There was a regional groan let out by almost every Patriots fan when they heard who their team had selected with the No. 27 overall pick.
Take a deep breath, Pats fans. The dynasty isn't lost yet.
Bill Belichick was panned for selecting Rutgers CB Devin McCourty with the Patriots' first pick of the draft when there was an absolute need for a pass rusher or wideout insurance. Some (okay, most) people thought that Belichick was losing his touch as a coach, or that he couldn't run an entire football team by himself, or that he's reaching for cubic zirconium when diamonds are right next to him.
Forget about the fact that Belichick and his staff spent months creating their own draft board. Just because it contradicts with Kiper and McShay's doesn't mean that it's totally and unequivocally wrong.
We (and McShay and Kiper) are observers to the NFL Draft. We (and McShay and Kiper) have opinions, but those opinions mean nothing to the real coaches and executives.
Flash back to 2003. The "smart" guys said Belichick was after a linebacker, and that he was a fool for trading up to get Ty Warren, a defensive lineman out of Texas A&M. Seven years later, Warren's a keeper.
Back to 2005. Again, in most everyone outside of Belichick's circle of expertise expected a linebacker. Instead, an offensive lineman out of Fresno State named Logan Mankins. Five year later, and Mankins is one of the elite linemen in the league.
We as football fans (and sports fans in general) are bombarded with news, stats, theories and anything else that executives at ESPN think will help them get ratings, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You didn't absorb that much information in school.
But it's not always knowledge. Some times it someone's opinions filtered to sound like knowledge. Sometimes it's false truths. But you believe that you know more than the General Secretary of the United Nations, and certainly more than the Patriots' resident genius.
Most of the players that Belichick chose are projects. Spikes, McCourty, Gronkowski, and Cunningham are all not the ideal player. They're projects. And the only thing that Belichick enjoys more than young players who are projects is winning Super Bowls.
The Belichickian system works. Just give it time.