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|