The New England Patriots were busy the first two days of the draft picking a total of five players. They drafted Nate Solder 17th overall. Then in the second round they took defensive back Ras-I Dowling and running back Shane Vereen. In the third round the Patriots took another running back, LSU’s Steven Ridley and Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet with consecutive picks.
In evaluating the first two days draft picks and with four more picks going into the final day many expected the Patriots to address the defensive line which never came to pass. With many focused on the pass rush in the final day or the lack there of for the Patriots. Last in the league last year in third down defense and trouble getting after the opposing teams quarterback was New England’s main Achilles Heel last year. The first two days picks definitely raised eyebrows with four of the first five picks being on the offensive side of the ball.
Apparently the Patriots were aware of glaring needs on the offensive side of the ball as well and decided to address that side of the ball. From age issues to contractual uncertainty along the offensive line to only one running back being under contract coming into the season. Ben Jarvius-Green Ellis is a restricted free-agent. Then there’s always value in taking quarterbacks even in the third round which was the case with New England.
Micheal Smith of ESPN believed that New England would have taken a wide receiver at pick sixty had Maryland’s Torrey Smith or Greg Little of North Carolina not been taken at picks 58th and 59th instead of trading out of the pick with Houston.
In evaluating the first two days one thing to be considered is that the Patriots had five picks going into next years draft. Now New England has once again set themselves up with two firsts and two second round picks and it looks as if the Patriots will address the defensive line issues via free agency after not selecting any defensive line prospects during the last day of this years draft.
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