New England Patriots Links 4/26/12 - NFL Draft, Round 1 Tonight: Is Belichick Drafting For 2013?

What should we expect this year Bill, 'Patriot Games' or 'Trading Places'?

Greg A. Bedard thinks the Patriots will be drafting for next year, as they don't have as many immediate holes to fill as some would think.

The Patriots, thanks to free agency, could take the field tomorrow, without any contributions from this draft class, and be the AFC East favorites. I think that’s the way coach Bill Belichick wanted it, and that’s why I think this draft is more about 2013. ...

If you’re really looking at the Patriots drafting for need, it starts with the 2013 roster.

The Patriots have just 34 players under contract for ’13, including the following starters: Offense - Tom Brady, Dan Connolly, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Lloyd, Logan Mankins, Stevan Ridley, and Shane Vereen; Defense - Wilfork, Mayo, McCourty, Ninkovich, Brandon Deaderick, Dowling, Fanene, Gregory.

The Patriots will have contract options on contributors Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman, Kyle Love, Dane Fletcher, Moore, Ross Ventrone, and Barrett.

That’s why I think they’ll draft for depth, and it’s most needed at cornerback, safety (Chung is a free agent in ’13), receiver, guard, right tackle (Sebastian Vollmer is a free agent in ’13), and interior defensive line. ...

After being active in free agency, the Patriots won’t be drafting for immediate needs. They don’t have many. But they will next season.

The Patriots will be looking for help in 2013 at cornerback, receiver, guard, tackle, defensive tackle, elephant end, and safety.

Karen Guregian finds it impossible to pin down ahead of time, what Bill Belichick will do in the first round, and asks Michael Lombardi if Belichick has done anything on draft day that’s ever surprised him.

"No, not really,’’ Lombardi said Tuesday. "Bill’s really logical. Bill’s not about the perception. Bill’s about the reality. I think that makes a big difference. Just because somebody thinks someone should go the fifth pick overall, or somebody thinks someone’s a great player, that might not be what he thinks. I don’t think he ever lets outside factors control his thought process. The determining factor is what he sees, and what role the player can play for his team."

"There’s always a certain type of player that fits. But the definition of what fits best for New England is versatile," Lombardi said. "It’s a player that can do more than one thing and can do it well. I think the worst thing you want to do to yourself is draft one-dimensional players. You don’t want a defensive lineman that can only play the rush. You don’t want a corner who can only cover, and not tackle. You want multi-dimensional guys that can play different positions. That’s critical to Bill."

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