Widely regarded as the undisputed king of the 2009 Draft, Belichick and crew moved up and down the board seemingly at will, never reaching for a single pick. There's no Jerod Mayo in the crew, but there's certainly a lot to be said for guys like Patrick Chung, Darius Butler, and Ron Brace. Getting these guys a year in the system will pay huge dividends in 2010. Now, Hoodie wasn't just busy at the draft table. Also a master at free agency, he went about his usual genius self, plucking value and experience where he needed it. So without further delay, I give you my Top 5 list (cue exciting music...).
Number 5 - WR Joey Galloway
Yes, he's 38 and yes, he's most likely lost a few steps, but shouldn't we trust Hoodie? I know he's proven to me, time and time again, that he's smarter than I am. I'm big on Joey Galloway, but not for the possible numbers he'll put up; I think that's in the past for this receiver. Joey's role will be to stretch the field. Put Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Joey Galloway on the field and defenses will go into convulsions.
Number 4 - WR Greg Lewis
For much the same reasons that I like Galloway Greg Lewis could tear apart a defensive backfield. I've been saying for a while that I believe Lewis will take on mid-field duties as well as complement Wes Welker in slant routes. Greg is a bit taller than Welker and should stand up well to routes turning INTO the linebackers, something we've missed for awhile.
Number 3 - ILB Paris Lenon
For the longest time, the Patriots have been chastised for having an aging linebacker corp. In 2007, Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau were the starters and the slings and arrows slung our way were somewhat justified. In 2008, Jerod Mayo arrived and started, becoming a real threat at such an early time in his career and the NFL's DROY. Paris Lenon, with eight seasons under his belt, has that perfect combination of experience and age to add to our linebackers. He's a prolific tackler and could be the starter when Bruschi decides to retire.
Number 2 - CB Darius Butler
This was an incredibly good draft choice. Sure, Patrick Chung was our #1, but Butler fills a void we've long had trouble with since Asante Samuel left. Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden are the likely starters at cornerback, but Butler has the athleticism, despite his diminutive size, to make it in this league and hopefully become the ball hawk we've been missing. Let's not forget he was one of the most dangerous return specialists in college, something we needed after trading Ellis Hobbs.
Number 1 - RB Fred Taylor
Yes, my number one pick is running back Fred Taylor. Whether Fred knows it or not, he's the architect of our backfield. Why? He's got incredible downhill, explosive speed and is big enough to shed tacklers. Most importantly, his veteran presence will be huge for the running backs, especially Laurence Maroney. Maroney needs a mentor and Taylor is the ideal fit. Branded "Fragile Freddy" in his early years, Taylor went through the same issues as Maroney is now experiencing: injuries and confidence problems.
There's my top five. Did I get it right? Do you have the same list? Let's see what your list looks like.