Patriots Commentary Writer Bob George
      April 26, 2003      
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      Draft Day Thoughts From A Certified "Non-Expert"
    By: Kevin Rousseau/PatsFans.com

    Sometimes at work, when we are discussing the finer details of transportation planning someone will pipe up and say “If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.” The same could be said about how the Patriots wheeled and dealed during this year’s college draft. Up a few spots here, down a few spots there. At the end of the day, when it comes to the draft, as a fan you have to have to trust Bill Belichick and the rest of the brain trust, don’t you? Let’s be honest. You and I don’t have a lifetime of experience at football evaluation. We don’t see the college game films like the Patriots’ brass does. Nor are we privy to the private conversations, whispers, and rumors that help define who gets chosen where. In short, the most amusing part of the annual draft is that just about everybody around the water cooler claims to be an expert when in reality they don't have any more of a clue than my 84 year-old grandmother.

    I do have one caveat about this rant. I can't thank fellow patsfans.com writer Ray Faustina and the other newcomers' enough for their work on this website in the time leading up to the draft. If you are a draft nut (Admittedly, I'm not), patsfans.com was the only place to get any type of fair, objective analysis on the draft from the Patriots perspective. It added a terrific new dimension to this site and their work should be applauded.

    Moving on, the Patriots had obvious holes to fill on the defensive line, in the secondary, and at offensive skill positions. And with three picks in the first forty-five slots, they went out and selected players that they think will be able to address those needs. Time will tell whether these new players work out and eventually Belichick will be held accountable one way or another for them. But what can be said today with a good deal of certainty is that the Patriots appear to know exactly what they want to do on draft day. Every year, they come prepared and rarely make fools of themselves like the Minnesota Vikings did with their 7th pick this year. As a fan, very rarely do the Patriots embarrass you anymore and turn you into an apologist.

    In a draft that was considered 12-15 impact players deep by most “experts,” the Patriots calmly moved out of the 19th slot in exchange for the Ravens 41st slot this year and their 1st round pick next year. By doing this, they are saying that there is no need to panic and take a second player in the 1st round this year just for the sake of being able to market two 1st round picks to Patriots Nation. They are also saying that it makes no sense to pay 1st round bonus money for a pick at 19 if there aren’t any players that are worth it. Next year, between this Ravens pick and the 2nd round pick they got from Miami on the day before the draft, the Patriots will now have four picks in the first 64 slots. In my view, that is logical long-range business planning.

    I’ll leave the technical talk about the Patriots choices and Eugene Wilson’s ability to apply “press coverage” to others. (Editor’s Note: This last sentence was yet another tiresome, weak attempt at humor by the author of this so-called “column.” Fans will remember Bob Kraft gushing over Tebucky Jones being a terrific “press corner” a few drafts ago. Thanks-ed) What I can offer up in exchange is a good deal of middle round, quality Zingers:

    Halfway through Round 2, the lovely and talented Mrs. Rousseau opens up the Augusta/Gardiner phone book and starts reading: Abbe, Abbey, Abbott, Abdoo, etc. You get the idea. Her point was to show that discovering the fact that there are fifty-eight Abbott’s in the phone book is almost as exciting as sitting around all day and wondering whether the Patriots are going to take a cornerback five spots from now. Reluctantly, I had to admit that she may have had a point.

    I thought the use of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon was a welcome change during this year’s ESPN’s draft coverage. If you aren’t a frequent viewer of their show “Pardon The Interruption” yet, you are missing out. On the other hand, Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe should do whatever he can to disassociate himself from the embarrassment that is ESPN’s “Around the Horn.” He’s too good of a columnist to be involved in that type of junior varsity show.

    I’m sure loyal Zinger readers are getting sick of my frequent compliments of CNNSI’s Peter King. But please, indulge me one more time. In his column last week was a fascinating chart that shows the historical, numerical trade value of every pick in the 1st round of the draft. It’s simple to follow and helps to make sense of it all.

    While I’m conducting a Media Watch, I want to pass out some kudos to the Boston Globe’s Ron Borges. In the past, I have taken him to task for his often-sympathetic columns about the Oakland Raiders. However, in a recent Sunday notes column, he rightly pointed out the absurdity of the Raiders’ lawsuit against the Buccaneers and Panthers for having uniforms that are too close to the Raiders’ legendary silver and black look. As a reader, I appreciated his objectivity.

    It occurred to me while sitting in the right field roof box at Fenway the other day that Tebucky Jones was to the Patriots what Trot Nixon is to the Red Sox. Both are good players and decent human beings who are always just on the verge of taking it to the next level. The question then becomes how long does a team wait around for this to happen? Incidentally, seats up on the right field roof are the best value at Fenway, priced at a somewhat reasonable $37.

    If you are looking for a fun, informative read, check out Don Weiss’ “The Making of the Super Bowl.” Weiss was in charge of running the Super Bowl for the NFL for thirty-five years and offers all types of little gems about the history of the game and the NFL. Among them is the amusing story of Garth Brooks nearly refusing to sing the National Anthem before Super Bowl XXV. Check it out.

    It was recently announced that the NFL would be starting its own satellite channel that will feature old films, press conferences, etc. This may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the often-threatened switch from my crummy cable service to Direct TV. Stay tuned.

    As we look back on this year’s draft, remember the fact that 50% of all first round picks never pan out.

    That’s it for now. I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at patsfansince72@yahoo.com


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