Patriots snag Watkins in AFC East mock

With the 28th pick in the 2011 AFC East reader mock draft, the New England Patriots select ... Danny Watkins, offensive lineman, Baylor.

Despite a surprisingly low number of votes, this was the most varied nomination process of our project. Ten players were presented for the second of New England's first-round draft picks. The first eight ballots cast named six different prospects.

Watkins, who can play guard and tackle, emerged as the choice ahead of Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed and Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston. Others to get multiple votes were Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward, Texas cornerback Aaron Williams and even Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.

Many predicted the Patriots would trade out of this slot.

Reliable mock voter zack10bearden wrote:

No question they trade this pick. Too many teams will want to give up too much to get back into the late 1st for a reach at QB. Then they will use the 1st overall pick in the second round on Justin Houston. If by some freakish miracle they actually take this pick it will likely be Houston which only means they will have traded the 33 overall pick instead.

Patriotslove12 liked the idea of Watkins to bolster a line with a couple question marks. Right guard Stephen Neal retired. Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankins is unhappy.

If they don't trade down from this spot, I can see them selecting Danny Watkins from a value standpoint. He is most likely rated behind only Pouncey at his position on the Patriot's board, whereas there has already been a run on OT's.

Watkins has a great story. He's a Canadian who used to be a firefighter and didn't start playing football until 2007 at Butte Junior College.

With three picks to go, here's our rundown so far ...

  1. Carolina Panthers: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton

  2. Denver Broncos: Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus

  3. Buffalo Bills: Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller

  4. Cincinnati Bengals: Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert

  5. Arizona Cardinals: Louisiana State cornerback Patrick Peterson

  6. Cleveland Browns: Georgia receiver A.J. Green

  7. San Francisco 49ers: Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara

  8. Tennessee Titans: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley

  9. Dallas Cowboys: USC tackle Tyron Smith

  10. Washington Redskins: Alabama receiver Julio Jones

  11. Houston Texans: North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn

  12. Minnesota Vikings: Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers

  13. Detroit Lions: Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo

  14. St. Louis Rams: Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget

  15. Miami Dolphins: Alabama running back Mark Ingram

  16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith

  17. New England Patriots: Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt

  18. San Diego Chargers: California defensive end Cameron Jordan

  19. New York Giants: Florida center Mike Pouncey

  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan

  21. Kansas City Chiefs: Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi

  22. Indianapolis Colts: Colorado tackle Nate Solder

  23. Philadelphia Eagles: Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod

  24. New Orleans Saints: Temple defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson

  25. Seattle Seahawks: Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith

  26. Baltimore Ravens: Miami cornerback Brandon Harris

  27. Atlanta Falcons: Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn

  28. New England Patriots: Baylor offensive lineman Danny Watkins

The Chicago Bears hold the 29th selection. For those unfamiliar with their needs or the players still hanging around our imaginary draft board, feel free to do some research on ESPN.com's draft page.

Once you've done that, drop your choice in the comments section below this article.

We're almost done, folks.