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2007 NFL Draft: Patriots Potential Picks, Part I

Who Will New England Draft?
Free Agency Addressed Major Concerns

With the 2007 NFL Draft 169 1/2 hours (7 days, 1 1/2 hours) away, let's talk about what positions and players the New England Patriots could be considering. Yeah, you really can't say who they are considering, unless you want to say they consider everybody, but that leaves you in pretty much the same boat.

First, let's recap my comments made during my picks of the SB Nation Mock Draft, where I still have a late third-round pick to make in the next couple days.

Obviously, the Patriots had a master plan which probably started developing within hours, if not earlier, of the end of the AFC Championship loss to Indianapolis. Execution of that plan began on the first day of free agency when New England signed highly sought linebacker Adalius Thomas from Baltimore. (That makes you think this master plan took shape at least a year ago when the Patriots started setting up their salary cap to accommodate this year's free agency acquisitions.)

Within days, New England picked up wide receivers Donte' Stallworth (free agent), Wes Welker (trade) and Kelley Washington (free agent). There were also running back Sammy Morris and tight end Kyle Brady. Recently, the Patriots signed cornerback Tory James.

The big signings were Thomas and the receivers, filling several key areas of concern and virtually eliminating those positions as draft-day must-haves. With the loss of tight end Daniel Graham, the Brady signing brought veteran experience and saved another draft pick (New England seems to love drafting tight ends).

Inside linebacker remains a concern, as does defensive back. But that's really it for major needs. There are some lesser needs, such as another running back (I'm not sold on Morris, and Kevin Faulk won't last forever), possibly a fullback. And they could always use a backup quarterback, a punter and an offensive lineman. But those can all be gotten in later rounds, and only a lineman might be worth taking early, if the available talent dictates.

And that all depends on what the Patriots draft board looks like, and that is anybody's guess. Sure, the "experts" have their opinions on what the Patriots need and who the "best talent" is at those positions, but rarely have I seen the experts correctly predict what Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick are thinking.

From what I've seen, this cadre views needs and talent a little differently than most people. They're big into developing players for some positions, but expect veteran experience at others. They want players that can play multiple positions, or a different position from that to which they're accustomed. They want "cerebral" players, who have a larger view of the game, not tunnel vision on their position. And, generally, they want A Few Good Men, men of character who they expect will do well by the organization off the field as well as on.

Last year, when everyone was saying "defense," I said "running back." They drafted a running back, but as I suggested LenDale White, they took Laurence Maroney. They certainly made the right decision, for many reasons, but especially witness the "social" problem(s) White had in Tennessee.

So, who best meets all these qualifications?

I'll take my best shot at answering .. soon.


What position will the Patriots draft first?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Tight end
    (0 votes)
  • 9%
    Wide receiver
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 4%
    Running back
    (1 vote)
  • 9%
    Offensive lineman
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Defensive lineman
    (0 votes)
  • 45%
    Defensive back
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
22 votes total Vote Now