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Patriots NFL Draft 2010

New England Patriots 2010 NFL Draft review Part 1 by Frank Hyun

We all know that how this year was suppose to be “rebuilding” year for the New England Patriots and how NFL “analysts” labeled Patriots as borderline playoff team that is in decline after Patriots lost to Jets at Meadowland in week 2. However, Patriots have shown that they were more than ready to continue its success with stellar 2010 draft. Many NFL experts say that one must grade team’s draft after three years since most players reach their potential by their third year in NFL, but we will take a look at Patriots 2010 NFL draft, which I personally think is one of the finest Coach Belichick has ever pulled.

1st round (27th overall) Devin McCourty
Cornerback from Rutgers was rated as late first early second round pick who would become solid player in NFL with chance to help team’s special team right away. Some NFL analysts such as Todd Mcshay bashed this pick as they thought Patriots should have picked Kyle Wilson from Boise State. While it is impossible to gauge how Kyle Wilson would have played in Patriots uniform, it would have been extremely hard for Kyle Wilson to match Devin McCourty’s production. (69 solo tackles, 7 interceptions and stellar special team plays) McCourty now seem destined to become physical cornerback with Pro Bowl Caliber talent like Ty Law once had been for the Patriots. He, despite being a first round pick, is one of steals in 2010 NFL draft.

Grade: A+

2nd round (42nd Overall) Rob Gronkowski
Tight End from Arizona University sat out his last collegiate year due to back injury and reasonably was considered huge health risk. Some thought that he will only be a blocking tight end in NFL as some feared that he will not be as athletic as he once was. Patriots traded 44th overall and a 6th round pick for 42nd overall pick to draft him. He struggled a bit until week 10 at Pittsburgh where he burned Steelers’ secondary with 5 catches for 72 yards and a three touchdown. Since then, he has made tremendous stride. He is a value pick that will help Patriots for years to come.

Grade: B+

2nd round (53rd Overall) Jermaine Cunningham
Defensive end/Outside linebacker from University of Florida is one of three Florida products Patriots and coach Belichick drafted in 2010 NFL draft. I must say that I doubted Patriots for picking Cunningham when they could have picked Carlos Dunlap from Florida to mitigate loss of Richard Seymour, Sean Lee from Penn State to be coupled with Jerod Mayo or Ben Tate from Auburn to become feature back that Patriots lacked since Corey Dillon. I still have some reservation left but Cunningham has shown flashes of his potential even though his stat (28 solo tackles, 1 sack and 2 forced fumbles) really doesn’t represent his impact. I don’t see him becoming pass rush force but I believe that he could become solid contributor. His grade is low because I expect more imminent production from 1st and 2nd round pick.

Grade: C

2nd (62nd Overall) Brandon Spikes
Middle linebacker from University of Florida was a surprise pick by Coach Belichick since I viewed Spikes as temperamental player who doesn’t fit Patriots’ “ideal player” player. He was suspended for a half in his last year at Florida for trying to poke a Georgia Bulldog player’s eye during the match. I viewed him as a player who is not athletic nor intelligent enough to be successful in NFL but he has not only proved me wrong with his better plays in second half of the season until he received 4 game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy. He showed improvement in pass coverage and became solid complement player to Jerod Mayo. I can see him having a Pro Bowl career but has a long way to go.

Grade: B

3rd (90th Overall) Taylor Price
Wide Receiver from Ohio University was another surprise pick by Patriots and Coach Belichick. He was unfinished product in less than direly needed position (I saw OLB, DE, and OL as more needy position than WR).Even though we now all know that Randy Moss has clearly has lost his step, back during 2010 NFL draft, I thought he had a year or two left in him (also Price has not helped to mitigate loss of Randy Moss, good old Deion Branch did). He has shown very little and it is impossible for me to gauge what kind of player he will become with very little sample

Grade: Incomplete

4th (113rd Overall) Aaron Hernandez
Tight end from University of Florida was rated 2nd-3rd round skill wise but dropped due to off field issues. He was designated as “pass-catching” tight end with very little blocking skills and that is what he has been for the Patriots. But his impact on Patriots is more than his production as his skill allowed de facto offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to design new schemes that maximize Tom Brady’s accuracy in passing game. I believe that he is part of reason why Randy Moss was traded to Vikings after Coach Belichick saw that Tom Brady is whole lot more efficient with short, accurate passes than long bomb passes that Tom Brady threw to Randy Moss. He is very young (youngest player in NFL) and has chance to become solid player but I see him having Benjamin Watson type career.
Grade: B+

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