Sunday, April 27, 2008

Evaluating The Patriots 2008 Draft

Round 1 - Pick #10 - Jerod Mayo - ILB - Age 22 - The Patriots really needed to address two positions in the 2008 Draft: linebacker and cornerback. By selecting Mayo, the Patriots are now in much better shape at the inside linebacker position. Mayo had quite the season in 2007. He had 140 tackles and 8.5 tackles for losses. At the end of the season, he was a second team All-American. If he continues to play at the pace he did in his last four college games (52 tackles), there is a very strong chance that he could start at inside linebacker. He is physically ready to make an impact despite the many claims that he is undersized.

Round 2 - Pick #62 - Terrence Wheatley - CB - Age 23 - Over at, Wheatley was ranked as the #19 best cornerback and he was a projected mid-rounder (3-5). Well, the Patriots must have found something they really liked in Wheatley to select him so high. He isn't a big cornerback and with that he bears a semblance to former Patriots shutdown corner Asante Samuel, not only in his hairstyle, but in his quickness and athletic ability as well. With off-season acquisition Fernando Bryant being projected to start at left cornerback, Wheatley might be limited to a nickel or back-up role in 2008. Nevertheless, he could turn out to be something special just like fourth rounder (in 2003) Samuel was.

Round 3 - Pick #78 - Shawn Crable - OLB - Age 23 - Crable is a huge (6'5, 245) pass rusher who had 7.5 sacks in 2007. He was a no-name player really until he had that great 2007. Looking at the Patriots depth chart, they don't really have any talented back-up outside linebackers. Pierre Woods and T.J Slaughter? I know I'd much rather have Crable.

Round 3 - Pick #94 - Kevin O'Connell - QB - Age 23 - Reading a scouting report on the guy, you will probably come across the words "great signal caller" and "lots of upside" -- these are positive things to say about a quarterback. O'Connell, in my opinion, could come right into New England and become the back-up to Tom Brady. Oh wait, Matt Cassell is in charge of that. Don't forget Matt Gutierrez either. I don't like how the Patriots selected a quarterback, but maybe Belichick wants to have someone compete with Cassell and Gutierrez.

Round 4 - Pick #129 - Jonathan Wilhite - CB - Age 24 - Two linebackers, now two cornerbacks. Wilhite is an eerily similar player to Wheatley. He won't be a starter or anything like that, but he will provide decent back-up.

Round 5 - Pick #153 - Matthew Slater - WR - Age 22 - Please take note: Slater is not a wide receiver nor a safety! He is a special teams wizard of sorts. He was a first team All-Pacific 10 member as a kick returner. Ellis Hobbs and Willie Andrews are two amazing kick returners already on the roster, so I am just kind of wondering where Slater will fit in.

Round 6 - Pick #197 - Bo Ruud - OLB - Age 23 - He kind of sucked his senior year (54 tackles) which led many to believe that he wouldn't even be drafted. In others words he will become a Larry Izzo type of special teams player at best.

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