The draft is now less than a week away and our final Debate Friday poll before the first round I upon us. So, what better time to put pedal to the metal and analyze exactly how the Patriots should treat their top pick at 17?
As usual Bill Belichick has plenty of options as the only team in the first round with two picks (17, 28), as well as the top pick in Round 2 at 33 overall. With all of those options, our question this week is simple yet filled with possibilities.
What do you expect the Patriots to do in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft?Paul Perillo says ...Stay put
I'm definitely in the group that believes the Patriots biggest need is a pass rusher, but that doesn't mean I want to waste resources to trade up to get one who may or may not be worth the price. There are a lot of interesting prospects in this draft but many of them will have to make transitions to a different position in the NFL. Bill Belichick himself admitted that how well teams are able to make those evaluations will ultimately decide how this draft is remembered. With that in mind I just can't see risking extra picks to move up to take a guy with so many variables in place. Instead, the Patriots should sit tight at 17. It's not like pass rusher is the only need, and it's not like there aren't good football available at other positions. Offensive line, defensive line, there's even a chance that a quality edge guy will be available at 17. Any of these scenarios would hold better odds of success than packaging picks for such an unknown quantity.
Andy Hart says ...Trade up
This is the year that Bill Belichick puts his extra picks to use to move up and address the team's biggest need – pass rusher. It could be up as high as No. 6 for a guy like Robert Quinn. Maybe it will be a more likely landing spot like No. 10 in a deal with Washington, with the chance that Quinn is still on the board at that point. Maybe it will be a few spots up into the high teens to get a fall-back pass rush option like Aldon Smith or Ryan Kerrigan. Not sure exactly how the board will play out, but Belichick has talked about how the front seven defensive players are the key to the draft. I think he's going to analyze that and realize in order to get an instant impact pass rusher – and fix what is currently his team's fatal flaw – he's going to need to trade up. He has the ammo to get the job done and he knows the time to strike is now.
Now it's your turn to vote...