Draft review: New England Patriots


After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The New England Patriots.

What they neededWide receiver, defensive line, cornerback, safety.

What they got: 
Round 2: Jamie Collins, DE/OLB, Southern Miss; Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
Round 3: Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers; Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers
Round 4: Josh Boyce, WR, TCU
Round 7: Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois; Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers

Where they hit: Trading out of the first round netted the Patriots picks in the second, third, fourth and seventh rounds which was a nice haul for a team that came into the draft with just five picks. Collins had 10 sacks last season and could fit at a variety of spots for a Patriots defense that likes versatility and Buchanan showed some flashes in college that were worth a seventh-round shot. Ryan provides good depth for a secondary that needs it while Beauharnais was projected to go much earlier in the draft. Dobson and Boyce both profile as receivers who can threaten defenses deep, which is something the Patriots offense needs.

Where they missed: There were picks with higher floors than Dobson in the second round, although the Patriots certainly have a strong enough team to focus on the ceiling. Neither he nor Boyce is a sure bet to add much immediate help to the offense, although doubling down on players with similar skill sets raises the likelihood that the Patriots will get some help in 2013. Harmon was the opposite of Beauharnais, a player expected to be drafted much later than the third round if he was drafted at all, but the Patriots tend to be good for at least one pick like that every year.

Impact rookies: We have no idea what the Patriots have planned for Collins at this point, but his ability to play a variety of roles means he’ll be able to carve out a niche if he impresses the coaching staff. Dobson and Boyce will certainly get chances to prove that they should be playing on the outside of the offense and Ryan should be in the mix for snaps in sub packages at cornerback.

Long-term prospects: Given the dearth of other options with their skill sets at receiver, both Dobson and Boyce can become fixtures in the lineup if they click with Tom Brady. That would add a dimension that’s been missing from an excellent Patriots offense and would presumably make them an even harder team to stop, which is a pretty scary thought. There’s a lot of room for growth in this draft class and if enough of them hit, the Patriots’ remarkable run under Brady and Bill Belichick will be well positioned to keep running through a second decade.

31 responses to “Draft review: New England Patriots

  1. Receivers seldom make an impact their first year, and Dobson has yet to face any top-calibre DBs, having come out of Marshall in the USA conference.

  2. There were receivers with higher ‘floors’, I am not sure I even know what that means.

    Dobson is pretty polished, played a lot at Marshall with a terrible QB and has great hands and size (6’3). Patriots have Brian Dabol back on the coaching staff and he will surely work with the receivers (like he did in 02 with Branch and David Givens).

    Boyce was projected higher but had an injury, thats why he fell.

    Remember these guys will get single coverage a lot because the defense needs to account for Gronk/Hernandez

    I got Dobson with 10 TD’s next year, kid will be open a TON

  3. Untested sure, but damn if Dobson didm’t make some of THE most amazing grabs with some no name players around him.
    I was hoping real bad that he would have been there in the 3rd for my Rams to snag him. Well played NE.

  4. “There’s a lot of room for growth in this draft class and if enough of them hit, the Patriots’ remarkable run under Brady and Bill Belichick will be well positioned to keep running through a second decade.”

    Nice spin showing your bias..The decade that you refer has to do with the level of talent in the rest of the division, not how dominant the
    Patriots have been.

    Take away the refs and the videos, it has not been that impressive. Plus, how much longer can the Patriots hide the exposure of inadequate arm strength with Brady? Brady is not going to be in the NFL that much longer.

  5. The thing about WRs in the Pats system is they have to have excellent football smarts. It’s one reason they have so many fails drafting there, and one reason I thought it would be wise to “overpay” Welker just a tad, because he was a virtuoso at it.
    That said, BB raved about Dobson’s football intelligence saying he was fantastic on the board, and knew everyone’s assignments, etc. and was taught Pats plays and recalled them accurately awhile later. Does this mean he will be successful? No, but he has one of the necessary components to be, and one that seems tough for the Pats to find. Dobson was also a team captain which is unusual for a WR and could bode well for his being a team player.

