The New England Patriots did what we all expected them to do, they shopped the number seven pick and sold it to the highest bidder.
The highest bidder ended up being the New Orleans Saints, who wanted to ensure they could draft Sedrick Ellis. The trade moved the Patriots down three picks and netted them an additional third round pick (they also gave up their fifth round pick in the deal).
After trading the pick, the Patriots went for a position we all expected, but a player nobody expected.
First Round Pick: Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee
I’m not sure anyone had the Patriots selecting Tennessee LB Jerod Mayo.
Mayo is a very good player who can play at all three linebacker positions in the 4-3, and projects to an inside linebacker in the 3-4. He was an extremely productive player in college, and was ranked as the number two inside linebacker in the draft almost universally.
Some NFL teams had him ranked higher than USC linebacker Keith Rivers, the Patriots claim they were one of them.
I love this pick. I hadn’t thought of him as a potential selection for the Pats, but in retrospect I should have. He’s a linebacker, he was productive in a major college program, and he is extremely versatile. He perfectly fits the Patriots’ current need to get younger on defense, especially at linebacker.
Learning from Bruschi and (hopefully) Seau should benefit this kid greatly. Trading the seventh pick and an additional fifth rounder for Mayo, some cap space and a third round pick seems like a pretty fantastic deal to me.
Pick Grade: A-
Second Round Pick: Terrence Wheatley, CB, Colorado
We knew they weren’t going cornerback in the first round, for reasons discussed prior to the draft. We had a good idea that they’d take a look at the position in the second round. But the cornerback they selected was downright shocking.
With guys like Justin King, Reggie Smith, and Dejuan Morgan still on the board, the Patriots went with the speedy cornerback from Colorado. A guy I’m relatively certain they could have had with one of their third round picks, and maybe even their fourth round pick.
This one was a head scratcher.
Wheatley gives them a guy who can return kicks and is extremely fast, but is lacking in size—a faster version of Ellis Hobbs. He’s a good player, but certainly a reach in the second round. He’ll be able to contribute right away on special teams, which I’m sure played into the Patriots’ decision to take him this high.
I just think, if he was the top guy on their board, they should have traded the pick. Get an additional pick next year. Then take him in the late third or early fourth round where he belonged.
Pick Grade: C-
The Patriots have three third round picks. I’m rooting hard for one of them to be Penn State LB Dan Connor.
If they can come out of this draft with two potential starting middle linebackers, I will be absolutely ecstatic. Dave Williams, one of Bleacher Reports utmost college experts, loves Connor. The fact that he slipped to day-two is surprising.
Whoever lands him will do so early tomorrow morning. I’m rooting for that team to be the Patriots.
By the way, ESPN’s Michael Smith (formerly of the Boston Globe) should know better. No way the Patriots were drafting Rogers-Cromartie with the seventh pick.
They’d rather pull a Minnesota Vikings and let someone else pick first than pay a cornerback, especially a soft corner like Rogers-Cromartie, seventh pick money.
Back tomorrow with more!