BOSTON (CBS) – Sports Hub fantasy football and NFL draft expert Mike Lockhart joined Toucher & Rich in studio for some extensive draft talk leading up to round one on Thursday night.

Even in a draft that’s knee-deep in quality quarterbacks, Patriots fans are likely still a few years away from seeing the team draft Tom Brady’s successor.

By signing veteran pass rusher Will Smith on Monday, the 32-year-old should, in theory, provide a nice stable of ends that can rotate in and out, providing Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich with some much-needed rest.

However, Lockhart isn’t so sure Smith even makes the team.

“He’s 33 years old coming off an ACL. Who knows how he’s even going to come back? He may not even make the team if he’s not up to it. It’s a good depth pick. It’s a guy you bring in and hope to get the best out of him, although I wouldn’t expect a ton of [production].”

At no. 29 overall, New England is in a prime position to either move up into the mid-20’s for a player they really like, or trade back into the second round for more assets — so there’s no shortage of directions for the team to go in inside the war room Thursday night and into this weekend.

The Patriots proved last year with Chris Jones and Joe Vellano that they don’t necessarily need top flight defensive tackles to be effective, and with Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and Armond Armstead set to return from injury, the more you think about it a defensive tackle at no. 29 is unlikely — despite what the mock drafts are telling you.

However, one direction the Patriots could go is Stephon Tuitt from Notre Dame. He’s not a true defensive end or defensive tackle, and projects as kind of a hybrid player that Greg Cosell raved to Bob Socci about, comparing him to a Richard Seymour-type.

Mike Lockhart was equally as effusive in his praise of Tuitt.

“If you could bring in a guy like [Stephon] Tuitt from Notre Dame, kind of a big defensive end/defensive tackle, and bring in a little of youth in the first round they can definitely do that.”

Listen below for the full discussion, including how a player like Teddy Bridgewater (reportedly) falls out of favor with scouts and much more:



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