Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:
1. I wonder how frustrated Bill Belichick was during the draft when he was trying to execute some of his trademark trade-downs. Just didn’t seem like there was much action, based on the deals he ultimately took.
2. There were 27 draft-day trades this year across the NFL, and the Patriots were involved with four of them. Broken down further, there were eight trades made during the first round (twice the 2011 total), although overall trades were close to the same level as last year. There were 26 trades made during the first 163 picks of the draft but just 1 during the final 90 picks of the draft.
3. I thought the early-round picks of the Patriots and Jets highlighted the significant differences between the teams. Viewing things from a Patriots perspective, I don’t think they were touching defensive end/linebacker Quinton Coples (1st round) and Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill (2nd round). That’s part of what makes the rivalry great; the teams do it their own ways and have conviction with it.
4. The Patriots didn’t draft a running back, reinforcing the prior belief that it’s time to turn it over to Shane Vereen (2nd round, 2011), Stevan Ridley (3rd round, 2011) and Danny Woodhead. Veterans Ryan Grant, Joseph Addai and Tim Hightower remain possibilities just in case.
5. The Falcons weren’t big players in the draft after trading up for receiver Juilo Jones last year, which wiped out their first-round pick and others. But they had what could be one of the biggest moves of any team – acquiring Asante Samuel in a trade. Solid move at a reduced cost.
6. Now that all the chips have been cashed in, it’s easier to analyze the Patriots’ 2011 draft-day trade with the Saints. The Saints got running back Mark Ingram, while the Patriots picked up running back Shane Vereen (2011 second-round) and a 2012 first-round pick that they turned in to defensive end Chandler Jones by adding a third-round pick. The Patriots will take that 2-for-1 most of the time
7. One aspect that stood out from the Patriots' drafting was that all the picks came from big schools -- Syracuse, Alabama, Illinois, Arkansas, Ohio State, Nebraska and Northwestern. Bill Belichick said level of competition is a factor in the decision-making process, and it showed in the team's picks. The SEC had the most draft picks (42), followed by the Big Ten (41).
8. How rare was it that the Redskins picked Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round after getting Robert Griffin III in the first? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Washington became the first team to draft a QB in the first round and another QB within the first four rounds since the 1982 Colts (Art Schlichter, Mike Pagel). They were also the first team to take 2 QBs in their first 3 picks of a draft since the 1971 Oilers (Dan Pastorini, Lynne Dickey – their first 2 picks of draft).
9. Four receivers went in the first round of the draft and the Patriots are scheduled to face all of them this season, starting with speedy Kendall Wright (Titans, Sept. 9). Then it's Michael Floyd (Cardinals, Sept. 16), A.J. Jenkins (49ers, Dec. 16) and Justin Blackmon (Jaguars, Dec. 23).
10. After allowing an NFL-worst 411.6 yards per game in 2011, the Packers selected defensive players with their first 6 picks of the draft. The Patriots, who finished 31st in yards allowed last season, also drafted defensive players with their first six picks. Green Bay and New England became the first teams since the 2002 Titans and 2002 Colts to draft defensive players with their first six picks of a draft and just the seventh and eighth teams to do so since 1967.
11. I bought my tickets for next Saturday (May 5) in East Providence, where cornerback Kyle Arrington will make an appearance at a bowling event to benefit Crossroads, R.I. Come join me (link here).