After day one with the Devin McCourty pick confidence wasn’t flying too high with the Patriots draft. Sure it’s only one pick but it wasn’t the pass rusher they so desperately need. But after Friday night you had to feel much better about the Pats draft. Especially if you’re a Florida Gators fan.
They actually traded up in the second round and jumped ahead of Baltimore in order to snag Rob Gronkowski the tight end out of Arizona. Touted by many as the best all around tight end in the draft, people are comparing him to Daniel Graham as he’s able to block and catch. A tight end that can catch? What a novel idea.
The Pats then picked up two linebackers from Florida. They started with Jermaine Cunningham at the outside position and followed it up with Brandon Spikes nine picks later. Spikes is being touted as the real deal. As Tebow led Florida’s offense, it was Spikes that commanded the defense. If he’s half the player he’s being touted as, he should start right out of the gate.
This will mean the Pats will have two young, athletic linebackers in the middle with great sideline to sideline speed. That will give Guyton the opportunity to play on the outside where his speed will be more utilized. Cunningham could start opposite Tully Banta-Cain after Adalius Thomas is released later this off-season.
The third round saw the Pats snag a wideout in Taylor Price from Ohio. Not Ohio State. He has decent size at 6′ 1″ but played in a run happy offense that didn’t see him putting up huge numbers. In fact the Pats are the only team that even worked him out. Let’s hope he’s a diamond in the rough and the Pats know something that no one else knew.
Fourth round snagged the Pats another Gator and another tight end, Aaron Hernandez. He was one of Tebow’s favorite targets in Florida and could be an instant contributor on offense.
The fifth round snagged Zoltan Mesko from Michigan, the best punter in the draft according to multiple sources. Hopefully he wins the job outright and we start seeing some 60 yard plus punts this season opposed to the 40 yard duds we’ve seen for the last couple seasons.
In the sixth they grabbed another offensive lineman in Ted Larsen from N.C. State. They had the top pick in the seventh following some wheeling and dealing and grabbed Thomas Welch from Vanderbilt. Similar to last year they also grabbed a couple defensive linemen in Alabama’s Brandon Deaderick and Georgia’s Kade Weston. They rounded out the draft grabbing Dez Bryant’s QB at Oklahoma State (their all time leading passer) Zac Robinson.
Overall I give the draft for the Pats a B+. They addressed a lot of needs that they have. The tight end position should look light years ahead of where it’s been the last few seasons. The linebacking corps should be bridged to the point these young guys will be the corps for the foreseeable future. Let’s hope the pass rush is better than last year too.
We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m much more confident for next season than I was heading into the draft.