The New England Patriots Will Do Whatever They Want on Draft Weekend

Mike DussaultSenior Analyst IApril 4, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 14: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots throws the challenge flag against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game on December 14, 2008 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

How is it that every year the New England Patriots end up picking early and often at the NFL Draft, despite being the winningest team of the decade?

This year the Pats could select as many as 11 rookies, but if they did, several of them would have a tough time making the final 53-man roster.

So what's a team to do with such an embarrassment of riches?

It's clear that New England will be active on draft weekend. They'll have to be.

There's no way 11 rookies will make the Patriots' roster, given the depth that last year's draft brought, specifically in the defensive backfield.

Sure, the Pats could use a cornerback or a safety. But even if they got neither they'd still have a deep and experienced pool of defensive backs.

The Indianapolis Colts barely have enough defensive linemen right now to field a team.

On draft weekend, the more picks a team has, and the better they are, the more power that team has.

Based on the rough-estimate draft value chart, the Pats have enough points to get themselves almost anywhere: their first two picks (No. 23 and 34) are theoretically worth the No. 10 pick overall—which just happens to be where they got Jerod Mayo, the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year (in case you forgot).

The Pats might not pick until No. 23, but they have the flexibility to move up if the right player is available.

Even if they don't trade up, they can get great value for any or all of their three second-round picks.

Look back at some of the second-round guys taken last year; you'll find impact players such as DeSean Jackson, Matt Forté, and John Carlson.

Imagine the Patriots adding three players like those to their current roster. Scary.

But there aren't many holes to fill on New England's roster.

It's not clear if Bill Belichick feels that Pierre Woods is a starting-caliber outside linebacker, and capable of replacing the only lost starter Mike Vrabel.

But there are also several young developing OLBs such as Vince Redd and Shawn Crable, along with brought-back vet Tully Banta-Cain.

Nowhere else on the roster is there a glaring problem that must be solved by an unproven rookie.

The only somewhat question mark is at fullback, where Heath Evans' lead blocking and occasional carries will be missed.

Having no major needs will allow the Pats to select the best available player, at whatever point the opportunity arises. Should a top-notch talent, who perfectly fits Belichick's scheme, happen to fall, New England won't be handcuffed.

Whether it's using their picks to move around the draft board, swapping them for ones in next year's draft,  or even trading a couple of them for a star player such as Julius Peppers, it's clear that the Patriots should and will improve their football team on draft weekend. 

And that's all Bill Belichick ever wants to do.

Mike Dussault is a Patriots Community Leader and a real jerk, especially to anyone who writes more than three "Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady" articles in a week. He can be emailed at