With the 28th selection in the TST Community Mock Draft, the Patriots, represented by Abrantes, select:
Jabaal Sheard, OLB, Pittsburgh
Again, I must add that the Patriots' sack total in 2010 is quite deceptive, and their lack of consistency in pass rushing was a big factor in the massive yardage allowed by the pass defense. Stability at the OLB positions is key. Jermaine Cunningham showed promise, Ninkovich did well in his limited capacity and Banta-Cain was Banta-Cain, but that's far from ideal.Sheard brings much-needed viciousness and power to the team's front seven, with a well-rounded game that could give him a bigger role than any of the Patriots' current OLBs. GM Abrantes likes Sheard a whole deal more than Ayers, Houston and Kerrigan (to a lesser extent), so this works out well. Flexible, determined, and plays with the kind of attitude that the Patriots would appreciate. Bill Belichick recently stated that a team's success in this draft could very well come down to proper evaluation of the front seven players, and this definitely goes along with that line of thinking.
You can never be sure with the Patriots, Sheard seems like a reach here, as most Mocks I see have him somewhere in the 2nd. Would he be available later? Probably. Who knows, the Patriots might even trade down as they normally do and select him anyway. But by adding Sheard and earlier J.J. Watt, they really have beefed up their front seven.
If you've missed any of the first round, check it out here.