Belichick rode this draft like a jockey on crack; Day 1 and 2 review

It's been a busy, busy couple of day - all sorts of trades up the ying-yang, oodles of Hoodie-type 'value', a few interesting non-selections, and Belichick even got around to drafting a couple of players (imagine that!).

I'll try to trace a way through what's happened in the draft thus far, discuss a few points of interest to Pats fans, and try to be concise in what was a rather confusing day (believe me, tracing out all the Hoodie drafts was mind-boggling, and I'm writing the thing!). 

It's like giving kids candy and then making them share in nice little proportions that they have to count out in front of each other. Why franchises deal with Belichick when he keeps robbing them blind... I'll never know. Anyway! In a pick-by-pick fashion, after the jump... 

Day One

As we all know, New England started off with the 22nd overall pick. So that's the starting point; however, there were a few interesting picks beforehand I'll mention.

10th overall: the Jacksonville Jaguars took one of the DTs that had featured on the Pats draft board. Tyson Alualu, who impressed scouts with his high motor and great commitment, yet was never, ever, ever projected as a top-10 draft pick. Yet there he is, 10th overall. Good player... but not with that slot, one has to imagine. The Jags are going to be playing top-10 money to a guy who might've been struggling to get into the top-10 of the second round. I guess they got their guy, but at what cost? Good luck to them, I guess. I'm not sure that'll sell out their stadium, though.

17th overall: G Mike Iupati to the 49ers; his name had been batted around as a Pats possibility, but it turns out he was picked quite a while before the Pats got a look at him.

18th overall: C/G Maurkice Pouncey to the Steelers, so he was never an option, either.

22nd overall: The Patriots first pick. At this point, there were a few big names still on the board - DT/DE Jared Odrick, WR Demaryius Thomas, WR Dez Bryant, OT Bryan Bulaga, RB Jahvid Best, DE/OLB Jerry Hughes, and CBs Devin McCourty and Kyle Wilson, all of whom had been discussed as possible Pats players.

However, none of these guys appealed quite enough to the Pats at this point, who shifted down the draft board in exchange for the 24th pick overall and a 4th rounder courtesy of the Denver Broncos. Presumably that meant Hoodie didn't want WR Demaryius Thomas, QB Tim Tebow or WR Dez Bryant, as the Broncos were clearly moving up to secure their Marshall-replacement WR or Cutler-replacement franchise QB.

24th pick Patriots (Green Bay having taken Bryan Bulaga at 23). Yet again the Pats traded down, allowing the Dallas Cowboys to cure Jerry Jones's Randy Moss-sized headache by selecting Dez Bryant. For those not in the know, Jerry Jones has been beating himself up for over a decade about passing on Randy Moss for Moss's publicised pre-draft "character issues". After missing out on Moss, Jones vowed that he'd never again allow himself to skip an otherwise amazing WR talent for the reason of character issues, and thus traded a 3rd rounder to get into New England's spot.

Of note: New England, by allowing Jones to trade up for Bryant (who he was obviously targeting), made a clear statement that they did not want Bryant themselves. Guess that makes them one of the teams that crossed him off the draft board for 'personality reasons'.

25th pick: Denver Broncos trade up (43rd overall - turned into DE/OLB Sergio Kindle - third rounder, 70th overall - turned into TE Ed Dickson - and fourth round, 114th overall) to get QB Tim Tebow.

Of note: Hoodie had waxed lyrical about Tebow's abilities, personality, drive, devotion, yada yada... and then Belichick Junior sells the farm to buy the guy. Concidence? Maybe. But I imagine it's fairly safe to say that McDaniels has staked his coaching reputation on Tim Tebow, although it might be in Tebow (and McDaniels's) best interests for Orton to remain the starter in Denver at least in 2010.

27th overall; Patriots pick. There were several projected Pats targets still available: DT/DE Jared Odrick being the obvious 'safe' selection. However, the Pats didn't select Odrick, instead favouring unheralded (but particularly intriguing) CB/Special teams ace Devin McCourty. This was a particularly unexpected pick - none of the draftniks had really thought CB was such a massive hole in the Pats that they'd use a first-rounder on it.

Personally, I suspect that the kicker was the recent introduction of both Brandon Marshall and Santonio Holmes into the division. The recent upgrade of the Dolphins and Jets WR corps, respectively, necessitated a similar upgrade in the Patriots CB stocks - it's fairly safe to assume the Jets and 'Phins will be playing a whole lot of 3 and 4WR sets. That means their oppositions need better CBs, and that's what the Pats got. And if that's not enough, McCourty also had a host of other positives attached to him.

28th overall: Miami Dolphins. For those fans who thought Jared Odrick was a sure-fire pick as a 3-4 DE, have no fear: Bill Parcells is listening. Jared Odrick was selected by Bill Parcells to run at DE in the Miami 3-4, which is very similar in design to the Pats 3-4. In other words - Odrick would probably fill that Richard Seymour gap; it's just that Hoodie valued McCourty more. Make of that what you will.

Of note: the 'Phins already have good CBs via the 2009 draft; I suspect the debate of McCourty-versus-Odrick was probably closer than people imagined; if the Pats had a few very good young DBs like the 'Phins have, the pick might've been Odrick.

Also of note: the Pats didn't select CB Kyle Wilson, who had previously been projected higher than McCourty. The comparison between the two was covered pretty thoroughly by Richard Hill's article - it adds to my own belief from what I've seen is that McCourty is more of a Pats bend-but-don't-break CB (good at run-stopping, doesn't jump routes) whereas Wilson is Asante Samuel-like and will take risks and jump routes hoping to get picks (which suits the aggressive Jets D).

Day Two

The Pats started off Day Two with three second round selections.

