Pick by Pats Pulpit
Because of e-mails passing in the night, we missed the actual pick that was actually made by the actual Pats Pulpit website, and it was different from our consensus pick. Whoops.
So forget what we said earlier: This is what Pats Pulpit really means to say about their No. 28 pick:
Not surprisingly, none of the 25th, 26th or 27th teams picked any of the players everyone said I should have taken with No. 24. I'm not taking them now either. So, I wasn't too worried that the players I didn't take at No. 24 wouldn't be available at No. 28.Baltimore is coming up next. I believe their pick was selected by lots and/or dartboards. Coming soon.
I was looking to fill a spot at inside linebacker. The Patriots are clearly all set on the outside with Mike Vravel, Rosevelt Colvin and newcomer Adalius Thomas, and while Vrabel can move inside if absolutely necessary, New England is far better off with him in his comfort zone. And let's face it: Tedy Bruschi isn't getting any younger, and he's contemplated retirement more than once. The whole Ted Johnson story probably didn't help. He'll be back this year (I think), but New England needs to start to plan for the future.
But the top-rated linebackers are comfortable outside, they're too small and they have other problems that make them "not Bill Belichick guys." Jon Beason would be the shortest linebacker (excepting Larry Izzo, but he's more a special teams player) on the team, and I don't see him covering Dallas Clark any better than Eric Alexander. He also may be injury prone, and that's the last thing New England really needs.
Lawrence Timmons, too, is too small -- taller, but not particularly big. After starting fairly high on a lot of "experts" lists, Timmons is dropping fairly rapidly. He's apparently a slow learner, and in some cases just doesn't seem to "get it." A player like that cannot succeed in a complex Belichick system.
New England doesn't mind converting smaller defensive linemen into linebackers (see Bruschi), but most of the better candidates are already off the board. Purdue's Anthony Spencer has potential, but I don't think he has the necessary speed.
I'm going to ignore the whole Asante Samuel issue. There's no way an outsider can have any idea what's really going on there, but I'm sure Belichick and Scott Pioli will make the right decision when the time comes. My only choices are to assume that he definitely won't be there, or he definitely will. I don't think the Patriots used the franchise tag just to waste it, so I'll say (for now) that he stays. So I'm not taking a cornerback here.
No matter what else happens, teams can always use help on the offensive line. The Patriots have endured their share of injuries, so much that two to three years ago, the line was being held together by band-aids and paper clips and a tenuous kind of gravity.
So it comes down to Auburn guard Ben Grubbs and Texas tackle/guard Justin Blalock. I really like them both, but I can pick only one. Grubbs is a little smaller than I'd like, but, boy, has he come on strong the last couple years after shifting from defensive tackle to tight end to guard. And he's durable: He hasn't missed a game in his career. Blalock is bigger and stronger, but significantly slower and has less range (meaning he won't make a great NFL pulling guard).
It might be hard for Grubbs to live up to the hype, but I'm taking a chance on him.