After an exciting first round of the draft, the New England Patriots sit atop the board to open day two. Pats coach Bill Belichick told reporters Thursday night that he’s already received trade offers for No. 33.
Let’s look at the players teams may be targeting in a trade up:
1. Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard: We sent Sheard to the Saints at No. 24 in our final online mock. The 2010 Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Sheard may have fell out of round one due to an off-field issue that involved him (allegedly) throwing a man through the glass door of an art gallery. Sheard is still a potentially special pass rusher. He racked up 35.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks at Pitt, and at 6-foot-3, 264 pounds, ran a 4.68 forty at February’s Combine with a 1.59 ten-yard split. Sheard projects as a defensive end in 4-3 defenses, or outside linebacker in a 3-4.
2. TCU quarterback Andy Dalton: As recently as Thursday morning, Dalton was being reported as a “guaranteed” top-20 overall pick. In 50 starts at TCU, Dalton went 42-8 and completed 61.66 percent of his passes with 71 touchdowns and just 30 interceptions. The two-time Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, Dalton is considered accurate, smart, and, in some circles, pro-ready despite the dink-and-dunk spread offense he played in as a Horned Frog. On Mike and Mike this morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter predicted Dalton won’t get past the Bengals at No. 35.
3. Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers: MDS took a good look at Bowers this morning. He led the nation in sacks as a junior, although Bowers’ first two college seasons left much to be desired. He has drawn comparisons to former Falcons top-ten bust Jamaal Anderson for a lack of ideal explosiveness, the possible inability to translate his pass-rush skills from college to the pros, and one-year wonder concerns. Bowers also has a bum knee. Not a good mix.
4. Arizona defensive end/linebacker Brooks Reed: This is the sort of guy the Patriots could covet and turn down trade offers for because they want him. Reed, at 6-foot-3 and 257 pounds, projects as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He has a relentless motor and posted the fastest ten-yard split of any defensive lineman at the Scouting Combine. If the Pats do pass on Reed at No. 33, he may not get by the pass rusher-needy Bills at 34.
5. Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick: Kaepernick’s combination of arm strength, athleticism, and intelligence (37 Wonderlic score) compares favorably to any quarterback in the 2011 class. He was a four-year starter at Nevada, going 32-16 in his career including 21-2 to close it out. ESPN’s Jon Gruden likened Kaepernick to Randall Cunningham. He played in a Pistol Spread offense under Wolf Pack coach Chris Ault, and Bills coach Chan Gailey uses elements of that scheme in his offense. Like Reed, Kaepernick should strongly appeal to Buffalo at pick 34.
Other notables left: UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers, North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin, Texas safety/cornerback Aaron Williams, Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph, Georgia defensive end Justin Houston, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith, Miami cornerback Brandon Harris, Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea, Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure, Virgina cornerback Ras-I Dowling.