New England Patriots' First Round Draft Plans

David MaystrovskyContributor IApril 10, 2008

The NFL draft is fast approaching and so far the Pats have kept rather mum on their next big pick.

Who will they take? How will Spygate affect them? How much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (Seriously, I want to know.)

For anyone who has followed the team with any sort of regularity, it has become painfully obvious that the back seven of the defense is in dire need of repair.

Two years ago the linebackers led to the Colts’ comeback in the AFC Championship. They were exposed as being perhaps two steps too slow.

Eventually, Bruschi and Vrabel will have to retire and the Pats can't continue to pick up 30-something replacements that last for a couple of years.

It's time for the team to draft several young prospects and slowly work them into the starting lineup. The Colts have been doing this for years, and the reward is that their entire secondary will be making minimum wage for the next couple of seasons.

So what should the Pats do? Here are my thoughts.

First, the Pats should trade the seventh pick. I know that it's a commonly held view, but let's think about the top half of the draft for a second.

You're paying an extreme amount of money for somebody who is expected to eventually become a Pro Bowler. That's my definition of a top-10 pick. And right now, I don't see anyone who will be that kind of talent for the New England team. 

Who would the Pats trade with?

The Cowboys are the only team with two picks in the first round, so that would be an obvious choice. With that trade the Patriots would get the 22nd and 28th picks. 

With those two picks, the Patriots can plug both holes.

First, they take Aqib Talib, a cornerback out of Kansas. He was rated as the top corner to come into the draft, however he recently admitted to failing drug tests while at Kansas and that sent his stock plummeting.

Remember, the NFL is a character-driven league now with hardly any patience for a player's misbehavior. New England, however, has the biggest collection of previous problem players and I have no doubt that a rookie like Talib would be held accountable by the veteran locker room.

With the 28th pick in the draft, I would go with Dan Connor, a linebacker out of Penn State. For some reason, linebackers out of Penn State have plummeted in drafts even though they've been solid pros.

With this pick, the Pats would be filling a hole in their defense while keeping the fan base happy. In the last several years New England fans have gotten quite antsy with all the near misses.