A little while ago, we discussed how we felt the Patriots fared on day two of the 2012 NFL Draft. While personally, I thought it was a mixed bag, the national media reaction seemed to be a bit harsher to the Patriots' drafting performance. Here's the run down, starting by looking at a couple of draft "winners/losers" column.
Mel Kiper, ESPN Insider: Patriots a "Question Mark"
The Patriots actually filled some needs. And I think Bequette will be a solid player for them. His versatility is there, and I can see him as a stand-up pass-rusher. Wilson puzzles me a little on value. A month ago, when I released my draft guide, Wilson was the No. 26-ranked safety on my board. I know some coaches like him, but this is a player both I and colleague Todd McShay think could have been sitting there in the sixth round. These picks fit needs, but both are definite reaches to me.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com: Patriots stun, but not in a good way
New England's pick of Illinois safety Tavon Wilson was the most surprising pick in the second round since Oakland took safety Mike Mitchell with the 47th pick of the 2009 draft. Wilson was not invited to the combine and received little buzz heading into the draft, leading most to wonder if the Patriots maximized the value of that pick.
Nick O'Malley, WEEI: Patriots fall into "losers" category from a fan perspective
Just one day after trading up and getting a premier pass rush prospect and a highly ranked linebacker, the Patriots reverted to the ways of old by selecting two players most fans have never heard of, and trading down to do so. The Tavon Wilson pick blindsided a lot of fans and experts. This was supposed to be a weak class at safety - a position of need for the Patriots - but selecting a complete unknown at the position isn't exactly a crowd pleaser. The Pats' third round selection of Jake Bequette was also a bit of a buzzkill.
Some individual pick "grades" after the jump!
Tavon Wilson, D:
Whoa. Major reach. Tavon Wilson's rankings on various major draft boards: 254, 212, 216, 245, 182. Yeesh. I'd like to give Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt, but it's not like he hasn't ever drafted a bust before. Why couldn't Belichick have traded down? He could have probably obtained Wilson in Round 3.
Jake Bequette, C:
Another reach by Bill Belichick, though this one isn't nearly as drastic. Jake Bequette can play in multiple spots in Belichick's defense, so New England drafting him shouldn't be much of a surprise - though it would have been better served in Rounds 4 or 5.
Tavon Wilson, C:
The question here is value, because it is easy to see what the Patriots like in Wilson -- he's big (6-0, 203), fast (ran high 4.4s at his Pro Day), durable, versatile, smart and has played a lot of football. It's just that Wilson, who didn't attend the combine or play in any all-star games, might have been available a bit later in the draft. How much later is probably the question the Patriots were pondering. While it might appear that Wilson came out of nowhere, it is notable that seven NFL teams had him in for pre-draft visits and two worked him out privately (Patriots and one other club).
Jake Bequette, B:
A quick, disruptive pass-rusher, he projects to a similar position as first-round draft choice Chandler Jones as an edge player in the team's system. His combination of size (6-4 5/8 and 274 pounds) and quickness likely appealed to the Patriots, as did his production at a high level of competition in the SEC (10 sacks last season). He's a two-time team captain, so it's easy to see why the Patriots had interest both on and off the field.
ANALYSIS: It's easy to see why the national media has frowned upon the Patriots day two performance: Tavon Wilson just isn't your typical 2nd round selection and according to some media outlets, Jake Bequette could be seen as a slight reach. Mike Reiss, not surprisingly, has a real grip and understanding about the Patriots draft decisions (and is also fairly critical of the Patriots trade of the #62 pick).