NFL Draft Live Blog: Patriots Select Arkansas Quarterback Ryan Mallett, LSU Running Back Stevan Ridley

NFL Draft Live Blog: Patriots Select Arkansas Quarterback Ryan Mallett, LSU Running Back Stevan Ridley

10:30 p.m.: The Patriots didn’t add any front-seven players on the second day of the draft, but the talent at those positions was very iffy — much more so than the first round, when they didn’t take some of those guys. I do like the talent they’ve acquired, and Ras-I Dowling could be a very solid cornerback. The running backs bring a bit of thunder and lightning and have really changed the direction of that position on the roster. And then there’s Ryan Mallett, who has No. 1 overall talent but needs to clean it up off the field.

I’ll have plenty more analysis throughout the weekend on NESN.com.

10:02 p.m.: The Patriots are done for the night, and Bill Belichick just finished it off with his news conference. He took a bunch of questions about Ryan Mallett, and Belichick said he’s a winner with a great arm who comes from a football family and will learn plenty about the quarterback position in the Patriots’ system. When asked about Mallett’s character concerns, Belichick responded, “Obviously, we’re comfortable with him. We took him.”

9:28 p.m.: The Patriots have made another trade, and it looks like they’re done for the night. They sent the 92nd pick and the 125th pick to the Raiders for a 2012 second-rounder and the 219th pick in this draft. Nice job for the Pats there. Now they have two first-rounders and two second-rounders in next year’s draft.

9:09 p.m.: Wow, it’s official, the Patriots have selected Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett with the 74th pick in the draft. Now I’ve seen it all. Mallett has so much talent — so, so much talent — but he’s been plagued with off-field issues.

9:06 p.m.: The Patriots have selected LSU running back Stevan Ridley with the 73rd pick, and they’ve still got a selection at No. 74. NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi, who was Bill Belichick’s GM in Cleveland, seems certain the Patriots are about to take Ryan Mallett at 74.

9:03 p.m.: The Patriots are on the clock and they’re expected to take Ryan Mallett, according to NFL Network.

8:58 p.m.: Shane Vereen just wrapped up his conference call, and he said his game is very similar to former Cal teammate Jahvid Best, though he admitted Best is a step or two faster. One other thing that stuck out, Vereen openly admitted he’s got to improve his pass protection. As a potential third-down back, that’s obviously a very important aspect of his game.

8:43 p.m.: The Patriots are equipped with the 73rd, 74th and 92nd picks in the third round, so things are about to get busy again. Teams have five minutes to make a selection from here until the end of the draft.

8:41 p.m.: And the great fall of Ryan Mallett rolls on. Somewhere, Jimmy Clausen doesn’t feel so bad. Things got pretty bad when the Dolphins traded up to take Kansas State Daniel Thomas at No. 62. That looked like it might be the Mallett pick, but now, there’s just no telling when he’ll go off the board. Maybe the Raiders will pounce.

8:38 p.m.: The Packers closed out the second round by selecting Kentucky’s Randall Cobb, who was the last player stuck in the green room. That’s always an awkward situation.

8:16 p.m.: The Patriots traded the 60th pick to Houston for the 73rd pick and the 138th selection.

8:00 p.m.: The Patriots selected California running back Shane Vereen with the 56th pick. Interesting, the Pats took Vereen over the guy I liked for them, Mikel Leshoure. And by interesting, I mean, extremely predictable.

7:52 p.m.: The Eagles are on the clock at No. 54, and the Patriots are waiting at Nos. 56 and 60. Two guys to keep in mind are Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure and Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston.

7:46 p.m.: The Giants’ theme in this draft has been simple: Take the player who everyone keeps passing on. They miraculously landed Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara with the 19th pick, and they just snagged North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin at No. 52. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has got to be thrilled with this draft.

7:36 p.m.: The Buccaneers have ended a grueling slide for Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, who was just selected with the 51st pick. That’s 50 selections lower than he was once anticipated to go, so this one hurt a little bit. The Bucs have used all four of their first- and second-round picks in the last two years on defensive linemen. Raheem Morris knows what he’s doing.

7:28 p.m.: The Colts are having a very good draft so far, and they’ve added Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana in the second round. They already took tackle Anthony Castonzo in the first round, and they’re beefing up this line.

7:12 p.m.: Just finished up a conference call with Ras-I Dowling (his first name is pronounced “Ross-I”), and he said he takes a lot of pride in special teams and his injuries as a senior were just one year of bad luck. He said he hadn’t really faced any injuries problems before his senior season. And his first name comes from the boxer, Livingstone Bramble, who changed his name to Ras-I.

6:42 p.m.: I’ve been told the Patriots filed the Ras-I Dowling pick fairly quickly, so they were definitely convinced they were getting some good talent there. I don’t think anyone would doubt that, but his stock slipped due to a tough year with injuries that hurt him on the field and in the pre-draft process. He actually ran a 4.4-second 40 while pulling his hamstring at the combine.

6:28 p.m.: After a quick run on quarterbacks — Andy Dalton to Cincinnati and Colin Kaepernick to San Francisco — the Browns continued to beef up their line with Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard, who will play end in Cleveland’s 4-3 scheme.

6:23 p.m.: Do you like Bill Belichick’s drafting philosophy? Vote here.

6:11 p.m.: And the Patriots continue to surprise us all by keeping the pick and taking Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling, who is a pretty solid prospect.

6:04 p.m.: NFL Network reports the Patriots are talking with the Raiders about the 33rd pick. That would be hilarious.

6:00 p.m.: OK, it’s almost time for the clock to start for the Patriots. Each team will have seven minutes to make a pick in the second round and five minutes to pick in every round thereafter.

5:37 p.m.: The biggest concern with Nate Solder in the pre-draft process was his 21 bench reps at the combine. I asked him about that, and he responded, “I’ve always felt I’m a strong, powerful player, but I always have things to develop and get better at.”

3:30 p.m.: Bill Belichick said Thursday night he had already received a couple calls for the 33rd pick, and that means one of two things. If he was telling the truth, he was setting up an 18-hour auction for the pick. If he wasn’t completely truthful, he was at least trying to increase the value of the pick by spreading the word that the talks have begun. It’s universally believed the Patriots will trade the pick — I think they’ll get a second-rounder Friday night and a first-rounder in 2012 — and Belichick undoubtedly showed Thursday night that he wants to trade the pick.

3:15 p.m.: I’ve been hanging out at Gillette for a few hours hoping to run into some players who came in for workouts, but I’ve been unsuccessful. However, I have been told “a few” players did show up on Friday to work out. Nate Solder will meet with the media in an hour and 15 minutes, and I’ll pass along some updates from that.

8 a.m.: Despite making just a singular pick, the Patriots were busy during the opening round of the NFL draft. But things could get even crazier Friday, when they’ve got five picks littered through the second and third rounds.

The Pats are armed with the 33rd, 56th, 60th, 74th and 92nd picks Friday, and that will give them plenty of more opportunities. Bill Belichick said he has already received a couple calls from teams that are interested in snagging the 33rd pick, and with the high likelihood of yielding a 2012 first-rounder, it seems certain the Patriots will unload it.

But after that, they’ve got more opportunities to address plenty of needs. And keep in mind, with the possibility the NFL could open the player trading market Friday, the Patriots could use one of their three second-rounders to add a veteran if they so choose.

Stay with NESN.com’s live blog throughout the day, as we’ll keep you up to date on everything that happens at Gillette Stadium.