<
>

Mock thoughts: Watkins over Pouncey

Wes Bunting of the National Football Post produces the third version of his mock draft, and he envisions a scenario in which the Patriots select Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt at No. 17, and then come back with Baylor guard Danny Watkins at No. 28.

Watt has been one of the most popular picks in analysts' mock drafts, with Bunting noting that he seems like a perfect fit for the Patriots.

As for Watkins, one of the interesting aspects of Bunting's projection is that the Patriots select him over Florida's Mike Pouncey.

"He’s a bit older than most prospects, but I don’t see that scaring the Patriots away in round one," Bunting writes of Watkins. "He’s a tough, mature kid with a good anchor at the point and sticks to blocks well through contact. Has a little Logan Mankins to his game."

Bunting previously had a Watt/Akeem Ayers combination to the Patriots. Ayers now goes 30th to the Jets.

ANALYSIS: Watkins is in a similar situation to Nick Kaczur in 2005, entering the league in his mid-20s. The Patriots didn't hesitate to draft Kaczur in the third round, so the age probably wouldn't be a factor this time around either, especially with Watkins and his strong intangibles. But assuming the Patriots were going interior offensive line there, it would be a mild surprise if the Patriots selected Watkins with Pouncey still on the board, because Pouncey is more of a center/guard, while Watkins is more of a guard/tackle. With center Dan Koppen entering the last year of his contract, the feeling here is that the Patriots would place added value on those center skills when looking at things from both a short- and long-term perspective.