- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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ESPN's NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr., who works exhaustively throughout the year to prepare for this process, has weighed in with his take on the Patriots' draft class.
In a piece posted to ESPN.com, Kiper has graded each of the 32 teams with a three-part assessment: finding value, filling needs and an overall mark.
As it relates to filling needs, Kiper gave the Patriots a B, along with a C for value, good enough for an overall assessment of a C-plus.
"The Patriots got a pretty good return from the Vikings to get out of Round 1 at No. 29, assuming Minnesota's second-round pick, then adding picks in Rounds 3, 4 and 7. It was about as Patriots as it gets. Jamie Collins was a productive linebacker for a really bad team at Southern Miss, and provides some needed depth. He's a typical Bill Belichick addition, because he should be pretty versatile, and could move either inside or outside, where he could also provide a pass-rushing presence if needed. Aaron Dobson has a chance to develop, but it's a coin flip if he provides much Year 1 impact. What he does offer is a player who can stretch the field and back up safeties. Same with Josh Boyce. Logan Ryan provides nickel depth now, and they clearly see something in Duron Harmon, who was a huge reach. I think New England could have signed him as an undrafted free agent. The Patriots added some interesting players late. Steve Beauharnaisis way too good to be sitting there in Round 7, and Michael Buchanan will get a shot to stick because he has some talent but just hasn't put it all together. I don't see a starter out of this draft in the short-term, but they added players with some really good traits. It's just a matter of development now."
To read the piece in its entirety, CLICK HERE (Insider content).
EXTRA POINT: For a different viewpoint of the Patriots' draft, CBSSports' Pete Prisco hands out his marks (while noting it's early to do so and he plans to revisit in three years). Prisco likes linebacker Jamie Collins a lot, but has some doubts about receiver Aaron Dobson. To read Prisco's piece, CLICK HERE.