Bill Belichick played it safe, and scored. Think about it. Do you want to spend two high round draft picks on front 7 players who would have very little, if any, off-season time to learn a very complex defence? BB did not think so. In fact, only one defensive player was taken in the first 3 rounds. A corner who will give us one of the best secondaries for years to come. Great value, reward if it pays off will be immense.
Instead BB focused on offence. It also seemed to me that BB's strategy changed after reports came in that the lockout had been reinstated.
Tackle's sorted for years, we can afford to give Mankins a deal he will accept, and by not spending a high pick on an interior lineman we let him know that we want him. Make him a bit less disgruntled, maybe. We also have quite a lot of depth at guard. BB might even have had just enough time to slip Solder a playbook.
RB is apparently the position that converts from college to NFL the easiest, and now we've got a LOT of competition, youth and depth at RB, making two picks at RB very sensible. And...
There will probably be a lot of early round quarterback busts, especially with little or no time for rookie QBs who are expected to save franchises to learn their offences. Couple that with the new coaches, some who will not hold their jobs for long, in the teams with rookie QBs, and you have a very low success rate for early round quarterbacks, wildly increasing Mallett's value, especially after being coached up for a couple of years in a great system.
It seems BB sensibly figured that not disrupting our front 7, keeping the same players from last year wil be a safer choice, if not a sexy one, than spending high picks on players who might not have a chance to learn our defence. The rookie year can be a really tough learning curve, especially with no guidance from your coaches in the off-season. Putting a rookie player, regardless how talented, into a defence like that might make for a worse defence than one who has played together as a unit, even if they weren't spectacular.
BB focused on getting us more picks for 2012, a year with a better chance at a full off-season and much less uncertainty, where the value of some picks would be greater than this year, because of the extra time that rookies get to spend with their teams. That is to say, if this lockout madness doesn't spill over into 2012.