Fact: We are still in a position to take the BPA (a Belichickian given), are coming off of a 14-2 year, and still have 'needs' (although they are 'future') on the OTHER side of the ball too.
I have said many times, that since the Maroney/Jackson debacle in '06, we have taken 13 out of out first 14 draft picks on defense. The ONLY exception was Gronkowski last year in round two.
This is a deep draft at several positions. One of course, is DE--the one that we all see as a huge 'need.' Another is at RB. Yet another, much overlooked position is at....eek...QB. Yes, it is a very good draft to take a decent QB, one of the better ones in many, many years. We all know that Belichick is not afraid to take a higher round QB (see Kevin O'Connell, and that was when Brady had several more years than he does now). Will there really be anyone who is all that surprised if Belichick takes a QB in the top 3 rounds? I sure as hell will not.
We all know that we have returning injured starters at DL and CB, not to mention we are pretty well stocked at S, and TE too.
One of the higher picks will indeed likely be at DE--but not because of such extreme 'need,' simply b/c it will be deep at that position, and it will also be the BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE. I think we will surely take a DE in the first 2 rounds, and that will make such an 'extreme position of need' pretty well stocked. As a matter of fact, that position at DL may even be OVER stocked, with the return of Wright, Pryor, T.Warren + the addition of Stroud, and a high draft pick.
This position will include our staple (Wilfork), the return of a pro bowler (T.Warren), the addition of a decent player (Stroud), the addition of a high draft pick (likely 1st rounder), the return of injured players who know our system and have done decently as sub-rushers (Wright, Pryor), some guys who did okay last year (Deaderick, Love), and even possibly the extension of another year (G.Warren). We also have an extremely high round draft pick from a couple of years ago (Brace). This isn't even taking into account (free agency) and (mid to late round picks). Bill Belichick may very well feel as though this position will be okay
The LB'ers will go hand in hand with the DL of course, and he may also feel as though another year of Cunningham (high pick), Ninkovich (a typical BB type 'overachieving' type player), a healthy Mayo (led league in tackles), and the combo of Spikes (high pick) and Guyton (proven coverage LB) may be quite enough. I DO BELIEVE he will add to this position, but will it be as high as everyone expects??? First or second round?? This position may very well be taken care of with a mid rounder, a late rounder, or even ....free agency.
The OL will be revolving around his knowledge of whether or not he feels as though Light may return, or even if Mankins takes his 10 million for another year. Yes, I realize that the position needs improved upon, and yes, I do feel as though he'll take a pick in the first 2 rounds, but you also have a pretty solid line for another year, very viable backups Connely, Wendall, LeVoir (???), Ojinnaka and some younger developing players in Ornberger, Maneri etc. That is not even including our starters in Koppen, Vollmer (high pick), Kaczur, and AT LEAST one of Mankins or Light.
Yes, I do believe that we will likely take a higher OL pick (in top 2 rounds), but this can also be addressed in the mid rounds, the later rounds, and free agency. The bottom line is that it will not be a HUGE position of 'need' as some see it. It will be taken care of.
So that pretty much accounts for a high pick at DE, and a high pick at either OL/ (OR) OLB--I believe it will be OL, but again, it will likely come down to BPA.
That is 2 picks. We have 6 (top 3 round) picks, and yes we will trade one for next year (hopefully an additional 1st rounder), but we may also PICK up an additional pick in the top 3 rounds this year. It is very possible, so that leaves at LEAST 3-4 picks, at the VERY LEAST 2-3 picks. Where do they go??? Are there really people that are short-sighted enough to warrant all of these picks on front 7 positions? Better yet, are there really people that are short-sighted enough to think that Belichick will warrant all of these on front 7 positions?
It seems as though this board will have a complete meltdown if offensive players are taken. WHY? Are there really people out there that are happy with our future WR position after this yr? Or how about our future RB position? (which also happens to be a draft strength in depth this year)
Are you all really happy with our future QB situation? Or even better yet, our CURRENT backup situation? (again, in a year with obvious QB depth) We have seen examples of a veteran who grooms a rookie for several years, a la Aaron Rodgers/Brett Favre, and even the Indy Colts are smart enough to be seriously looking at backups/possible future QB's this year. Do you think that we aren't just as smart???
So, to get to my (long awaited) point...Yes, I feel very confident that one or two of our 'early' picks will be used on a possible skill position, as we still need to get younger and faster on offense too. Sure, we all know that is our 'strong' side of the ball, but shouldn't we KEEP it that way? Especially in a year where we are coming into the draft with a perceived 'luxury?' How many of this years picks will actually make the team, especially after the last 2 years? Do you all think we'll field 75-80% of a roster with players in years 1-3? I don't. I think that there is potential for 5-6 players to make the top 53, but I also think that we are in a rare luxury, with a couple of key positions that are DEEP on the offensive (I know, GASP) side of the ball.
Am I bat**** crazy?
Or seeing the bigger picture?