Draft Review

Jermaine Cunningham was the first of three Florida players drafted by the Patriots in 2010. Picture from "Tennessee Journalist" via Flickr.

So the 2010 NFL Draft is now in the books, and draft addicts like myself have to wait another year. Here’s a look at the Patriots’ draft class of 2010:

  • 1st Round, 27th Selection – Devin McCourty, Cornerback, Rutgers. Many were initially surprised on Thursday night, when the 1st round ended, that the Patriots chose to address the CB position first, with Leigh Bodden and Darius Butler on the roster. I liked the pick. You need a lot of CBs in the NFL, and I don’t think Wilhite, Wheatley and Springs are good enough depth. You frequently have 3CBs on the field now in the NFL, and McCourty would be 3rd on my depth chart today. Also adds instant production on special teams.
  • 2nd Round, 42nd Selection – Rob Gronkowski, Tight End, Arizona. The Patriots picked up two TEs that I really liked in this draft. First up was Gronkowski, a big target that could be Tom Brady‘s best friend soon enough, provided he is as fully recovered from his spinal problems as he seemed on TV as he celebrated being selected.
  • 2nd Round, 53rd Selection – Jermaine Cunningham, Defensive End, Florida. The first of three Florida players the Patriots drafted. Everyone knows Bill Belichick’s connections with that college, but I didn’t see Cunningham as a possible Patriot before the draft. However, I think he’s a good player, and I think he has a chance to start at OLB if he grasps the system quickly, especially now Adalius Thomas has been released.
  • 2nd Round, 62nd Selection – Brandon Spikes, Inside Linebacker, Florida. The second Florida player taken, and another with a chance to start straight away next to Jerod Mayo in that 3-4 defensive scheme. Disappointingly slow over 40 yards, but he has an explosive burst and could be that run stuffer to enable Mayo to make more plays like he promised last year.
  • 3rd Round, 90th Selection – Taylor Price, Wide Receiver, Ohio. Price is a guy that wasn’t in a great offense, but shone amongst his lesser team-mates, and could have his best years ahead of him. Productive, with good hands and speed.
  • 4th Round, 113th Selection – Aaron Hernandez, Tight End, Florida. The third and final Gator selected, Hernandez apparently dropped in the draft due to marijuana use in his past, and Belichick expressed surprise that he was still available. Hernandez is more of a playmaking, versatile passing threat than Gronkowski, but not a blocker.
  • 5th Round, 150th Selection – Zoltan Mesko, Punter, Michigan. Mesko was a college captain, unusual for a punter, and came across as a really great guy in his conference call. He’s also a consistent punter, something the Patriots have lacked in recent years. I love this pick.
  • 6th Round, 204th Selection – Ted Larsen, Offensive Lineman, North Carolina State. I must admit that by this point in the draft, the Patriots had started drafting guys I hadn’t heard much about. Larsen adds more depth at Center or Guard but I think some of the guys from last year’s draft, with a year in the system, like Bussey or Ohrnberger might have better chances of making the 53 man roster.
  • 7th Round, 208th Selection – Thomas Welch, Offensive Lineman, Vanderbilt. Same as Larsen really, this pick is more depth on the O-line and more competition at camp.
  • 7th Round, 247th Selection – Brandon Deaderick, Defensive End, Alabama.
  • 7th Round, 248th Selection – Kade Weston, Defensive Tackle, Georgia. With the compensatory 7th rounders, many teams take a chance on guys so they don’t have to find that position amongst the undrafted free agents. Deaderick could have been selected higher, but I think both will only be providing depth or perhaps getting some snaps in the rotation on the D-line if they have a good camp.
  • 7th Round, 250th Selection – Zac Robinson, Quarterback, Oklahoma State. The Patriots always take a QB late in the draft or as an undrafted free agent, and have had pretty good success (Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer for example). Zac Robinson was Dez Bryant’s QB at Oklahoma State. I liked Tim Hiller more as a late round QB, but Bill knows better than me.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Pats’ drafting this year. I can’t wait to see how many of these guys contribute next season.

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