The Patriots chose not to move up in the first round, and chose Brandon Meriweather, safety out of Miami, with the 24th overall pick. This was a great pick! Meriweather is a tremendously hard hitter that can step infront of any pass. His awareness is phenomonal, and all around, he is one of the best defensive talents in the draft. His tackling form is precise and solid, and he can rush the passer well. This makes him good is lots of defensive schemes and stunts. He is also versatile, as he has the ability to play free or strong safety. He also runs faster than a 4.5 40-time, which may allow him to play corner in some nickel schemes. He reminds me of a younger Ed Reed.
The Patriots traded away their second first round pick to the 49ers. In return, the Pats received the Niners’ 2008 first round pick, and a 2007 fourth round pick. The fourth round pick turned into Randy Moss, and the 2008 pick is a great investment. That pick could very well be top 15. Sometimes, patience is the key.
The Pats also traded away their third round pick (#91 overall). In return, they got Oakland’s seventh round pick, and their 2008 third round pick. Stat-wise, this looks good, as the third round pick will likely be in the 60’s. However, I think the Patriots should have selected Michael Bush here, he would have been a tremendous fit in replacing Corey Dillon. Still, in the long run, this was a very good choice.
The second day of the draft started with a bang, as the Patriots traded their 110th overall pick to the Raiders for wide receiver Randy Moss. This is an unbelievable pickup, and has just about no risk. Moss also agreed to lessen his contract. He reached an agreement with the Pats that cut his contract to about 3 million (with possible incentives), instead of his schedules 9+ million. The trade puts Moss next to Stallworth on the outside in what will be one of the most dangerous receiving tandems in the NFL. If Moss can focus (which he said he will), and play with passion, he may still be the best receiver in the league. There are obvious concerns about Moss’ character issues. However, I don’t treat them as much of a concern. Why? Because they’re not that bad. In my opinion, his problem is his motivation and work ethic, however he has already started his own conditioning program. According to sources (that are probably phony), Moss registered a 4.29 40-yard dash speed last week. I don’t know about that, but if he just has a passion to play, and a focus on improving, you might as well write him down for the Pro Bowl (and Tom Brady for that matter too).
With pick 127, the Patriots selected defensive lineman Kareem Brown. I think this was a great pick. Kareem can play true nose tackle, but is versatile enough to move to defensive end. He is a great pass rusher, registering 11.5 sacks his senior year, which is unheard of for a defensive tackle. He tackles like a beast as well. All of the skills are there, but the question is, can he put those skills together on a consistent basis?
Clint Oldenburg was the Patriots 171st pick. I’ve got to say I also love this pick. Oldenburg is as versatile as they come on the offensive line. He has played all four tackle and guard positions in college. The Colorado State product also was a former tight end. Look for the Patriots to put him in a tight end in goal line situations as a blocker, and occasional receiver.
Justin Rogers, of Southern Methodist was the Patriots first sixth round choice. I don’t know much about this guy, and I couldn’t find much. He was never a full-time starter, however, he fits the Patriots 3-4 scheme well. He can move between defensive end and linebacker. However, I wasn’t so sure about this pick.
At 202 overall, the Patriots selected Mike Richardson, cornerback from Notre Dame. While he isn’t the fastest (4.6e 40-time), he has a knack for the ball, and a strong velocity. In a cover 2 scheme, he can work especially well, checking receivers at the line. He is also a solid tackler, and has pretty soft hands. I think he has a chance to make a name for himself in New England.
The Patriots next pick, at 208, was one of my favorites, they selected Running back Justise Hairston from Central Connecticut. Hairston has size, at 6-1, 225 lbs. He works hard for every yard as well. He played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Rutgers, before transfering to Central Connecticut. There, he shattered records, picking up nearly 1900 yards with a 6.7 ypc average and 20 touchdowns. He could very well be a surprise rookie.
With their second pick in a row, the Patriots selected Corey Hilliard, offensive tackle from Oklahoma State. Hilliard has a lot of starting experience, and a big strong frame (6-5, 317lbs). He is a beast in terms of strength, but sometimes gets lazy in his technical skills. He can move between the left and right side, and should be a solid backup in years to come (he may even have a chance to start).
With the 1st pick of the seventh round, the Patriots picked Oscar Lua, linebacker from USC. The thing I like about Oscar is that he is a prototype 3-4 inside linebacker. He had lots of injury problems, but when he started, he was pretty good, picking up over five tackles per game in his junior year. His development will be interesting.
The Patriots last pick at number 247 was Mike Elgin, center / guard from Iowa. He is versatile, which helps. He started over thirty games his last three seasons. He is quick and agile for a big man, and can take control of the line. He has a good attitude, and is a hard worker, which is an essential ingredient to any player.
Hope this helps all confused Patriots fans!