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The NFL Draft has come to its conclusion and the New England Patriots have added some new names to their ranks.

The draft – which took place in Las Vegas – gave all 32 NFL teams a chance to replenish their ranks through seven rounds of picks from the collegiate ranks. This year proved to be an interesting one for a couple of reasons.

First, this is the first draft that takes into account the extra year of eligibility granted players due to COVID. In essence, it means that not only are there more players available than usual, but that many of these players are a bit older than the standard. This adds even more variability to an already fungible process.

Next, this draft didn’t feature any consensus elite quarterback prospects, meaning that teams were left to either reach for a QB or address other needs. The result is an order that we don’t often see; for the first time in decades, the first five selections were defensive players. It just means that we’re unlikely to see the same kind of paradigm shift that comes with a new stud QB.

Regardless, we’re here to talk about the Patriots, who had a … let’s call it unexpected draft. From a first-round reach to some late-round steals, New England continued its tradition of picking who they want to pick and consensus rankings be damned.

And that’s the thing. Just about every pundit out there is viewing this as a disappointing draft for Bill Belichick and company – and please include me among them – but in the end, what do the pundits know? Belichick wants what he wants and drafts accordingly, just like he’s done for the last two decades. Maybe we should see how this plays out.

And now, your new New England Patriots.

(Obligatory annual caveat: This is not an effort to grade the Patriots draft class. Literally nothing has changed about any of these players except that they have been given an opportunity to potentially make an NFL roster. As to whether any or all of them cash in on that opportunity, well … I can’t say. And neither can anyone else, no matter how authoritative they sound on TV or on the internet. Grading a draft that just happened is nonsense; a worthless exercise. This is just an introduction.)

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 05 May 2021 10:46

Meet the newest New England Patriots

The NFL Draft is over and the New England Patriots have added some new names to their ranks.

It has been a long time since the Pats have been in this position, drafting in the middle of the first round instead of the end, as they have more or less every season for the past two decades. Everyone was curious as to how Bill Belichick’s draft plan would unfold from this unfamiliar spot.

They seemed interested in potentially taking a long-term QB candidate, but with this front office, you just never know. Would they trade up if there was someone they liked? Would they trade down if there wasn’t?

And then Mac Jones dropped to them.

Jones will have every opportunity to succeed with this team. Some of the other names on this list might not have the same length runway. But that’s the joy of it – you never know when you might be meeting one of your team’s future stars for the first time. Best of luck, gentlemen.

And now, your new New England Patriots.

(Obligatory annual caveat: This is not an effort to grade the Patriots draft class. Literally nothing has changed about any of these players except that they have been given an opportunity to potentially make an NFL roster. As to whether any or all of them cash in on that opportunity, well … I can’t say. And neither can anyone else, no matter how authoritative they sound on TV or on the internet. Grading a draft that just happened is nonsense; a worthless exercise. This is just an introduction.)

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 01 May 2019 10:18

Some brand-new New England Patriots

Another big chapter of the National Football League’s future unfolded this past weekend in Nashville.

The 32 NFL franchises landed in Music City for the 2019 NFL Draft, where over the course of three days, teams selected the players they hope will lead their respective organizations into the future. Team presidents, general managers, coaches and owners pored over stat sheets and tapes, looking to separate the cream of the collegiate crop from the chaff, all in an effort to put themselves in the best possible position to move forward toward a championship.

The draft isn’t always as exciting in New England as it is in other places – two decades of Patriots success has led to less-than-optimal selection slots as a rule, although that hasn’t stopped them from making some solid picks.

That said, the early consensus is that this has a chance to be one of the better draft hauls of the Belichick era (for whatever that’s worth – see the caveat a few paragraphs down). Rather than go with their usual tactic of trading down and stockpiling, the Pats apparently liked what they saw in the Class of 2019, selecting 10 players in all. And it’s a far-from-typical group to boot, but really, when have the Patriots ever been conventional?

Will all of these players succeed? Of course not. Hell, a good chunk of them may not even make the team at all. But hey – we’re talking about the reigning Super Bowl champions here. They don’t need to hit on every pick. Still, expect at least a couple of these additions to make a splash.

