Mock thoughts: Barron on radar

When it comes to a mix between college program, talent and Patriots need, one prospect that warrants closer inspection is Alabama safety Mark Barron. In the most recent mock draft put together by Wes Bunting of National Football Post, Barron is the Patriots' pick at No. 27.

"New England has had to piece together its secondary this year, but in terms of talent it could certainly use an upgrade at a number of spots," Bunting writes. "Barron is a smart, instinctive safety with good ball skills, can play in the box and be effective bumping/running with tight ends underneath."

Barron played for Nick Saban in college, and the connection between Saban and Bill Belichick is well documented. Saban and Belichick played in the same foursome at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Thursday and they were reportedly talking about some of the Crimson Tide's best players.

Would Barron really be there at No. 27?

At this point, it's early in the process, but Don Banks of SI.com has him going to the Jets at No. 16. Former NFL scout Russ Lande of AOL doesn't have Barron in the first round in his latest projection.

Here is an ESPN interview with Barron after Alabama's national championship victory.