The Patriots wound up taking Eric Rowe with the 32nd pick of the draft. Here are the full results. I made the decision to take Eric Rowe, a player I did not expect to last that far into the draft, when the Chargers traded up for Melvin Gordon at 31. I was prepared to take Carl Davis or TJ Clemmings at 32 until I was notified that Rowe was still on the board around the 29th pick of the draft. Time to recap:
The first CB pick was when the Eagles traded up to 12 to select UConn CB Byron Jones. The Saints then took Trae Waynes with the very next pick. Early indications from those picks was there was going to be a run on CBs in the teens/early 20s. It never materialized after the Rams took Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson. Since a lot of the edge pass rushers ended up sliding on the board, there was a run of edge defenders in the 20s. That run took Fowler, Odighizuwa, and Gregory off the board. I wasn't going to draft any of those guys at 32, but that mini-run of DEs reversed my decision because most of my options were still on the board, even as the draft neared the 25th pick. In a funny twist of events, there was a trade where a team traded up from 27 to 21 using the 91st pick to select a pass rusher who many expected to be a Top 15 pick. Where have I seen that story before...
Every year, there are head-scratchers that drive the pundits and fans into a chaotic frenzy. The first pick was Dorial Green-Beckham, who necessarily wouldn't be a bad pick for the Panthers since he's very good at plucking the ball from high in the air. Nelson Agholor went 27th to the Bengals, which is where I thought Rowe would end up. The Colts continued the head-scratcher picks by taking Arizona State safety Damarious Randall instead of trying to improve their run defense in the trenches. After a couple strong choices from Green Bay and San Diego, the Patriots were on the board. I had plenty of options to consider.
My top 3 were TJ Clemmings, Eric Rowe, and Carl Davis at the 32nd pick. I was initially planning on taking Davis at 32, but with every selection or trades comes an opportunity cost. With so many options to choose from, I could have also traded down a few picks and pick up an extra draft pick in the process. After considering that option, I felt that the opportunity to select a player who can contribute on 4 downs like Eric Rowe can might not have been there 5 picks away from the 32nd pick. So I rolled the dice and went for the high ceiling prospect. Behind Clemmings and Davis, there are still some solid options left at their respective positions. That was not the case for Eric Rowe, who I believe is the cutoff for the top tier CB prospects.
Rowe brings an element of length, speed, and physicality to the secondary. He also has positional versatility due to his three years of playing free safety and offers special teams value. The Patriots should consider developing him as a CB, because his timed measurables are ideal for the position. He boasts a 4.45 40, 20-40 of 1.84, 3.97 shuttle, and 6.70 3-cone. I see him as a mix between McCourty and Talib, and the positional versatility allows for the Patriots to be more creative with their roster construction and play-calling. Rowe is very raw as a CB, but the physical tools are there and he offers a much different skill set than the current members of the New England secondary. Seven hours later, Kiper and McShay copied my pick and took Rowe at 32 in a complete head-scratcher of a mock draft (Beasley not a 1st is mind-boggling).
The 2nd round starts tomorrow at Noon EST with the Tennessee Titans on the clock. The 3rd round will start 3 hours later. The time on the clock will shrink from 8 minutes to 5 minutes. As for the Patriots, they are likely looking for a receiver, IOL, DT, and RB on the second day of the draft. Tune in tomorrow to catch more of the action.