With the seventeenth pick in the 2011 BGN Mock Draft, mccloudbro selects...
Ryan Kerrigan - DE/OLB, Purdue
After trading Richard Seymour to the Raiders for their 2011 first round pick two years ago, I'm sure this isn't the spot the Patriots imagined they would be picking. Following a relatively successful 2010, the Raiders ended up with the 17th pick of the draft, which is under the possession of the New England Patriots. The Pats had a 14-2 season, which ended quickly in their first playoff game against their rivals, the New York Jets despite the efforts of MVP Tom Brady.
The Patriots have few holes on their roster, most notably on the defense. Offensively, New England ranked first in Points Per Game, and eighth in Yards per Game. They seem happy to roll with their staff of undersized wideouts and tough, but underrated running backs flanking Brady. Their offensive line is one area where they may be interested in getting someone to groom for the future or filling some depth spots, especially after the retirement of Stephen Neal. However, because the Patriots' front office drafts so well, I'm sure they could go O-line in the later rounds.
More after the jump...
The Patriots defense picked up in the later half of the season, but it was still not up to par with its offensive counterpart. Despite being eighth in Points Per Game, the defense allowed 366.5 Yards Per Game and 258.5 Pass Yards Per Game, good for 25th and 30th in the league, respectively. They could opt for a 3-4 DE like J.J. Watt in this situation, but with the return of Ty Warren next year, and the depth of the 3-4 DEs in this draft, they might be able to pick one up with their next first rounder, or even trade back, like they love to do so much. I believe that their D-line is solid, with big Vince Wilfork in the middle, and Gerard Warren and Mike Wright (5.5 sacks in 10 games as a 3-4 DE is impressive) playing well at the 5-tech, their run defense ranked 11th in the league.
So this leaves us with the secondary or the linebackers. At the safety spot, Brandon Meriweather and Pat Chung are solid and will be mainstays for years (depending on the result of the investigation into Meriweather's involvement in a shooting). And at the corners, New England drafted a shutdown back in Devin McCourty (Happy St. Patty's day to you Mr. McCourty!), and has young developing players in Darius Butler and Kyle Arrington to supplement Leigh Bodden as he returns from injury. Even if they wanted to draft a corner, I do not think there is anyone that holds value at this spot, and they would be best suited to trading down and getting Brandon Harris.
So this leaves us with linebackers. As a team last year, the Pats got no production out of their pass rushing OLBs, and that is a huge reason for their poor pass defense numbers. Even though Jermaine Cunningham is a good developmental player, Tully Banta-Cain and Rob Ninkovich should not be starting anywhere, especially on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. This brings me (finally) to my pick. Ryan Kerrigan is a guy that I feel can transition from 4-3 end in college to 3-4 ‘backer in the pros. He may not be the biggest guy, but he's a hustle player and had 32 sacks in his last 3 years at Purdue. His combine numbers were staggering, running a 4.67 at 267 pounds, and even though he's put on 12 more pounds, Kerrigan should be able to keep his explosiveness and quick feet to excel at OLB in the NFL. Even though I hate upgrading the Patriots, Ryan Kerrigan will be a monster at the next level and should be a perennial 10-12 sack guy for New England.
Next on the clock will be Derek17 with the San Diego Chargers.
Previous Picks: 1 - Nick Fairley 2 - Patrick Peterson 3 - Blaine Gabbert 4 - Cam Newton 5 - Von Miller 6 - Marcell Dareus 7 - Prince Amukamara 8 - A.J. Green 9 - Da'Quan Bowers 10 - Corey Liuget 11 - Robert Quinn 12 - Julio Jones 13 - Tyron Smith 14 - Jimmy Smith 15 - Mark Ingram 16 - Cameron Jordan