What's Bill got up his sleeves?
Each year, Bill Belichick surprises the fans, media, and other NFL teams with his ever-changing personnel gameplan. One year he builds through the draft and low-cost veterans, the next he is a big-spender in free agency. One year he is moving up in the draft, the next year he is trading down and stockpiling extra picks. What draft day surprises might Belichick have in store for us this year?
Patriots finally select an ILB on day one
This would shock me. I wrote an entire piece
on why Belichick won't draft an ILB on day one. Not only does the New England coach place a high value on veteran linebackers, there just isn't a can't miss prospect at that position this year. What isn't surprising is that Belichick won't overspend on need.
Patriots trade UP, not down
With all the talk about trading partners for the Patriots moving back in the first round, wouldn't it throw everyone for a loop if we skipped over the Jets and swapped picks with the Chiefs? Chris Long is the only player in this draft that the Patriots brass would spend other picks on to move up and draft. It would probably cost us a late third or early fourth round pick to get it done.
Patriots select a Guard at No. 7
It was pretty surprising when Belichick drafted Logan Mankins with the 32nd pick of the 2005 draft, as Bill's reputation stated that he didn't value interior linemen. With the emergence of Mankins into a pro-bowl guard, look for Branden Albert from Virginia to get some looks if the Patriots are picking at No. 7. I don't have him rated as a top ten prospect, but his versatility in playing both guard and tackle, and his tie-ins with Belichick fave Al Groh, make him a good replacement for the oft-injured Stephen Neal.
Patriots pass on Vernon Gholston at No. 7
If Vernon Gholston is still on the board at No. 7, excited Patriots fans will be jumping for joy at getting this year's combine star. Gholston is a physical specimen with good football skills, although he would have to be transitioned into playing OLB in the Patriot's 3-4 scheme. If Bill and Scott don't think that is possible, expect them to either trade down, or take the best available player.