I hope everyone had an enjoyable Easter/Passover weekend! There were a few Patriots-related news items over the past couple of days, so here’s a quick snapshot, or two-minute drill, of the more interesting items:
- Friday it was reported that the Patriots signed former Panthers DT Damione Lewis. Both Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston and Albert Breer of the Boston Globe’s Extra Points have good analytical pieces on what the signing means for the Pats. Here is an interesting bit from Breer: “While Lewis never became the player the Rams thought he’d be when he was taken 12th overall in the 2001 draft, he has proven he can rush, evidenced by his 22.5 career sacks. Getting a better pass rush has been the big theme this offseason, and this seems to be a move in that direction.
- The Patriots are bringing in UCLA DT Brian Price for a pre-draft visit. Price projects to be a second-round pick and fits the mold similar to recently-signed Damione Lewis: an attacking defensive tackle. You can see video of Price by clicking here.
- Shalise Manza Young has a nice wrap-up of the major mock drafts and what players the “experts” have the Patriots picking at #22 overall. Penn State DT Jared Odrick has been picking up a lot of steam recently and appears as the Pats’ pick in three of the mocks highlighted in the piece. Also appearing at #22 overall are Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham, Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski (a horrible pick at #22 I think, much better in round 2), and Michigan OLB Brandon Graham is the consensus in three mocks. Some of the mock drafts also go into the second round, where the Pats have 3 picks. Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has the Pats going with Odrick in Round One, and in Round Two, Notre Dame WR Golden Tate (44th overall), Florida QB Tim Tebow (47th overall, blah), and Gronkowski (53rd overall, much better place for him).
- Another CBS mock drafter, Chad Reuter, has Gresham 22nd overall, and then in Round Two, Tebow (44th), Tate (47th), and Utah OLB Koa Misi (53rd).
- Last draft tidbit: Former Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi (I hate writing “former”) contributes to ESPNBoston.com, and Mike Reiss passes along Bruschi’s pick for the Pats at #22: Texas DE/OLB Sergio Kindle. Bruschi knows the Pats and their defense better than any writer or mock draft expert, so if he says Kindle (he also coincidentally happens to be my pick), then that’s good enough to convince me. The trouble is I’m not sure he’ll be around at 22.
- Pat Kirwan of NFL.com lists each AFC team’s needs heading into the draft, and lists the Pats needs as follows: OLB, DE, TE, OT, and developmental QB. I can’t say that I disagree with those needs, though I’d probably place either guard or center over tackle at the moment and I’d completely erase the QB part. It looks like Kirwan’s reaching for a reason for the Pats to draft Tim Tebow. I would replace the QB part with WR, as the Pats have Randy Moss, an injured Wes Welker, and a bunch of unproven players (Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman to a lesser extent) or veteran fill-ins (Sam Aiken, David Patten). Who will start opposite Moss?
- Last little tidbit, and it’s draft related. SI.com’s Peter King lists the Patriots among his three teams that have a “draft weekend edge.” Here’s what King says about New England:
“The Pats lead all teams with 12 picks, but that number is misleading because five of those picks are seventh-rounders (between the 229th and 250th overall picks). The good part of the Patriots’ early haul is that they’ll get great value out of the four picks in the guts of the first two rounds (23rd, 44th, 47th and 53rd). The bad part: They go 66 slots without a pick after number 53. Of course, Bill Belichick and personnel man Nick Caserio could make several deals affecting that order, and this might be the year to move up to take a power player at a position of major need, like tight end, wide receiver or pass-rusher.
The Patriots have one other power piece if there’s something they want desperately on April 22 — Oakland’s first-round pick in the 2011 draft, thanks to the Richard Seymour trade. It’s likely they won’t touch that, but it’s pretty comforting to know that, 17 days before the 2010 draft begins, you already have the most powerful position in next year’s draft and one of the top ones in this year’s as well.”