Mock thoughts: Mercilus & Minnifield

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
12:15
PM ET
Russ Lande of Sporting News produces his post-combine mock draft and he envisions a scenario in which the Patriots focus on defense.

At No. 27, Lande sees the Patriots going with Illinois defensive end/outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus.
"Mercilus' combination of outstanding strength, long arms, toughness against the run and great intangibles make him a perfect fit to play outside linebacker in the Patriots’ scheme," Lande writes.

Then, at No. 31, the choice is Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield. Bill Belichick coached Minnifield's father, Frank, with the Cleveland Browns.
"The Patriots continue to upgrade their defense by grabbing Minnifield, whose athleticism, long arms and ball skills give him the tools to be successful in their system," Lande writes.

To read the mock draft, CLICK HERE.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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