A lightning-quick 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft ended with a flurry of conflicting reports about what the Super Bowl champion Patriots were doing with the final pick of the night. They eventually stayed put at 32 and chose University of Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown.
Several minutes before New England's choice was made official, The Boston Globe indicated that New England had swung a deal with the Houston Texans to trade out of the first round, but moments later, that was disputed by other media sources. Shortly thereafter, CBS Sports reported that New England had actually traded up and was making a selection. In the end, the Boston Herald was first to report (correctly) that the Patriots had selected Brown.
In comments to reporters after the first round, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wouldn't divulge whether or not there was a trade brewing with another club – "Well, we made the pick," he remarked – but Belichick was willing to acknowledge that the Patriots were "standing there and watching" for the first 20 picks or so. At that point, he and the team brass got more active in analyzing their position on the board.
As picks ahead of New England were being made in rapid succession, the Patriots found themselves with what Belichick called a mature, versatile, athletic player in Brown (6-2, 320).
"Based on the players that were on the board," Belichick explained, "we felt like he was the best player for us."
On a conference call shortly after the pick was made, Brown admitted he didn't expect to be taken by the Patriots, but revealed that during his Pro Day workout at Texas, he watched film with New England's defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia. He also told reporters he was excited to be going to the Super Bowl champions and ready to contribute on the defensive line.
"I'm just relentless," he said. "I want to be the best there can be and the best I can be, so I'm going to do that when I get there."
Belichick noted that it was "a little bit unusual… but not unprecedented" for a player of Brown's size to have the capability of playing at various spots along the d-line. Given his size and skill set, there have already been comparisons made between Brown and Patriots 2004 first-round draft pick Vince Wilfork. With Wilfork now in Houston after signing with the Texans in free agency this offseason, Brown could be a ready-made replacement.
View some of the best photos of Patriots first round selection (32nd overall) DL Malcom Brown.
Brown, though, insisted he hasn't seen much of Wilfork's playing career, and Belichick would only say there are both comparisons and differences between the two players.
This marks the second consecutive year that the Patriots have selected a defensive lineman with their first-round pick. However, as Belichick pointed out, last year's choice, Dominique Easley – who is significantly lighter than Brown – is a different style of player than Brown.
With Brown now on board, New England has three picks – the 64th, 96th, and 97th overall – in the second and third rounds, which will take place Friday evening when the draft resumes at 7 p.m. Eastern.
"We'll have to recalibrate tomorrow, reset our board," Belichick said, noting that each of the three days of the draft is like its own entity.
The NFL Draft concludes with Rounds 4-7 on Saturday afternoon. New England currently has five picks scheduled that day.