#29: Dominque Easley, DT, Florida 6’2 288.
#62: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, E. Illinois 6’2 226
#93: Trade to Jacksonville for a 4th and 6th
#105: Bryan Stork, C, FSU 6’4 315
#130: James White, RB, Wisconsin 5’10 204
#140: Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford 6’5 325
#179: Jon Halapio, OG, Florida 6’3 323
#198: Zach Moore, DE, Concordia 6’5 270
#206: Jemea Thomas, DB, Georgia Tech 5’9 192
#244: Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan 5’7 185
There was absolutely no part of this draft for the Patriots that were ‘sexy’. Everyone loves the sexy picks and that includes me as well. But, the Patriots did a great job assessing what they saw as the biggest need: interior OL. Belichick took three huge interior linemen to beef up a position that is quickly aging and left major question marks at the end of the year.
The biggest question mark in the draft is the selection of QB Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2nd round while many other prospects were available. While the pick of Garoppolo doesn’t fit the ‘win now’ strategy, QB is still the most important position in football and Ryan Mallet’s future with the team past 2014 isn’t certain so the pick of QB isn’t a popular one, but it was needed eventually. This kid may or may not be Brady’s successor, but it is better to be early than sorry is what I think about this.
Many think that the Patriots should’ve drafted one of the top 5 TEs in this draft, but obviously BB did not see those TEs as anything he liked so he passed on them. Others also wanted to see some pass rush help added to the line, but BB passed on that option as well (besides drafting small school DE, White) showing that he believes in Will Smith and Michael Buchanan to contribute this season.
BB also filled a very big need by taking Dominque Easley, who is a guy with immense upside. Scouts consider him a top 10 talent, but two ACL injuries on both legs ruined his draft stock. This defensive tackle is different than the other one’s BB normally drafts though. He normally takes the fatties and big boys that are run stuffers, but this kid is a penetrator and excels in interior pass rush, something the Patriots have been lacking for years now. If he can stay healthy (and there isn’t any reason not to think he can’t. Everyone seems to come back from ACLs now), then he could play a huge role opening up Chandler Jones and other DE on the outside to get at the QB.
Looking at the skill position picks, I really like Jeremy Gallon. He was a very productive player in college and could fit in well with the Pats offense where smaller WRs thrive. Many think that he may be cut, but with slot WRs like Amendola and Edelman, who have horrible injury histories, then he may play a role for this team. Jemea Thomas is a versatile DB who is known to be somewhat of a hitter and probably will be a special teamer. BB has drafted many DB’s in the last few seasons (Ebner, Wilson, & Harmon) and none have produced huge so I don’t except too much from this kid either, but I am fine with that. James White reminds me a little bit of Ridley. He isn’t impressive at any one category, but he is a solid productive RB. The pick of White shows me that BB is ready to hand the keys of the lead back role back to Ridley this season, which excites me since I love Rid.
Overall, many people will be upset with this Patriots draft (surprise), because they took five linemen (O & D), a quarterback and another slot receiver. Many people saw TE and DE as huge needs and BB did not address these problems. I am perfectly fine with this though because I think beefing up the DL and interior OL were huge things needed to help improve the team. The QB pick obviously is a little bit of a head scratcher, but that is what BB does on Day 2 of the draft every season. This draft wasn’t a sexy draft, but it filled needs and looked into the future, which is never a bad thing to do. Can’t wait until training camp to see the team’s progression.
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