Posted by PetesCall
Thanks for the kind words. I'm just a huge Pat's fan that also loves the draft!
Overall, I love this draft class and the early returns has been extremely positive, yielding 2 starters on offense and another 3-4 on defense to go along with a starting punter.
Using a baseline of "C" for average NFL starter, I'll apply the below grades:
Devin McCourty- A+: Has been one of the biggest impact defenders in this class and looks like a potential All-Pro type talent.
Rob Gronkowski- B+: Solid rookie season and can impact as both a receiver and blocker, definite pro-bowl potential with maybe All-Pro potential down the road.
Jermaine Cunningham- C: Has flashed some ability, but still has a ways to go. Starting as a rookie is a good way to kick off your career though.
Brandon Spikes- C: Solid run defender, needs work in coverage. He also needs to make better decisions off the field. Should be the starter along side Mayo next season.
Taylor Price- Incomplete: Flashed some ability when given some PT, but he didn't get enough burn to formulate a grade, IMO. I think he's a kid that plays a bigger role in their offense in 2011.
Aaron Hernandez- B: Versatile player with big time potential. He tailed off toward the end of the season, but looks like a huge part of their offense moving forward.
Zoltan Mesko- C: NE was 19th in the NFL in gross yards per punt and 13th in net yards per punt. He didn't have a ton of chances as NE was 29th in the NFL with only 58 punts and the early snapping issues with Jake Ingram, certainly didn't help. He has a good leg and I think he turns into an above average punter.
Brandon Deaderick- C-: Got some burn with the ones as a 7th Rd rookie, but he needs to focus and improve his off field habits if he wants to stick around. I think he can provide solid depth along the DL if he smartens up.
I'm not going to grade the drafted players that didn't play for NE: Larsen/Welch/Weston/Robinson.
As for the URFA's, I'm really high on Dane Fletcher is a potential break out type player next season and I like what I've seen from Sergio Brown in limited snaps, he's also a solid special teams guy. Kyle Love was forced into a starting role late in the season and could be a solid potential DL rotation guy, though I think they look to upgrade the overall depth of the DL.