A closer look at the Patriots' picks:
Round 1/10 -- Jerod Mayo, LB, 6-1, 242, Tennessee
The Patriots targeted Mayo as a guy who could fill the tough role playing inside linebacker in the team's 3-4 front. By trading down three spots to take him, the team also saved money on a guy who is expected to contribute from Week 1 in his career in New England. Mayo has the versatility of having played inside and out in college, is considered a smart, heady, natural player and is more than willing to learn from the veteran linebackers in place in New England.
Round 2/62 -- Terrence Wheatley, CB, 5-9, 183, Colorado.
Many had Wheatley rated a second-day selection, but the Patriots love his intelligence, experience and pure speed. Wheatley battled foot and wrist injuries (redshirting with the wrist issue in 2005) but was very productive with 14 picks in his Colorado career to go along with impressive kick return abilities. He'll get a chance to return kicks early on in New England and should be in the mix for reps at cornerback for a team that lost nickel man Randall Gay to free agency.
Round 3/78 -- Shawn Crable, LB, 6-4, 245, Michigan
Crable is a good fit in New England as a developmental linebacker who'll get the chance to learn from two of the better 'backers in the NFL in Mike Vrabel and Adalius Thomas. Nearly a third of all his tackles last season for the Wolverines came for a loss to go with 7.5 sacks, playmaking ability and athleticism that could pave the way for a rotational impact in his rookie season.
Round 3/94 -- Kevin O'Connell, QB, 6-5, 225, San Diego St.
Some were surprised to see New England choose a quarterback in the end of the third round, but Belichick has always worked to develop a young quarterback behind Tom Brady. It hasn't worked over the years, but O'Connell is the highest pick of the developmental group and arguably the most talented. He's immediately the most talented backup QB on the roster.
Round 4/129 -- Jonathan Wilhite, CB, 5-9, 185, Auburn
Wilhite is another undersized cornerback projected to go later in the draft and scouting projections indicate the Patriots took him ahead of schedule. He recorded just three interceptions in three seasons at Auburn as a junior college transfer and has questionable ball skills. With the sheer numbers the Patriots have cornerback, Wilhite, who battled a hamstring injury last season, could be in a real fight to even make the New England roster.
Round 5/153 -- Matthew Slater, WR/KR, 5-11, 195, UCLA
The son of Rams Hall of Famer Jackie Slater was a core special teams guy for the Bruins and playmaker as a kick returner. Why that influenced the Patriots to trade up to select Slater might be a mystery outside the team's building. Belichick puts as much importance on special teams as anyone.
Round 6/197 -- Bo Ruud, OLB, 6-2, 235, Nebraska
New England tapped into the football bloodlines again with its final pick of Ruud, brother of current Tampa LB Barrett Ruud, and the sixth Ruud Family member to play football at Nebraska. Ruud is another reach pick, rated by many as an undrafted free agent. He started each of his final three seasons with the Cornhuskers and his insatiable appetite for all things football will earn him points with Belichick.
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