The Patriots didn't do what the "experts" thought they would. Surprise. Surprise. I remember when the ESPN guys were convinced the Pats would take Pat White out of West Virginia. Yeah, right, sure. They forget that Bill Belichick preferred solid pocket passer Damon Huard to inconsistent yet explosive Rohan Davey.
No 1st round picks for the Pats. And I can already hear the conspiracy theorists comparing what the Jets paid for Mark Sanchez to what the Chiefs paid for Matt Cassel. Tools.
2nd ROUND, 34th OVERALL - PATRICK CHUNG, S, OREGON
5' 11" - 212 lbs
Chung set a school record for tackles with 370. He's not known as an outstanding pass rusher, but he is a solid near-the-line safety. He's got potential to be a young Rodney Harrison. He adds to the young depth at the safety position, joining James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather. Meriweather has yet to impress, so this selection might be a direct response to that, as well as the aging of Rodney Harrison.
My uninformed projection: Chung plays running downs in 2009, along with special teams. He'll eventually develop into a solid playmaker and the NFL's dirtiest player.
2nd ROUND, 40th OVERALL - RON BRACE, DT, BOSTON COLLEGE
6' 3" - 330 lbs
Brace was BJ Raji's linemate at BC, and the big guy from Springfield will get to play for the better team. The Pats have a habit of transforming big college DTs into D-Ends, and that might be where Brace sees a lot of time. Also, the Pats aren't a 3-4 team on every play, and Brace can add some interior size and strength. The previous DT behind Wilfork was 295 lb. Mike Wright, so Brace adds some needed depth to the position. The Pats also have some defensive line contracts expiring soon, so Brace gives them insurance, as well as depth.
My uninformed projection: Brace makes the Patriots' 4-3 formations much more viable. Red zone defense, special teams, and spelling Wilfork will be Brace's role in 2009. In 2010, who knows? He could end up as a starting end or tackle by then.
2nd ROUND, 41st OVERALL - DARIUS BUTLER, CB, CONNECTICUT
5' 10" - 183 lbs
Butler's name just sounds like an NFL player's, doesn't it? The Pats once again added to that defensive backfield. Doing so has become a bit of an obsession for Belichick these past few years. To let the ESPN experts in on a secret we know here in New England, Butler is a prototypical Patriot. He played defense, returned on special teams, and played WR on offense. He was also a QB in high school. He hits hard, he plays hard. He does what it takes to win.
My uninformed projection: Butler excels on special teams and as a #3 cornerback. Eventually, he'll be a solid #2 CB.
2nd RD, 58th OVERALL - SEBASTIAN VOLLMER, 0T, HOUSTON
6' 8" - 314 lbs
The tall young man from Kaarst, Germany is a potential "just-in-case" plan if offensive linemen can't be resigned for the 2010 season. He came to Houston speaking very little English, and turned into an All-Conference lineman, so he's apparently a good learner. If he fills in that big frame a bit, he could be a decent NFL lineman.
My uninformed projection: My family's German way back so I want to see a German Patriot do really well. However, i don't think he'll be anything better than a backup tackle for the Pats. Then again, he seems versatile and intelligent, so he might find a home here.
3rd RD, 83rd OVERALL - BRANDON TATE, WR, NORTH CAROLINA
6' 0" - 183 lbs.
Another surprise to the experts, the Patriots taking a wide receiver. But Tate has tremendous potential for a 3rd round pick. He had 1st round stuff before an MCL tear ended his senior season after only 5 games (he had more catches then teammate Hakeem Nicks in those 5 games). He also tested positive for marijuana at the combine, which is more of a sign of stupidity than a drug problem. Everyone is tested at the combine.
My uninformed projection: He'll get catches as a 4th or 5th receiver. Brady finds all his receivers. He can also contend for the kick return spot vacated by Ellis Hobbs.
3rd RD, 97th OVERALL - TYRONE MCKENZIE, LB, SOUTH FLORIDA
6' 1.5" - 243 lbs.
McKenzie was an OLB for the Bulls, but will probably see most of his time at ILB. He adds to the options to replace the nonfactor known as Tedy Bruschi, joining Guyton. He works hard, hits hard, and is a sure tackler; which the Patriots need desperately.
My uninforned projection: He'll be part of a rotation at ILB and could make an impact some day. Yet another guy drafted with the 2010 season in mind.
4th RD, 123rd OVERALL - RICH OHRNBERGER, OG, PENN STATE
6' 2" - 297 lbs.
Ohrnberger adds depth to a position that the Patriots already have, but might not have in 2010. 11 of the 14 O-linemen on the roster are free agents after the 2009 season. Ohrnberger was the 2nd or 3 offensive linemen the Pats selected.
My uninformed projection: I don't expect him to see much time at all. He's a shot in the dark. The more shots you take, the more likely you'll get a hit. That kind of thing.
5th RD, 170th OVERALL - GEORGE BUSSEY, 0T, LOUISVILLE
6' 4" - 306 lbs.
Pretty much the same deal as above. More shots, more hits.
6th RD, 198th OVERALL - JACOB INGRAM, LS, HAWAII
6' 2" - 232 lbs.
Long-snapper in Hawaii. That must rank in the top 5 for Sweetest Jobs in the World. The Pats lost veteran snapper Lonnie Paxton to the Broncos, and signed Nathan Hodel. Hodel and Ingram will compete for the job
My uninformed projection: He'll snap the ball well, Belichick will flip a coin, and either he or Hodel will make the team.
6th RD, 207th OVERALL - MYRON PRYOR, DT, KENTUCKY
6' 0" - 319 lbs.
Pryor adds even more depth to the defensive line, a line which has some big contracts expiring soon.
My uninformed projection: He'll be a backup tackle behind Wilfork and Brace. He provides another option just in case Wilfork can't be resigned at a good cost, and Brace doesn't work out. A solid pick for the 6th round, even though the Pats didn't need much help at the position.
7th RD, 232nd OVERALL - JULIAN EDELMAN, WR, KENT STATE
5' 11" - 195 lbs.
Edelman had a 118.83 QB rating his senior year at Kent State, and fell 3 yards short of 5,000 for his career. But he's no quarterback. Then again, he's athletic, which is why he was drafted as a receiver. He rushed for 1,370 yards, and had 9 career punts in school. Like most 7th rounders, he's a hit or miss, with about a 95% chance of missing.
My uninformed projection: The WR depth chart is too hard for Edelman to crack. He's athletic and versatile, so might catch on with the practice squad.
7th RD, 234th OVERALL - DARRYL RICHARD, DT, GEORGIA TECH
6' 2" - 303 lbs.
More insurance, for the insurance, for the insurance, just in case Vince Wilfork doesn't resign for 2010.
My uninformed projection: You won't see Richard dress in a Patriot uniform, unless you sneak into early practices or he wears his uni to the mall.
Not a bad draft, but hardly earth-shattering. I don't think the Patriots increased their current chances of winning, but they did reduce their future chances of losing. They gained some 2nd round picks for the 2010 draft, and added depth to their O-line, D-line, and defensive backfield.