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Monday, February 15, 2010
A chance to address linebacker spot

By Mike Reiss

Chris Steuber of Scout.com produces a two-round mock draft, which provides a glimpse of the type of players the Patriots might select with four picks in the top 53.

Steuber's mock draft places a heavy emphasis on linebackers for the Patriots, as he has them selecting two of them with their top two picks -- Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon and Penn State's Navorro Bowman. With the final two selections, Steuber focuses on the offense, giving the Patriots Mississippi receiver Dexter McCluster and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

ANALYSIS: Many seem to agree that one of the Patriots' top needs is a pass-rushing threat at outside linebacker. Both Weatherspoon and Bowman would improve the athleticism and speed at linebacker, although they would both project to inside linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 alignment, leaving the pass-rushing void unaddressed at that point. If the Patriots were considering switching to a 4-3 on a more permanent basis, this would alter the picture a bit. McCluster is the type of playmaker the Patriots' offense could use in a variety of roles and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. With the Patriots high on backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, a selection of Tebow would likely be made with the idea of switching his position.