It has been almost three months since the New England Patriots celebrated their sixth Super Bowl win. (I got six.) If you’ve had trouble keeping track of draft prospects, Coach Bill Belichick feels your pain, as he has lamented the difficulty of catching up on scouting when going late into the post-season. Ah, the troubles of the successful.
Since February, we’ve tried to preview potential New England draft selections by checking out a couple of college all-star games, reviewing past tendencies, and monitoring NFL combine (and non-combine) performances. Links to each of those columns below.
Patriots drafts tend to feel disappointing, and they usually work out for the best. For example, not many pundits seemed thrilled with the 2001 selection of Georgia defensive lineman Richard Seymour, but he became a potential Hall-of-Fame player. On the other hand (and speaking for myself), the 2006 trade up in the second round for Florida wide receiver Chad Jackson generated lots of excitement, but he washed out of the league after only a few years.
A bit of an unusual draft in Foxboro this year, in part because so many of last year’s injured rookies now hope to make the team after a kinda-sorta redshirt season. (Nice rundown of the potential return of the 2018 class in this 247sports piece.)
The three-day NFL Draft begins with the first round on Thursday night, April 25, moves on to the second and third rounds Friday evening, and wraps up with Rounds Four through Seven on Saturday afternoon. As of this writing, New England has 12 picks, with their only first-rounder scheduled for the end of Thursday night, number 32 overall. With all the returning redshirts, plus some specific needs in play, might prove a solid time to move up in the draft. But maybe Belichick will stay consistent, trade down and around, and go to another boring Super Bowl. We shall see.
Our first “That Guy” draft preview came after the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game. A few names popped up that have been bandied about as possible Patriots picks, including defensive lineman Anthony Nelson out of Iowa.
For an overall review of New England draft selections since 2000, please see our critically acclaimed (maybe) annual Round-By-Round Review. (Spoiler: It’s possible that, despite some mistakes here and there, Belichick tends to know what he’s doing come draft day.)
Our next “That Guy” column arose after the NFL Combine, allowing us to use some performance numbers with our projections. Here’s our first look at Clemson defensive lineman/boulder-from-Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark Dexter Lawrence, plus Northern Illinois offensive lineman Max Scharping.
For every athlete chosen to participate in the NFL Combine, several more get overlooked. Our rundown of notable pro-day performances came in our annual “Combine Snubs Who Showed ‘Em” review. (Note: Nicholls receiver Damion Jeanpiere would have topped all speedsters at the combine, running a 4.25 40-yard dash and 6.41-second 3-cone drill.)
Finally, we put together our ultimate pre-draft “That Guy” column, throwing in Combine Snubs at certain positions.
We took another look at college linebackers who can contribute on special teams right away, sticking with Alabama’s Christian Miller and Arkansas’ Dre Greenlaw, for reasons listed in the column.
Here comes NFL Draft weekend. I can recommend the most fun way to follow it: check out our column after the weekend is over. See you then.
Chris Warner thought the Patriots would draft Greg Jennings but was thrilled they traded up for Jackson because he looked soo athletic. You can make fun of Chris via email at chris.warner.patriotsdaily.com or Twitter @cwarn89.