I am highly encouraged by what Belichick did, by what it implies.
Fans including Draftniks like us, always are like the Generals preparing for the LAST War.
The one thing we know is that BB has been rebuilding the Defense over the last few years, and patching the Offense. Many fans says we need a pass rush. The Pats need a 3-4 DE... The Pats need a ROLB rush end... Or so we fans say.
One thing I did see, and that is frequently ignored, is that their Defense improved markedly from 23+ PPG to 17 PPG between the first half and the second half of the season. That is until injuries in the "deep" DL, unmanned them for the Playoffs.
Recall that they did not have Bodden and McGowen in the secondary, and Spikes at LB along with both Warrens, Deaderick, and Brace, at the end of the season. That is a lot of talent to re-add to the Defense.
But we do not see the practices and the guys who are coming on, but have not produced on the field yet. BB and his staff do, and they know what they have, and what is developing too, and about ready to blossom. BB knows, and we don't.
On the DL the Pats have, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, Mo Pryor, G Warren? and Stroud? that adds up to 7 DL capable DLs and with a few more developing candidates, like Love too. How many do you really need, or can even carry?
I agree the team needed another DL at the end of the last season, as the Pats had a most unusual run of too many injuries by the playoffs there. But the adversity allowed them to test some youngsters and discover how good they could be. Obviously, they were satisfied, based on what they did in this draft.
Others have said they they need a DE--> OLB candidate or two. Historically BB has not selected them in the first round, but have signed them in FAs. Recently, he has invested 2s and 3s trying to develop his own. I still think they will select a couple candidates to develop in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, like they did with Crable and Cunningham. They picked up Ninkovitch after he groomed elsewhere and in his first year of starting along with rookie Cunningham, perhaps they feel, along with spoting player TBC, they have three acceptable players who will bloom with more playing time. They seldom had more than three in the Superbowl years.
We knew at some point, the Pats would have to start rebuilding the Offense. But we thought the Pats needed to "Finish" the Defense first. Their Draft indicates they think the Defense is "finished" already; and they were able to turn to the Offense. Consider how far they have come already in rebuilding the "older" Offense.
They have two young talented, gargantuan LOT tackles, with Volmer in the Pro bowl in his second season. they have two experienced vet starters in Light and and Kaczur; and a great young Guard, Mankins, and someone who played very well in Dan Connelly. Who knows how Wendell and Ohrnberger will develop at Center? Centers and interior linemen are frequently taken in the 2nd through 5th rounds. They will probably draft a RB or two, and sign a vet RB or two. Same for WR.
The Tight End position is young and already spectacular. The WRs are all relatively young, and the starters are accomplished. There are youngsters still developing. The starting RBs are both young, and proven, and more can be added. QBs make WRs, not the other way around.
People privately say Hoyer is impressive, and future HOF QB Brady is still in his prime. Although they could take another one like Greg McElroy who in a year or three, will surprise like Cassel did and Hoyer are doing, and Brady did a decade ago.
I am even more Encouraged. Even as BB surprises the conventional wisdom, the results are Super Bowl contention, year in and year out.