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Patriots.com News Blitz - 4/30/2008

So, what does the owner think about the Patriots most recent draft?

During an event to mark the latest chapter of the Patriot Place development, Robert Kraft spent a few minutes talking to reporters about his football team and its newest additions.

Kraft said he came away impressed by first-round pick Jerod Mayo.

"He seems like a wonderful young man and someone who can fit in our system well," said Kraft. "Bill [Belichick] had told me his objective here was to get younger and faster on defense, and it looks like that's what has been done."

He also sounded pleased with the other players taken by the Patriots.

"As far as when they picked, who they picked," he continued in a Boston Globe feature, "I have a lot of confidence and trust in Bill and Scott [Pioli] and their understanding of value and what's in the marketplace.

One pick that raised some eyebrows was the third-round selection of San Diego State QB Kevin O'Connell. Many observers, like the Sun Chronicle, think this is a smart choice, as New England perhaps begins contemplating a future (however distant) without Tom Brady.

"It's Belichick's job to be able to look into the future and prepare himself and his team for all sorts of eventualities," the article reads. "Belichick knows all about the law of averages. He knows that eventually, Brady will get hurt.

"Someday, the future may very well be in Kevin O'Connell's hands. It's fair to suggest that it's even more likely now than when Brady was drafted, because O'Connell was selected more than 100 picks higher in his draft than Brady was in his."

Another surprise pick was the fifth-round trade-up to grab UCLA's versatile Matthew Slater, son of NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Slater. The younger Slater played both offense and defense during his Bruins career.

Where he'll play for New England is unclear at this point, but his father told the Boston Herald that Slater is in the perfect place to succeed in the NFL.

"I got phone calls from scouts, administrators in the NFL who knew me and my son, and they said, 'Jackie, this could not be a better fit for your son to start being a pro football player. He's in the environment which he's most comfortable. He's always been one of the team-first players."

Finally today, it's always interesting to hear the stories of how players got the news of their selection. Second-round pick Terrence Wheatley, the cornerback from Colorado, detailed his Draft Day experience in a diary published by the Rocky Mountain News. Here's a sample:

"It was so crazy, as soon as my neighbors down the street saw that I got picked, it probably took them 10 seconds to get to my front door, and I opened up the front door and there was pretty much everybody on my street . . . yelling and screaming and crying. Really a special time, really cool."

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