Patriots

Bean: Is Trent Brown trade the latest coup for the Patriots?

Bean: Is Trent Brown trade the latest coup for the Patriots?

The best news to come out of Patriots training camp is the emergence of Trent Brown as a very good solution at left tackle after the loss of Nate Solder to free agency.

You've heard Brown, a trade acquisition over the offseason for minimal draft capital, go from being described as looking better than expected to looking like an actual player. On Thursday's "Felger and Mazz," Greg Bedard repeatedly said Brown has been "awesome" and looks like a "franchise left tackle." Mike Giardi said he's "dominating" in camp. 

That was easy. 

This isn't what's supposed to happen. When you lose your starting left tackle of several years to free agency, then don't get a bonafide experienced left tackle to replace him, you're supposed to be a mess on the offensive line. 

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But instead, it seems the Patriots will be OK, or even better than that. Brown is a 6-foot-8, 355-pound planet and is only 25 years old. Moving down a round and a half in the late third to get this guy could go down as a coup and a half. 

It's not like the Patriots placed all their eggs in Brown's basket. They invested a first-round pick on a tackle (Isaiah Wynn), but the idea of him sliding in to replace Solder on the left side seemed risky. The Brown trade was seemingly part of the plan. Now it might be the whole plan. 

If Brown becomes what observers think he might, it will be the latest case of the Patriots not experiencing certain problems the way other teams do. Other teams don't have Dante Scarnecchia as their offensive line coach (they have the 31 offensive line coaches, none of whom we can name) to turn someone else into The Guy when The Guy leaves. 

When you look at the Patriots during the Brady era, they've gone from years of certainty with Matt Light to years of certainty with Nate Solder. It's easy to argue that the most questions anyone has had about the Pats' offensive line were 2014 and 2015, which were the two years that Scarnecchia spent retiring before returning. The Pats still won a Super Bowl in one of those years. 

It's not like other problems don't persist. The wide receiver situation is dire, even if we're overstating how dire it is. If Kenny Britt is healthy by the start of the season and Eric Decker even has a little left in the tank, Tom Brady should be able to duct-tape something together for a month until he has Julian Edelman back. 

But offensive line was supposed to be just as big a question. So far, it isn't. Trent Brown could be another name in the long list of players -- Mike Vrabel, Randy Moss, etc. -- for whom the Patriots gave up little and from whom they got a lot. 

Of course, the Patriots make plenty of bad trades. Jimmy Garoppolo for a second-round pick looks like a bigger ripoff than perhaps any steal the Patriots have executed. 

But you take the bad with the good, and it's often good for the Patriots. Other teams can't bank on turning someone else's so-so player into a potential stud. The Patriots can, as if they needed any more advantages over the rest of the league the last two decades. 

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Lombardi doesn't see a 'Day 1 starter' at QB in this draft

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Lombardi doesn't see a 'Day 1 starter' at QB in this draft

If anyone could provide insight into what Bill Belichick and the Patriots might be thinking on the eve of the NFL draft, it's Michael Lombardi. The former Pats staffer and Belichick confidant once dubbed "one of the smartest people I know" by the coach.

Lombardi joined Phil Perry this week on "The Next Pats Podcast" to look ahead to a draft he doesn't seem enamored with - particularly at quarterback for those thinking the heir to Tom Brady might be selected this weekend.

Lombardi was on Belichick's staff the last time that attempt was made - when Jimmy Garoppolo was drafted in 2014.

"Tom has defeated Father Time," Lombardi told Perry. "When we drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, did anybody think Tom would last another five years?  Anybody who said yes, other than Tom, probably wasn't telling the truth. Tom's just remarkable..."

As for this draft class of QBs, Lombardi said: "I'm not sure there's a quarterback in this draft, [rumored No. 1 pick Kyler] Murray included, who doesn't have some kind of fault in them...I have a hard time looking at this draft and saying [of the QBs] this guy's a Day 1 starter or a Pro Bowl player. "

Lombardi echoed Belichick's comments at the coach's pre-draft meeting with the media about the difficulty involved in evaluating college passers because of the level of competition they're coming from.

"Nobody ever talks about the level of competition and that's really the challenge of evaluating college players," Lombardi said. "When you watch pro players it's easy because they're going against other pro players."

And what might the Pats be looking for tomorrow night with pick No. 32? Lombardi sees them leaning toward defense.

"I think the thing about the Patriots is they realize that they've got to get a good player at 32," he told Perry. "If it's a corner that they like, that can come in and play a role for them this year, I think they could pick the corner. If there happened to be a linebacker or a defensive end that could rush, they can do that. It's going to be what the player's skill set is, what he could do this year and what impact he could utilize within there. You know there's always the chance he [Belichick] could trade down for more second-round picks."

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Julian Edelman recruits Zion Williamson to be new Patriots tight end

Julian Edelman recruits Zion Williamson to be new Patriots tight end

Zion Williamson in all likelihood will be the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, but Julian Edelman still made his best pitch for the Duke standout to join the Patriots instead.

Edelman tweeted out a photoshopped image of Williamson holding up a Patriots jersey with Robert and Jonathan Kraft, and he let the 6-foot-10 18-year-old know about the Pats' open tight end position.

Edelman isn't the only Patriot recruiting athletes from other sports to take Rob Gronkowski's place at tight end. Tom Brady did the same Tuesday night with Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.

As for how the Patriots are realistically filling Gronk's void, they signed both Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Matt LaCosse in free agency. They also could look to add more depth at the position via the NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday.

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