Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Mock thoughts: Still & Barron

By Mike Reiss

Wes Bunting of the National Football Post unveils the latest version of his first-round mock draft today, and it's all about defense for the Patriots.

At the No. 27 spot, Bunting envisions a scenario where Penn State defensive lineman Devon Still is the pick.
"He’s not the most dynamic of pass rushers," Bunting writes. "However, he’s a big, strong kid with a good get off, long set of arms and knows how to play the run. He’s a potential anchor inside who can push the pocket and give the Patriots a lot of 3-4 and 4-3 flexibility."

Then, at No. 31, Alabama safety Mark Barron gets the nod.
"New England has had to piece together its secondary this year; they 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.

To read the mock draft, CLICK HERE.

ANALYSIS: Still, who has the ideal size (6-5, 303), brings back thoughts of the 2003 first round and Jimmy Kennedy's place among some of the top defensive line prospects that year (the Patriots went with Ty Warren at No. 13). Kennedy also played at Penn State and was a bigger prospect than Still, but some of the same questions I remember about Kennedy seem to be coming up in analysts' reviews of Still's play (e.g. motor runs hot and cold).  UConn defensive lineman Kendall Reyes, from this view, might be more of a Patriots-type choice if they are leaning toward that position. When it comes to Barron, that would be a slam dunk if he's available. The Patriots are spending a lot of time with safeties leading up to the draft and the expectation is that they'll be tapping that position at some point of the draft. Barron is widely viewed as the best of the lot.