The New England Patriots have been known as a team that dominates draft day, and they have continued to prove that in 2013 NFL Draft. The Patriots started started the draft with only five total picks, and with one smart trade back to exit the first round, they ended up selected seven players.
Day one for the Patriots set the tone for the rest of the draft, because with the 29th pick, they traded it to the Minnesota Vikings for a second-round pick, a third-round pick, a fourth-round pick, and a seventh-round pick. The Vikings selected Cordarelle Patterson with the 29th selection, a player who is arguably not even the best wide receiver from his team, Justin Hunter. The trade left the Patriots blank on day one of the NFL Draft, but was an overall smart trade to help them add depth elsewhere.
Day two is where the games began for the Patriots, they had to wait patiently to take their man off the board with the 52nd pick, and that man was Southern Mississippi pass-rusher Jamie Collins. Collins overall was a bit of a reach, and it may come back to haunt them by not selecting potential first-rounder Margus Hunt from SMU, but it is all about taking the man you want and it is apparent that the Patriots were willing to reach for the player they wanted. It was like a flashback of the Patriots drafting Pat Chung a few years back, when there were better safeties on the board, but they still reached for their guy. Collins is a fierce player though, who apparently isn't afraid to body slam a player if he has to. He had 92 total tackles and record 6.5 sacks in 2012, which was enough production for analysts to project him as a top-10 outside linebacker. Expect Collins to play opposite of the defensive line with Chandler Jones with his size, assuming he has a strong training camp.
The next selection for the Patriots was at the 59th pick, where they went for play-making wide receiver Aaron Dobson from Marshall. This was a selection that Patriot fans were dying for, and Dobson has the size of what appears to be a deep threat in the making, right? Well actually, Dobson did not run too many deep routes while with Marshall, but that was also due to a lack of a strong-armed quarterback. Do not sell Dobson short, he can run a number of routes and is a very smart receiver. In 2012, Dobson only had three touchdowns, but record 57 receptions with 679 yards. Tom Brady is getting a big receiver, enough said, great pick by the Patriots.
The Rutgers round…as Patriots fans will remember it, was the third round of the draft where the Patriots selected cornerback Logan Ryan and safety Duron Harmon. Ryan will be a great addition to the depth chart in the secondary, but Harmon will be a bit of a long shot for making the roster. Ryan could potentially make it as a third or fourth corner, whereas Harmon might not be able to beat out second year men Tavon Wilson or Nate Ebner. Harmon was a definite reach for the Patriots, but Ryan was solid enough to make the cornerback mix very interesting for next season.
Day three started early for the Patriots by selecting TCU wide receiver Josh Boyce with the 102nd pick in the fourth round. Boyce recorded 66 receptions for 891 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. Brady has another interesting target at his disposal, because Boyce is a player that the Patriots could play outside or in the slot. If the Patriots do play him in the slot, he might be faster than both Wes Welker and Danny Amendola.
The Patriots are not perfect. Their failed attempts of Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco cost the Patriots two of their picks this season. The Patriots did not select again until the seventh round.
The final selections in the seventh round, and long shots, were defensive end Michael Buchanan from Illinois and inside linebacker Steve Beauharnais from Rutgers.
The Patriots have drafted better in the past, but you never know until you see what these players can contribute. At the same time though, the Patriots obviously were trying to trade back for more picks in other points of the draft, but failed to do so. This explains why it would appear that they reached for certain players.
The important thing is that they filled the holes they needed to by drafting each need that they were projected to target.
Overall Draft Grade: B-