With the thirty-third pick in the 2011 BGN Mock Draft, NZEagle selects...
Muhammad Wilkerson - DT, Temple
New England is in a superb position going into the draft as everyone knows. The first thing to say is that there is almost no chance that the Patriots actually pick in this position. With the first pick on the second day of the draft, you have to expect that several teams will be interested in trading up for their favourite player still available.
In terms of needs vs best player available, I think the Pats will want to combine the two. With six picks in the first three rounds, I expect them to fill their top four needs and also allow themselves two "luxury" picks where they take a player with great value at that position.
I class their four major needs as 3-4 End, rush OLB, OT and OG. The first two Pats picks in this draft took care of the first two excellently. The Pats will therefore be looking at OL first, but as mentioned above, they will aslo be thinking about value.
More after the jump...
With Nate Solder and Derek Sherrod going recently, the "top five" OTs are all off the board. The next along in my opinion is Ben Ijalana. I took a very long look at him and actually I think that there is a good case for taking him to sit behind a resigned Matt Light for a season and then step up as a starter, with the bail out option of sliding inside to Guard. However, I think that there is plenty of scope to pick up a Guard later in round two or even in Round three (Hudson, Watkins, Cannon etc)
Other potential options include a running back like MIkel Leshoure, a project type QB or a second rush OLB.
However, despite the excellent pick of J.J. Watt at 28, I think the Pats double dip at 3-4 End by grabbing the 6'5", 315 pound Wilkerson. Being touted as a mid first round pick, I felt that Wilkerson is too good value at #33 to pass up on as a high-character physical athlete. With the mixture of fronts that New England uses, his versatility could be invaluable both as a 3 tech or a 5 tech, which I believe will ultimately be his best position. A Pats front of Vince Wilfork in the middle and Ty Warren, Watt and Wilkerson rotating through the other two positions would be up with the league's best defensive lines. This article from a few weeks ago discussed the prospect's rising stock in more detail.
Next on the clock will be phillyeaglesfan with the Buffalo Bills.
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 17 - Ryan Kerrigan 18 -