We know what to expect from Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots come draft day. Trust me, it will not be a surprise. His decision may be a head-scratcher, even a blue-language scream at the dog moment, but it will not be a surprise.
Trading down from a first round pick? That's not a surprise for Pat's fans. He has done that in 5 of the last 6 drafts. Bill has drafted defense in 11 of 14 total picks in the last two drafts, so drafting more defense this year will not be a surprise. Nor will be the drafting mostly offensive players despite needing more help on defense.
In the event there are multiple highly rated offensive players still on the board caused by an early run on defensive talent, we will not be surprised if he selects a relatively less known and the slowest of the top 25 rated linebackers in this year's first round, a Stanford player named Trent Murphy.
Most draft-nicks will be surprised, but not us Pat's fans. We may mumble and complain a bit after a move to get Murphy, or similar seeming folly, but this would be small potatoes compared Bill's trade up with Green Bay to take Chad Jackson only to see Green Bay take Greg Jennings with the Pats' pick.
Belichick, you see, doesn't think like most people when it comes to selecting football players. He doesn't weight the measurable stats like most football people do. Its not that the numbers don't matter, they do, but they just aren't weighted as highly as others may weight them. I mean how much better is a 6.5 sec./forty linebacker that can jump out of the gym but reads a play slowly as opposed to a 8.5 sec./forty guy that quickly reads the offense and takes a better angle to the ball?
This example is extreme perhaps, but this type of draft pick calculation, as well as many others that are unmeasurable, go into the calculus. Another insight can be taken from the following Belichick quote about an undrafted interior defensive lineman turned inside linebacker, Dane Fletcher:
“Dane’s in a very unusual situation, it’s a short list of players who have gone from being defensive linemen to being inside linebackers that I’ve worked with: Harry Carson would be one, Tedy Bruschi would be two, and Dane would be a third example of that. Most of the time, those guys go from being defensive ends in college to outside linebackers at our level. To take a defensive lineman to an inside linebacker position, it’s a much bigger challenge, to go from a defensive lineman to a guy that has coverage responsibilities, formation responsibilities, to seeing the game from your feet, and from depth, as opposed to seeing it this far away from you, [that is] the guy across from you. It’s a whole different ballgame, and there’s not a lot of players that can do that. ...”
Judging player capabilities and flexibility and projecting them into roles and positions apart from where they played in high school or college is a tricky business. It is definitely a hit-or-miss enterprise that takes experience and skill to see the value in, say, a Brady, Fletcher or Edleman that appear on your draft board. Belichick has had, and will continue to have, misses as is the case with all teams.
The Patriots and their fans are fortunate to have a smart, experienced and stable ownership and management team with a successful, winning track record over time. They will make their share of mistakes but will prevail given their edge in drafting, signing and coaching players.
There will be no surprises for Patriots fans this year. There may be disappointment here or there, but we have seen it all before.
 Matson, Barbara (2010-12-25). "Sky’s the limit for Fletcher". The Boston Globe.