Cornerback help in the draft would be a nice fit for the Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A mock draft that includes the New England Patriots? Thank you, Todd McShay.

We've been sitting here on the sidelines throughout the mock draft season as a result of the NFL stripping the Patriots of this year's first-round draft pick as part of the Deflategate punishment, but McShay has brightened our day with his latest offering, a two-round mock draft.

And at picks No. 60 and 61, the Patriots select ...

McShay focuses on an off-the-line linebacker and a cornerback in his projection, and a few things come to mind:

1. Both positions make sense when projecting the future, as the starters -- Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower at linebacker and Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan at cornerback -- are in contract years. So this type of scenario would be similar to 2011, when the Patriots selected left tackle Nate Solder despite having two quality tackles already on the roster (Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer). They were looking ahead to the future, as is often the case in the draft.

2. In a conversation with one NFL general manager at this week's owners meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, I asked for an outside perspective on the Patriots and the draft. The response from the GM was a curiosity on whether the Patriots would make both selections back to back or attempt to package those picks in some form on a possible move up the board to earlier in the second round.

3. Defensive tackle is currently moving up the list as a primary need for the Patriots. Seeing McShay project Texas defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway to be selected immediately after the two Patriots picks caught my eye, as he is a player I think could interest New England.