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PFW Pre-draft Predictions

The Patriots have the ammunition – including three picks in the top 33 – to move around any way they want during the draft. Do you expect the Patriots to trade up, trade down/out or make their picks in the first round?

Andy Hart: This is finally the year. The Patriots will trade up. It may be into the top 10 or just a few spots, but either way it'll be in an effort to get an impact pass rusher.

Fred Kirsch: This is a year the Patriots trade up to get their man in the first round. That said I think they will also trade down with the 33rd pick for perhaps a 1st rounder next season and to fill the 4th round hole they now have.

Paul Perillo: I think the Patriots will make their pick at 17 and then trade down from 28 for a first-rounder in 2012.

Erik Scalavino: What I expect and what I'd like them to do are two different things. I expect them to do what they normally do under Bill Belichick: trade down and out for more picks in this draft and next year's. I'd prefer that they be aggressive, for once, and go get a blue-chip prospect, though I would understand if they stayed put.
List the top four positions (in order) you think the Patriots will target in rounds 1 and 2.

AH: OLB, DE, OL, RB

FK: DB, DL, OL, WR

PP: OLB, DE, OL, OL

ES: OLB, DL, OL, WR

Will the Patriots take a quarterback in the first three rounds?

AH: No. It's too early to look for Tom Brady's replacement. New England may take a signal caller in the late rounds, but it will use its early picks to actually help the team win now with Brady still under center.

FK: No, later.

PP: No, but they will take one in the latter rounds.

ES: I doubt it. They will take one, but probably not until sometime Saturday during rounds 4-7.

Which top-rated player will fall the farthest in the draft?

AH: It seems like Da'Quan Bowers is seen as damaged goods at this point. Add in the fact that he's a little bit of a one-year wonder and the guy many thought could be the No. 1 overall pick a few months back may end up going late in the first round.

FK: Nick Fairley. Maybe it's just mis-direction but I read and hear a lot of grumbling about his attitude and work ethic, enough so he drops from where he's projected at 7-13.

PP: Nick Fairley. If Tennessee passes at No. 8, he could be in for a long night.

ES: I'll say Mark Ingram. He could wind up being a late-first-round, early-second-round selection, especially if there's a run on a particular position or positions (OLB, DE, O-line, for example).

Which prospect will end up having the most productive NFL career?

AH: A.J. Green. I think he's the best prospect in the draft and an impact playmaking wide receiver. If he stays healthy he's going to be a star.

FK: Patrick Peterson from LSU. Whether he plays corner or safety he seems to be one of the few blue-chippers in this draft.

PP: A.J. Green. I think he has the skills to be a special receiver, and I love the way he competes for the ball.

ES: Always tough to predict, but the one who looks the most NFL-ready is Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green. So, I'll go with him.

Which first-round pick will be the biggest bust?

AH: Though Cam Newton is the logical choice, I'm going to go with his Auburn teammate Nick Fairley. The defensive lineman has just as many questions about his character and one-year wonder status. He's compared to Albert Haynesworth, on and off the field. That could be really good, or really bad.

FK: This is an interesting year because a lot of the first-round projections are offensive and defensive lineman and it's more difficult to rate those careers as busts. I'm going to go with Blaine Gabbert, the quarterback from Missouri if -- and this is a big if -- he goes in the top 5. In a weak QB draft he might be looking better than he actually is.

PP: Cam Newton. Really I could use any of the quarterbacks but Newton has the highest profile. Much like Tim Tebow last year, I question his ability to make reads and learn an NFL offense.

ES: Easier to pick than the previous one, but still tough. However, a lot is expected of Auburn QB Cam Newton, and I don't think he'll be able to handle it all. His flaws will be exposed and exploited to a much greater degree at the pro level. Whichever team drafts him will be set back six years – the first three to give him time to develop and ultimately fail, then another three to give their next quarterback-of-the-future the same opportunity.
What will be the most surprising pick/development of the weekend for the Patriots?

AH: I think the trade up to get an elite pass rusher will surprise most people.

FK: If my moving up in the first round prediction comes true, that would surprise a lot of people.

PP: They will hold onto their pick at No. 33 at the top of the second round. The more valuable spot will be at 28.

ES: If they trade up into the top 10, I'd be stunned, but delighted.

Who will be the Patriots top pick?

AH: I'm going to continue to beat the dead horse and stick with Robert Quinn. I think he'd be a great fit for the Patriots OLB. They'll have to trade up to get him. Hopefully they will do just that.

FK: Somehow, some way, Patrick Peterson, cornerback from LSU.

PP: I'll go with Aldon Smith. He has all the tools required for an OLB in Bill Belichick's system.

ES: History says the team won't trade up, so Quinn will most likely be out of the question. Bill Belichick usually does the opposite of what people expect, though, so trading down probably won't happen either. My guess is they stay where they are and, at 17, take Missouri OLB Aldon Smith.

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