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Draft analysis: Curious night for Pats

Posted Apr 27, 2012

Entering the night with no selections on Saturday, Bill Belichick made a curious trade to add a fifth-round pick while also adding another pair of defensive players.

The draft's second day lacked the flair and excitement of Thursday night but Bill Belichick was able to find a way to forge his way into Saturday's festivities by adding a fifth-round pick via a curious trade with Green Bay.

The Patriots entered Friday night with just a pair of second-round picks (Nos. 48 and 62) remaining in their entire draft. Most followers believed New England would try to add something for Day 3 and Belichick did it by working a deal with Green Bay that allowed the Packers to move up from the third round at 90 to 62 in exchange for a fifth-round pick (163 overall).

Dropping 28 spots was a lot to give up for a fifth-round pick but it shows how badly Belichick wanted to be involved - albeit slightly - in the draft's final four rounds. He'll now have one choice to make - the Patriots fifth of the draft - on Saturday.

Belichick likely tried to move down a bit earlier when the Patriots number came up at 62. The fact that he had no further selections after Round 2 likely made it more difficult to do so, however, as potential partners no doubt were aware of the situation. That's probably one reason why New England was forced to cough up a bit more than it would have liked to move down at all.

"We felt there were enough players on the board where we'd be able to get similar players in the third round," Belichick said. "Some trades look better than others. We were focused more on our opportunities as they came rather than evaluating each trade."

With teams likely looking for too much in return, Belichick chose to hold onto the first pick and then took another curious route. Looking for help in the secondary, the coach tabbed Illinois defensive back Tavon Wilson, who some draft evaluators had as a borderline candidate to be taken at all. Adding to the intrigue, Wilson is considered a liability in coverage who is more of a run support safety. That description would be similar to starter Patrick Chung and doesn't seem to address the need for more quality cover men.

But Wilson does have experience at both corner and safety, and played on a variety of special teams units for the Illini. Belichick has taken unknown players in the past with mixed results. Sebastian Vollmer, Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman are examples of some who panned out and remain with the team.

The Patriots went back to a more conventional road in the third round by grabbing Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette. The 6-4, 274-pound Bequette plays with a lot of aggression and a high motor and is considered an intelligent player. He gives the team another edge pass rushing option and will create some competition in camp among the likes of fellow rookies Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Trevor Scott, Jermaine Cunningham and Markell Carter - all players with good size and speed.

"We'll see how it all plays out," Belichick said. "Generally speaking, the bigger a player is the slower he is. That speed and quickness at a lower weight gives guys an advantage. The league is getting more spread out and a high percentage of our defense is in subpackages. You need those players to compete."

He'll have no shortage of them come July. The question is, which ones will still be here come September?

 

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