Patriots Draft Tackle, Quarterback, Cornerback and Running Back(s)
The Patriots didn't even try to help their pass rush, which is hard to believe. However, they did draft the guy who'll be playing QB in 2015.
We left holes at the guard, center, WR, OLB and DE position unfilled. We did get a cover cornerback and a pair of running backs. Our flagship pick was mammoth tackle Nate Solder.
How much better are we today than we were Wednesday? Only time will tell. Due to his trading wizardry, Bill Belichick now has a pair of picks in the first and second rounds of the 2012 draft.
Here's who the New England Patriots have after 2 nights of drafting:
17- Nate Solder, Colorado, OT
He's pushing 6'9", weighs 3 times what I do, and can shove back a Greyhound bus. He may study under Matt Light for a year, but we're months-not-years from pairing Solder with 6'8", 320 lbs of Sebastian Vollmer as the outer edges of our Tom Brady protection.
He's a former tight end, too... so don't be shocked if you see him catch a few Vrabel-style touchdowns.
28- Traded to New Orleans for a 2012 #1 and a 2011 #2.
33- Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, CB
If all goes well, he will team with Devin McCourty to give us some pass protection at the corners. He's 6'1", so we won't give up as many of those Darius Butler alley-oop touchdowns. New England is 1 of 4 selecting cornerbacks around this spot in the last 5 years or so
He may start out as the nickel corner while studying under Leigh Bodden, and he has the size to play safety if Lee Meriwether is released.
His name, as we have mentioned, brings to mind a Batman villain.
56- Shane Vereen, Cal, RB
This pick came from New Orleans in the Mark Ingram deal. If Ingram is a bust and Vereen (no relation to the dancer) plays well, the Saints gave us a #1 to take the better running back.
Vereen is small and quick. He is an excellent pass catcher, sp he may be the end of the Kevin Faulk era. Highly-regarded Mikel Leshoure was taken one pick later.
60- Traded with Houston for a 3rd and 5th round pick.
73- Stevan Ridley, LSU, RB
Second RB in a row for the Pats. No, he doesn't rush the passer. I get the sense that we aren't going to pay BenJarvus Green-Ellis whatever he'll be asking for after his 1000 yard season.
Stevan (pronounced "Steven") had one fine year at LSU. He shocked many by coming out before building a reputation, but 3rd round isn't too bad of a spot. This is our Houston pick.
Ridley is more of an every-down back than Vereen is, and would play the BJGE role to Vereen's Danny Woodhead complement. He looks like this.
74- Ryan Mallet, Arkansas, QB
Tom Brady's eventual replacement, a fascinating pick. 6'6", 250 pounds, a rocket arm, and meteor head. He comes to us via our Randy Moss trade.
Mallet dropped in the draft after not impressing anyone during the pre-draft team meetings. He blew off a meeting with Carolina to go get drunk, for instance. Many teams that needed a QB right away passed on the Bledsoe-esque MC Mallet.
He has plenty of time to hone his craft while studying under Brady, and is fine insurance in case some safety smashes into Tom's knee again.
92- Traded to Oakland for a 2012 #2 pick and a 7th rounder in 2011.