Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, president of the Pro Football Writers Association, produces her first mock draft.
Williams envisions a scenario where the Patriots select California defensive end Cameron Jordan at No. 17 overall, and then Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod at No. 28.
Of Jordan, Williams writes: "Ty Warren missed all of last season and is nearing the end of his career. The Patriots had a hard time without him last season."
As for the Sherrod pick, Williams writes: "The Patriots need help on the offensive line as Matt Light is a free agent, Nick Kaczur had back surgery that cost him the 2010 season, and Stephen Neal has retired."
ANALYSIS: The picks match up well to two areas the Patriots could use help. Jordan could be a long-term option at right defensive end in the 3-4 alignment (he has a background in the 3-4 at Cal) while also potentially staying on the field on third down as a pass rusher. Or perhaps the Patriots look at his athleticism (6-4, 287, 4.71 in the 40) and envision more of a Willie McGinest type role at outside linebacker. Jordan is an intriguing prospect to project to the Patriots' defense. As for Sherrod, he seems to be picking up momentum as the draft approaches. The Patriots hit it big with tackle Sebastian Vollmer in the 2009 second round, and while they might feel the interior is a higher priority, a Sherrod/Vollmer combo as bookends on the line could be promising for years to come.