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New England Patriots Links 5/03/11 - Patriots Draft 11 Collegiate Captains Since '09 Leadership Void

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Christopher Price looks at the significance of the Patriots drafting a lot of college captains again this year.

In last year’s draft, five of the 12 picks the Patriots made were players were captains in college: Zoltan Mesko, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Taylor Price, and Devin McCourty.

This season, six of the nine players the Patriots selected in the draft were collegiate captains: first-rounder Nate Solder, second-round picks Ras-I Dowling and Shane Vereen, third-rounders Stevan Ridley and Ryan Mallett (the latter of whom was a two-year captain at Arkansas), as well as fifth-round pick Lee Smith (another two-year captain).

However, after the draft concluded, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that while the Patriots value many of the same aspects that come with being a team captain, they don’t go into a draft looking specifically for guys who have been college captains.

"We don’t go into the draft saying, ‘We want to get four team captains.’ We don’t go into the draft saying, ‘We want so many guys over 6-foot-4 or so many guys from East of the Mississippi or so many guys that whatever.’ You just look at each situation and try to make the best decision you can on it.

"I’d say those kind of things – I wouldn’t say they are purely coincidental, because certainly we value leadership and we value some of the characteristics that normally are associated with that type of position: respect and hard work and unselfishness and things like that. But we’re drafting football players and not everybody is a team captain. There are plenty of good players that aren’t, but there is something to be said for that."