That doesn't mean the Pats should move Wilfork to end on a full-time basis, but if they identify another big-time nose tackle in the draft, it might be difficult for Bill Belichick to pass up on the opportunity.
Baylor's Phil Taylor might be the guy who intrigues Belichick with that debate this month.
The 6-foot-3, 334-pounder had two sacks, seven tackles for loss, 62 tackles, two pass breakups and three quarterback hurries as a senior in 2010.
Why the Patriots Would Want Him
Taylor would give the Patriots a ton of flexibility along the defensive line, and the combination of him, Wilfork and Ty Warren would give the Pats nearly 1,000 pounds of run-stuffing New Englanders on their three-man front. And since Belichick wants his defensive linemen to eat up blockers, well, they obviously wouldn't have much of an issue with that if they added Taylor. The Patriots also used a number of defensive line combinations last season, and the ability to do different things with Wilfork and Taylor would give them an embarrassment of riches.
Why the Patriots Might Stay Away
Taylor is a no-doubt first-rounder, but there have been questions about his character since an off-campus fight signified the end of his career at Penn State (it sounds like Taylor has proven to teams that he has righted those wrongs). And since the draft is loaded with defensive line talent, the Patriots don't necessarily have to spend one of their higher picks on a player at that position.
Potential Impact in 2011
Taylor would make a big impact in his rookie season for all of the reasons already listed, and his presence would greatly benefit Wilfork. The Patriots' opposition would have to use double-teams with caution when they're both in the game, and that would create some huge holes for New England's linebackers.
What The Locals Are Saying
A 2010 mission trip to Kenya really changed Taylor as a person.
Where Can the Patriots Expect to Draft Taylor?
The Patriots should definitely have an opportunity to take Taylor at No. 17, but it's uncertain if he would slide all the way to No. 28. He would also be a great fit in Kansas City (No. 21), which would have a hard time passing him up. And if he slides past the Chiefs, then the Jets, who pick at No. 30, might trade up to make sure New England can't get him.
Every day through April 28, NESN.com will spotlight one player the Patriots could draft with one of their first three picks.
Friday, April 1: California defensive end Cameron Jordan
Saturday, April 2: North Carolina defensive end/outside linebacker Robert Quinn
Sunday, April 3: Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward
Monday, April 4: Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones
Tuesday, April 5: Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara
Wednesday, April 6: Alabama running back Mark Ingram
Thursday, April 7: Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo
Friday, April 8: Florida interior lineman Mike Pouncey
Saturday, April 9: Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi
Sunday: April 10: Georgia defensive end/outside linebacker Justin Houston
Monday, April 11: Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers
Tuesday, April 12: Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt
Wednesday, April 13: UCLA outside linebacker Akeem Ayers
Thursday, April 14: USC tackle Tyron Smith
Saturday, April 16: Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod