Post delivers his first mock draft of the season (link here). With one of the team's first-round picks, he targets Wisconsin center/guard Peter Konz.
"Konz is the type of safe, NFL ready type first round pick the Patriots love. He’s got the ability to play both center and guard at the next level and gives New England some options inside."
The Patriots' offensive line looks to be in good shape, although there is some uncertainty at the center spot, where longtime starter Dan Koppen has his contract expire. Koppen has spent 2011 on season-ending injured reserve after injuring his foot in the season-opener.
Bunting goes defense with the team's other first-round selection, targeting Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson.
"Thompson is a potential three down lineman at the next level who can play both the nose and three technique inside for the Patriots in their 43 front."