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Sunday NFL Thoughts: How and Why the Patriots Maneuvered the Draft the Way They Did

The Patriots followed through with an interesting draft strategy. Here are my thoughts on it.

1. The Titans are trying to emulate the Patriots with how they build their roster, per Monday Morning Quarterback.

"My background is mostly in New England, obviously, for 12 years and we were a big football team," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said after the end of Round 3. "We always had big, strong backs, whether it was Corey Dillon or Laurence Maroney or LeGarrette Blount. On the offensive line we had Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder and Logan Mankins for a long time, all bigger guys. And then on defense, we had Vince Wilfork and, back in the day, Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel. We won a lot of football games with those big guys."

The Titans added a bunch of strong prospects that can pack a wallop, like tackle Jack Conklin, defensive linemen Kevin Dodd and Austin Johnson, safety Kevin Byard, and beastly running back Derrick Henry. I thought Tennessee had a pretty good weekend of drafting.

2. Bill Belichick made it seem like the Patriots were going to pick a player at the top of the 5th round, before the Seahawks swooped in with a trade offer that the team couldn't refuse. I wonder who that player was going to be? My money is on Navy athlete Keenan Reynolds. The Patriots loved his potential, but the addition of Malcolm Mitchell reduced the need at the position, and the idea of a back-up 2017 4th round pick was too much to ignore.

3. The Patriots ignored the running back position, along with everyone else in the world. Kenneth Dixon and Devontae Booker went at the end of the 4th round, while Paul Perkins and Jordan Howard went in the middle of the 5th. All of these players were conceivably graded as 2nd round prospects. Is the position really that devalued?

I think the Patriots were never going to take a running back as they are content with LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis (and Donald Brown and James White), but will take a crack at the ridiculously deep running back class in 2017.

4. The Patriots continued to add bodies on the already-crowded interior line. 3rd round pick Joe Thuney and 6th round pick Ted Karras join the likes of Josh Kline, Shaq Mason, Tre Jackson, Jonathan Cooper, Bryan Stork, and David Andrews on the interior. Part of me thinks that the incumbent players should have another year to prove their ability- but the other part loves the idea of just adding the best players possible.

While Thuney is still a candidate to knock off Marcus Cannon or LaAdrian Waddle at offensive tackle, Karras has a real shot of taking someone's roster spot on the interior. He is a well-regarded pass blocker and the Patriots can't afford to let Tom Brady get ravaged like last season.

5. I'm curious to see what happens with wide receiver Danny Amendola and his $5 million base contract. He has to restructure if he wants to stick around at this point. Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and 4th round pick Malcolm Mitchell are locks. The Patriots also gave Keshawn Martin a $600,000 signing bonus in the middle of last season, so he's a last-case cut option.

Hogan is able to slide into the slot if Amendola leaves, and Mitchell can take over on the outside. The Patriots also have veteran Nate Washington and 7th round rookie from Arizona State Devin Lucien on the outside, too. Coincidentally, Washington served as a mentor to Jaelen Strong of the Texans (with head coach and former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien), who also graduated from Arizona State. There are a lot of connection layers.

6. Don't be surprised if you start hearing contract extensions for the Patriots players that will be free agents after 2016. The Patriots like to wait until after the draft to ensure the veterans need to be retained. Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Malcolm Butler could all see new deals.