April 24, 2010
Patriots Get Plenty Of Value on Day Two
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
Day two of the NFL Draft is in the books, and head coach Bill Belichick once again worked the draft board, came away with a solid group of players, and left his team in great shape heading into 2011.
It's all about value, and New England's head coach got plenty of it both for this year, and next year. Most notably they gave up a 3rd for a second in a trade with the Carolina Panthers - which now gives them two in the first round, and two in the second next year.
Most experts are comparing him to Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, and he gives the Patriots a big target down inside the redzone, which they definitely need. The former Arizona standout is 6-foot-6, 265-pounds, and caught 75 passes for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns in two years with Arizona, and was projected by some as a first round pick but slipped into the second due to a back injury that sidelined him for the 2009 season.
Gronkowski did visit Gillette Stadium to meet with the Patriots earlier this year, and apparently head coach Bill Belichick liked him enough to jump ahead of the Ravens in order to make sure he ended up in a Patriots uniform.
Their next selection saw them address the defensive side of the football, and they took University of Florida DE/OLB Jermaine Cunningham with the 53rd overall selection.
The 6-foot-3, 266 pound prospect possesses a similar makeup to former Patriot Willie McGinest, with many projecting him to potentially become an outside linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 alignment. Considering the need New England has for a pass rushing threat, his bio should definitely excite Patriots fans. He had 18 ½ sacks along with 33 tackles for a loss over the course of his college career.
Their next selection was another linebacker out of Florida, with Brandon Spikes joining the Patriots after he was taken with the 62nd pick. The 6'2" 249-pound Spikes is said to have dropped into the 2nd round because of a bad 40 time after he reportedly couldn't break the 5-second mark. He's been called a "natural middle linebacker," which means that we should see an interesting competition with Gary Guyton and Tyrone McKenzie when training camp opens in a few months.
Their final pick of the night (90th overall) saw them grab an offensive player, with the team selecting Ohio receiver Taylor Price. This pick came courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys, who traded up to New England's 24th spot yesterday to grab receiver Dez Bryant.
Price is Ohio's all-time leader in receptions with 149, and he ranks second in the school's history with his career totals in receiving yards (2,019) and touchdowns (14). The 6-foot-1, 212-pound target out of Ohio University played cornerback in high school and also saw time at runningback and special teams in college. Yet another player who fits Belichick's criteria when it comes to versatility.
Fans seem to be viewing day two as much more of a success than the mixed reactions their day one selection of Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty drew yesterday. ESPN's Adam Schefter had plenty of praise for the Patriots, and seemed to feel that New England worked the board quite well on Day 2.
"Today the Patriots have made four picks, four trades and came away with an extra 2 next year. Nobody works draft board better," said Schefter via Twitter.
The draft will continue Saturday morning beginning at 10am ET, with Rounds 4-7 next up. The Patriots have one pick in 4th, one in the 5th, one in the 6th and five picks in 7th. Of the eight picks the team has tomorrow, four of them can't be traded -- which means it should make for a less dramatic day for Patriots fans.
NOTES: The Patriots gave up a 6th-round pick (190) and a 2nd round pick (44) in order to move up two spots to take Gronkowski….In exchange for trading out of the 47th spot -- which they sent to the Arizona Cardinals - they received Arizona's second-round pick (58th) and third-round pick (89th)…. The Patriots third trade of the day sent their 58th pick to the Houston Texans in exchange for a second round selection (62) and a fifth-round draft choice (150)…. The Patriots made a great deal in their final trade of the day, sending a third-round draft choice (89th overall) to the Carolina Panthers for a 2011 second-round draft pick. It's definitely a beautiful thing…unless of course you're a Panthers fan…Ian Rapoport reported that there's an interesting connection with Spikes and the Boston Sports community. He's dating Celtics coach Doc Rivers' daughter.
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