Our annual 2011 NFL Mock Draft, with picks made by each of SB Nation's NFL team bloggers, is in full swing. The latest pick in to the podium: the New England Patriots, at No. 17 overall.
With the 17th overall pick in the 2011 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft, the New England Patriots select Gabe Carimi, offensive tackle, Wisconsin.
Greg Knopping of PatsPulpit.com explains the choice, and our own Dan Kadar reacts to it, after the jump. Make sure you're grading this pick for the Patriots, and checking out Pats Pulpit for all of your Patriots needs.
Greg Knopping explains: At pick 17, the Patriots had a lot of potential targets left on the board, especially for their 3-4 defense. At outside linebacker, Ryan Kerrigan and Aldon Smith remained on the board. At defensive end, Muhammad Wilkerson and Cameron Heyward were still there (although J.J. Watt, who would have been a tempting pick, was not). Along the offensive line, the likes of Gabe Carimi, Anthony Castonzo, Nate Solder and Mike Pouncey were all still available. Ultimately, I settled with Carimi, the versatile offensive tackle out of Wisconsin, with the 17th pick.
The reason I opted not to select Kerrigan or Smith is because both of these players are projections for the Patriots' system. Smith is an athletic pass rusher, but would certainly have a ways to go before being a polished 3-4 outside linebacker that has the ability to set the edge. Kerrigan has questions surrounding his fluidity and ability to make that transition to linebacker, making him a bit of a risky pick for the Patriots. Wilkerson was a very intriguing option at this spot, but with a high likelihood that there is a run on tackles in the 20s (that would leave the Patriots with limited options at 28), Wilkerson became somewhat of a risk.
Why Carimi? I absolutely love his combination of size, toughness, versatility, strength and ability. Cairmi stands in at 6'7" and 315 pounds. He has good footwork and agility, excelling as both a pass blocker and a run blocker. His ability as a blocker makes him a first-round talent. However, the underlying reason I love Carimi as a prospect for the Patriots is because of his versatility. At this spot, I also considered Nate Solder. Solder, however, is pretty much locked into playing as a left tackle in the NFL. I chose Carimi because he can play the left or right tackle spot, and possibly even guard. Remember that the Patriots have had a lot of turmoil along the offensive line this off-season. Matt Light is now an unrestricted free agent, Logan Mankins was given the franchise tag and has an uncertain future with the team, Stephen Neal retired, and Dan Koppen is entering the last year of his contract. Carimi is a player that because of his versatility, could give the Patriots multiple options along the offensive line, and represents a good value at 17.
Dan Kadar reacts: The idea of taking Carimi (or another offensive tackle) makes sense here. Still, it would be pretty surprising to see the Patriots not address their defensive line with the players available. Cameron Jordan could be a terror in an NFL 3-4 scheme. He maybe should have been the selection. [Gabe Carimi Scouting Report]
Mocking the Draft's Top 5 Remaining Prospects
|9||Aldon Smith||DE||Missouri||scouting report|
|11||Cameron Jordan||DE||California||scouting report|
|13||Justin Houston||OLB||Georgia||scouting report|
|14||Stephen Paea||DT||Oregon State||scouting report|
|15||Mikel Leshoure||RB||Illinois||scouting report|
2011 SB Nation NFL Writers' Mock Draft - RESULTS
|1||1||Carolina Panthers||Blaine Gabbert||QB||Missouri||story|
|2||Denver Broncos||Von Miller||OLB||Texas A&M||story|
|3||Buffalo Bills||Patrick Peterson||CB||LSU||story|
|4||Cincinnati Bengals||A.J. Green||WR||Georgia||story|
|5||Arizona Cardinals||Cam Newton||QB||Auburn||story|
|6||Cleveland Browns||Marcell Dareus||DT||Alabama||story|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||Prince Amukamara||CB||Nebraska||story|
|8||Tennessee Titans||Nick Fairley||DT||Auburn||story|
|9||Dallas Cowboys||Tyron Smith||OT||USC||story|
|10||Washington Redskins||Robert Quinn||DE||North Carolina||story|
|11||Houston Texans||Julio Jones||WR||Alabama||story|
|12||Minnesota Vikings||J.J. Watt||DE||Wisconsin||story|
|13||Detroit Lions||Da'Quan Bowers||DE||Clemson||story|
|14||St. Louis Rams||Corey Liuget||DT||Illinois||story|
|15||Miami Dolphins||Mark Ingram||RB||Alabama||story|
|16||Jacksonville Jaguars||Christian Ponder||QB||Florida State||story|
|17||New England Patriots||Gabe Carimi||OT||Wisconsin|
|18||San Diego Chargers|
|19||New York Giants|
|20||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|21||Kansas City Chiefs|
|24||New Orleans Saints|
|28||New England Patriots|
|30||New York Jets|
|32||Green Bay Packers|