Wednesday, April 09, 2008

NFL Draft Spotlight on . . . New England Patriots

Today's Draft Spotlight is on the New England Patriots who have the seventh overall pick...Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe was nice enough to take the time to respond to some questions....

Q1. I have to ask, how is the team recovering after the devastating loss in the Super Bowl? Are there any regrets or things they would have done differently?
A. The coaches and players are all saying the right thing regarding the Super Bowl loss. It's hard to truly tell how they are recovering from the loss. In terms of regrets or things they would have done differently, the theme has been if they had only made one more play, or one better coaching decision. It was within their grasp had that one play/decision had been made.

Q2. Who do you think the Patriots will select with the 7th overall pick? Is it a given that they will select a cornerback?
A. It's a tough question to answer without knowing who the first six players are, but I'd start by saying I think they'd like to trade down if possible. But if they can't, I think it will be a defensive player, probably someone to play in the front seven. I don't think it's a given they select a cornerback at 7, as they very well could find the best value at that position is in the second/third round.

Q3. If you were selecting for the team, who would you draft with the 7th overall pick?
A. That's tough, because I don't know who is picked before them, and also I haven't extensively scouted the players. If they felt a linebacker was there that could help them get faster and more athletic, I'd go in that direction. So I guess I'll say Ohio State's Vernon Gholston, because he'd be an outside linebacker for them.

Q4. Last season, the Patriots did not draft well besides their first selection of Brandon Merriweather. The other six drafted players have either been cut or hurt. How has the 2007 draft affected the team over the long haul?
A. I can see why some might look at it and say the Patriots did not draft well, but I think it's important to account for the fact they traded a second-round pick for Wes Welker and a fourth-rounder for Randy Moss. I count those players as draft picks, because they were acquired with chips that would have otherwise went toward a college player. They also traded a third-round pick into the 2008 draft. So I think that adds a totally different context to what they did.

They had one draft pick in rounds 1-3 (Meriweather, first round) and the rest in rounds 4-7. While I'm sure they would have liked to hit on some of those later-round picks -- and with the success of teams like the Giants in that area, it shouldn't be dismissed -- those are lower-percentage plays anyway. So all in all, I don't think the 2007 draft was as bad as it seems on the surface. As for what it affects the team over the long haul, with Welker and Moss signed for multiple years, Meriweather primed to emerge, and sixth-rounder Mike Richardson having a shot to make something happens, I think they'll reap some nice benefits.

Q5. Who are some sleeper players that New England may take a chance on later in the draft who can help the team?
A. I'm still becoming more familiar with the prospects, but a few that caught my eye in the mid to late rounds were QB Josh Johnson, DL Keilen Dykes, DL Red Bryant, OL Mackenzy Bernadeau, LB Jeremy Leman, RB Justin Forcett, RB Steve Slaton, WR Danny Amendola.

Once again, I want to thank Mike for his time...

No comments: