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. 28 overall.
With the 28th overall pick in the 2011 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft, the New England Patriots select Cameron Heyward, defensive end, Ohio State.
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: If you recall, at pick 17, I had the Patriots selecting Gabe Carimi, the offensive tackle out of Wisconsin. At the time, the logic was there were still a lot of prospects left on the board for the front seven of the Patriots' 3-4 defense, and that the Patriots would benefit from guaranteeing themselves a versatile lineman in Carimi. Sure enough, although Derek Sherrod and Nate Solder were still on the board at 28, the only other tackle I considered a candidate for the pick was Anthony Costanzo, and he was chosen by the Colts at pick 22.
Although my number one option for pick 28, Muhammad Wilkerson, was not available, there were a handful of other options for the team’s front seven, including Cameron Heyward, Brooks Reed, Jabaal Sheard and Allen Bailey. With all of the options available at outside linebacker, it made sense to go with Cameron Heyward at this spot, and select one of the remaining defensive ends (or best player available) at 33. Besides, if I had waited on pulling the trigger on Heyward, there’s a chance that a 3-4 team such as the Packers, Steelers or Jets could have pulled the trigger on him at the back end of round one.
There are plenty of reasons why I chose Heyward at this spot. Sure, his production was not terrific last season, but he’s a team captain, hard worker, and high character player. In addition, he looks the part of a 3-4 right defensive end in the mold of a Richard Seymour, standing at 6’5" and 294 lbs. He’s not an elite run defender that will dominate double teams in the form of a left end such as Ty Warren, but he can push the pocket and line up in a variety of positions along the line to take advantage of his quickness. He'd also be strong enough to hold up against double teams against the run, although he will need to work on his technique to some point. He’s certainly not the prototype for a five-technique right defensive end in New England's system, but with some work, there’s no question that he could become an impact player along the defensive line and could possibly give the team a boost similar to what Richard Seymour gave them for the better part of last decade.
Dan Kadar reacts: This is a great pick and one that is likely to happen if the Patriots don't take an end 17th. Don't forget that Heyward entered the 2010 season expected to be a top 10 pick. While that's out of the question, he's clearly a talent. I rate him higher than Knopping does as a five-technique, and think he can contribute immediately in that spot. [Cameron Heyward Scouting Report]
Mocking the Draft's Top 5 Remaining Prospects
|14||Stephen Paea||DT||Oregon State||scouting report|
|15||Mikel Leshoure||RB||Illinois||scouting report|
|19||Akeem Ayers||OLB||UCLA||scouting report|
|20||Jon Baldwin||WR||Pittsburgh||scouting report|
|22||Adrian Clayborn||DE||Iowa||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||story|
|18||San Diego Chargers||Cameron Jordan||DE||California||story|
|19||New York Giants||Mike Pouncey||G/C||Florida||story|
|20||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Ryan Kerrigan||DE||Purdue||story|
|21||Kansas City Chiefs||Phil Taylor||DT||Baylor||story|
|22||Indianapolis Colts||Anthony Castonzo||OT||Boston College||story|
|23||Philadelphia Eagles||Jimmy Smith||CB||Colorado||story|
|24||New Orleans Saints||Muhammad Wilkerson||DT||Temple||story|
|25||Seattle Seahawks||Ryan Mallett||QB||Arkansas||story|
|26||Baltimore Ravens||Aldon Smith||DE||Missouri||story|
|27||Atlanta Falcons||Justin Houston||DE||Georgia||story|
|28||New England Patriots||Cameron Heyward||DE||Ohio State|
|30||New York Jets|
|32||Green Bay Packers|