In this slideshow, I will be breaking down the New England Patriots draft picks through round three in the upcoming 2010 NFL Draft.
The Patriots are one of the smartest drafting teams in the league, and they have a lot of needs on their roster to fill before next season. With four picks through the third round, the Patriots could land multiple starters for down the road.
Let's take a look:
After a stellar season at Michigan in which he led the NCAA in tackles for loss, along with perhaps the best Senior Bowl performance of any defensive player, Brandon Graham's stock has skyrocketed.
For the Patriots, Graham would be a fantastic pick because he could easily rotate in and out of a defensive end/linebacker position in the Pats' 3-4.
Graham is fast, explosive, and he fills a gigantic need for a skilled young pass rusher. With Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, and now Jarvis Green gone, the Patriots' best pass rusher is Tully Banta-Cain. This should not be the case, and the Patriots will most definitely go for an end or linebacker in round one.
At 6'6", Corey Wooton definitely looks the part of an NFL defensive end.
Even with picking Brandon Graham in round one, the Patriots will still need a defensive end if Graham does indeed play linebacker.
With most other elite ends off the board, Wootton will be the best available 3-4 end. The Patriots can't go too deep in terms of pass rush, and in drafting Graham and Wootton, the Patriots will be set for at least a few years.
If the Patriots don't make a move for Greg Olsen, and if Benjamin Watson signs with another team in free agency, the Patriots will be empty at tight end.
Gronkowski is considered the second best tight end in his class behind Jermaine Gresham, who will most likely go in the first round. Gronkowski is a great blocker as well as a great pass catcher, and he has great size at 6'6", 264 lbs.
Personally, I'd prefer Gronkowski over Aaron Hernandez, mostly because Hernandez was measured at only 6'2" at the combine, less than the desirable height for a TE. Also, Hernandez is as poor a blocker as I've ever seen, and blocking is something that the Patriots almost seem to prefer over offensive production.
With the Randy Moss era possibly ending after this season, and with Wes Welker suffering a difficult knee injury, it is time for the Patriots to start considering some more depth at receiver.
Julian Edelman emerged as a Wes Welker clone after the latter suffered. However, Edelman is a speedy slot guy, not a legitimate No. 1 receiver.
Gilyard offers great value at this spot. However, if Damian Williams falls here, he is another good option. Although Gilyard doesn't have ideal No. 1 receiver size (6'0", 190), he has great hands, which he showcased at the Senior Bowl, where he had one of the best, if not the best week of any other wideout.
Regardless of who is available, the Patriots should really consider a WR here.