GGN Mock Draft, 17th Selection, The New England Patriots Select: Aldon Smith OLB/Missouri

Greetings, Gang Green Nation! Thanks for letting me take part in your sites mock draft.

The Patriots enter the draft with two major needs at Outside linebacker and Guard.

Our pass rushing woes have been well documented. And while our sack totals were marginally improved last year (up from 31 to 36) its still our most glaring weakness. Guys like Jermaine Cunningham, Mike Wright, Ty Warren and Tully Banta-Cain can all create pressure, but they can't reach the quarterback reliably at all. its something that gets brought up every draft cycle since the likes of Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest and Richard Seymour have come and gone. Yet Belicheck and company seem ever resistant to draft pass rush high. This is the team that traded back twice with Clay Mathews still available.

The other need, guard, is a position that can be taken care of later. Stephen Neal is retiring, Logan Mankins is disgruntled and Dan Connolly's value has dropped dramatically due to the new kickoff rules:



Other positions the patriots will look to add to this april are: Offensive Tackle, Running Back, A Deep-Threat Wide Receiver, a project at Center and a Safety to make Brandon Merriweather expendable.

I don't want to drag this on too long. I'm sure there's a limit to how much jets fans want to here about patriots draft needs. But if your looking for a decent enough read, I made an in-depth post a few weeks ago on pats pulpit:

The Difference Between A Need and A "Need": An In-depth Look at the 2011 Draft

There are three pass rushers I think the patriots should target with the 17th Selection (at least ones who will realistically be there.) Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt and Cameron Jordan. All three are available at seventeen, much to my surprise and pleasure.

The title sort of gives it away. So without further ado, the newest Patriots draft pick you all will deem as monstrously overrated and a product of the patriots system. ;-D

                                                   Aldon Smith - Outside Linebacker/Missouri


Aldon Smith is the sort of boom or bust picks the patriots tend to avoid. But there's currently a logjam a long the defensive line (Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Mike Wright, Marcus Stroud, Gerrard Warren, Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love, Myron Pryor, Landon Cohen, Eric Moore, Darryl Richard, and Kade Weston are all in the mix) 

Drafting a guy like Aldon Smith gives the patriots a real pass rushing presence, and most of all, gives them someone who can get to the quarterback. An athletic freak, Aldon Smith had a so-so senior year, hampered with injury, that kept him from rising into the top ten.

Smith would also make the over-paid and over-rated Tully Banta-Cain expendable. Banta-Cain, who led the the patriots in sacks in 2009, lost his starting this year to rookie Jermaine Cunningham and is making way to much money to come off the bench.

Also, the patriots brought in Smith for a personal workout last week, another good sign that there's interest in Smith at this pick. This draft is so unusual for various reasons I wouldn't be shocked to see the pats buck trends and trade up. One possible trade candidate to keep on the radar would be the Vikings at #12, who seems dead set on drafting a quarterback and would be suited to trade back.

Aldon Smith played most of his sophomore season on a recovering broken leg, and showed great toughness playing through it. He also displayed great versatility played all over the front lines for missouri, even going inside for a few snaps. Which is the sort of thing the Patriots, and all teams for that matter love.

Here are some highlights:

Draft Preview: Aldon Smith (via foxsports)


It basically came down to Aldon Smith and Cameron Jordan. Jordan is probably the safer pick. I opted for the higher ceiling. 

But the mock draft moves on.

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