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Monday, March 14, 2011
Mock thoughts: Staying local

By Mike Reiss

Pat Kirwan of Sirius NFL radio and NFL.com is opening up his playbook this week, expanding his mock draft from one round to two rounds. He envisions a scenario where the Patriots draft the following players:

No. 17 -- OT Anthony Castonzo (Boston College)
No. 28 -- DL Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)
No. 33 -- OLB Akeem Ayers (UCLA)
No. 60 -- S Quinton Carter (Oklahoma)

ANALYSIS: Mock draft don't account for trades and given Bill Belichick's history, he's likely to be moving around the board a bit. Chances are he won't make all four of these picks, but assuming he does, the first three would fill spots on the roster that could use a boost. Castonzo would project as the left tackle of the future, giving the team short-term insurance if Matt Light doesn't re-sign. Still, the Patriots have in-house options at that spot (e.g. moving Sebastian Vollmer from right to left tackle), so in this scenario, it would be tough to overlook defensive options such as Robert Quinn, Aldon Smith and Cameron Heyward. With Wilkerson, he has experience in the 3-4 defense at Temple, so that helps in making the projection to a defensive end spot. He'd be in a d-line group that includes Corey Liuget, Christian Ballard and Stephen Paea in this scenario, all who could all value in different ways. Wilkerson's scheme versatility might give him the edge. I have doubts about Ayers' ability to set an edge in the run game in the Patriots' scheme, although he has some pass-rush burst that could help. On Carter, I'd be surprised if the Patriots go with a safety with one of their top four picks. An interior lineman might be a better fit.