  6. The Pats signed Zach Sudfeld TE from Nevada minutes after the draft concluded. Dude is a specimen. 6’7″ 255 with good speed and great hands. Superb work ethic as well. Something to look for in coming years- great sign.

  7. As thin and unproven as the Patriots are at WR right now, both Dobson and Boyce will have plenty of opportunities this year to contribute. Boyce will probably be looked at for kick and punt returns too. Definitely need someone in case Edelman goes down with his yearly injury.

  8. The Pats have had a bit of success with receivers from Marshall. I believe Troy Brown and Randy Moss did some good things for the Pats.

  9. Sorry but after ten years of Belichik’s nonsense (trading down for “value”, and ultimately not getting any) I am not giving him the benefit of the doubt on this year’s draft…..

  10. I think many people forget that the New England offense and defense relies on a player “bringing something to the table” in the brains department. Although there are, in many scouts views, players with more “ability” on the board sometimes, it is those that have the smarts to understand what the opponents formation is showing that end up making the team.

    For example, if a receiver doesn’t understand that the free safety is cheating up because they suspect run and that the 15yd cross, which he is called to run, should instead be adapted to a 20-25yd cross, to take advantage of the coverage.. then they will never stick. Just ask Chad Johnson and all the other receivers who couldn’t comprehend a defensive alignment.

  11. Love when people try to bash Bill for drafting. What Receiver did he miss on really, Chad Jackson in the 2nd round. OK name another that wasn’t drafted in the 4th round or later.

    Look at the last couple drafts, they have been OUTSTANDING.

    Gronk, Hernandez, Ridley, Vareen, Spikes, Hightower, Jones, Denard, McCourty, Solder (people thought they should have drafted that stiff from Wisconsin that Bears took), Volmer got Arrington after the draft. Got a potential starter in Marcus Cannon late.

    Seriously compare that to other good teams and tell me who got more impact players/starters. They retooled around Brady and the Receiver spot is the last place they need to fix.

    Seriously, who has done better…..49ers…took a receiver in round 1 last year who NEVER played

    Steelers…come on….littered with busts

    Ravens….draft well but they have busts too

    Every team misses from time to time, Pats have hit WAY more than they have missed lately.

  12. “footballmaven says:
    Sorry but after ten years of Belichik’s nonsense (trading down for “value”, and ultimately not getting any) I am not giving him the benefit of the doubt on this year’s draft…”

    Since the Pats have had numerous pro bowlers, other starters and impact players from their drafts you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    You like many people are also ignoring the fact that most years the Pats retain a very high percentage of the veterans on the team, and their were very few opportunities for rookies to catch on.

  13. This is a draft where the Pats went for players with low floors, but very high ceilings. If you compare Jamie Collins numbers both at the combine AND on the field, there isn’t much difference to Mingo OR Jordan. By some comparisons, Collins looks to be a more explosive and versatile player than both.

    Certainly there is some risk involved with the pick, but BB rarely has had the opportunity to pick such a freakishly skilled athlete, drafting at the end of every round like the Pats have done for more than a decade.

    This season I see him as a combination situational rusher and coverage LB. When he grows into his body, he could end up being the next Andre Ware.

    At any rate he’s a guy who will be linked with Mingo and Jordan, and 3 years from now we will see who got the best value.

    As for the rest the 2 picks in the 7th were outstanding. Both will make the squad

  14. Funny I remember the same comments by the talking heads last year about how the Pats reached for Tavon Wilson who was tied with Janoris Jenkins for most interceptions by a rookie with 4 picks this year.

    Rick Spielman, Belichick was looking to trade out of the 1st round 24 hours before the draft and recouped picks that he wanted for the draft based on some poor trade decisions. I did not want Coradelle Patterson on the Patriots while he has a tremendous upside, he is known to be a poor route runner and is not too bright. It is a boon or bust pick for your Vikings.

    This draft getting two WR’s is similar to when we got Gronk/Hernandez (2nd& 4th) and Ridley & Vereen (2nd & 3rd).

    Draft grades are stupid at this point because time will tell in three years.

  15. Very good draft for the picks they had. They are working on a contract with Abraham. Expect to see him signed soon.

  16. Clown comment swagger but clearly as much as you’re capable of. Your tiresome same-old-thing observations mean less than zero.

