Given that the order for the 2012 NFL Draft is not yet finalized, draftniks acknowledge that it's too early to consider which prospects might land which each NFL team. At the same time, for those who view mock drafts as a chance to get to know prospects better, they can still serve a meaningful purpose.
It is with that backdrop that Rob Rang and Chad Reuter produce their initial mock drafts for 2012, which are posted on CBSSports.com. Both target defensive help for New England in the first round.
Rang goes with South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram and Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox at the end of the opening round.
"At 6-2, 270 pounds, Ingram lacks classic size, but his quick feet and natural pass rush skills make him among the more versatile front seven defenders in the country. No coach values versatility more than Bill Belichick," Rang writes. "The Bulldog defensive tackle earned the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week four times this season and is highly regarded by scouts because of his size, strength and ability to play inside or out in multiple fronts. That type of versatility will certainly intrigue Bill Belichick."
Reuter gives them Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield and Pittsburgh outside linebacker Brandon Lindsey.
"The Patriots are constantly looking to improve the depth of their secondary. [Minnifield is] the son of former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Frank Minnifield, who was coached by Belichick for two years in Cleveland," Reuter writes. "Lindsey's toughness and agility would make him a nice fit in the Patriots' scheme, and his versatility to play end in a four-man line or standing up as a linebacker should endear him to Bill Belichick."
For Rang's mock draft, CLICK HERE.
For Reuter's mock draft, CLICK HERE.