Kiper's Breakdown: Rounds 1-4
With the draft approaching, Mel goes through four rounds of possible picks
It's not a rigorous science to poke holes in a mock draft. A single trade can throw the whole thing off, and there are teams for which a trade down or up in the proceedings might be the best course of action from the outset. So laying out possible picks through four rounds shouldn't serve as much as a betting tip -- like picking your 120-plus-digit lottery number -- as it should a sensible way your team might attack its needs, given that every other team is doing the same.
So you could call this a four-round mock, but it's really a breakdown for how each team could meet its needs, given the current parameters and talent pool. With the draft just a week away, let's get it started.
AFC | NFC
New England Patriots
Top needs: OLB, WR, ILB, TE, RB, DE
First round (22): LB Sergio Kindle
Second round (44, 47, 53): RB Jahvid Best, TE Rob Gronkowski, DL Linval Joseph
Third round: No third-round picks
Fourth round (119): LB Thaddeus Gibson
Summary: Kindle fits the profile of a long OLB with solid speed and range, plus room to grow into his body. An ideal fit for coach Bill Belichick's system in the way players like Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel have been. He's not an outstanding pass-rusher, but his versatility is more important. Best is a home run threat, and this is an offense that needs to start considering new weapons with Randy Moss' age and Wes Welker's knee. Gronkowski is a big-time talent at TE, although he missed the 2009 season with an injury. Gibson is a great value out of Ohio State. Maybe a year early in the draft, but that's a plus for the Patriots.
If you want to see what the rest of the AFC could do in the early rounds, including where Tim Tebow and others are picked (think Northeast) you must be an ESPN Insider.
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