Re: How much faith do you have in BB being able to pick the right DB in R1?
To start, I disagree with the criticisms of the Harris and Myers picks as duds. Those guys each gave us a number of years of successful service in SB years-- very analogous to Tully Banta-Cain type of service, who was also a late round pick. I dont think anyone considers TBC as a wasted pick.
I also disagree, strongly, that the Pats are 90% likely to draft a DB in the first round. I think the likelihood is closer to 30%, and that's including both picks.
I was convinced that 2006 was the year of the LB, after losing McGinest. And 2005 was the year of the CB, after losing Ty. Not so.
Partly, I think the general public doesn't think as highly of our starting secondary as the staff does. Hobbs, Sanders, Wilson and Samuel are a young nucleus which will be in place in 2007. Add Harrison, Gay, Scott, Hawkins... and it's a very deep and servicable group. Just because they aren't household names doesn't mean they aren't players. As recently as last offseason, posters on this board were looking to bring Ty Law back so Asante could go back to his "natural position" as the nickleback. Now, suddenly, he's one of the elite CBs in the NFL, and someone we cant do without.
Personally, I think a fair probablistic breakdown for likelihood is something more like:
RB - 10%
TE - 10%
WR - 5%
OL - 5%
DL - 10%
LB - 30%
DB - 30%
QB, K, P - <1%
Offense is a real possibility. Losing Graham leaves a spot, KBrady notwithstanding. Losing Dillon leaves a need, Moris notwithstanding. None of the WR signings other than Welker are truly long term solutions. If good value at any of those positions presents itself (e.g Lynch, Meachum), BB wont hesitate to pull the trigger. The roster still doesn't have solid depth at NT. And the idea of losing Warren to UFA in a few years has to be daunting-- someone like Okoye might seem like a worthy investment.
BB/SP will not force themselves to pick a CB or pick a S in the first round. I think a class headlined by...
24 - RB Lynch, WR Rice, WR Meachem, OLB Moss, OLB Spencer
28 - TE Olsen, LB Posluszny, RB Leonard, OT Staley, LB Beason
... should not be all that surprising.
"We want to build a big, strong, tough, smart, fast, disciplined football team that will consistently compete for a championship."
-- Scott Pioli, from the Patriots scouting manual