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

Thursday, February 28, 2013
Mock thoughts: Thinking big at DT

By Mike Reiss

In his post-combine mock draft, Don Banks of SI.com highlights the possibility that the Patriots pick up a big presence along the defensive line. He slots North Carolina's Sylvester Williams to New England at No. 29.

"If there's no cornerback the Patriots deem worthy of a first-round grade, there's a need to find help at defensive tackle, with hopefully some ability to disrupt the play and rush the passer from the interior," Banks writes. "Williams is a better fit than the run-stopping Johnathan Hankins of Ohio State or Kawann Short of Purdue."

This type of scenario is 2004-like for the Patriots, as that was the draft that the club selected defensive lineman Vince Wilfork 21st overall. The position wasn't a top need for the club that year (capable veteran Keith Traylor was the top nose tackle at the start of the season), but the value of Wilfork was too good to pass up from a long-range perspective.

Along those lines, the 2013 draft is considered deep at defensive tackle, so the Patriots might find that the quality of player at the position is better than the norm late in the first round compared to past years.

Here is a snapshot of the Patriots' defensive tackle position, with contract status, which reflects an unsettled picture after 2013:

Vince Wilfork -- signed through 2014
Kyle Love -- signed through 2013
Brandon Deaderick -- signed through 2013
Marcus Forston -- signed through 2014
Myron Pryor -- signed through 2014

To read Banks' mock draft, CLICK HERE.