2011 New England Patriots Draft PicksPatriots 2011 Draft PicksNot included in gallery: Lee Smith, TE out of Marhsall; Markell Carter, DE out of Central Arkansas; Malcolm Williams, DB out of TCU.The Patriots selected nine players in the 2011 NFL Draft, including OT Nate Solder with the 17th overall pick, pictured above with Robert and Jonathan Kraft. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
2011 New England Patriots Draft PicksNate Solder(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)Taken 17th overall by the Patriots out of Colorado, Solder is a juggernaut offensive lineman at 6-8, 316 lbs. A converted tight end, Solder will help bolster the Patriots’ offensive line that has had trouble keeping Tom Brady upright.
2011 New England Patriots Draft PicksRas-I Dowling(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) The Patriots drafted Dowling with the first pick in the second round, 33rd overall. The physical corner will play behind Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden and Kyle Arrington in the secondary. He tallied eight interceptions and three forced fumbles in three years at Virgina. He missed most of 2010 while battling knee, ankle and hamstring injuries.
2011 New England Patriots Draft PicksShane Vereen(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)The versatile back was taken in the second round, 56th overall. Vereen ran for over 1100 yards at Cal in 2010 and finished the season with 16 touchdowns (13 rushing, 3 receiving).
2011 New England Patriots Draft PicksStevan Ridley(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) New England took another running back with their first selection of the third round (73rd overall), Stevan Ridley. Ridley is a big runner who will be used in third down, short yardage situations and possibly on special teams. He ran for over 1100 yards and 15 touchdowns at LSU in 2010. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
2011 New England Patriots Draft PicksRyan Mallett(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) The Patriots may have found their eventual replacement for Tom Brady in Arkansas QB Ryan Mallet. Drafted with he 74th overall pick, many thought Mallett had the best arm in the draft. He put up huge numbers during his college career, compiling over 8,000 yards and 69 touchdowns.
2011 New England Patriots Draft PicksMarcus Cannon(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) The Patriots took another offensive lineman in the fifth round, Marcus Cannon (#61 shown raising the the Mountain West Regular Season Championship trophy) out of TCU with the 138th overall pick. Cannon has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma but is expected to make a complete recovery. He will likely be out for the majority of 2011, but this was a pick for the future. With Cannon, Solder and Sebastian Volmer, New England will have a solid core for their offensive line.