The Pulpit's own Waldoon played GM in a recent NFL Mock Draft over at Mocking the Draft, SB Nation's NFL Draft Blog. In my opinion, it was a roller coaster draft, with many more highs than question marks. He made some gutsy calls to move up and even got some steals along the way. Let's break down his draft:
1st Round, 7th Overall: Waldoon traded the 17th, the 74th, and 125th to move up to #7. Using the draft value chart, Waldoon made a sound investment in the draft pick, turning a 283 point profit (or roughly the 62nd overall pick, at the end of the second). That means that the value of the trade up, all the way to #7, was good and it's hard to argue with the value of the draft picks exchanged, especially from the Patriots point of view. I do question the selection of Robert Quinn. Quinn at #7 is fair value because that's where he's expected to go. However, I don't think Quinn is a good fit the 3-4 defense, a good fit with Belichick's drafting style, nor a solid prospect that high. As I pointed out in December, and again in February, and as Peter King pointed out last week, Quinn did not produce against top teams when he was on the field. He no showed against the top teams and he stacked up statistics against the weaklings; sounds like Tully Banta-Cain-like production, to me. Quinn has been reported as too stiff to ever drop into coverage and would be resigned to a purely pass rush and run stuffing role on the defense. He could be fine at that, but moving up to #7 for a non-complete outside linebacker is a very big risk.
1st round, 28th Overall: Here Waldoon gets a fantastic steal. Somehow, offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo drops to #28 and gives the Patriots a steal and a franchise tackle at the end of the first round. I honestly wouldn't complain if the Patriots took Castonzo at #17, but taking him at #28 is fantastic. A+ pick, in my opinion. If someone could provide me a link about his back troubles, it would be greatly appreciated, but he's still a solid pick.
See the rest of the draft after the jump!
2nd Round, 33rd Overall: Another question mark pick. Waldoon takes Corey Liuget at the top of the second round, which he supports with sound logic: Liuget is a first round prospect, yet has slid into the second round. He has 5 technique experience and can be utilized all along the defensive line. I can see his argument for taking Liuget since he was the last top rated possible defensive end prospect on the board. However, I don't think Liuget is a good fit in the 3-4 defense. He's not fast or quick enough to hold the edge in the NFL, which relegates him to his more normal interior line position in the NFL.
2nd Round, 60th Overall: Waldoon does another solid trade and ships the 60th overall selection for the return of the 74th overall and the addition of the 106th pick, which is in the 4th round. This trade is even for both teams, but the Patriots acquire a solid value pick at the start of the 4th round.
3rd Round, 74th Overall: Waldoon traded this pick and got it back. DeMarco Murray looks to be a solid addition to the Patriots' running backs at this point in the draft. I like the combination of speed, ball safety, pass blocking, and receiving that Murray adds to the Patriots. He's a do-everything back and one of the few potential "every down" backs in the draft. I think Murray could have a great future in the NFL and would thrive in a tandem or committee backfield, just like the Patriots.
3rd Round, 92nd Overall: I've supported the middle rounds as a great place to grab an interior lineman in this draft and Waldoon takes Lehigh's William Rackley at the end of the third. Rackley's a solid pick at the end of the third and the former small school tackle looks to move to guard in the NFL. I think he has potential and he's a true project player. There are more certain guard prospects (John Moffitt, Steve Schilling), but Rackley shows a lot of promise.
4th Round, 106th Overall: Waldoon grabbed this pick by trading down from the end of the second round and found a player who fits extremely well with the Patriots. Jaiquawn Jarrett is one of the top two safety prospects (along with Quinton Carter) that I believe match the Patriots' secondary scheme and taking him in the 4th is solid value. Jarrett has plenty of upside and should be a solid contributor down the road.
5th Round, 159th Overall: Sleeper pick on a player who hasn't been receiving a lot of attention. I really like this pick, even though the player lacks some of the athleticism needed. Ricky Elmore out of Arizona has clocked pretty mediocre/lousy speed times, but he has a motor that just won't quit. His 40 yard and 3 cone times are miserable, but he actually looks pretty fluid in his combine video. And by "pretty fluid" I mean he doesn't have elite change of direction skills, but he looks better and more able to drop into coverage than his counterpart Brooks Reed. Elmore has an explosive first step and if the Patriots want a pure pass rusher with the size to stop the run, I don't see why Elmore can't be a solid fit in the later rounds. He is sort of a one trick pony (he really just tries to run around the tackle), but if he's taught how to cut back, he could be a solid prospect. He plays a lot faster than he's timed.
6th Round, 193rd Overall: With the last Patriots' pick in the draft, Waldoon takes Armon Binns from Cincinnati. Binns has solid size and speed and is a solid route runner. He needs to improve on his receiving (if you watch, he catches a lot of passes in his stomach), but he has solid upside as a big target. Great pick in the late rounds.
Those are my thoughts on his draft. I feel like the majority of the picks are solid prospects, with one or two question marks. Players like Quinn and Liuget might possibly be solid fits with the Patriots, but they're huge conversion projects with lots of attached risks. Players like Castonzo, Murray, and Jarrett are excellent fits who can help the Patriots for a long time. There are no real "this player could absolutely not help out the team" picks, but I still have to question Quinn and Liuget.
Overall, I'd say Waldoon did a solid job as the Patriots' GM, especially in the mid-late rounds. What does everyone else think?