Mock thoughts: Targeting all 9 picks

Russ Lande of the Sporting News produces a seven-round mock draft, accounting for every selection. For the Patriots, that means a nine-player draft board, and this is how Lande envisions it unfolding:

17. DE J.J. Watt (Wisconsin)

28. CB Ras-I Dowling (Virginia)

33. OL Danny Watkins (Baylor)

60. RB Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)

74. WR Aldrick Robinson (SMU)

92. OLB Mark Herzlich (Boston College)

125. C Kris O'Dowd (Southern Cal)

159. RB Shane Vereen (California)

193. OT Jake Vermiglio (N.C. State)

ANALYSIS: In the first round, Rowling is a prospect who hasn't been connected to the Patriots by many analysts. At 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, he represents what Bill Belichick referenced on Sirius Radio when he said this corner class has bigger players than the average year. Meanwhile, Belichick also mentioned that there are more smaller running backs this year, although Williams (5-9, 212) and Vereen (5-10, 210) fall somewhere in the middle. Vereen, in particular, bench pressed 31 times at the Combine (tops at the position) and comes from a pro-style offense, so his pass protection is a bit more advanced than others. Picking Herzlich in the third round would create a buzz locally. Overall, the Patriots figure to trade a few of these picks.