Riott enlightens us after the jump. You want to be enlightened, don't you? Of course you do. Jump.
With the 17th pick of the NFL Draft, the New England Patriots trade down.
Well, not really, but I wish. With the premier prospects the Patriots desire off the board, the Patriots have to go BPA. With lots of warm bodies on the D-Line, but no "great" players other than Vince Wilfork, this could be addressed with a defensive line pick like Muhammad Wilkerson or J.J. Watt.
Pass rush is also a need, with role players on the roster but no clear-cut premier OLBs. Brooks Reed or Justin Houston could be the guy to address that.
A premier running back talent could be added to compete with the BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Finally, with Stephen Neal’s retirement and Matt Light a declining free agent, the Patriots need to address offensive line. Sebastian Vollmer’s development will allow them to avoid reaching for a left tackle, instead letting them draft for upside and let it play out.
J.J. Watt could be a great fit, but Belichick has not drafted a player represented by Tom Condon since the Ben Watson fiasco in '04. Muhammad Wilkerson has been flying up draft boards recently, but he's raw and beat up on small school talent. Brooks Reed and Justin Houston both look to be good pass rushers, but the Patriots already have some pass rushing talent and are looking for that great all-around player, which I don’t think Reed or Houston is. The Patriots had great success with a first round corner last year, but spending your first round pick on presumably your nickel corner is not the best move. Mark Ingram and Mikel Leshoure are arguably the top 2 running backs in the draft, but neither have the elite speed you covet in a first round back. In addition, one or both will probably be available at 28 or 33.
That leaves offensive line. Mike Pouncey could have been in consideration for this pick but is gone, so the Patriots will look to offensive tackle. It comes down to Anthony Castonzo and Gabe Carimi. The preseason favorite for first offensive tackle off the board was Carimi, but has looked sluggish in pass protection and did not have a stellar senior season.
So, with the 17th pick of the 2011 Draft, the New England Patriots select OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College. A more fluid pass protector than Carimi, Castonzo is intelligent, athletic, and has been a 4 year starter with experience on the left or right side. By the end of the 2011 season, he will probably be a starter on the right side, with Vollmer sliding to LT. The Patriots’ most important asset is Tom Brady, and supporting him will always be a good choice.
La Voz, continuing his representation of the AFC West, is now on the clock for the San Diego Chargers. Given that the Pats' pick is going up on the weekend, we'll give him a bit more leeway in terms of getting his pick in timely.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts about the Patriots selecting Castonzo here?