How To Fix The Patriots
As the NFL Draft comes and a team's needs become increasingly evident. For the New England Patriots, the absence of a constant pass rush presence. The 2011 Draft has quite the selection for one the Patriots' needs. With six picks in the first three rounds and nine total picks? Expect some trades, of course but they should also focus on defensive ends, running backs and possibly even a quarterback.
With the Patriots' first pick at number 17, it would make perfect sense for them to pick up a defensive end like J.J. Watt. The Wisconsin alum finished his college career with the badgers with 26 career starts, 106 total tackles (76 solo) and 11.5 sacks. The tight end who switched to defensive end when he transferred to Wisconsin is a viable choice for the Patriots' first pick at number 17. Watt is just becoming familiar with the 3-4 scheme and has extensive experience as a dominant interior pass rusher. For the sake of the Patriots, any sort of pass rusher would be beneficial.
Most of the concern for the Patriots in this draft will most likely be on the defensive side of the ball, but I believe that the lack of a breakout number one running back is something that was a weakness this past season. Now, before I get barraged with the Green-Ellis/Woodhead arguments, those two were sufficient but lacked a consistent explosiveness at every drive. At the end of the 2010 season though, the Patriots were still ranked ninth in rushing yards and that was without Kevin Faulk or Fred Taylor.
Since Corey Dillon, there has not been a stand out running back that has enabled them to be a balanced offensive threat. An option for one of their third round picks available is Stanford's Owen Marecic, a true full back who could add some depth to the running attack. Marecic fits the Patriots in terms of versatility as he's also skilled in playing a linebacker. Marecic is just over 6-feet tall and weighs in at 245 pounds. If drafted, he'd tower over most of the receivers on the Patriots roster.
With quarterback Tom Brady coming off of one of his best seasons and with back-up Brian Hoyer looking sharper than ever (he did win that famous trash bin drill at training camp), there doesn't seem to be an imminent need for quarterback. That being said, I believe that this should be on the lower end of the priority list for the Patriots. With several trades bound to take place on the Draft days, it would make sense that picks available in the sixth or seventh round could be used on a quarterback. Sorry, no drastic moves higher on the board for Washington's Jake Locker or Arkansas' Ryan Mallett.
Kisha Tapangan is a contributing writer for PatriotsInsider.com She also maintains her personal blog Necessary Roughness and can be found on Twitter @KishaT. Be sure to check back for regular updates by Kisha
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