GGN Mock Draft - Round 2, Pick #1 - New England Patriots : Ben Ijalana OT-G/Villanova


The Patriots pick again here at the beginning of the second round and as of said at nearly every pick to this point. This is a selection the Patriots will almost certainly trade out of. Belicheck is going to have an entire today to field offers for this pick, and with Jake Locker still available in the second, I could see a team being willing to overpay to trade up.

I've decided to go with Ben Ijalana OG/T - Villanova.

I'll make my case for the pick after the jump:

Ijalana is widely regarded as the best small school prospect in this years draft. At 6'4", Ijalana can play every position along the offensive line besides center, and while slightly undersized for left tackle his versatility will help the Pats as they move forward in this draft.

Off the top of my head, a good NFL comparison would be Damien Woody. Woody, who has a similar height and build to Ijalana, was drafted as a Center out of Boston College by the Patriots and spent last year as the starting right tackle for your New York Jets. Ijalana's superior strength and athleticism can allow him to overcome his short comings in stature and while it would be nice to have him a few inches taller, A 6'7" Ben Ijalana would probably go somewhere in the early first round.

Ijalana completely dominated defenders at Villanova but questions still remain as to whether he can make the leap to the NFL having faced weaker competition.

The reason why I picked Ijalana over Stefen Wisnieski has a lot to do with the fact that Ijalana can play both guard at Tackle. His versatility will allow me to do whatever I wish with the 60th, and basically go for best player available at 60. Here are some scenarios I have in mind.

For instance, If there's a guard at 60 that i really like I can go ahead and draft him. While shifting my O-line as follows

                                                Vollmer | Mankins | Koppen | 60th Pick | Ijalana

If there's a tackle there at 60, I can do this

                                              Vollmer | Mankins | Koppen | Ijalana | 60th Pick

And I could also go another direction with the pick and have this

                                                  Light | Mankins | Koppen | Ijalana | Vollmer

Still having establish contributors like Dan Connolly and Nick Kaczur will help ease the transition of the rookies in either scenario 1 or 2.

Ben Ijalana has been projected to go anywhere from the Packers at 32 to the middle of the second round. He's also the best tackle left on the board at this point. I think he'd be a good fit here for the Pats.

This is the 3rd pick in the GGN Mock Draft for the Patriots. Here are the results:

17th: Aldon Smith OLB/Missouri

28th: J.J. Watt DE/Wisconsin

33rd: Ben Ijalana OT-G/Villanova



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