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Thursday, March 31, 2011
Mock thoughts: Castonzo & Reed

By Mike Reiss

Peter Schrager of Foxsports.com produces the fourth version of his mock draft, and he envisions a scenario in which the Patriots select Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo at No. 17 and Arizona defensive end/outside linebacker Brooks Reed at No. 28.

Schrager also had Castonzo going to the Patriots in his third mock draft, with J.J. Watt the choice at No. 28. This time around, Watt is off the board (No. 11, Texans) so the choice is Reed.

"[Reed] can be the pass-rushing outside linebacker the Patriots’ 3-4 alignment so sorely needs," Schrager writes. "Reed had the top 10-yard split time among all defensive linemen at the combine at 1.54 seconds. He was also a steady four-year contributor at Arizona and recorded 10 tackles for a loss last season. If you watch any Arizona game tape, pop in the win over Iowa from early September, where an amped-up Reed was flying all over the field in the Wildcats’ upset win."

ANALYSIS: In this scenario, if the Patriots are thinking defensive end/outside linebacker at this point of the draft, Reed is one player who would fit the mold. UCLA's Akeem Ayers and Pitt's Jabaal Sheard would be options to consider at the position. For those who believe Ayers might not be the physical presence the Patriots would seek, the Reed vs. Sheard comparison is one to look at closely as both players have different things going for them. Sheard's length and explosion is considered a positive, as is his strength to play the run. Reed's first-step quickness and ability to play with leverage grade out highly.