New England Patriots Links 4/30/11 - Bonus 2011 NFL Draft Edition: Belichick Confident In-House Pass-Rushers Will Develop

Bill Belichick addresses the media during his Draft press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday.

It's a day of preparation all the way through just trying to go through the second and third round and take a look at the players and the teams and so forth, putting it all together. We had a number of conversations prior to the draft. We really felt like Ras-I Dowling was a good pick for us there. Big corner, good tackler, been in a good program there in Virginia with coach [Al] Groh and Mike London this past year. [He's] a guy that's played in a system pretty similar to what we've run. Very impressive kid.

Then we had a little movement down there, took [Shane] Vereen and then traded back and ended up taking [Stevan] Ridley and [Ryan] Mallet. It seemed like there was some conversation on just about every pick. I can't really remember what all of it was, but again, in the end, we just felt like moving back and picking up the extra pick would enable us to make the Oakland trade, which was kind of ongoing. That's something that we've been talking about here for a little while with them that finally got consummated.

Coming out of the draft with the five players that we have - a lineman and three skilled players on offense and a corner on defense - and a couple of high picks next year, I feel like we had a pretty decent couple days. And then we'll just go back tonight and try to take a look at what's left on the board and what we have left in the way of picks and keep plugging away and try to find players that can contribute or maybe we think develop on the football team. Still got a long way to go here, but this is where we are for right now.

Cold Hard Football Facts (SI) Draft Analysis: Round 2.

No. 33: CB Ras-I Dowling (Virginia) The Patriots nailed their pick of CB Devin McCourty last year, but struggled to find someone to play opposite him. Dowling, a physical talent with 4.4 speed, could fill that void, and go a long way toward giving New England the elite pass defense it enjoyed in its Super Bowl-winning glory days. The downside? Dowling suffered numerous injuries last year at Virginia.

No. 56: RB Shane Vereen (California) A smallish runner but one with the great pass-catching skills (74 career receptions) so coveted by a Patriots organization that values versatility overall. In that effort to get a dual threat, they may have reached for Vereen -- most observers had the junior projected as a third- or fourth-round pick.

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