2011 NFL Mock Draft: New England Patriots Select Akeem Ayers

PASADENA CA - NOVEMBER 06: Akeem Ayers #10 of the UCLA Bruins is tackled by James Dockery #4 of the Oregon State Beavers during the first quarter at the Rose Bowl on November 6 2010 in Pasadena California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

With the 28th pick of Pride of Detroit's 2011 NFL Mock Draft, the New England Patriots select UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers. Mavyrk is serving as the Patriots' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.

As I stare at the draft board contemplating my needs, I find myself overjoyed to be in, again, a buffet of my needs. After addressing a want at OT to eventually (possibly this year) replace Matt Light, I'm left to address my need for a pass rusher. Thankfully, my needs in the front seven are overwhelmingly at OLB as opposed to DE, or else I'd be screwed.

I'm essentially bereft of my options at OLB/DE hybrids here with Atlanta taking Justin Houston a pick before me. I could reach out for a solid DE here, but the only end I see of even remote value here is Cameron Hayward, and I truly feel he would be best served in a 4-3.

That leaves me with four options in terms of OLBs: Akeem Ayers, Martez Wilson, K.J. Wright and Mark Herzlich. I can immediately discard Herzlich as a reach, and then discard Wright because Ayers and Wilson would fit the bill better in terms of what I'm looking for.

Deciding between Wilson and Ayers is a tough one, because they offer opposite ends of the same coin. Martez is an athletic kid who would really help solidify the pass rush, but Ayers will do a much better job in the overall game. After debating for a while between the two, I eventually decided on Ayers. I feel he's a bit more of a polished prospect and his injury history is cleaner.

A glaring need at G/C sticks out to me here, but since I pick again in five selections I feel comfortable rolling the dice on my desired inside lineman making it back to me, with only one G/C prospect off the board right now and tantalizing OT options available for picks 29-32. Ayers is a no-brainer here, for me. He fits arguably the largest need for my franchise, he's the right size, he has good value at 28th  and he can start immediately. I feel Ayers will be more comfortable setting the edge than Martez in the long run, and I can't take the chance of him not making it to 33rd.

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Check out the 2011 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.

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