Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki, who from this perspective is one of the premier draft analysts, produces his final mock draft. He envisions a scenario in which the team trades the No. 17 to a quarterback-needy team, and then selects Baylor guard Danny Watkins at No. 28.
Nawrocki writes of the 17 slot, "The pick the Patriots acquired in the Richard Seymour trade could produce a suitable replacement in a DE-rich draft, even if it requires moving. The strong demand for quarterbacks plays into the favor of Bill Belichick, who understands value."
Of the 28 slot with Watkins, Nawrocki writes, "Bill Belichick struck gold with Logan Mankins at the back of Round One [in 2005] and can find a replacement for the retiring Stephen Neal."
ANALYSIS: It makes sense to think the Patriots will trade one of their picks tonight, and this predicts an early run on quarterbacks. A trade of the No. 17 pick would likely net a 2012 first-round pick in addition to another pick this year, possibly as high as the second round. Watkins is one of the safer picks of the draft, and projects as a Day 1 starter. His age (26) is one aspect that teams must consider in selecting him.