"So who the Patriots picking?"
It's an innocent question posed by people who know what I do for work. Same as me asking a CPA on April 12, "So, you kinda busy with taxes?"
In both instances, the person posing the question knows the answer.
My answer: "Man, hard to say. Tell me who's there and I'll tell you who they'll take."
The CPA's: "Taxes are due in three days, what do you think, moron?"
It's with that in mind that I present to you my annual draft day treatise on what the Patriots should do and what they will do in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.
All rights to gloat if this particular blind squirrel finds a nut? Reserved.
Last year, Bill Belichick raved about the front-seven talent in the draft, specifically the edge rushers. So I did everything but build a wooden altar to Cam Jordan and then the Patriots passed on him. This year, they don't pass, they take the edge rusher and his name is Shea McCellin from Boise State. Does it give me pause that Mike Mayock has the Patriots taking Nick Perry? Sure. And it gives me even more pause that Mike Lombardi has them taking Vinny Curry from Marshall. Any of the above will work. McClellin works best, though, and his smarts win out for a team that was burned by going for athleticism with Jermaine Cunningham in the second round two years ago.
I'm good with Shea McClellin as well. If, as Mayock says, this is a 10-year NFL starter Mayock will bang the table for, that's good enough for me.
The Patriots trade back right here. They get a team in the 30s that's got an itchy trigger-finger to move up, the Patriots fall back to the spot in the 30s and take free safety Harrison Smith while adding a third in 2013.
It's too early for Harrison Smith who can be had by dealing back into the second round. It's probably too early for a wide receiver that the team has any reservations about as well. It's not too early to go safe on the offensive line, though, and 6-4, 314-pound Kevin Zeitler -- a guard from Wisconsin -- is the pick here. Kendall Reyes is also a recommendation here and that's even if they've taken McClellin.
Having grabbed Smith and McClellin and still needing some late-draft picks so they aren't idle in Rounds 5-7, the Patriots trade again, dealing back and adding picks for Saturday. If they do not deal, look for them to take either Vinny Curry (Lombardi must know something) or watch out for a surprise pick with South Florida's Jeremiah Warren, a guardcenter.
Going by what they've done in the Draft According to Me, they've gotten a defensive end and an offensive lineman. Now it's time to get a young, strong, smart, productive wide receiver and that's Mohamed Sanu from Rutgers.
Now we're deep into the Best Player Available portion of the program. There's good and varied depth at running back and wide receiver, though, and the Patriots are going to find the successor to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and grab Virginia Tech's David Wilson here because they are stunned -- stunned -- to see him still on the board.
SHOULD DOPatriots need to go Best Fatty Available here. Try and find the low-cost replacement to Vince Wilfork with a guy who's got some upside but question marks to conquer. Belichick loves to go risky in Round 2 and the pick in that case should be Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman.