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Patriots post-draft analysis

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I always like to take a few days to let the dust settle following a Patriots draft. Sometimes it takes that long for me to get over the "%$#%@!& Belichick" phase. It used to take me longer - maybe a few months - before I got to this acceptance phase, so a week is pretty good.

I've gotten used to Belichick not doing what everyone expects. I've gotten so good that I correctly predicted Belichick would pick a quarterback in the second round. It wasn't because I wanted to draft a quarterback. No, no, no. It's because I didn't want to draft a quarterback in the second round that I knew Belichick would. See? I've got Bill figured out.

But let's start with the first round. When the Patriots' turn came, I waited for the Commissioner to step up to the podium to announce, "The Patriots have traded their first round pick, the 29th overall, to (fill in the blank) for (fill in the blank)'s third round pick in 2014, their 6th round pick in 2015, and their 2nd round pick in 2093." To my surprise, the Patriots used their first round draft pick on Dominique Easley. What didn't surprise me is he is from Florida. Does Belichick scout any other college programs besides Florida, Alabama, and Rutgers?

You would think Belichick would have learned his lesson. Former University of Florida alumni Brandon Spikes and Aaron Hernandez were not what you would consider model citizens. Others who were busts as players included Jermaine Cunningham and Chad Jackson.

The talent is there with Easley. Many scouts believed Easley was a top-five talent. The problem? He tore both his ACL's in college. Meh-- who needs ACLs? It's a high risk, high reward pick for Belichick. Easley could be the second coming of John Randle. Or he could be Steve Emtman.

The Patriots' second round pick is the one that has everyone talking. There was talk the Patriots might be searching for Tom Brady's successor in this draft. Few thought they would use a second round pick on a QB. Fewer thought they would pick Jimmy Garoppolo. It's rarely a good sign when the only video you see on a quarterback looks like it was filmed at your local high school field. And I'm not talking about those big high school football fields down in Texas. Garoppolo is a good-looking quarterback, in many more ways than one. But is he that much better than, say, Alabama's A.J. McCarron who wound up going in the 5th round? Could the Patriots have been better off helping Tom Brady immmediately by picking tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz (like many had penciled in for New England)? The Patriots have one tight end who can't seem to stay healthy and are still trying to replace another one who will remain behind bars for the rest of his life.

I was very pleased with the Saturday part of New England's draft. Three of their next four picks focused on the offensive line. The O-line was a weakness for the Patriots. With Brady getting older and even less mobile (he was never that mobile to begin with), it is imperative that the line give him time to make his reads. Enter Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming, and Jon Halapio (another Florida player). That's a lot of mass of humanity there. All three are listed at above 315 pounds.

In between, the Patriots drafted a running back. I'm happy with Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen as my top two backs. I also like Brandon Bolden. I didn't see a need to draft a running back which is why I again nailed the prediction on Twitter. I would have liked them to have gone after a hard-hitting safety earlier, but what do I know?

The Patriots did draft a safety in the sixth round. When I hear Jemea Thomas' name, I hear Duron Harmon and Tavon Wilson. It doesn't excite me, nor should it as a sixth round pick. I still hope Belichick converts newly-signed free agent Brandon Browner to strong safety. That might have me doing cartwheels in my living room (or trying to anyway).

Zach Moore intrigues me. Belichick picked him in the 6th round. Like Garappolo, the footage on him is pretty grainy. That's because Moore played his college football for Division II Concordia-St. Paul. Raise your hand if you've ever heard of Concordia-St. Paul. Didn't think so. But Moore is a physical specimen who has the potential to be a freak like current Patriot Jamie Collins. Then again, he could wind up being cut in August.

The Patriots last pick may be the one that excites me the most. Pint-size (5'8") slot receiver Jeremy Gallon from Michigan has the potential to be a little spark plug for the Patriots similar to a Darren Sproles. While the Patriots are stacked at slot receiver, the Patriots could line up Gallon in the backfield with Brady in obvious passing situations. Gallon may also provide New England with a shifty, speedy kick returner. No more lumbering LeGarrett Blounts back there. No offense to LeGarrette.

It goes without saying that Belichick has more football knowledge in his little finger than I do in my whole body. Scouting is an inexact science. You can account for all the measurables at a scouting combine, but you can't measure a player's heart and desire. You also can't translate the things a player does on a track to what he does on a football field.

The Patriots addressed needs on the offensive and defensive lines through the draft. They took care of the secondary via free agency. They didn't address issues at tight end and linebacker. Apparently they had "a situation" at quarterback which they addressed. Overall, I am not displeased with this draft. That's saying something for me.

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