Grading an NFL Draft is a difficult task that usually requires anywhere from three to five years to accurately. That said, instant reaction is a must in this age of instant analysis. With the 2016 NFL Draft just a few weeks away, it is the ideal time to look back at last year’s draft. The initial reaction to the Patriots’ 2015 NFL Draft was a mixed bag as most draft analysts like the picks of defensive tackle Malcom Brown and defensive end Trey Flowers, but were mixed on the rest of the picks.
The draft analysts anticipated a draft by the Patriots built around replacing cornerback Darrelle Revis, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, and adding offensive weapons for quarterback Tom Brady. Instead New England balanced the present and the future as they shored up both sides of the football and addressed their needs in their typical “Belichickian” manner.
The NFL Draft is a fascinating process as NFL franchises balance building for the future and looking for instant impact. Some teams get stuck focusing solely on immediate needs, others get infatuated with a player and overspend, while others build for the future and never take care of the present. Head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick has seemingly had a plan in place during the NFL Draft–even if it is not obvious to analysts with their instant analysis.
As the New England Patriots’ front office prepares their final preparations for the 2016 NFL Draft, it makes sense to take one last look back at the prior years’ selections. This piece will examine each of the 2015 NFL Draft picks made by the Patriots looking not just at the player and spot drafted, but the role they played in 215, their anticipated role in 2016 and beyond, and giving the pick a grade with a year of perspective.
Next: 1st Round, Pick #32 Overall -- Malcom Brown