Patriots Draft: Top LB On The Radar?

Patriots Draft: Top LB On The Radar?

They've seen him at the Pro Day and again at the Combine. Do the Patriots really think they have what it takes to land this top LB? They might, but they'll have to trade with someone to get him. Find out where he's headed next.

PatriotsInsider.com has learned that Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis is making the rounds with seven pre draft visits lined up. Willis, who should be off the board somewhere in the first 12 picks, is a highly sought after commodity by teams needing an impact linebacker. It's no secret the Patriots need another linebacker, and that they value Willis highly.

Willis has finished a pair of visits to the NFC East to Dallas Cowboys and just recently the Philadelphia Eagles. Up next for the 6-foot-2, 240-pound linebacker is a trip to Foxborough to visit the New England Patriots on Sunday.

The thing about Willis is that the Patriots are in no position to get him, regardless of how much they like him. His measurables are solid, his film is impressive, and his character is noteworthy. Willis has everything the Patriots like in a Draft prospect, which is why so many other teams are interested in him.

Interest in Willis starts at the 9th spot where the Dolphins -- who need a youth movement to reinforce their aging defense - may be looking at linebacker or DB. Then at the 11th spot are the San Francisco 49ers, a team that could use an impact player to fill the hole left by Julian Peterson two seasons ago. Buffalo is in the 12th spot and also needs an impact linebacker after losing Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher. Carolina at 14 will be looking Willis' direction if he's still on the board.

In order for the Patriots to get Willis, New England would need to move up to at least the 10th spot (Texans). A quick look at the Draft Value Chart shows that the 10th pick in the first round is worth 1300 points. The Patriots have two first round picks No. 24 (760 points) and No. 28 (640 points). Combined that's 1400 points, too much to give up to get to 10, but enough ammunition to get up there with a pick in return. The extra value from New England's two first round picks is an extra 100 points, which translates to a third round pick 100th overall

If the Texans were interested, the Patriots could give the Texans both first round picks for the Texans 1st round pick and 3rd round pick. Then New England could select Willis at 10.

All the trade speculation is a bit much for an organization like New England that has made moves in the past, but may not be willing to give up two first round picks for one player. The Patriots have needs not only at linebacker but also safety and corner. Willis is good, but he can't backup the whole team. If Willis gets past the top 12, then the Patriots may be willing to get serious about making more moves. It's not likely they'll get that chance though, he is just too good a player to pass up.

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