By: Derek Havens
It has been almost two weeks after the conclusion of the 2013 NFL Draft, and the dust is starting to settle as the off-season has hit it’s lowest point.
There is certainly a lot to digest after another action packed draft weekend. To help analyze the event, I caught up with James Christensen of NEPatriotsDraft.com. Here’s the Q & A:
What stood out most to you over draft weekend?
The quarterback position stood out like a sore thumb. Guys with first and second day grades fell late onto day three in some cases – a definite 180 degree turn from the last few years where marginal quarterbacks crept into day two or even day one.
What are your thoughts about what the other three teams in the AFC East – Jets, Dolphins and Bills – did during the draft process?
I’m always a bit puzzled by the Bills, but if E.J. Manuel turns into the next RG3, I’ll eat my words. I think the Jets and Dolphins both had very good drafts. It is no secret that Geno Smith was my #1 prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft and I really thought he would be a success in the NFL. Now that he is on the Jets… I’m not so sure. The Dolphins are gambling on Jonathan Martin to protect Ryan Tannehill. If he is up to the task – I have my doubts – the Dolphins are a legitimate playoff contender.
How do you think the Patriots faired with their selections?
To me, it all depends on Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce. If one of those players – my money is on Dobson – turns into a productive starter, this draft class will be viewed as a success. If neither do, no matter how good Jamie Collins or the other defensive players are, this will be a wasted year for Tom Brady.
What player do you like most from the Patriots draft class?
Aaron Dobson without question. He was my #1 senior receiver coming into the year and despite questionable QB play he showed off a dazzling skill-set. As for a value pick, Michael Buchanan has a chance to be the latest 7th round steal for Belichick. I’ve scouted him in person a few times and he has always impressed. I think he can be Tully Banta-Cain with a bit more upside for New England.
What player do you like least from the Patriots draft class?
I can’t say that I dislike any of them. Like many NFL Draft writers, I think the Patriots could have got Duron Harmon a round or two later, but it is best to look at the guys you got, rather than where you got them. If you switched around Michael Buchanan and Duron Harmon, nobody would have batted an eye. Bill Belichick got his guys, let’s see them play.
How would you grade the Patriots draft class as a whole?
When you add Aqib Talib (4th round trade) to the draft choices, this class looks awfully good on paper. They’ll receive an incomplete from me until at least two seasons, but I will be very surprised if two or more of these players aren’t starters by then.
New England attacked the Undrafted Free Agent market from the get go. How do you think they did overall and are they any particular signings that stand out to you?
I think there are a couple of players that will get long looks for making the roster. T.J. Moe isn’t fast, doesn’t have a large catch radius and won’t wow you in any one area, but the Patriots have done magical things with quick little guys that tear up the 3-cone drill. Josh Kline is a versatile lineman (played all five positions at Kent State) that is going to be tough to cut come camp time. Both players would look great stashed on the practice squad.
Every year it seems at least one Undrafted rookie free agent makes the roster. Which free agent(s) do you envision making the cut this year?
I think that Moe will be the pick by a lot of people in the media, but I’m going with Kline. Amendola and Edelman will keep Moe off the roster in my opinion, despite the bonus given to him. To me, he is insurance in case either Amendola or Edelman gets injured during pre-season.
— James Christensen is the founder of the Draft Sites Network and is the lead editor at NEPatriotsDraft.com – an award-winning NFL Draft and Patriots website.