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Quick-hit draft thoughts from Kiper

Spent 75 minutes this morning listening to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. on a conference call, with the goal to learn more about prospects and anything that could have a tie-in to the Patriots or those with interest in New England college football.

Here were a few things that stood out:

1. With interior offensive line help in mind, Kiper doesn't see Florida center/guard Mike Pouncey in the same class as his brother, Maurkice, who went 18th to the Steelers last year. Kiper pointed out that Mike Pouncey had some trouble with the shotgun snap, which caught my attention because of how often the Patriots use it. Kiper sees him as a late first-round pick, with No. 19 (Giants) as his ceiling.

2. Kiper currently projects Boston College offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo going in the 18-25 range of the first round.

3. If the Patriots are thinking receiver, I jotted down the name Torrey Smith (Maryland) as a late first-round option. "Good size, strong, with kick return ability and a lot of touchdown catches," Kiper said, noting that if he stayed in school for his senior season he'd have been a solid first-round choice.

4. In the pass rush department, Kiper doesn't see Texas A&M's Von Miller getting out of the top 10. He sounded skeptical that UCLA's Akeem Ayers is a good fit for a 3-4 defense, while he touted Georgia's Justin Houston among those players as better options for 3-4 teams.