could this be both a brilliant draft and a strategic failure?

Analysts and fans are upset because a lot of picks were taken well ahead of projections. But let's take another quick look.

The Pats seemed to know they wanted Strange, and also knew they could trade down and still get him. They got the best deal they could find, adding a couple of mid-round picks, and still getting their man. We can speculate whether he would have been available in the second round, but from their perspective, they got their man and 2 solid bonus picks.

Much of the grade of this draft will be determined by Thornton. It will either be brilliant or a bust. It seems like the pick was an overreaction to the Harry bust. Harry was supposed to be a physical WR who could go up and win battles when the ball is in the air. Now they've decided to go for pure speed.

But Thornton does seem to have some skill getting off the line. He's very skinny, so it might not translate in the NFL, but getting off the line is also a matter of skill, about making the right moves. Harry is very strong but is awful at getting off the line, so size and strength are not always the key to getting off the line.

The question with Thornton is whether he can survive the hits. You won't be able to run this kid in the middle of the field.

I love BOTH the Jones picks. One has the potential to be a top-notch return man AND a great slot CB. The other will have the chance to earn a regular CB spot.

The RB's look like solid picks. The late round OL and DT picks look promising. If you can hit on 1 or 2 late picks, that's a good return.

The PROBLEM with this draft is that the Pats didn't significantly address their main need: DEFENSE.

The defense couldn't get off the field in the last month. And since then, they've lost their best player(Jackson) and most of their LB group. They've added a couple of VERY fringe veteran players. If the season started tomorrow, this would be the worst defense in the league on paper.

Unless McCrone and Perkins turn out to be gems, and Uche and Jennings emerge, this defense is in serious trouble.

Now, here's the thing about Bill's defenses over the last 12 years. While he seems unable to draft and develop elite defensive players, he does have the weird ability to take guys off the street and make them average. So this defense will at times tease us into thinking it's half decent.

If the Pats were playing in the division of 5 years ago, they'd probably win it. The offense should be very good, assuming someone can call the plays. The defense should be average against average or inferior teams.

However, the Bills are a juggernaut. There is no way the Pats can slow that offense. The Dolphins are loaded. We'll see if it can translate. Likewise the Jets.

And there are several offensive superpowers in the conference.

My guess is the defense will be worse, the offense better, and the net result will be similar: 9 or 10 wins, possible playoff appearance, but one and done.

That result can be seen as a success...IF...if the defense seems on the verge of success going into 2023. And you can't build using free agency. At some point you have draft some defensive stars, or you just can't build a contender.

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