EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 27, 2013

Belichick draft plan based on sanity

That can't be said in a lot of places around the NFL

On Pro football
Hector Longo

---- — If NFL Draft Weekend 2013 has done anything to Patriots fans, it’s given you all a minute to look back and see how lucky you truly are.

In a draft where Bill Belichick — almost out of arrogance and that’s a good thing — took four divergent stray shots in day 2, your prime competition, the Jets and Bills, placed their franchise futures in the hands of B.J. Manuel and Geno Smith.

The other folks in the AFC East actually have taken this horrifying compilation of talent seriously.

The Patriots? Sure, a capable receiver might be nice, but are there really any major needs, requiring a Geno Smith for attention?Geez, Rex. Does Geno go above or below Tim Tebow on the preseason depth chart?In the end, Tyrann Mathieu never made it to the Pats’ picks in the third round, and Belichick and Nick Caserio weighed the penchant for self-destruction a tad heavier than the cost of a second-round selection.

So much of this draft, outside of the first handful of picks, will be so hit or miss. The Patriots made four selections last night, with four more to come tomorrow. All four were at least based on sound thinking, which is all Pats fans can ask for.

Round 2, pick 52 overall

Jamie Collins, Outside Linebacker, Southern Miss.: Certainly, this is a shot taken on a speedy athlete. Will he be Dwight Freeney or Shawn Crable. Therein lies the range of success or utter failure when shooting for edge rushers. On the plus side, he might get to the QB. On the downside, he’s very limited, probably isn’t at his best in a two-point stance and has only shown the propensity to succeed by coming forward. That means, the Patriots are still without a linebacker who can cover.

Round 2, pick 59

Aaron Dobson, Wide Receiver, Marshall: He fills an absolute need, unless you were counting on nine-year veteran Mike Jenkins to enjoy a revival. Big and strong, he’s the Torrey Smith/Anquan Boldin receiver that big, physical offenses crave. His passing tree might have been short a branch or two, but the Pats put plenty enough time into him and understand what Dobson can and can’t process on the field.

Round 3, pick 83

Logan Ryan, Cornerback, Rutgers: He’s the latest attempt by the Pats to draft a corner who can actually cover and whose top attribute is something other than returning kickoffs. There are so many Butlers, Wheatleys, Wilhites and McCourtys in this guy’s wake right now. Why is this smallish (5-10) actually supposed to be better than the past 15 Smurf corners brought in? Hopefully, he can play. The team’s recent track record says no chance.

Round 3, pick 91

Duron Harmon, Safety, Rutgers: At least he’s got good size. The Pats needed a safety. I was hoping for more than a two-year starter on a bad team from the Big East. Harmon wasn’t among the NFL’s ratings and wasn’t invited to the combine. Still, Bill Belichick liked something. I just wonder why the Pats didn’t wait to the seventh round to pull this trigger. Harmon wasn’t going anywhere — at least nowhere on this side of the U.S./Canadian border.

Rounds 4-7 will be completed today, beginning at noon.