They had the 44th, which they had originally gained from Jacksonville (along with the pick that turned into Julian Edelman) in exchange for a 2009 third rounder (73rd overall).

The Pats also had the 47th, which they received from Tennessee in exchange for a 2009 third rounder (89th overall).

Finally, New England had the 58th pick.

36th overall:  RB/WR Dexter McCluster to the Chiefs; Pioli obviously liked him enough, so Belichick never got a shot at him.

40th overall: OLB Koa Misi was taken by the 'Phins at 40 (thus proving that Bill Parcells is alive and well and stealing all my draft ideas - c'mon: Odrick and Misi?! That's what I said to do!)

41st overall: DT Torrell Troup was taken by the Bills at 41; Troup had featured in Pats D-line discussions and was scouted and worked out.

At this point, still on the board were TE Rob Gronkowski, OLB Sergio Kindle, and DT Lamar Houston.

42nd overall: The Pats specifically been targeted TE Rob Gronkowski, because they leap-frogged the TE-hungry Baltimore Ravens into the 42nd spot to take him, making a trade with Oakland (and giving up a 6th rounder in the process).

That suggests to me two things - Rob Gronkowski was not only a target, and it wasn't even close between Gronkowski and Sergio Kindle. The Pats weren't happy to sit back and get whichever one fell to them; they wanted Gronkowski badly. Blocking TEs-who-can-catch-well for the win.

43rd overall: Sergio Kindle was taken by the Ravens, but given the aggressive move upwards to get Gronkowski over Kindle, I can't imagine Belichick was heartbroken by missing the linebacker.

47th overall: The Pats traded back (surprise!) to Arizona, to get Arizona's 58th overall and a third-rounder (89th overall). Presumably this means the Pats weren't overly thrilled about names still available around this spot, including S Taylor Mays, LB Darryl Washington, and RB Toby Gerhart, who all went in the next few picks.

53rd overall: Patriots sat firm in the middle of a mini-run on DE/OLBs - the Steelers selected DE Jason Worilds at 52, the Pats selected OLB Jermaine Cunningham at 53, and the Bengals selected Carlos Dunlap at 54.

Two things of note: firstly, the Pats obviously didn't want Carlos Dunlap, despite Dunlap being from the same college program and same position as Cunningham and arguably being a more intriguing physical specimen.

Secondly, the Pats took an otherwise unheralded prospect in Cunningham from a college program coached by Bill Belichick's close friend and confidante Urban Meyer. Belichick clearly communicated with Meyer and got the low-down on Cunningham (and presumably, Carlos Dunlap) and went with Cunningham as the OLB prospect. That suggests Cunningham is quite a good player, given Dunlap had been projected as high as a late first-round prospect by some and would've been good 'value' as per Hoodie parlance.

58th overall: The pick from Arizona (plus a third, in exchange for the 47th); again, traded back (repetitive, right?). This netted the Pats the 62nd overall from Houston, as well as a 5th round pick (150th overall). Of the players still on the board, RBs Montario Hardesty and Ben Tate, WR Golden Tate and OT Vladimir Ducasse were available and taken in the next few picks; presumably they didn't appeal to the Patriots more than an extra 5th round pick. Golden Tate and Montario Hardesty fans, eat your heart out - Hoodie would rather have a 5th rounder than your guy. Go figure.

62nd overall: The end result of the trade that also netted that 5th round pick; on the board still was ILB Brandon Spikes, OT Jared Veldheer, G John Asamoah and DE Alex Carrington. The Pats selected Brandon Spikes, a fantastic value pick - Spikes had been projected as high as mid-first round. Even if you quibble about his sideline-to-sideline speed, you'd have to imagine that Spikes will cause more fear to opposition offences than that other Patriots 62nd overall pick, Terrell Wheatley. Nice comparison, right? I thought so too.

85th overall:  of interest to Pats fans due to being the 'Derrick Burgess pick'; the one the Pats traded to Oakland for Burgess. It (finally) ended up being Colt McCoy for the Browns, but of particular note is that Daniel Te'o-Nesheim went with the 86th overall to the Eagles; Te'o-Nesheim could've been an interesting Pats DE/OLB in the Burgess mould. Call that a 'miss' for Hoodie; I'd have personally liked Te'o-Nesheim.

89th overall: the pick Pats nabbed when they raded their second for Arizona's second; a freebie of sorts. Carolina, desperate for QBs, traded a 2011 second-round selection to the Pats in order to get this slot - absolutely fantastic value for the Pats. This could well be the best deal of the lot, and it originally hinged from such an innocuous trade as moving down the second round a little - they pick up a 2011 second-round pick because they moved down 11 spots in the 2010 second round. Highway robbery? I think so. Dance your victory dance, Mr Belichick.

90th overall: The Pats got this pick from Dallas by moving down three spots in the first round - 24th to 27th. Where Dallas used the 24th to take Dez Bryant, the Pats used the third round pick they gained to select WR Taylor Price. Price is a big, quick receiver from a relatively small school... but then, people would've said that about Randy Moss once. Price is 6'0" to 6'1", 204lbs and runs the 40 in a blistering 4.41s. He'd have probably been further up the draft boards, but his college stats were so-so given the dubious QB throwing to him. While there's always risk inherent in the college-to-NFL transition for WRs (Chad Jackson or anyone Matt Millen selected, for instance), the fact that the Pats got the pick by avoiding Dez Bryant and by picking up a guy with great character (he's listed as a 'quiet leader type' in scouting reports), this screams to me "great pick". A guy who might have Bryant's upside (perhaps unlkely), but none of his character issues, at a fraction of the price? Yes please.

So that's a breakdown of the first, second and third rounds, focusing (at least as I see it) on the picks that would be of interest to Pats fans. I can add to the list if anyone makes a good claim for others; knock 'em onto the comments and I'll add them to the list.

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