For Patriots fans, last nights’ draft went as they always do. Most enter with great expectations, hoping for sexy names at flashy positions. This year, with two first round picks, expectations were even more inflated than normal. A top-tier pass rusher? Heisman winner Mark Ingram? Needless to say, the first round ended in typical Patriots fashion. To the dismay of many, there was no Clay Matthews 2.0, no big names, and the Patriots even traded away the pick that was used to select the highly coveted Ingram. What we are left with – a mountain of a left tackle to protect Brady’s blind side; an extra 1st round pick for next year, and an army of frustrated fans who will never learn. After the Solder pick was announced, the texts began to fly in – “What the hell???”, “Are you f’in kidding?”, “Who?”, etc.. Apparently my friends don’t read Sexy Boston Sports frequently enough. After trying to justify the pick, one of my friends sent the following: “You are the biggest Patriots apologist on Earth”. While that may be true, it is hard to argue with the selection of a monster of a LT to add to and Offensive Line in desperate need of a youth movement. In regards to Ingram, he is just not the type of player the Pats will select. They only choose player in the first round who they will get maximum production out of. Talented as he may be, Ingram lacks the pass protection abilities to play on 3rd downs, and the team cannot justify the expensive cap figure that a first round RB commands. I have no doubt that Ingram will be a solid Pro, but this team has always run the ball very effectively without big name backs; and they will continue to in the future thanks to the big guys up front like Solder.
The only disappointing aspect of the night for me came after the trade with New Orleans. Once I heard the details of the trade (#28 for #56 and a 2012 #1 – an absolutely awesome deal) - and looked at the remaining players on the board; I was ecstatic. Only 5 picks until the Pats were back on the clock, and both Mo Wilkerson and Cameron Heyward were still on the board. Could we possibly get either of the two best DE’s for our system at #33 overall. Mind you, both of these guys were projected to go in the Top 20. A top tier tackle at #17, one of the best DE’s, plus the haul from the New Orleans trade? Too good to be true. Then the Jets and Steelers had to go be their typical D-bag selves and mess everything up. This left a bit of a sour taste after an otherwise exciting night. That said, there is still plenty of talent available, and tonight will tell the story of the 2011 Draft for the Patriots. Check back later for predictions on Rounds 2 & 3.
A few random thoughts from Round 1 worth mentioning:
- I absolutely LOVED the boo’s Goodell was greeted with last night. Go away Roger.
- Cam Newton is not and will never be a franchise QB. I have no idea why Carolina would take him there. Why guarantee a guy $50+ million who MIGHT be good? Give a sure thing like Patrick Peterson or Von Miller any day.
- By far the most shocking moment of the night to me was the Falcons trading up to select Julio Jones. No that they did it, but how much they gave up. 2011 1st, 2nd & 4th round picks plus 2012 1st and 4th? Cleveland couldn’t have said yes fast enough. GM Thomas Dimitroff started with the Patriots, and that is about as un-Patriot like a move as you could make. Especially for a guy who’s first 3 minutes of highlights ESPN showed were him dropping wide-open passes (he’ll be nasty, but still). I guess they must have been blown away by the results from his new Under Armour Shirt.
- How about the two newly formed scariest young DL combos in a long time: Houston DE’s Mario Williams and JJ Watt and Detroit DT’s Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Wow.