FOXBOROUGH — Richard Seymour, defensive lineman from Georgia, was selected by the New England Patriots as their first round selection in the 2001 NFL Draft.
Joel Buchsbaum of Pro Football Weekly had this to say about Seymour:
“An outstanding college player who has a chance to become an excellent pro player if he shows he will go the extra mile. Seymour can play virtually any position along the defensive line and only figures to get better. He’s a lot like the Packers’ Vonnie Holliday but has more natural ability. He will go in the first round, but where he goes in part will be determined by how he works out. If he had played in the Senior Bowl and played well, he definitely would have gone in the top seven or eight picks.”
Buchsbaum went on to comment on Seymour’s upside, saying that he “can play over the center and a power-type DLE position”, and that Seymour was a good fit for a 3-4 defense. On the other hand, Buchsbaum noted that Seymour “is not quite as huge and overpowering as teams would want a tackle to be”, and “not as fast and sudden as teams would like a pass-rushing end to be”.
Seymour projects out as the heir apparent to the nose tackle position vacated by Chad Eaton, the veteran Patriot nose tackle who signed with Seattle in the offseason. The Patriots are also currently in negotiations with Henry Thomas to bring him back at less salary.
In taking Seymour, Bill Belichick passed on such other top players as Michigan’s David Terrell and Florida’s Kenyatta Walker. The gaping hole in the Patriot defensive line was a huge priority for the defensive-minded Belichick, and he acted accordingly.
Terrell was the popular pick among fans, who were largely skeptical that he would still be available at six. When Cleveland passed on Terrell and opted for Florida defensive lineman Gerard Warren, and Cincinnati scooped up Missouri defensive lineman Justin Smith, Terrell was certain to be available at six, and was when San Diego took TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
Terrell would have given Belichick a stunning combination of wide receivers, and would have allowed Troy Brown to go back to the slot. With Terry Glenn and Terrell in his arsenal, Drew Bledsoe could look forward to a big offensive shot in the arm this year.
The Patriots had many areas of concern other than defensive tackle and wide receiver. Their offensive line is still suspect, they don’t have a marquee running back, and they also could use an upgrade in tight end and linebacker. Seymour represents what was highest on Belichick’s list of priorities.
Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick went to Atlanta with the first pick, as expected. Atlanta traded first round picks yesterday with San Diego in a blockbuster draft eve deal.
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