How the Patriots have done in the draft since 2005:
Total picks 26
'07 Starters 5
'07 Backups 7
Other teams 6
Out of NFL 5
Injured Reserve/PUP 3
After years of solid drafts that greatly aided New England's overall roster depth through its championship runs, the last couple selection weekends have been less impressive. Three years ago the Patriots reached in the eyes of some by taking Logan Mankins at the bottom of the first round. But Mankins has developed into a Pro Bowler. That draft also added three other starters for a crop that was similar to what Bill Belichick has been known for in New England.
But the last two drafts have been less fruitful, with 2007's serving as by far the worst of the Belichick era. Last spring brought only first rounder Brandon Meriweather, who himself struggled to even get on the field for most of the season. None of the other eight picks from last April ended the year on the roster.
Best pick: G Logan Mankins, 2005 (first round, 32nd overall): Mankins is a mean, talented, dominating run blocker who earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2007.
Worst pick: WR Chad Jackson, 2006 (second round, 36th overall): Jackson has dealt with hamstring and knee injuries but even when he's gotten on the field he hasn't shown the elite speed he's supposed to posses. New England traded up to get him and he's done nothing in two injury-limited seasons.
2007 DRAFT PICKS
1 (24) Brandon Meriweather, S: Meriweather took a while to learn the New England scheme and was slow to get on the field. But the versatile former Miami playmaker earned increased playing time late in the year and into the postseason. He very well could have had a number of interceptions if he didn't have what Rodney Harrison's joked are the worst hands on the team.
4 (127) Kareem Brown, DL: Brown was a game day inactive for the first 11 weeks of the season before being released on Nov. 27. He later signed with the Jets.
5 (171) Clint Oldenburg, T: The project out of Colorado State was cut at the end of training camp, joined New England's practice squad and ended the season with the Jets.
6 (180) Justin Rogers, LB: Rogers was cut at the end of training camp and claimed off waivers by the Cowboys, where he spent the entire season on the active roster.
6 (202) Mike Richardson, CB: The Notre Dame cornerback was placed on injured reserve during training camp with a hand injury.
6 (208) Justise Hairston, RB: Hairston suffered a hamstring injury in camp, was waived and ended up on the Colts' practice squad.
6 (209) Corey Hilliard, T: Hilliard struggled with his conditioning early in his first days in New England and never recovered, earning his release at the end of camp.
7 (211) Oscar Lua, LB: The USC product hurt his knee in preseason action and spent his rookie year on injured reserve before his release on Feb. 26.
7 (247) Mike Elgin, G/C: The undersized project out of Iowa was released at the end of camp.
|"A guy that has to be tough and bang his head in there ... and also be able to play all the multiple coverages that they run. You have to have Einstein, but a tough Einstein. He can't just be a smart guy, he has to knock the crap out of somebody." |
-- Rob Ryan former Patriots LB Coach on what the Pats look for in linebackers
Rob Ryan (Getty Images)
--The Patriots' thinning, aging corps of a linebackers -- the real heart of any good 3-4 front -- got a bit thinner Feb. 26 when the team parted ways with veteran outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin.
Coming off a season in which he ended the year on injured reserve with a foot injury, and due to carry a $7.6 million cap number in 2008, the combination of injuries, high salary and less-than-elite production forced New England to sever ties with a guy who started 39 of the 61 games he played in during his five years with the Patriots.
Colvin joined the Patriots as a premier free agent in the spring of 2002. He was the first real big free agent splash of the Bill Belichick era in New England. He joined team coming off back-to-back 10.5-sack seasons with the Bears.
After recording a sack in each of his first two games in New England in 2003, a serious hip injury sidelined Colvin for the rest of the season. While he returned to play in all 16 games the next season for the Super Bowl champs, he never returned to the double-digit sack production he'd reached in two of his first four NFL seasons in Chicago. He did lead the Patriots with seven sacks in 2005 and 8.5 in 2006. In his five seasons in New England he recorded 203 totals tackles, 26.5 sacks, one interception, eight passes defensed, six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
--CB Ty Law has been told by the Chiefs that he's going to be released by the team and the former Patriots playmaker is open to returning to the team that drafted him in the first round of the 1995 NFL draft. He was actually in Boston last Wednesday night at the TD Banknorth Garden for a Celtics game and was interviewed during the local broadcast on Comcast Sportsnet.
"Hey, you know what? My heart was always with the Patriots. I have always been," said Law, who once referred to Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick as a liar during messy, public contract negotiations with the team. "This is where it all started for me. So of course, it's a final step for the Patriots. It's football. I'm just looking forward to playing football wherever that might be, and just play for a contender. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about."
Law is a five-time Pro Bowler who played in 16 games last season in Kansas City, recording 39 tackles and two interceptions.
"It'll be interesting to see if they're interested," Law concluded of a return to New England.
--RB Kevin Faulk was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession this week in his home state of Louisiana. The nine-year veteran was reportedly on his way into a suite at the Cajundome for a Lil Wayne rap concert when a random search found four hand-rolled cigars filled with the illegal substance. Faulk was not arrested but agreed to appear in court to face the charge.
"We're aware of the report, but we don't have any additional comment at this time," Patriots spokesman Stacey James of the story first reported by KATC-TV in Lafayette.
--S Eugene Wilson, a five-year veteran set to hit free agency on Friday morning, thinks his career with the Patriots has come to a close. The former second-round pick got off to a great start in New England. Drafted as a cornerback, Wilson switched to safety as a rookie and was a key playmaker in his first two seasons with the team while earning a pair of Super Bowl rings. But injuries and a lack of plays turned Wilson from a budding-star to a healthy-inactive over the last three seasons.
"I'm looking forward to moving on, and at the same time, I wish the best of luck to the Patriots because I don't think I'll be back there this year," Wilson told the Boston Globe. "I'm excited to get into free agency and see what is out there."