This past weekend was filled with a lot of excitement in the world of football! After winning its first championship since Ronald Regan became President, Georgia is definitely doing something right. Seeing fifteen players, one – five, 15 players drafted from this team is simply amazing.
This included 5 defensive players in the first round. Setting not just one but two records. In the history of the draft no single school has had 15 members of its team drafted. The New England Patriots did not benefit from the Georgia talent pool, but no one ever knows what Bill Belichick will do or anticipates why he does it.
Since Belichick took the helm in 2000 as the New England Patriots’ head coach and general manager, he has executed 83 trades during the NFL draft. So, it should have been absolutely no surprise when Belichick traded his early positions back multiple times this weekend.
However, with the Patriots first round draft pick, Belichick again left the mighty faithful scratching their heads when he selected Cole Strange, an offensive guard out of Chattanooga. Leaving many of us stunned, Sean McVay’s viral reaction expressed it best. The Patriots did need help on the offensive line, but this pick just did not make practical sense. McVay scouted Strange for his 104 pick. Puzzled? Perplexed? Belichick delivers confusion to everyone yet again.
This year’s draft was loaded with defensive talent. As a corner, Trent McDuffie remained on the board until the Chiefs first round pick, 21st overall. Ironically the Chiefs traded up taking the 21st overall from none other than the New England Patriots. Many draft analysts did not expect McDuffie to remain that late into the first round.
With the departure of J.C. Jackson during free agency to the Chargers, many saw McDuffie as a great young replacement for the Patriots. Belichick one again had other plans.
With a young and developing quarterback, Mac Jones, I see the need to get Jones more security up front. This philosophy also aligns with the Patriots second round pick of Tyquan Thorton out of Baylor. Thorton, a young and decent sized wide receiver, earned recognition for running the fastest 40-yard dash at the combine. The Patriots continued filling their need for speed with their second fourth round pick. Pierre Strong Jr. out of North Dakota State tied for the fastest 40 time at the combine among running backs. The young speed could give teams trouble this season and alleviate some of the pressure on quarterback, Mac Jones. Speed will not answers all of the Patriots’ prayers. Their aging defense remains an issue.
Most would think strategically, the Patriots would have addressed their geriatric defensive issues with the draft after not spending to bring back J.C. Jackson or bring in other notable free agent players fitting their needs. Of their ten draft picks, the Patriots spent just three on defense, drafting two corners and one defensive tackle.
They failed to invest in any young linebackers. What is Belichick’s plan? Perhaps hoping Mack Wilson, who they acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, can fill the shoes of aging and injury ridden veteran player, Dont’a Hightower.
The Patriots have held onto one thing after all these years. They are unwavering in their belief of “In Bill We Trust.” Only time will tell if Belichick’s draft picks this year will pay off. Belichick did a good job on the offensive line, bringing in weapons and protection for his young quarterback. Pro Football Focus ranked the Patriots defense second at the end of last season. This means they must be doing something right.
Hopefully, with the addition of some young experienced corners and a decent defensive tackle who has shown promise in rushing the passer, the success of the defense will become the constant needed to have a championship season
Overall Draft Grade: C-
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