NFL Draft Recap: The New England Patriots

By Ari McCoy ’17

Every NFL Draft is full of surprises, with trades and shocking risers and fallers. This year, however, we saw Bill Belichick redefine unconventional draft strategies when he decided to trade away the majority of his picks for veterans. As a perennial championship contender, Belichick decided to go for players who will mean immediate production rather than long term development. And with a 40 year old quarterback, he knows that their window may only remain open for the next few years. But looking at the picks the Pats did make, they can contribute both now and in the future.

 

Round Player Name College Position
3 Derek Rivers Youngstown State OLB/DE
3 Antonio Garcia Troy OT
4 Deatrich Wise Jr Arkansas DE
6 Connor McDermott UCLA OT

 

Rivers was a fast riser who impressed at both the Senior Bowl and Combine with his athleticism and ability after dominating small school competition. Garcia looks to be a potential replacement for Nate Solder on the left side; he has great feet and a nasty streak, but needs to add strength. Wise can play all over the defensive line due to his combination of power, length, and athleticism. The Patriots value versatility and Wise will be a huge asset in the coming years. McDermott is a developmental prospect with imposing measurables, as an athletic tackle at 6’8” with incredibly long arms and a well known work ethic. Here is their draft with the inclusion of the players acquired by trade via draft picks.

 

Round Player Name College/Team Position
1 Brandin Cooks New Orleans Saints WR
2 Kony Ealy Carolina Panthers DE
3 Derek Rivers Youngstown State OLD/DE
3 Antonio Garcia Troy OT
4 Dwayne Allen Indianapolis Colts TE
4 Deatrich Wise Jr Arkansas DE
5 Mike Gillislee Buffalo Bills RB
5 James O’Shaughnessy Kansas City Chiefs TE
6 Connor McDermott UCLA OT

 

After all of the trades, New England ended up with nine new players. Cooks and Ealy are both known assets; Cooks has caught 315 balls in three seasons and has world-class speed to pair with high level route running. Kony Ealy was thought of a potential breakout player before having a down season last year and is still young. When healthy, Allen is a great blocker and red zone threat who should thrive playing next to Rob Gronkowski. Gillislee averaged over five yards per carry last season with Buffalo as the two in their 1-2 punch and should be expected to have some great games as a grinder in the versatile Pats backfield. O’Shaughnessy is a depth guy who should contribute as a blocker and receiver.

While it was unconventional, the Patriots may have ended up with one of the best draft classes in football this year. It will depend on how the coming contracts for Cooks and Ealy end up, if they even resign, but no matter what, this group of new arrivals should only make positive contributions to the reigning Super Bowl Champions.

Grade: A

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