Feeling Drafty #28: New England Patriots: Offense

April 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , , , , )

 
Tom Brady had one of the best seasons a quarterback ever had. Of course, he’s going to win New England Team MVP.

If Andy Reid and the Eagles wrote the book on getting the most out of their late round draft picks, then Bill Belichick owns the book, and has read it religiously.  Check out all of these players who are a big part of the Patriots offense who were drafted in later rounds:

  • Brandon Tate, 3rd round, 83rd pick
  • Aaron Hernandez, 4th round, 113th pick
  • Sammy Morris, 5th round, 156th pick (by Buffalo)
  • Tom Brady, 6th round, 199th pick
  • Julian Edelman, 7th round, 232nd pick
  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis, undrafted
  • Danny Woodhead, undrafted (by NY Jets)
  • Wes Welker, undrafted (by San Diego)

Only five major skill players on New England’s vast offense of playmakers were drafted in the first two rounds.  Everyone else, late round steals.  Great job by Belichick for recognizing talent and bringing them onboard, no matter how their college career went.

I’m pretty sure that everyone in America wishes they could be Tom Brady.  He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now, and possibly one of the best of all time.  He holds the record for most touchdowns in a single season.  His wife is SMOKIN’ HOT.  Face it, his life rocks.  And this season, he only cemented his awesomeness even further, by winning the MVP.  This season, he also set the all-time records for quickest quarterback to 100 wins, most consecutive regular season home wins, most consecutive two-touchdown, zero-interception games, most consecutive pass attempts without an interception, and best touchdown-to-interception ratio.

The running back situation was pretty interesting.  They started the season with four running backs, and ended the season with two running backs, but none of those six running backs were the same person.  After Laurence Maroney was traded to the Broncos, Kevin Faulk was put on injured reserve, Fred Taylor was hurt for most of the season, and Sammy Morris was converted to a fullback, that left the door open for BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead to come in and carry the load for the Patriots.  And carry it they did, BJGE went for over 1,000 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, while Woodhead went for 926 total yards and six total touchdowns.

When the Patriots got rid of Randy Moss, all of my friends said that the Patriots were stupid, and that Bill Belichick had lost it, especially when they essentially exchanged him for Deion Branch.  But, I reminded them, that Bill Belichick never does anything for nothing.  And, wouldn’t you know it, Moss dropped off the face of the earth, and Branch came back in a big way for the Pats, proving once again that I am right about everything football.  (OK, maybe not.)  Oh yeah, and Wes Welker came back from injury to go to his third straight Pro Bowl, and he went for 86 receptions, 848 yards, and seven touchdowns in just 11 starts.  Par for the course for Welker.

And what New England’s tight ends?  Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were drafted with New England’s second and fourth round draft picks, and when Randy Moss was deemed expendable, the two rookies became inexpendable.  Gronkowski had 42 catches for 546 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Hernandez went for a 45-563-6 season.  And let’s give a nod to Alge Crumpler.  He didn’t have a great season, but he was in there, doing the dirty work, throwing blocks and making New England’s three tight end set work, all at age 32 or 33.  Well done, Mr. Crumpler.

Justin Houston has climbed up the draft board like none other. This time last season, he could've been a late third-round pick. Now, he projects to be a late first rounder.

But, after all of that, the Patriots, in my opinion, will go for a defensive player.  After all, when was the last time that the Patriots went for an offensive player with their first round pick?  (Answer: Laurence Maroney, 2006, and he’s not even on the team anymore)  So, they have a need at linebacker, so I’m going to say Georgia OLB/DE Justin Houston.  He’s in a good position to convert to linebacker, at 6’3″ and 258 pounds.  He had a great season, with 56 tackles and 10 sacks at defensive end.  He should be able to fill the hole that Junior Seau left when he retired.  (Or Seau could just un-retire.  Seriously, Seau is the defensive Brett Favre.)

Tomorrow, we’ll have the teams that made it to the conference championship games.  It’s time for the final four.  See you in Chicago.

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