Who the New England Patriots Could Have Had in the '08 Draft
This is by far the most speculative article I've ever written here at the Bleacher Report, but the topic has really got me intrigued. I don't think I have to go into deep specifics about Cameragate as they are deeply ingrained already.
We all know the Patriots had a first-round draft pick removed as a result among other fines. I do not intend to cause anything other than reflection much like looking back at a trade that didn't work.
This slide show will be a review of who the Patriots would have had the opportunity to select in between the 31st pick which was removed by the NFL and their Second Round pick, selection No. 62 (CB Terrance Wheately).
I could do this a number of different ways like on the basis of who could have helped them the most last year or this year, but I'm going a simpler route.
I'll give you a top 10 of how I would rank the players selected in that time span that the Patriots could have had based off of their performances last year and not on New England's needs.
44th Selection: Matt Forte
The Chicago Bears stole Forte with the 44th pick. The running back put up 1238 rushing yards along with eight rushing touchdowns for them last season.
Further increasing his value and cementing him as the top player the Patriots missed out on were his 63 receptions, 477 yards, and four more touchdowns in the passing game.
49th Selection: Eddie Royal
Wide Receiver Eddie Royal was on from the get go. He nearly set an NFL rookie record for receptions in a season finishing with 91 which was good enough for second all time.
His 980 yards and five touchdowns are both Broncos rookie records. His season was good enough to place seventh in the league among wide receivers in receptions, and sixth in the NFL in total yards.
Hard not to put him first for a lot of reasons including him assisting me in my fantasy football championship.
49th Selection: DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson may have the "can't score" stigma attached to him, but there's no denying the guy can and did produce. His 62 receptions went for an average of 14.7 yards giving him 912 on the year.
He reached paydirt twice via the passing game and once on a punt return. He also had 440 return yards for the Eagles.
38th Selection: John Carlson
John Carlson had a slow and somewhat inconsistent start to his season, but when he was relied on he came through big for the Seahakws.
He caught 55 balls for 627 yards and five touchdowns. He was one of the best tight ends in the league and one of the lone bright spots for an otherwise struggling offense and team.
35th Selection: Brandon Flowers
Many dismiss the Chiefs and their defense based on inexperience and inability. They may be young, but KC's secondary is anything but bad and safety Brandon Flowers is a big part of that secondary. He racked up 69 tackles and an interception in his rookie season.
31st Selection: Kenny Phillips
Kenny Phillips was drafted by the 2007 Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants with the 31st pick of the 2008 draft.
That was the selection that ended the first round because of the Patriots absence from their normal slot. Phillips went on to grab 67 tackles and an interception for the Giants.
37th Selection: Curtis Lofton
Hailing from the Oklahoma Sooners Curtis Lofton jumped right into another red uniform as he was drafted by the Falcons. The fast and agile linebacker collected 94 tackles in Atlanta's defense and continued his trend of putting up big numbers and being a force to pay attention to.
33rd Selection: Donnie Avery
Dealing with injury issues early on in the season held Donnie Avery back a bit, but it would be fair to say he came back. He scored five times for the lowly Rams offense even doing so rushing once. He nearly led the team in receptions with 53 and yards with 674 as well.
55th Selection: Ray Rice
Ray Rice compiled 454 yards rushing and 273 yards receiving on 33 receptions for the Baltimore Ravens in a very crowded backfield as a rookie. That's something to take notice of.
He battled for snaps all year long and had his fair share of droughts, but also showed signs of a Perennial Pro-Bowler at times.
54th Selection: Jason Jones
Jason Jones quietly put up a very good season for the Titans in 2008. As a defensive linemen his tackling opportunities are diminished but he managed 31 wrap ups.
He also collected five sacks and three forced fumbles to go along with that. All together an impressive rookie campaign.