The NFL draft is more than three months away, but the excitement is already building for the two-day event scheduled for April 21-22 in New York.
Today marked the final day for college underclassmen to make themselves available for the draft and the pool of available players has become much clearer. After having to watch 45 picks before New England had a chance to grab tackle Adrian Klemm from Hawaii, Patriots fans will not have nearly as long a wait this year. The team holds the sixth pick this time around, giving New England several possibilities to choose from.
It is still early, but several mock drafts are already out there, and the predictions for the Patriots pick are pretty widespread. In the seven mock drafts listed here, there are four different players whose names could be called by New England. The Patriots have many holes they would like to fill, and each of these players would fill a need.
The most popular prediction to this point is tackle Leonard Davis from the University of Texas. The 6-5, 355-pound Davis was a mammoth presence at left tackle and helped the Longhorns' Hodges Mitchell gain 1,118 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground this season. As a team Texas averaged 145 rushing yards per game.
The War Room, All-Pro Scouting's NFL Draft and CBS SportsLine's Frank Coyle all have New England taking Davis. At this point Davis is seen more as a right tackle, but he has shown improvement since converting from the defensive side of the ball. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. currently ranks Davis as the ninth best player in the draft.
Two mock drafts, NFL Digest Mock Draft by Brian DeLucia and Boomer's 2001 Mock Draft by Rob Rang, had North Carolina State wide receiver Koren Robinson. The 6-2, 203-pound Robinson is coming out after two seasons.
In 2000, Robinson had 62 catches for 1,061 yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 games. He averaged 17.1 yards per catch and was also a big factor in the return game. Robinson averaged 15.6 yards and had one touchdown in 14 punt returns, and he averaged 25.3 yards on 20 kickoff returns.
Robinson's college career actually started slow after he red-shirted as a freshman. In his first season he had just eight catches in his first five games at NC State, but then he rebounded for 42 grabs in his final six games. The surge helped him earn the ACC Rookie of the Year in 1999.
Pro Football Insider had the Patriots going after Ole Miss running back Deuce McAllister. McAllister had 17 touchdowns in 2000, 14 of which came on the ground. He ran for 767 yards and had 18 catches for 190 yards and a pair of scores. McAllister also had a punt return for a touchdown and threw one pass for a 20-yard score.
On the defensive side of the ball, Big C's Pro Football Mock Draft predicted defensive tackle Richard Seymour of Georgia for the Patriots. A three-year varsity player for the Bulldogs, Seymour posted 63 tackles, including 10 for losses in 2000. Despite missing the season opener, Seymour also posted two sacks.
|NFL Digest||Koren Robinson||NC State||WR|
|Pro Football Insider||Deuce McAllister||Ole Miss||RB|
|The War Room||Leonard Davis||Texas||T|
|All-Pro Scouting's NFL Draft Report||Leonard Davis||Texas||T|
|Frank Coyle||Leonard Davis||Texas||T|
|Boomer's Mock Draft||Koren Robinson||NC State||WR|
|Big C's Pro Football||Richard Seymour||Georgia||DT|