By Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
Well, if it’s any consolation, this is how we felt after the Pats drafted Devin McCourty.
Instead of going with the one glaring need of pass rusher at 17 and thrilling fans in the process, Bill “Ebenezer” Belichick got Nate Solder, a big offensive tackle who will probably need a year or two to become a solid starter.
Watching a Patriots draft feels like eating those super sour candies: it takes a second for the full effect, and you want to like it, but you’re not quite sure if you do.
Fans hoped the team would use the first round to fill a need they’ve had for years. With defenders like Adrian Clayborn (Tampa) and Cameron Jordan (New Orleans) still available, that looked promising. Nope.
At 28, the Pats had a shot at a D-lineman like Muhammad Wilkerson (Jets) but traded that pick to New Orleans for a second-rounder (56 overall) and a 2010 first-rounder.
Ah, another first-rounder next year. We wonder what they’ll get in exchange for that pick?
At the end of Day One, it looks like this draft will provide some solid game day contributors and extra trades in 2012. Too bad they need help in 2011. Here’s hoping they get results on Day Two.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a Patriots fan, I’m curious about why people have no faith in the Pats draft process. They seem to do pretty well in the 2nd round most years. Spikes, Cunningham, Gronkowski, (all last year) Vollmer, etc. They’ve won the 2nd most regular season games in the last decade and the most games overall. Coming off a 14 win season and everybody talks about them like they were 1-15 and traded their first round pick for 2 boxes of Girlscout cookies and half a pack of M&M’s. Their drafts may not be exciting, but they’re pretty effective. Having Brady hides a lot of mistakes, but they’re making sure that they always stay ahead of the curve in next year’s draft. Imagine if they trade that extra 1st round pick every single year, and because of that, end up with an extra 2nd round pick EVERY year. They can use that extra 1st rounder once, or get an extra 2nd rounder in every draft forever and ever. Solder is a solid pick, given that OLine was actually the most pressing need, and gave up 5 sacks and 21 pressures in around 1,400 passing plays. I say have a little faith in a team that has given you winning football for the last decade.
“Well, if it’s any consolation, this is how we felt after the Pats drafted Devin McCourty.”
I didn’t. The Pats actually needed a good corner that could come in and help right away. With this pick…I don’t know. I still stick by my statement that I think the game has passed or is passing BB by. It’s almost like BB is treading water, waiting for this rookie pay scale thing (that may or may not happen) to go into effect while letting good players go to other teams for “value” picks. When was the last time the Pats or anyone else were in cap trouble?
Do the Pats need O-line help? Yes. But isn’t that third or fourth on the list of needs behind D-Line, Outside Linebacker and possibly RB? If he’s dead-set on picking an O-line player, why not take the best guy at 17? Why pick a guy that will be ready to be a full-time starter in a year or two?
We probably know less about what’s going on with the Pats O-line than BB. If Mankins is gone, and Matt Light as well, both conceivable, the O-line is, what, Volmer, Connolly, Koppen, Ojinakka, Kaczur?
I’d say that’s a need. I’ll take the current crop of OLB and RB’s over that O-line, for sure.
OLine is the most pressing need. With Light and Mankins as possible free agents and Neal retiring, you’re talking about 3/5’s of the starting OLine that may not be back next year. Even if you put the Franchise Tag on Mankins and plug Connelly in to replace Neal, that still leaves you in need of a LT, which is what Solder is. The most important thing for the Pats may be keeping Brady on his feet, and they were addressing that need for years to come. They’ve now bookended the OLine with a couple of giants in Vollmer and Solder. Also, even if they bring Light back, Solder makes for great depth in case of injury. I like the pick. I fully expect them to address DE, OLB, and CB in the 2nd round, then the offense in the later rounds. But even if they don’t, they’re smarter than I am, so I give them the benefit of the doubt. There’s also going to be free agency. I feel like the Pats are now one decent passrusher away from having a solid defense as the secondary continues to mature. Rushing the QB has never really been a huge part of BB’s schemes.
OS, I agree with much of what you say (especially the final word). My only caveat would be that BB has three picks to address D issues in round 2.
