In anticipation of the NFL combine this week where teams will be evaluating/scouting prospects, the Patriots' top-of-the-board drafting was compared to some other top teams in the league over a five-year snapshot (2006-2010). A few commenters then suggested adding the Ravens to the comparison, as well as the Packers.
Today, it's the Jets.
1st: Kyle Wilson, Mark Sanchez, Vernon Gholston, Dustin Keller, Darrelle Revis, D'Brickshaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold
2nd: Antonio Cromartie*, Vladimir Ducasse, David Harris, Kellen Clemens
3rd: Braylon Edwards*, Shonn Greene, Brett Favre*, Kris Jenkins*, Eric Smith
1st: Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Meriweather, Laurence Maroney
2nd: Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Patrick Chung, Ron Brace, Darius Butler, Sebastian Vollmer, Terrence Wheatley, Chad Jackson, Wes Welker*
3rd: Taylor Price, Brandon Tate, Tyrone McKenzie, Shawn Crable, Kevin O'Connell, David Thomas
* Veterans acquired with draft picks.
ANALYSIS: While the first three rounds of a draft don't tell the complete story, this snapshot highlights the different approaches taken by these two clubs. The Jets are more liberal in trading high draft picks for established veterans. The Jets are also more willing to move up the draft board, as they traded up for five players in this snapshot (Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Shonn Greene, Kellen Clemens). While the Jets missed on 2008 top pick Vernon Gholston, their first-round draft choices as a group from 2006-2010 would match up favorably to most teams in the NFL. They don't leave themselves a lot of margin for error by making fewer picks, but this reflects how they hit on the majority of top choices they do make. On the Patriots' side, they favor an approach of making more picks by accumulating them in trades, which gives them more margin for error and builds more depth on the roster. When considering the long-range outlook of a roster, it's notable to compare the difference in 2006-2010 first-, second- and third-round picks made by both teams -- Patriots 19, Jets 12. The difference in approach is striking as both teams have found a formula that works for them. This is a reminder that there are different ways to build teams in the NFL.