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Reid, Cobbs, Sam and Morton fill out '04 draft class

The second day of draft weekend doesn't carry the hype and drama that comes with first-round action as teams search for that rare diamond in the rough. With that goal in mind the Patriots continued to add depth on both sides of the ball Sunday afternoon with the selection of North Carolina free safety Dexter Reid (fourth round, 113), Arkansas running back Cedric Cobbs (fourth round, 128), Florida State wide receiver P.K. Sam (fifth round, 164) and Illinois cornerback Christian Morton (seventh round, 233).

"I thought it went pretty well," Belichick said following the team's final selection in the seventh round. "It was fairly well-balanced and we got younger and faster on defense (this weekend) with five defensive players. We got good value at the skill positions and I think we will have a good, competitive situation. I am looking forward to getting the kids in here this weekend."

In four seasons with the Tar Heels the 5-10, 203-pound Reid started 36-of-47 games played tallying 466 tackles, three interceptions, four sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. The Norfolk, Va. native earned a reputation as a top tackler as a three-year starter with solid speed and a hard-hitting style.

"He was one of the most productive players in college football," Belichick said. "He's a smart guy who was the quarterback of their defense. I feel like he will be a factor on special teams in the kicking game. He's athletic and physical and played very well in the ACC."

Cobbs gives the Patriots a young, powerful running back to back up Corey Dillon in 2004 with the potential to develop into the franchise's back of the future. Over five seasons with the Razorbacks Cobbs started 18-of-46 games with 589 carries for 3,027 yards (5.1 avg.) with 26 touchdowns as well as 26 receptions for 138 yards and one score. As a senior in 2003 he carried the ball 227 times for 1,329 yards (5.8 avg.) and 10 touchdowns.

"The first minute I knew I was going to New England, everything worked out for me and to know I'm having a chance to play for the World Champions," the 6-foot, 221-pound Little Rock, Arkansas native said. "It's a great feeling right now."

Philip Kenwood Sam is a receiver that left the Seminoles after his junior season and slipped to the later rounds of the draft despite impressive size and decent college numbers. The 6-3, 210-pound wide out started 13-of-35 games over three seasons recording 76 receptions for 1,066 yards (14.0 avg.) and seven touchdowns. He started all 13 games in his final season while collecting 50 receptions for 753 yards (14.7 avg.) and five scores.

"I think that I am a very well rounded receiver," Sam said. "I do what I am asked to do. I like the jump-ball situation. I know the (Patriots) receivers are kind of shorter than I am, so maybe I can add some height and help out in that way.

"It's definitely an honor to play for a winning team like this. It was nerve-racking sitting around. I was hoping I went earlier to (the Patriots), actually because that is where I wanted to go. I definitely feel blessed to have this opportunity."

Morton played opposite current Patriots safety Eugene Wilson for an Illini team that won the Big Ten title and now adds even more depth to a New England secondary that has added five new faces through the draft and free agency in recent weeks. The 6-0, 188-pound corner started 25-of-45 games over four seasons recording 120 tackles with five interceptions and one sack.

"Like Eugene he played in different systems," Belichick said. "He played some on the line of scrimmage. He's a bigger guy. He did a number of things there and has good ball skills."

All in all the Patriots walked away from draft weekend with eight new faces, and surprisingly never made a single trade to acquire any of the eight players, that should add depth, youth and athleticism to a team that won the Super Bowl just two months ago. The rookie draft picks, as well as the rookie free agents that the team will sign over the next couple of days, will be at Gillette Stadium later this week to begin the process of transforming into professional athletes and the potential to become additional bricks in foundation of the franchise for years to come.

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