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A feel for the 31st draft pick

4/9/2012

Now that compensatory draft choices have been awarded by the NFL, the exact spots of each Patriots draft pick is known. Prior to last week, only the spots in the first, second and third round were solidified.

1a. 27th overall

1b. 31st overall

2a. 48th overall

2b. 62nd overall

3. 93rd overall

4. 126th overall

Beginning Tuesday, a look at some of the recent players picked in those spots is being highlighted, continuing today at 31.

2011: DE Cameron Heyward (Steelers)

2010: DE Jerry Hughes (Colts)

2009: RB Beanie Wells (Cardinals)

2008: S Kenny Phillips (Giants)

2007: TE Greg Olsen (Bears)

2006: CB Kelly Jennings (Seahawks)

2005: DT Mike Patterson (Eagles)

ANALYSIS: Assuming the Patriots keep the pick -- which is a big "if" given Bill Belichick's willingness to wheel and deal -- this is a spot that has produced a number of above average starters in the league over recent years. The lone exception is Hughes (one sack in two seasons). He serves as an important reminder that selecting a productive college pass rusher in the first round is no guarantee of success at the NFL level.