In the selection of Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown with the 32nd pick of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft the Patriots checked off one of the team's top needs.
After a spring that saw the Super Bowl champs lose Vince Wilfork via free agency, Bill Belichick tabbed a guy who in many ways is a younger version of the former Patriots captain and defensive mainstay. Brown is a 320-pound mountain of a man with unique though not unprecedented athleticism for his size.
On the field he has shown the versatility to play all over the defensive line. Off it, he's mature beyond his 20 years to the tune of a pair of children with his wife, Faith.
Though, as Belichick pointed out, there is no certainty of what Brown will be in New England, he seems to have all the characteristics of a guy who can fill a big void on and off the field with his new team. In following Wilfork he has large shoes to fill, but on paper he has some of the prerequisites for the job.
But if defensive tackle was one of New England's three generally acknowledged top needs heading into draft weekend, there certainly remain areas wonting for improvement such as interior offensive line and cornerback.
The good news is that the Patriots have three selections on Friday's second day of draft action – 64th, 96th and 97 – with which to target those spots in the second or third round. And that ammunition could also be used to trade up for a player rather that sit back and wait for the second straight day while 31 other picks come off the board.
With an eye on those two spots, here's a look at some of the top players still on the board after one day of draft action.
Jalen Collins LSU
Quentin Rollins Miami-Ohio
P.J. Williams Florida State
Eric Rowe Utah
Doran Grant Ohio State
Josh Shaw USC
Ronald Darby Florida State
A.J. Cann South Carolina
Tre Jackson Florida State
John Miller Louisville
Josue Matias Florida State
Ali Marpet Hobart
Arie Kouandjio Alabama
Jarvis Harrison Texas A&M
Mitch Morse Missouri
Of course cornerback and guard are far from the only positions the Patriots could target in the second round and beyond. Adding depth at running back, linebacker or wide receiver could also be a legitimate possibility in the coming selections.
For now, though, the Patriots are quite happy with their Brown selection and will spend the early part of Friday resetting their draft board after 32 names have been removed from the process. And re-start the process all over again on Friday night.
Sleep tight and draft again on Friday night!
Remaining Patriots Draft Picks
Round 2, 64th overall
Round 3, 96th overall
Round 3, 97th overall (compensatory pick assigned by NFL)
Round 4, 101st overall (from Tampa Bay, Logan Mankins trade)
Round 4, 131st overall
Round 6, 178th overall (from Tampa Bay, Jonathan Casillas trade)
Round 7, 219th overall (from Tennessee, Akeem Ayers trade)
Round 7, 253rd overall (compensatory pick assigned by NFL)