New England Patriots: A look back at the 2010 NFL Draft
By Jeff Kane
The NFL draft is tomorrow! This Thursday all 32 NFL franchises will gather in their war rooms to select who they hope will be the next hall of famer. Over the years it has become obvious that the draft can be a crap shoot. For each Peyton Manning there is a Jamarcus Russell. When the ends on Saturday the talking heads will immediately grade the draft. A guy like Mel Kiper Jr will say Team A deserves Grade A for this draft. Team B gets a C. The problem is talking heads Like Kiper are just looking at paper. They only have college reputation and stats to go on. The best time to grade a draft is after 3 seasons. With that being said lets look back on the New England Patriots 2010 Draft.
One thing that I like to do when looking at a draft is look at who was selected. The next thing to look at is who was selected within the next 5 picks that would have been better. Finally the trades that were made.
The Patriots went into round one with a pick at number 22. The Patriots traded that pick away and dropped down to 24 before trading that pick away for pick 27. The Patriots selected CB Devin McCourty with the pick. McCourty had a pro bowl rookie year. Great selection for a player that not many of us knew about. McCourty’s first 3 seasons have shown a great first season followed by a down 2nd. His third season showed a swap of positions to safety a position he has manned quite well. No one picked in the 5 picks after Devin have done much.
Lets look at the trades. At 22 the Patriots could have selected Demaryius Thomas. Instead they traded back and received a first 24 overall and a 4th round pick. They traded 24 to Dallas who selected Dez Bryant. With the 4th rounder the Patriots selected Aaron Hernadez. The Trade from 24 to 27 netted the Pats a 3rd. With the third the Patriots Selected Taylor Price. While Price didn’t work out and Thomas and Bryant have turned into good players, the trade did net the Pats 2 solid players in McCourty and Hernandez.
One final note on the first round. I believe that the Patriots wanted tight end Jermaine Gresham that went to the Bengals at 21. Had he been there the Pats may have stayed at 21.
In the second round the Pats selected Rob Gronkowski 42 overall. The Patriots acquired this pick ultimately through Jacksonville. The pick they traded the year before was the Packers 3rd round pick. That pick was acquired for the Patriots 1st round draft pick they received by Baltimore then traded to the Greenbay Packers. The Pack selected Clay Mathews. In the trade the Pats got Gronk, Edelman, Tate and Darius Butler. Win win for both teams.
Gronk has become the best tight end in football. This is a homerun pick as the next 5 picks after Rob Gronkowski were Sergio Kindle, Lamarr Houston, Zane Beadles, Linval Joseph and Daryl Washington. None have meant to there team what Gronk has.
The second pick of the second round saw the Patriots choosing Jermaine Cunningham. The team missed on this pick. Cunningham has flashed but has not done what the team had hoped. The next pick college teammate Carlos Dunlap had a great rookie season with 9.5 sacks and has 20 sacks in his career. Cunningham has 3.5. MLB Sean Lee was also selected 2 picks later. Ben Tate the solid back up HB for the Houston Texans was also selected.
The third pick for the Patriots in the second round was Brandon Spikes. Spikes has become a solid run defense linebacker. While he can be a liability in pass coverage. The pick was acquire along with a 5th rounder for the 58th overall pick which was Ben Tate. The running back from Houston while good is not Spikes and the 5th rounder punter Zoltan Mesko.
In the third round the Patriots had picks 89 and 90. They traded 89 to the Panthers for the panthers 2011 2nd round pick. That pick was 33 overall and was used to select Ras-i Dowling. While Dowling cant stay on the field a move up of 56 picks the next year is a hit.
At 90 the pats selected Taylor Price. A head scratcher in my mind. This wide out came from a run oriented scheme at Ohio. He was cut by the Pats in 2011 and has 5 career catches. The following selection was linebacker Navorro Bowman for the 49ers. That would of been a great pick. Other good players selected within 5 picks were Tony Moeaki and Jimmy Graham.
In the 4th round the Patriots hit big time on Aaron Hernandez. While he can be a bit fragile he is a matchup nightmare. Dennis Pitta was selected right after. No other players selected within the next 5 picks would be worth what Aaron is to the Patriots. This finalized the first round trades. I would take McCourty and Hernandez any day over the players selected in the first round instead
The 5th round brought the Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko. Mesko’s big leg has been a good field position changer for the Patriots. This finalized the trade with Houston. This is another case of the Pats playing the draft board game and coming away for a solid two for one. No player of note was taken in the next 5 picks. This was a very solid 5th round selection for a position of need at the time.
The sixth and seventh round brought nothing much as the Pats selected Ted Larson, Thomas Welch, Kade Weston and Brandon Deaderick. Deaderick was a good 7th round pick. He has 5 career sacks including 2 last season with 2 forced fumbles.
No special players have turned into surprise all pros after the Patriots selection of Ted Larson. Larson was cut and has become a very solid offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This draft was a complete success in my eyes. With starters McCourty, Gronkowski, Spikes, Hernadez and Mesko, the Pats added 5 quality players in a single draft. This draft looking back is an A or A- at worse. Hindsight ofcourse is 20/20. Mel Kiper on draft weekend gave this draft a B-. Pro football weekly was ahead of the curve giving the Pats an A. Todd McShay offered a B Grade.
The draft is a crap shoot. While sitting down this weekend and taking in the sites while enjoying your favorite adult beverage, remember post draft grades are worthless.
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