Let’s hope we’re all feeling better tonight.
“I think the game has passed or is passing BB by.”
Couldn’t disagree more and if you watched the draft last year and saw any of the games (in a so-called rebuilding year) then you’d know it too.
While watching last night with a friend we were getting excited around #9 that Cam Jordan might be there for the Pats pick without BB having to trade up. Then Solder gets the call and yeah, not sexy but BB may have extended Brady’s career by two years.
But yeah I’m tugging at my eye teeth hoping pass rush gets addressed tonight in a major way and I’ve felt guard to be more pressing than tackle so let’s see what happens tonight before any rash judgements are made. BB is still the master and most people who know this things (not the Kipers or McShays) will say it.
Oops! The Pats didn’t take a pass rusher in the second round…instead they got another CB. Wha?! See what I mean.
I have no problem with the Pats trading the 28th pick away. Picking up the extra second rounder basically ensures that New England will have the tools to acquire the top players on their board for day 2. And the extra first rounder in 2012 will allow them to do the same thing next year. No one here needs to be reminded about how much talent is still available and how life doesn’t end when round one is over.
As for Solder, well I have no idea what kind of a player he can become, but the scouting reports on him seem similar to Vollmer when he came out, right down to the “raw” label. And if it still takes a year or two of development (more like a year based on Scarneccia’s track record) for him to become a starting tackle in the NFL then consider me impressed.
Let’s face it, this draft is deeper at the DE/OLB positions than it is at offensive line, and the Pats needed an OL almost as much as they needed a pass rusher, given the age of some of the long-time starters and given the Mankins situation. BB probably felt that by waiting until Day 2 the best OL prospects would be gone already, whereas quality DE/OLB prospects would still be there. And I really don’t see how the game has “passed by” a coach who just went 14-2 while completely retooling the entire roster. Yes, they played horribly against the Jets in January, and that’s a shame, but a little perspective and “big picture” thinking is warranted here, no?
Well, Chris, I think BB generally knows what he is doing. They believed (I assume ) that this was athe best value at this pick. How did you feel last year wen he picked 2 tight ends and McCourty and how did that turn out.
BB never picks based solely on need and thinks the best player available is the most reasonable approach.
I agree, for whatever that is worth.
Getting down on BB after one round is premature,at best and silly, at worst.
Couldn’t agree more Bob. A couple things everyone needs to keep in perspective. First, BB and the Pats draft based on who their scouts tell them will best fit their system, not based on who Mel Kiper has on his big board. How exciting was the Logan Mankins pick? Or Vince Wilfork? Second, would you rather have the best LT in the draft or 3rd or 4th best DE/rusher? No brainer, you take the more talented guy. Last, everyone needs to understand BB will never draft a one-trick pony in round 1, even if that trick is rushing the passer. All the hand-wringing about Clay Matthews people (and I’m looking a Mikw Reiss here) have done this offseason misses the key point that Matthews would not be a starter for the Pats – he can’t set the edge against the run. If you don’t believe me watch the NFL mikes up superbowl – the Steelers coaches planned to run right at him, and the longest runs they had all day came to his side. Remain calm, OLB help coming in round 2.
Sean, regarding your last line: from your lips to BB’s ears.
I’m sure I’ll have a different overall outlook in Monday’s column. But my God, they need a pass rusher, don’t they?
Chris, I agree they need rush help, but from what I am reading they can get that in round 2, whether its Brooks Reed, Jabal Sheard, Herzlich, or someone else. Or maybe Bowers as the ultimate sleeper? Conversely, I see all the DEs taken after Watt in round 1 as run- stuffing ends in the 3-4, so I don’t think Jordan or Wilkerson would have helped the rush much anyway. Hopefully we do well tonight.
Sean, I agree. Or, I agreed.
No Reed, no Sheard, no Bailey or Bowers.
They got two RBs, though, and a QB who apparently blew off his meeting with Miami because he was too hungover. So, there’s that.
Not sure what to say at this point, other than I am shocked. I never saw the draft going this way. Let’s just hope BB knows what he is doing.