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

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<em>What should we expect this year Bill, 'Patriot Games' or 'Trading Places'?</em>
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."

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

  • Christopher Price reports the Navy has granted an early release from active duty for RB Eric Kettani, so he may return to the Patriots.
  • A NESN Staff report tells us that even if the Pats don't trade up or down, we should expect them to target immediate help for their front seven in the 2012 NFL draft.
  • Mark Farinella sees the value of the Pats trading with the Chiefs for the 11th pick to take an "impact" player or one that can anchor a position group for years to come.
  • Christopher Price thinks it's reasonable to assume that NE will make a sizable investment on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Will O'Toole says Bill Belichick can once again use the NFL Draft to reload with their handful of early picks.
  • Greg A. Bedard reports the Patriots traveled to Waco, Texas earlier this week to hold a private workout with Baylor WR Kendall Wright.
  • Jeff Howe thinks WR Stephen Hill looks like a project, but his downfield potential would help the Patriots offense.
  • Jeff Howe looks at Trumaine Johnson as a logical second-round fit for the Patriots to upgrade their defensive backfield.
  • Christopher Price notes Anthony Gonzales remembers his own draft experience as "an emotional day."
  • Greg Cameron listens as Vince Wilfork recalls his emotions when he was drafted by the Patriots in 2004,
  • Nick O'Malley looks at the top ten players with character concerns in this year's draft.
  • Karen Guregian takes one last dive into the Mock Draft pool. Pats pick OLB Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) and S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame).
  • Jeff Howe reports Deion Branch is running in Saturday's Kentucky Derby mini marathon in honor of his son.
  • Tom E. Curran asserts Willie McGinest is the last guy who should rip Welker.
  • Rich Thompson writes LB Luke Kuechly is prepared to become the 17th BC player drafted in the first round tonight.
  • The Herald Inside Track post a pic of Bill Belichick and Linda Holliday making the red carpet scene at the Time 100 gala in New York.
  • Shalise Manza Young Patriots Notebook: Wes Welker deflected Willie McGinest's diva characterization back to the former Pats LB; The US Navy frees 25-year-old RB Eric Kettani to pursue his career in football. Kettani has been taking part in the offseason workout program in Foxborough; The team announced the three finalists for induction to the Patriots Hall of Fame this year: Troy Brown, Fred Marion and Bill Parcells.

NATIONAL NEWS