Comment: Instinctive, intelligent, high character and great work ethic with good size and athleticism, sounds pretty much like the ideal Belichick linebacker. Good field vision and speed make him an asset in pass coverage. Also he'll be a good special teams player which Bill really loves. Will be able to step right into a starting roll next to Bruschi at ILB. Needs to work on strength and tackling, but otherwise is a very well rounded player.
Dave Fletcher, Staff Writer
Pick: Kamerion Wimbley, DE/LB, Florida State
Comment: With an aging linebacking corps, there has been plenty of buzz that the Patriots will opt for someone like Ohio State's Bobby Carpenter or Iowa's Chad Greenway in the first round. But we all know better than to expect Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli to be so predictable. With extra picks in the third and fourth rounds, look for the Pats to package a deal to move up to the low teens and take Wimbley, who could be converted into an outside linebacker. His size and speed off the edge could help people forget about the loss of Willie McGinest.
Comment: The Patriots are widely considered to be a team that avoids drafting for need, but the history really doesn't support it. Logan Mankins in 2005 and Vince Wilfork in 2004 both filled glaring holes for the Pats - the fact is, with such a solid team, they can and should draft for need. And the need this year is to replace Willie McGinest (and eventually replace their aging veteran LBs). Wimbley or NC State's Manny Lawson are both McGinest "elephant" types, and while Lawson is a better player he'll likely be gone at No. 21. But don't be surprised to see the Pats move down and/or up as it suits them - with 11 picks, they'll leave no option unturned. P.S.: Maurice Stovall WILL be a Patriot next year.
Comment: With Romeo Crennel's Browns and Bill Parcells' Cowboys each selecting ahead of the Patriots, New England would love to move up via trade. If they could somehow pick ahead of the Browns they could take Haloti Ngata out of Oregon. I don't think Belichick is impressed enough with any of the cornerbacks on the board, so I see them moving ahead of Dallas (maybe with a trade with Baltimore) to take the best DE for their system.
Comment: Though the draft is 'linebacker rich', replacing a Willie McGinest is a must. Bobby Carpenter with his size and ability appears to be an excellent candidate to be the 'impact' player the Patriots need to bolster the linebacker corp.
Chad Greenway is my pick. The Patriots still have some good linebackers but they are aging. Greenway would be a perfect fit here. He played under Kirk Ferentz, who is a Belichick buddy and clone. Greenway would make an immediate impact, as he is capable of playing the 3-4 or 4-3.
Comment: The defense needs to rebuild its depth. After losing Willie McGinest, Matt Chatham and Chad Brown, the team is thin at the linebacker position. Although inside backer may be a concern, Lawson's athleticism and ability to make plays would give the Patriots the type of replacement they need on the outside. If Lawson isn't available, then Kamerion Wimbley could get the call. I think Wimbley will be long gone by the time the Patriots select, Lawson may be also. A CB is the likely choice at that point.
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