Bob Socci's NFL Draft Preview Show

BOSTON (CBS) – Bob Socci, the voice of your New England Patriots, takes to the Sports Hub airwaves to discuss prospects, scouting reports, team needs, welcome special guests and everything else you need to know ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft every Sunday at 8am through the end of draft season!

On Sunday’s NFL Draft Preview Show, host Bob Socci welcomed Boston Herald Patriots beat reporter Jeff Howe.

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Howe has been doing quite a bit of work in preparation for whom the Patriots might draft come the end of April. Given all of that research, does Howe feel like he might have a good idea of what Bill Belichick might actually do on draft day?

“Ha! No. Not even close,” Howe replied. “That’s a good one.”

He may not have knowledge of Belichick’s exact thought process — nobody does — but Howe does have his guesses.

“The best year you can look back at in terms of at least what their strategy was going into it was when they got Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower, trading up for both of them toward the tail end of the first round or bottom end of the second round,” Howe said. “I’m not even sure Bill Belichick has a firm strategy going into it. They lay out their board, and if they see a guy tumble a little further than they would expect him to … the good thing for Belichick is he’s great at accumulating picks over the course of several years, and right now with five picks in the top 101 (four of which are tradable), then they’re in position to do just about whatever they want.”

What that entails … is anyone’s guess.

“If they wanted to really swing for the fences, I’m sure they could package a bunch of those and get into the teens. Of course, don’t ever expect that to happen,” he said. “They can really maneuver around the board just about anywhere they want to, I would say within 10-12 picks of where they are at No. 32, because they’ve got the assets to do it. Again, I would never predict Belichick to trade up to No. 20 or even 25, but if the right guy is there, they absolutely will. They’ve proven they’ll go for it.”

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The conversation detailed a number of different areas.

On the Patriots’ addressing a need vs. a want: “They very rarely draft for need over the player who’s available,” Howe said, noting that the selection of Nate Solder came at a time when both Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer were on the roster. “Last year, Dominique Easley, we didn’t really expect that pick to happen there. It didn’t look like it was a huge need.”

On who might fit the bill in this draft, based on need at cornerback: “The problem is this draft class isn’t really loaded with that top-end talent.”

On where the need for defensive tackle fits in: “Obviously they need to fill Vince Wilfork’s shoes, but I think part of the reason why they let Wilfork go, aside from the money, was they want a guy who can deliver a little more pass-rushing skills. … It’s just the state of the league right now. You need guys who can go vertical more than just eat space and double teams.”

Who might be in the mix to be drafted as an interior lineman: “I like [Tre] Jackson a lot. I like all of those Florida State guys. It’s just a matter of where those guys fit. … He was terrific two years ago and slid a little bit last year, and I think a huge reason for that was the loss of [current Patriots center, former FSU center Bryan] Stork. … I think if you reunite Jackson with Stork, you could get a ton of potential out of him. And he’s a guy I think is going to slide into the second round. If you can get Tre Jackson at 64, I think that’s a steal.”

Howe also discussed whether the Patriots would be willing to invest a high pick in a wide receiver, as well as what the running back draft class looks like. Listen to the full discussion below:

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