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PFW's pre-draft predictions

After months of studying it’s time to figure out exactly what the PFW crew has learned heading into another NFL Draft. As is generally the case, probably not a whole lot.

Will the Patriots trade up, trade down or make the pick at No. 7?

Tom Casale -- They will try to trade down but I think they get stuck picking at seven.

Andy Hart -- I'm answering this one as much with my heart as I am with my brain. I say they trade up for one of the true elite players in the draft, a potential defensive monster I fell in love with at the Combine. His initials are V.G.

Fred Kirsch -- Make the pick. It takes two to tango and there's no one willing to dance with the Patriots.

Paul Perillo -- Although they'll want to trade down, if Matt Ryan or Darren McFadden aren't available they'll be unable to find a partner and make the pick at 7.

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

TC -- Aqib Talib, CB Kansas. I don't think he should be a first-day draft pick, much less a first-round selection.

AH -- I don't know if he's still considered top rated, but I'm going with Kansas CB Aqib Talib. Talib has issues on and off the field. He was once considered by many as the top CB in the draft. He might be lucky now to hear his name on Saturday at all.

FK-- Jake Long, wait, umm, Keith Rivers. Teams are starting to look past the USC name and wondering about how dominant he really was. Only 5.5 sacks in his career and scouts say he doesn't have the lower-body strength to bull rush or fight off big blockers (although he performed the best among linebackers at the Combine in bench press).

PP-- Ryan Clady, T, Boise State. He was projected to go in the top five as recently as last week but now it seems like he could fall out of the top 10. He'll still be a first rounder but not as high as many thought.

What will be the most surprising pick of the weekend for the Patriots?

TC -- John Carlson, TE, Notre Dame in Round 3.

AH -- A running back in the second round. With all the focus on linebackers and the secondary, the Patriots will see too much value in some running back to pass it up on day one.

FK -- Tom Zbikowski in round three (#69). If the Patriots pick him I will really be surprised.

PP-- They'll take a quarterback out of Hawaii in the fifth round by the name of Colt Brennan.

List the top four positions you think the Patriots will definitely select on draft weekend?

TC -- CB, ILB, TE, T



PP -- DL, DB, LB, TE.

Which prospect will have the most productive NFL career?

TC -- Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona. He'll be one of the best corners in the NFL. Book it.

AH-- Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois. Might as well keep answering with my heart. I love Mendenhall. He's better than McFadden. Forget the one-year wonder crap. He's already well on his way to 10,000 yards in the NFL.

FK-- We'll have to wait awhile to see it but QB Joe Flacco, relative to expectations, will have the most productive career.

PP -- Vernon Gholston. He plays a dynamic position that seems to be an emerging spot in today's NFL. He'll terrorize quarterbacks for the next 10 years

Which first-round pick will be the biggest bust?

TC -- Jake Long. As I said before, somewhere Tony Mandarich is smiling.

AH -- Branden Albert, G/T, Virginia. No one has risen faster than Albert. He played one game at T in college, but now his future at that position is worthy of a top-10 pick? No thanks. He'll be an average G at best in the pros, so he'll never be worthy of a high first-round pick. Going with Darren McFadden would just be too obvious.

FK -- Again, being a bust is always relative to expectations. Darren McFadden.

PP-- Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida. Many see him as another Gholston but I don't see the same explosiveness or potential to operate as a 3-4 OLB. I think he'll be the next Jamal Reynolds.

Who will be the Patriots first-round pick?

TC -- Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida. With Gholston off the board and no teams willing to trade, the Pats stay put and select Harvey.

AH -- Vernon Gholston, DE/OLB, Ohio State. He's a freak of a man who could be an instant impact defender in the mold of the recent hybrids that have come into the league had success like DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman. He's the perfect fit. Bill Belichick will see that and will get it done.

FK -- Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy. (After every effort fails to move down.)

PP -- Vernon Gholston.

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