2011 NFL Mock Draft: The New England Patriots Select...

With the twenty-eighth pick of the 2011 CSC Community Mock Draft, the New England Patriots (represented by FriarBob) select...

Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

As I detailed in the previous pick for the Patriots, they were still a very good team -- they did go 14-2 after all -- but they did have some help from a weak division and a weak schedule.  The Bills were a joke and the Dolphins couldn't win a game at home to save their lives for most of the year.  They also played the AFC South (which wasn't exactly a bunch of superstars as the Colts won the division at 10-6 though it felt more like 8-8) and the AFC West (which was even more wacko than usual).  So the schedule did help.  They're still a very good team, but the way the Jets manhandled them in the playoffs shows that both sides of their lines need some serious help.

Having addressed the offensive line earlier in the round, what might arguably be an even greater need now must be fixed.  The Jets are also a very good (and improving) team, but it's not like Mark Sanchez is some sort of elite superstar at this point.  But they barely put any pressure on him (if any at all) and that sort of situation gets you beat in the playoffs every single time, almost as much as a rash of injuries or suddenly having no secondary will.  And they just couldn't generate a pass rush that game to save their lives.  They could stand to upgrade the line itself as well, but in a 3-4 that's not where the pass rush usually comes from, and even though they played a fair bit of 4-3 (mostly out of desperation) I really doubt Bill Bellichick intends to switch to that full-time.  Assuming that's true, then the DE spot doesn't have quite the same degree of urgency, as they should expect to get Ty Warren back to allow Gerard Warren to take up space on the bench (or even off the team) instead of the field.  That will help.  But the OLB situation needs another pass rusher.  Jermaine Cunningham was at least semi-tolerable last year, and he was a rookie, and they usually get at least one mulligan there.  But they need somebody who can pass rush and preferably also cover in space on the other side.

Enter Aldon Smith.  Though he did have a rather mediocre Combine, he reportedly really shined at his Pro Day.  He's projected as the #3 rush linebacker in the draft, and has been rated as a mid-first or even top-15 pick, so this certainly seems to represent a value pick as well.  This guy has a history of getting to the quarterback going all the way back to his high school days, and while theNFL is obviously a much higher competition level, he also wasn't as good back then as he is now.  With proper coaching, that natural ability should shine through, and nobody in their right mind thinks the Patriots lack "proper coaching".  Some people also feel he will be good at run support as well because of his good balance and backfield awareness.  He also has at least some experience playing standing up and dropping into coverage as well, which is something any NFL player really needs to at least be "passable" at (and preferably much better).  While he's still a bit raw as well, Bellichick is pretty good at finding a way to coach up his guys and use them where they can best contribute.  I don't imagine that will be a detraction for them.    
   

Thanks to all the CSC members who participated in this years community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible. 

Below are the complete results from our community mock draft. 

Catch up with all of the mock draft selections in our 2011 CSC Community Mock Draft Section.

Pick Team Selection Team Representative Approval Rating
1 Carolina Panthers  QB Cam Newton - Auburn DatFan 35%
2 Denver Broncos  DT Marcell Dareus - Alabama Jeff.l.b 71%
3 Buffalo Bills  QB Blaine Gabbert - Missouri SpreeGoogs 52%
4 Cincinnati Bengals  DE Da'Quan Bowers - Clemson coldpizza 73%
5 Arizona Cardinals  CB Patrick Peterson - LSU GRIZZ 61%
6 Cleveland Browns  DE Cameron Jordan - Cal theprogrammerman 11%
7 San Francisco 49ers  LB Von Miller - Texas A&M who dat patate 68%
8 Tennessee Titans  WR A.J. Green - Georgia shipgoalie05 48%
9 Dallas Cowboys  CB Prince Amukamara - Nebraska saints fan in cowboyland! 67%
10 Washington Redskins  WR Julio Jones - Alabama VAsaintsfan 56%
11 Houston Texans  DE/OLB Robert Quinn - UNC Jon Banks 62%
12 Minnesota Vikings  OT Tyron Smith - USC HansDat 46%
13 Detroit Lions  OT Anthony Castonzo - BC NorthFan 48%
14 St. Louis rams  DT Nick Fairley - Auburn hakimdropstheball 54%
15 Miami Dolphins  RB Mark Ingram - Alabama SpreeGoogs 48%
16 Jacksonville Jaguars  DE J.J.Watt - Wisconsin Jay Preece 41%
17 New England Patriots OT Derek Sherrod - Mississippi St. FriarBob 27%
18 San Diego Chargers DT Muhammad Wilkerson - Temple DrewBreesManCrush 39%
19 New York Giants OL Mike Pouncey - Florida mknkachow 64%
20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Adrian Clayborn - Iowa iori125883 45%
21 Kansas City Chiefs DT Phil Taylor - Baylor YESSaints/iori125883 63%
22 Indianapolis Colts DT Corey Liuget - Illinois MobileSaint 48%
23 Philadelphia Eagles OT Nate Solder - Colorado DeuceisLoose926 43%
24 New Orleans Saints DE Ryan Kerrigan - Purdue Dave Cariello 70%
25 Seattle Seahawks QB Colin Kaepernick - Nevada natde1016 20%
26 Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith - Colorado Dave Cariello
27 Atlanta Falcons DE/OLB Justin Houston - Georgia Dave Choate
28 New England Patriots DE Aldon Smith - Missouri FriarBob
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