The Patriots have had a history of maximizing the potential of their draft picks and that was something people must remembering when evaluating their draft this year. The team potentially drafted the foundation to their next dynasty in this draft.
Despite tearing an ACL in his junior season, Dominique Easley opted to come out a year early and the Patriots are glad he did, selecting him with the 29th pick. Experts were surprised the team did not trade out of the spot, but the Patriots knew the Seahawks also coveted the DT despite the injury. With a quick first step and the ability to wreck havoc in the backfield and on the line of scrimmage, I get the feeling the Patriots stole one here. How fast will he be in the pro game? That's the question. But, he has the talent to shed blocks and the dream to play pro football. With drive like that, he should succeed. Don't really have Combine numbers to evaluate him because of the injury. He's a wild-card filled with potential, however and that's what the team has always seemed to love. He will emulate a guy like Vice Wilfork and may excel rushing the passer from an end spot with experience. Grade: B
Tom Brady is one of the finest signalcallers ever to play the game, and the last original link to the Patriots' dynasty. He seems like he could be able to play forever, but last season his play slipped a bit. He had his worst quarterback rating in five years and his 25 TDs and 11 INTs mirrored and 60.e completion percentage his play in a subpar 2003 season. Sadly, he's 37 now and not 27.You can blame the mass injuries to receivers, but there is no doubt Brady is aging. So, why the collective gasp when the Patriots drafted QB Jimmy Garopplo in round 2? He's a product of Eastern Illinois, just like Cowboys QB Tony Romo. average footwork and pocket awareness right now, but working with Brady every day should help fix it. Plus, he can scramble to elude tacklers and he has a good head for football. His arm is great. He'll succeed at this level, especially with a team like the Patriots. Grade: A
At 6'4" and at least 300 pounds, C Bryan Stork rounder. Mel Kiper was shocked with this pick because it was a major reach. He was projected to be a free agent signing, so the Pats probably should have gone receiver instead given the injures last season. I like his versatility on the line..but no one else had him valued this high. That drops the grade down. Still, I like the pick and it is a typical Patriots choice with good work ethic and attributes. Even though it is a reach, he's got potential to start right away. Still, the Pats probably should have traded down and gotten some additional picks to increase depth. Grade: B
RB James White was the second of the team's third round selections. He fumbled twice during his career in college, so he is a surehanded back like former Patriot Curtis Martin. He is able to pick up blitzing linebackers in pass coverage. A safe pick and good value, considering a running back was not selected for over 50 picks. He also has 4.5 40 speed. Grade: B
With the final 4th rounder, the Pats selected one of the draft's smartest players and future stater at RT, Cameron Fleming. He's 6-5 and 330 and is certain to make the roster. He could be a starter week 1 if Sebastian Volker is questionable. He can disrupt pass rushers, especially if he can refine his footwork. He already has spent time in Stanford's pro-style offense. Given Vollmer's uncertain future, the Pats needed to fill this spot and they did a great job here. Grade: A
G Jon Halapio, a college teammate of Easley's, started his last 36 straight games at RG for the Gators. That's impressive because he had a torn pectoral muscle during the streak.However, he seems to lack the power to succeed at the next level besides desire. Injuries make him a reach. Pats could have done better. I realize it's at the top of round 6, but I question whether he should have been drafted at all. Grade: D
DE Zach Moore's prayer has been answered by the Patriots, who drafted him in round six. Now, what's next for the Concordia St. Paul graduate? He totaled 21 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss and forced four fumbles over his past two years in college. If he doesn't make the NFL, he wants to make the streets of Chicago safer. Odds are that the 6-foot 5 Moore can make opponents sweat a little if he makes the squad. He has potential, so that makes me root for this guy. Grade: B
S Jamea Thomas can play any of the four secondary spots and impressed the Patriots with a consistent 225-pound bench press. He has the versatility the Pats love and he could be a big hitter on special teams. His 195-pound 5'10" frame might make him an injury risk, like former Colt Bob Sanders. Like Sanders, Thomas is a tough player who can fit into any system, but will the Pats be able to find the right place for him? Since he is able to do so many different things, I think the answer might be yes.
WR Jeremy Gallon was the team's final pick. Despite the off-season addition of Brandon LaFell, I'm shocked that the Patriots waited until now to draft a wideout. Clearly, Bellicheck had a say in emphasizing defense and the offensive line instead. At Michigan last season, he caught 89 balls for 1,373 yards. In the slot, he could be the next Wes Welker. Lots of potential here. Given the late pick, I have to give this pick an A grade.