28. New England Patriots - Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State Bulldogs
By all accounts and for all intents and purposes, the New England Patriots are probably going to come out alright if they ever find themselves in a quarterback crisis. There's really nobody on the roster that inspires such confidence, it's just that ... they're the Patriots and that's kind of what they do. Still, it's essentially indisputable that they are better off with Tom Brady as the signal caller ten times out of ten.
So they need to do a better job of protecting him. They're got a retirement and a couple free agents along their offensive line, and with so many high picks, they will concentrate on getting one of the top tackle or guard prospects in the draft. They already took a defensive lineman in the first round, and now they're in a prime position to select some of the best offensive linemen in the draft.
Anthony Castonzo, Tyron Smith and Gabe Carimi are already off the board, and that's just fine. The Patriots wouldn't go for a guy like Castonzo, Smith should have went in the top ten, and I think they value Sherrod higher than Cirimi to begin with.They're a team that needs results early on with their status as a perennial contender, but they're also a team that can compensate for rookie mistakes, and that's why Sherrod is a perfect fit.
Sherrod is only recently creeping into the first round in mock drafts, but it's with good reason. He might have the highest ceiling of any offensive tackle in the draft. Maybe there's a few mis-steps here or there, some rookie mistakes and the like, but eventually, he'll be a strong anchor on a line renowned for its toughness. To me, Sherrod is absolutely the pick right here for the Patriots.