If you search ’2014 NFL Draft’ on the internet, the chances of you finding draft grades are pretty high. I have already released grades on each individual player, and now Walter Football has released their marks for each NFL team. Here is what they had to say on the Pats draft class: (Spoiler alert: the Pats did not fare well)
The Patriots have to win now. I think we can all agree on that. Tom Brady is 37 in August, so he has limited time remaining in his career. The Broncos have recognized this with their own aging signal-caller, so they’ve done everything in their power to give themselves the best shot at a Super Bowl. The Patriots appeared to be mirroring their actions in free agency, but they went a completely different route during the draft.
Taking Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round was the worst decision in the 2014 NFL Draft. I’m not saying Garoppolo will bust, but how is he going to help Brady win another Super Bowl? Using a major resource on him could cost the Patriots the Super Bowl. What if they need a key depth player or a potential starter that they could have acquired at that juncture? It was an awful decision.
Furthermore, how are New England’s other picks supposed to help the team win now? Dominique Easley could be dominant in the future, but he won’t be 100 percent in 2014 because he’s coming off his second torn ACL. Bryan Stork, meanwhile, may not be able to win the starting job. He was a reach in the third round. James White was taken too early as well.
The Patriots had one goal in the 2014 NFL Draft, and that was to acquire a couple of pieces to help them claim another Lombardi Trophy. They failed to do so, and that’s why they are getting the worst grade of any team in this class.
Okay, I get where they are coming from, I really do. The Broncos are in a similar position with Peyton Manning aging, and they have given him an abundance of weapons this offseason. But before you instantly give the Pats a grade that is nearly failing, you need to re-consider what “helping Brady” really means.
So they didn’t add a dynamic playmaker for him, I agree there. Instead, they gave him a potential elite defensive lineman, a number of offensive lineman to help give Brady protection, and additional help in the backfield, where championships are sometimes won, and lost. The number one reason why the Pats have failed to win a Super Bowl in almost ten years is the pressure that Brady has had to deal with up the middle. Bryan Stork and Jon Halapio will compete for starting jobs, and if nothing else, they will provide terrific depth for the future.
Now as for the second round selection of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Was it a good pick? Absolutely. The value was extremely high, and Bill Belichick is not one to pass up that kind of value. But did they have needs that should have been addressed first? Probably. Giving Brady a receiver, or a tight end would have been a better idea in that situation, but I don’t think picking Garoppolo was a bad pick. Ryan Mallett is in the last year of his contract, and even though nobody wants to talk about it, Tom Brady won’t be able to play quarterback forever. So Belichick may want to groom Garoppolo to succeed Brady in the future, and if he turns out to be a good starting quarterback, I don’t think everyone will be saying that this pick was a bad one.
I am not trying to convince you that the Pats knocked this draft out of the park, because they didn’t. But they don’t deserve a ‘D’ grade. I think a much better mark would be in the ‘B’ range.