Well, at least now the Wes Welker trade makes a little more sense. The Pats front office has been panned by many experts and some fans, for over-investing (a 2nd and 7th round pick) in the trade for Wes Welker. Today's deliberate and systematic exiting from the 2007 draft sheds entirely new light on that decision. In his press conference today, BB was unusually frank in comparing the value of the Welker trade against what was on the board at #60. I like to believe that Welker will be a player for us more on par with what the Colts drafted at #32, in Anthony Gonzalez-- one of my pre-draft favorites-- although of course no comparison is perfect. At #32 the Colts have invested far more draft value in Gonzalez than we have in Welker. One thing is certain: there was no remotely equivalent value at WR at #60. Apparently, and this seems obvious, BB/SP knew months ago that this year's draft class was going to be thin and poor. Making a move for Welker was just a way to optimize value with the pick, and a way to avoid spending draft picks on players that are being over-drafted. When the season ended, the Pats were poised with four selections in the first three rounds. In addition to offloading 60 to the Fins, they've now sold off 28 and 91-- willing to accept fairly moderate deals in exchange. A 2008 1st plus a 4th is barely adequate for 28. And a 2008 3rd plus a 7th is a bit thin for 91. For what they got in trade, it seems to me BB/SP were selling their picks in a buyers market. And were more than happy to make the deals they got. Translation: we didn't see any players worth the pick. We got what we could out of it. Clearly, our collective hopes and dreams for Harris or Posluszny as the future of the interior defensive front were a hallucination that BB never shared. Trading out of 28 was a specific vote of no-confidence in those guys as starters for our scheme. In this evaluation, I have to defer to BB's judgement. There is no chance that Harris or Pos were "overlooked" by accident-- even Kiper saw the suitability of a fit. Overall, I have to admire what the Pats did, and (it seems) have been doing for months. If I was to characterize what happened on Day One of the draft, I would say that the Patriots didn't really improve the team so much as they elected not to make a mistake. Takes a lot of balls and courage, to devise a strategy of aggressive disengagement with the draft for the betterment of the franchise overall, knowing that your competitors are adding young players disproportionatly faster than you are. They have the courage to act on their convictions that these kids are being overdrafted, and that the appropriate response is to sell, sell, sell. This approach is more in the mold of a tactical retreat than any sort of victory. The only redemption will come in 2008, when we have the extra ammunition against what will hopefully be a fuller field of prospects... currently five picks in the first three rounds next year. Other observations: - the fact that the first round took so long is, I'm sure, a function of the lack of talent. Lots of GMs scratching their heads. - the fact that there were so many trades is, I'm sure, a reflection of teams scrambling around for a few players they liked for their teams. Lots of hunting and pecking today. - 2007 will go down as the year that disproves the idea that BB/SP use a BPA philosophy. BPA says when your pick is up, you take the best player. Instead, it seems that BB/SP are measuring their prospects against an abstract ideal for how a player in the late first round should project, not how they compare to the other players in their draft class.