There’s no shortage of opinions on which way the Patriots should go in this month’s draft.
There’s not a lot of agreement among you guys but there are a lot of opinions.
The Quarantine Question of the Day posed Wednesday offered four three-position combos to choose from as draft priorities for the Patriots.
We got 136 replies to the poll and 6,289 votes in just six hours. Thank you very much for the engagement!
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So how’d it turn out?
QUARANTINE QUESTION OF THE DAY— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) April 1, 2020
Which draft need combo would you like to see the Patriots address?
Show your work!
Leading the way was the combo of tight end, offensive line and edge player (that’s a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid) with 42.6 percent of respondents opting for that.
Next up was the combo of wide receiver, tight end and defensive line with 29.9 percent.
The offense-heavy option of quarterback, wide receiver and tight end was third with 22.6 percent.
Almost nobody loved the idea of safety, wide receiver and edge as that got just 4.8 percent.
Here are some of the takes you guys had on this:
@RP3Views: I voted for WR, TE and DL. I do think they need an end of the line DL, think they are fine interior DL. TE is the biggest need, and I think we'll see a trade for one and one drafted during draft weekend. WR class is so deep, I think theyll draft a really good one in the 3rd round.
@NewEnglandChris: TE, OL, Edge. Regardless of which QB starts the season as QB1, the 2020 Patriots will need to win with defense and running the football. They need to improve run blocking from last season and maintain the pass rush following offseason departures.
@Patskrieg: Went unpopular here. Safety because they still don’t have a young secondary leader in the works with DMac & Chung over 30. WR because Brother Stid needs weaponz and the WR class is worlds better than the TEs. Edge because I’m selfish and I like sacks.
@BostonWest80111: I chose WR/TE/DL. I think they need a major "beef injection" to the interior of the DL. And the WR/TE selections are rather obvious. But if you had another option I would have selected it would have been TE, DL, Edge. I think they really need to stock up on front-7 talent.
@Whofan70: Tom, I’ll choose “Other”. I think the Pats really need to address LB, TE, OL. After Hightower, who are the LB’s? In addition, LaCosse and Izzo are depth pieces at TE, not starters.
@asharsaleem121: No QB is going to succeed with pass rushers breathing down his neck. You need good blocking up front. We saw that last year. And if you can run block and TEs can set the edge, the run game will further make the QB comfortable. We saw how Sony looked in 2019 vs 2018.
@GarrettM2013: Defensive front 7 needs the most work. TE draft class is weak, and other positions are fine, just need youth and depth pieces.
A couple of respondents veered from making a choice at all and editorialized. Which is their right in these United States!
@journey200: For the last 20 years, NE has never been in the rebuilding mode. They have adjusted on the fly. What's changed if this is now considered a rebuild? Belichick was unaware that he was going to take that tact w/Brady & unaware how Tom would react? The real BB is about to be exposed.
@Wolvie58: I took number 1, also wanted to add a WR. Then remembered I will be watching the Bucs more than the Pats. Now I have to look and see they need lol
This whole discussion, of course, is proceeding on the assumption the Patriots would draft on the basis of need. And — while they and every other team do to a degree — they also have resisted drafting at obvious need positions to load up elsewhere.
Tight end, for instance. The Patriots drafted three from 2011 through 2019: Lee Smith, A.J. Derby and Ryan Izzo. Even after Aaron Hernandez was jailed and it became clear Rob Gronkowski could be broken at any time, the team still ignored the spot in the draft while spending second-round selections on players like Cyrus Jones, Jordan Richards and JoeJuan Williams.
And this year’s tight end class — in contrast to the past two drafts — is perceived to be low on talent.
The perfect scenario, of course, is when need, talent and scheme dovetail nicely and the pick becomes easy to make. That’s a lot harder for a team like the Patriots to orchestrate because they are usually one of the final teams in the draft order.
To me, this should be a meat-and-potatoes draft.
Safety has to be a priority. With Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung getting up there and Duron Harmon traded away, the team needs a back-end lieutenant who can cover, tackle, communicate and show leadership.
Next, tight end. If they can’t find a suitable pass-catcher, then find a semi-competent one who can be a factor in the running game as well. That’s going to make more difference for the team as a whole and have a greater ripple effect than another gadgety defensive player drafted “just in case…” which is what Williams was last season.
Finally, it’s either edge or offensive line. If the two draftees from last year — Yodny Cajuste or Hjalte Froholdt — show starter promise (hard to do during this pandemic after both spent 2019 injured) then maybe the Patriots can wait. But right tackle Marcus Cannon is getting closer to the end of his career and will need replacing and promising left tackle Isaiah Wynn has so far been injury-prone. Offensive tackle has to be a priority.
And the pass rush is going to need bolstering. In the past two seasons, Trey Flowers and Kyle Van Noy have left via free agency. Chase Winovich is the most promising guy they’ve brought in but he isn’t enough. They need to get heat.
I’m not high on selecting either a quarterback or a wideout early. Find out what you have in N’Keal Harry. Presume Mohamed Sanu improves. Julian Edelman is still Julian Edelman.
And quarterback? The Patriots just went 20 years with a sixth-round pick and won six Super Bowls. They took a Division II kid in the second round in 2014 and largely shaped him into the player that started in the Super Bowl two months ago. The year they didn't have Tom Brady, they used a guy who didn’t start in college at the spot and finished in a tie for first place at 11-5. He later became a Pro Bowler. Undrafted Brian Hoyer has been in the league 11 years and has started playoff games.
The Patriots take particular pride in their ability to mold quarterbacks and they should. I wouldn't spend anything more than a third on the position this year.
Bottom line? The Patriots can’t really go wrong no matter which position they take.