NFL Network and Fox Sports analyst Brian Billick joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the NFL Draft.
"I'm calling this the New England Patriot Invitational, not the 2011 NFL Draft," joked Billick. "You got six picks in the first 92, 93 players you're doing pretty good."
One of those picks is No. 33 overall, the first selection of the second round. With only the first round taking place on Thursday, Billick was asked if teams will be more likely to perhaps panic and try to move up to grab a quarterback with the No. 33 pick, putting the Patriots in an ideal trade scenario.
"It's a great position to be in," Billick said. "I'm going to reserve judgment on that until I see how many have already pushed into the late first. Of course there is a great deal of speculation that everybody is going to want to push into the late first to get one of these quarterbacks. I think that would be a mistake, but if we see a bunch of that it's going to trigger, because you have a bunch of teams that don't need the quarterback -- New Orleans, Baltimore, New England, Atlanta, Chicago, the Jets, Pittsburgh, Green Bay -- that are hoping that happens. … That's going to push some pretty good players back to those teams. So if we see that, then there's obviously going to be a flurry of activity near the end of the first round, then once that dusts settles, there could be a huge interest in what's sitting there at No. 33. And New England, uncharacteristic of them, even though they love to fall back and pick up more players, may see a couple of these legitimate first-round players that could pushed back to the second, New England may think long and hard before they bypass one of those guys."
In his mock draft, Billick has the Patriots taking Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi at No. 17 and Ohio State DE Cam Heyward at No. 28. While Billick cautions that his mock draft doesn't necessarily focus on who he thinks a team will take -- instead he looks at what he thinks a team needs -- he believes both Carimi and Heyward, among others, would be good fits for the Patriots.
"I love this draft from if you are in the teens or twenties there are a lot of good, solid options," said Billick. "Not sexy picks, but good, solid players who are apt to play for you for a long time. … This board is fraught with good, solid picks. I have no idea is New England is indeed going with Gabe Carimi and then later grab Cameron Hayward. They are apt to move up or back or do some other things, but thses are two guys that represent really good, solid picks that could Bill Belichcik will be happy to have in the total mix of his team for a long time."
One pick that would make a splash in New England is Mark Ingram. Many mock drafts have the Patriots selecting the running back with the No. 28 pick, a move that Billick thinks would be a terrific one for New England.
"I love Mark Ingram," said Billick. "And it has been well documented, people talking about who it's not Mark Ingram, it's the position that has been devalued, but I like what I see in Mark Ingram. He's a guy that typically, in years past, might have been picked higher, to get a Mark Ingram at No. 17 is a good, solid pick. To get him at No. 28? You're just living too well, too many good things are happening for you, because this is an outstanding football player."