By: Russ Goldman
When the Patriots traded Richard Seymour over 2 years ago for the Raiders #1 draft pick in the 2011 draft, I knew this particular draft would be important. Well, we are getting very close to the draft, and all eyes will be on the Patriots. They have 6 picks in the first 3 rounds, and have a tremendous opportunity to build the future of the Patriots. This is the year to maximize the Patriots draft picks.
The Patriots are incredible in picking up extra draft picks each year, and stockpiling them for the future. At some point you need to cash in your chips. This is the year the Patriots need to take advantage of everyone of these high picks. I do not want to see the team this year trading one of them for a high pick next year.
This happens to be a very good draft at many positions of need for the Patriots. I am not saying they need to pick at the spots they are now. If they feel they can trade up or trade down, and it gets them quality players, I am all for it.
The Patriots needs include offensive line, outside linebacker, and defensive end. As long as they address these areas of concern, I will feel this was a successful draft.
With the uncertainty of the Logan Mankins situation, along with Matt Light being a free agent, the Pats could probably use two quality lineman.
I think the Patriots need another outside linebacker to compliment Jermaine Cunningham on the other side. They need a player that can rush the passer and drop into coverage. This linebacker really needs to be a three down player. The days of Tully Banta-Cain as a starter need to be switched to a back-up role.
The Patriots also need another defensive end that can hold up blockers, and has the ability to rush the passer. Ty Warren is returning and will bolster the line, but in the future they need to transition to another defensive end.
I know there are many fans that want the Patriots to draft a running back and a wide receiver early in the draft. I am completely against this philosophy as it has backfired on the Patriots time and time again. Do I have to bring up Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson, and Laurence Maroney to convince you? You can find players for these positions in the mid to later rounds.
For me in the first 3 rounds I think it is necessary to get 5 or 6 players that could be building blocks for many years to come. Nick Caserio and his staff have had two quality drafts back to back. If they can do it again in this draft, the Tom Brady window of opportunity could be extended for awhile.
This is not the year to trade picks for next year’s draft. The time is now to take advantage of this deep draft. Again, I go back to the Richard Seymour trade. The Patriots were targeting this draft when they made that trade. It is time to cash in those chips, and continue to build the future of the team.