  17. Nice balance on the draft… and way more picks (thanks, Vikings) than we had going in. Finally a tall receiver with some speed. Hopefully he works out. Only 5 more months until the season starts… (sadly.)

  18. BTW, love this comment RE: Jamie Collins:

    This season I see him as a combination situational rusher and coverage LB. When he grows into his body, he could end up being the next Andre Ware.

  19. Unlike most teams in the NFL, the PATS don’t get awed by a player’s athleticism. They want players with wits and versatility as they have a different game plan every week and they are a team that attacks the opponent predicating on what that team does. Thereby, it doesn’t matter how physically skilled you are, if you don’t understand football concepts, the PATS don’t want you.

    Look how many times BB used the word ‘SMART’ to describe Dobson when he spoke to the media after the PATS drafted him.

  20. I still miss having Scott Pioli in their war room. Not having him has hurt big-time.

  21. The Patriots are so brilliant. Belichick is the perfect coach, never makes a draft, strategic, or tactical mistake, always is the best, never loses. Every move he/the Pats make is the right move. Kraft, Belichick, and St. Brady are infallible.

    Eight years and counting.

  22. Just watch some of the recent interviews with BB regarding the players that were drafted. I know.. he doesn’t give much and it is often “we are moving on to next week” or (my personal favorite) “it is what it is.”

    But listen to what he says about asking players about what they saw in the coverage on a specific play and what they would do to better attack it. The ones that can remember what they saw, a FS or OLB cheating in a certain direction during a formation, and which way that player went… THOSE are traits to value. They can all play at this level or they wouldn’t be there.

    The real question is.. do you understand the situation and what would you do when presented with it again.

  23. Great comment maz, I guess that’s why the Pats have the best record in the NFL, most SB appearances and most SB wins since Kraft BB and Brady have been together. Love your insight.

    Pats made a good trade and drafted for the positions they need most, now and in the near future. I don’t know if these players are the right ones for the system or are stars or busts. Neither do you, neither does Kiper, Mcshay or the Pats for that matter. It’ll be fun to find out.

    For my 2 cents worth, watched Collins tape and he didn’t really stand out, love the Dobson pick, and just thought the rest were ok. Didn’t get the Harmon pk though. If value is the thing, why draft a guy in the 3rd rnd most of the league thinks is an UFA or a 7th rnd pk. If value is so important, why not trade and take him in the 5th-6th, unless they really liked the guy. They did a similar thing with TWilson last yr and he was no 2nd rndr.

  24. Annual post draft talk by people who know nothing. They will doubt Belichick then when players turn into solid role players / Pro bowlers, they will go silent

  25. I never knew so many NFL scouts read and posted comments to these threads. It’s incredible. Everyone’s an expert and I find it funny that anyone reading this story thinks that they know more about football and evaluating talent than BB. Are there a lot of 5x SB winning coaches (head or otherwise) out there, or am I missing something? I know it’s fun to talk about, but can we just keep it real? To all you Haters…you can’t hold BB’s jock strap and you never will be able to!!! Face it, he’s better at this than you could ever hope to be. Now go back to your boring lives!

  26. You never know how the actual picks turn out. The HoF is littered with players drafted outside of the first round.

    All in all, I like the our draft. We added players in positions of need. Time will tell if they’re the right players but our recent drafts have turned out pretty well. Ironically, our drafts seem to have improved when Piolli left town. Our 2010 draft in particular, was historically good.

    The more I watch and read about Dobson, the more I think this kid can be special. Big target with excellent hands. Plus, unlike most WR’s who tend to be divas, he was a team captain and is reportedly very smart. Sounds like a Patriot to me.

    The only knock I read on him is that he’s not a burner which is strange b/c he ran a 4.42 and 4.40 at the combine and reportedly ran a 4.33 in the past. Since when is that not blazing fast? If this kid pans out like I’m hoping he will, our offense will be scary good.

    It’s amazing how BB has managed to completely overhaul the roster with young talent over the past 3-4 years while still remaining competitive every season. I think the best is yet to come.

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