Here are five follow-up thoughts from the Patriots' work in the NFL Draft:
1) The future pick. From this view, the team's best move over the entire draft came early on Sunday. On the clock with the 69th overall selection, the Patriots shipped the pick to San Diego for a 2009 second-rounder and 2008 fifth-rounder. The maneuver of adding at least one future pick -- and moving up a round in doing so -- has become standard operating procedure in recent years for the team, helping sustain a longer-range vision. The Patriots seldom trade future selections, a reflection of how valuable they view them.
2) Economics in focus. One frequent question that has been asked over the last two days is how much money the Patriots saved by trading down from pick No. 7 to 10 in the first round. Consider that last year's No. 7 pick, RB Adrian Peterson, inked a six-year deal with about $17 million in bonuses/guarantees. Last year's No. 10 pick, Texans DL Amobi Okoye, signed a six-year deal with about $12.75 million in guarantees. Since the rookie deals are generally slotted, the savings is about $4 million.
3) Most intriguing selection. San Diego State QB Kevin O'Connell gets the nod. There has been some not-so-positive buzz from emailers that the Patriots took a QB so high -- over other needs. It's a fair debate. It probably comes down to looking at how teams stack their draft boards. For example, at that point, there had been 17 defensive backs selected, and four quarterbacks. So when considering how a team stacks its draft board, you are basically choosing between the 18th DB or the fifth QB. Or the eighth TE against the fifth QB. Also consider that the choice was 94th overall, just a few picks away from the fourth round. If the Patriots take O'Connell in the fourth round, one could argue it wouldn't have been as eye-catching.
4) Re-setting the roster. After making seven selections, the Patriots now have a total of 70 players on their roster. Teams are allowed to have 80 players on their training camp roster. So it likely the Patriots will sign about 5-8 rookie free agents, with a few spots left open for possible veteran signings (e.g. LB Junior Seau). The New Bedford (Mass.) Standard Times reported over the weekend that Seau was soon planning on taking a physical in New England and that he's interested in returning if a deal can be worked out.
5) One need not filled: Tight end. One area that likely concerns the coaching staff is tight end. The Patriots probably wanted to come away with a tight end in this draft, as Benjamin Watson is coming off offseason ankle surgery and David Thomas missed last season with a foot injury. Marcus Pollard and Stephen Spach are next in line on the depth chart. Four top TEs went between the Patriots' first-round pick (10) and second-round pick (62). Had one of them slipped at 62, one wonders if the team would have pounced.