Alan Branch played splendidly for the Patriots when he was needed, and even if the team brings him back, he’s not the future.
New England has some good youthful talent at the position already, but they aren’t likely to rest on those assessments when presented the opportunity to add depth and the potential to spot another future bargaining chip.
Malik McDowell out of Michigan State possesses a good set of skills and could certainly enter the game in key situations to become an impact specialty player.
With any luck, McDowell could be a full-time player in two years, and if their other young talent develops well then we could see another trade similar to the one pulled off with the Browns earlier in 2016.
Plenty of upside for the Pats with very little downside, and looking at the names on the board, there aren’t many options better for the Super Bowl Champs.
So there you have my first mock draft of the year. Of course, this is just round one as we prepare to get into the Combine followed by Pro Days.
Where did I miss in your opinion, and where are my hits? Better yet, which first-round snub are you most bothered by and are there any names here you absolutely despise as day one selections.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.
Thanks for reading as always, and Go Bucs!