Yep, that’s right. The Patriots selected mostly offensive players in the 2014 NFL draft, and didn’t take a single defensive player between rounds 2 and 5. Here’s the entire list of picks:
Dominique Easley, DT, Round 1
Jimmy Garappolo, QB, 2
Brian Stork, C, 4
James White, RB, 4
Cameron Fleming, T, 4
Joe Halapio, G, 6
Zach Moore, DE, 6
Jemea Thomas, S, 6
Jeremy Gallon, WR, 7
I have learned by now that a mere mortal, aka everyone but Bill Belichick, needs to have a ridiculous amount of reasoning in order to question the Hooded One. So I’m not doubting these moves. After all, I can see why BB would make these picks. The Pats already went heavy on defense in free agency, didn’t lose Vince Wilfork like most people expected, and should have the first really good secondary in Foxborough since Asante Samuel left. The Pats offensive line is usually good, and the left side is awesome with Solder and Mankins. But Ryan Wendell, Dan Collolly, and Sebastian Vollmer have left us with questions over the years, so it isn’t that shocking that Belichick went with a center, guard, and tackle to sure up those positions.
As for their top pick, Dominique Easley, the simple fact that Bill Belichick drafted him says a lot to me. He has had two ACL tears, but Belichick usually doesn’t go for risks in the first round (part of the reason why he always trades down). That he drafted Easley should be a good sign that Easley has what it takes, and BB’s recent success with first rounders on defense is a good sign (Jerod Mayo, Chandler Jones, Devin McCourty). I like this pick simply because Bill Belichick does.
The running back pick is relatively surprising… but then again, maybe not. They did just lose LeGarrette Blount, and maybe Stevan Ridley won’t become who the Pats need him to be. BB always likes having 17 capable but not amazing running backs, so I can see this. The pick of Garappolo is of course intriguing, but I’m not going to read too much into it for at least a year. We have no idea how the Pats will handle Garoppolo. It does seem to be a bad sign for Ryan Mallett, though.
Unlike many, I’m not that worried about the second tight end spot. Sure, the Pats will likely never again have the tandem that they did before Aaron Hernandez decided he liked murdering people, but nobody has that. Finding a 2nd tight end isn’t going to be that hard for the Patriots, and it doesn’t worry me that much.
The only big concern that I do have involves the linebacker position. The Pats lost both Dane Fletcher and run-stopper Brandon Spikes, and they haven’t done anything to replace them. Maybe that means that Belichick has a ton of faith in Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower, but I would’ve liked another option at LB either free agency or the draft. I was also a little surprised that the Pats didn’t get a reliable option at safety in free agency or the draft. Free agency would’ve been better, because the Pats could’ve signed a guy as a stopgap in case Duron Harmon and Tavon Wilson don’t work out, but the team still would’ve seen what those guys had to offer. I guess the fact that the Pats waited until the 6th to take a safety is a good sign for those guys, and I’m ok with that.
Oh, and the Pats now have their 33rd wide receiver on the roster, and Tom Brady has a Michigan receiver to throw to. I’m really hoping this guy works out, even if it’ll take me until August to remember his name.