Let’s meet the new guys.

(Obligatory annual caveat: This is not an effort to grade the Patriots draft class. Literally nothing has changed about any of these players except that they have been given an opportunity to potentially make an NFL roster. As to whether any or all of them cash in on that opportunity, well … I can’t say. And neither can anyone else, no matter how authoritative they sound on TV or on the internet. Grading a draft that just happened is nonsense; a worthless exercise. This is just an introduction.)

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:35

Your newest New England Patriots

This past weekend, the future of the NFL was unfolding in Dallas.

The NFL Draft took place over the course of three days as representatives from all 32 teams selected players from among the cream of the collegiate crop in an effort to separate the wheat from the chaff and hopefully land the next NFL superstars.

The Patriots haven’t been major players early in the draft for some time, but this year saw New England pick in the first round for the first time since 2015 – and they did it TWICE.

Don’t worry: Bill Belichick and company did plenty of wheeling and dealing in the middle rounds, moving up and down, stockpiling future picks (and landing offensive lineman Trent Brown) along the way.

Still, there’s something exciting about New England actually adding first-rounders to a team that made it to the Super Bowl last season. And they actually used more draft picks than usual; their haul of nine picks more than doubles the total of four they selected in 2017. New doesn’t always equal better, but it’ll be exciting to see how this all plays out.

Let’s meet the new guys.

(Obligatory annual caveat: This is not an effort to grade the Patriots draft class. Literally nothing has changed about any of these players except that they have been given an opportunity to potentially make an NFL roster. As to whether any or all of them cash in on that opportunity, well … I can’t say. And neither can anyone else, no matter how authoritative the sound on TV or on the internet. Grading a draft that just happened is nonsense; a worthless exercise. This is just an introduction.)

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:24

The newest New England Patriots

Looking at New England’s 2017 NFL Draft

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 09:37

A few new New England Patriots

Looking at New England's 2016 NFL draft class

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:18

Patriots 2013 Draft Review

New England focuses on depth in weak draft

The New England Patriots draft strategy in recent years has involved a lot of wheeling and dealing. Coach Bill Belichick seems to take particular delight in trading down and accumulating more and more future assets. While it certainly makes sense as a long-term strategy, in the short term it can feel a bit frustrating. We want to see the team take shots at top-level players, rather than being content with quantity over quality.

However, in a draft such as this one a draft that is viewed as a relatively weak one at the top the strategy of accumulating value makes a lot of sense. So it should have come as no surprise that New England traded out of the first round; they got a handful of picks from the Minnesota Vikings and fleshed out a draft in which they initially only had a few picks.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 16:17

Jones, Hightower highlight Patriots draft

Team trades up for Syracuse end, Alabama linebacker

The New England Patriots draft strategy in recent years has involved a lot of wheeling and dealing. Coach Bill Belichick seems to take particular delight in trading down and accumulating more and more future assets. While it certainly makes sense as a long-term strategy, in the short term it can feel a bit frustrating. We want to see the team take shots at top-level players, rather than being content with quantity over quality.

This year, we got a little of both.

New England had two first round picks this year, so most of us expected some sort of trade to happen. What we didn't anticipate was Belichick trading up with both picks in order to snap up players they coveted. Most of the mid-round picks were sacrificed in the trading process, but the Patriots wound up with some solid blue-chip talent and a few intriguing prospects. The draft had an overwhelmingly defensive flavor, with the team selecting only one offensive player.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 15:45

Life is good

The weather is starting to make a turn for the better, golf courses all across the state are drying out, women everywhere are starting to tuck away those long johns and sweaters and knock the dust off those summer dresses - life is good.

The NFL draft concluded on Sunday, and the New England Patriots did the unthinkable - they traded up not once but twice! The Pats moved to grab defensive end Chandler Jones out of Syracuse and linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Great moves. A team coming off an appearance in the Super Bowl isn't going to have a ton of holes to fill, so instead of trading back and stock piling picks, like the Pats tend to do, they move up and fill the few holes they had on a defense, that, let's be honest, could use some improvements. That's not the end of the good news concerning the draft. How about those Maine Black Bears!

Published in The Sports Edge

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