Since, a couple of those leaving comments, and some e-mailers, have extended the argument out, asking: Was McCourty the target before New England got on the clock? They’re surmising, from watching Bill Belichick wince upon learning that Jermaine Gresham (the dude in that AP photo) was taken by Cincinnati at 21, that the Patriots were ready to pluck the Oklahoma tight end.
So I went back and watched it. And watched it again. And watched it again.
I think it’s hard to draw a conclusion, honestly. On one hand, the wince was clear. On the other, Belichick reacted rather swiftly after the Gresham news came down. “Get the runner over there,” Belichick said, patched through to New York, “We’re trading this to Denver.”
It’s possible, of course, that was the contingency all along, and Belichick was simply moving quickly with Gresham gone.
Another piece of evidence that suggests it could have been Gresham the Patriots were targeting was how aggressively the team moved to get Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski in Round 2, indicating that filling that hole was a major priority. New England did go to Norman to kick the tires on Gresham earlier in April.
I did find one team last week that had Gronkowski carrying the same grade as Gresham. On the other hand, I know of another one that had Gronkowski off its board all togetherbecause of the medical issue (back).
In the end, what’s done is done, I suppose (and maybe the Patriots get everything out of Gronkowski that they would’ve gotten from Gresham.)
Thanks for those giving me the head’s up on all this.