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SB Nation New York 2011 NFL Mock Draft: With 17th Pick, New England Selects ...

J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin.

The biggest difference between the New England Patriots of their Super Bowl-winning years and the current version of the very-good-but-not-great Patriots has been defense. The current New England defense just doesn’t make enough plays, and there are soft spots in the front seven.

The Patriots take steps to address that here by grabbing Watt, a high-motor, prototypical “five technique” 3-4 defensive end. SB Nation’s Mocking The Draft says Watt “Has the look of a classic 3-4 defensive end.” He is the 13th-ranked prospect on MTD’s Big Board.

This was a difficult choice. Between Watt and Cal’s Cameron Jordan you are pretty much splitting hairs, it is a simple matter of preference. The Patriots could also choose to address issues in their aging offensive line by grabbing Florida OG/C Mike Pouncey here, and plugging him in at either guard or center.

Of course, knowing the Patriots who we think they might draft here probably doesn’t matter. The way New England likes to wheel and deal on draft day it would actually be an upset if they really do pick at 17.