Friday, February 8, 2013
Mock thoughts: Partner for Wilfork?
By Field Yates
As was recently noted on the ESPNBoston.com Patriots blog, no defensive tackle has logged more snaps over the past two seasons than Vince Wilfork. The human roadblock has held up just fine, putting together another dominant season in 2012, earning first-team All-Pro honors.
But finding a young defensive tackle to pair alongside Wilfork (and also buy snaps for him to rest) could be an objective for the Patriots this offseason, and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah presents a possible solution in his most recent mock draft.
Jeremiah pegs Ohio State junior defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins as the pick for the Patriots at No. 29, noting his ability to be a run stuffer and provide some pass rush as well.
The Patriots worked both Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick alongside Wilfork for much of 2012, and also signed highly touted CFL lineman Armond Armstead this offseason. Armstead is considered a high-upside prospect who can help generate pressure as a pass rusher.
Finding a player in a comparable mold to Wilfork (Hankins was listed on the Buckeyes roster at 6-foot-3, 322 pounds) could provide the Patriots with depth and as a counterpart to slow down the run. The team ranked sixth in the NFL last season at 3.9 yards per carry allowed, but started off stronger than they finished.