Friday, April 24, 2009

The 2009 NFL Draft

The New England Patriots have 11 selections in the NFL Draft this weekend including 6 in the first three rounds. As in past years, Coach Bill Belichick and the Pats won't use all 11 picks and will probably either trade away a few for next year or package some to move up the draft board and aquire a player that may be dropping.

That said, after listening to all the pundits and so-called experts, here is my take on what areas the Patriots will try to target in order of priority.

  1. DEFENSIVE LINE: Even though the Patriots still need Linebacker help, the feeling is that they don't view any of the famed Linebacking corps coming out of USC (Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, and Rey Maualuga) as can't miss prospects within their system as they did with Jerod Mayo last year. Plus Richard Seymour's contract will need to be renegotiated soon, so look for the Pats to select Robert Ayers with the 23rd pick in the first round. Ayers is a Defensive End from Tennesse (like J. Mayo) who could possibly be converted to a pass rushing linebacker like former Patriot Willie McGinest.
  2. DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: Just like pitching in baseball, you can never have enough Defensive Backfield depth in football. Plus Ellis Hobbs and newcomer Leigh Bodden are in their final year of their contracts, so look for the Patriots to take a stab at local product CornerBack Darius Butler from UConn with the 34th pick.

  3. OFFENSIVE LINE: Whether it be the SuperBowl loss to the NY Giants 2 years ago or the first game against the KC Chiefs last year, Tom Brady returns to a line of blockers that couldn't effectively protect him the last 2 games he's played in. Also, 11 out of 14 players of this group are entering the final year of their contract. Plus, this draft year is deep in Offensive Line talent, so I could see the Patriots picking-up one or two Offensive Linemen between the second to fourth rounds.

  4. RUNNING BACK/WIDE RECEIVER: With Kevin Faulk getting older, Laurence Maroney still not producing, and Fred Taylor more of a short term solution, I could see the Patriots possibly picking-up another unheralded Running Back in the middle-to-late rounds like UConn's Donald Brown. Also, the signing of Joey Galloway is another short term answer at Wide Receiver, so the Pats also may select a Wideout with upside in the middle-to-late rounds.

  5. QUARTERBACK: I think the Patriots are more interested in using West Virgina Quarterback Pat White as a 'red herring' in this weekend's draft than a 'wildcat' in the upcoming season, but that doesn't mean the Pats won't try to develop another Matt Cassel with a late round pick.

No comments: