Contrary to popular opinion, the Patriots did actually take part in the 2007 draft – even after making the blockbuster trade for Randy Moss.
After getting past all the deals that eventually saw New England go from 10 to nine picks overall while moving all over the board, Bill Belichick finally got around to adding eight names to the team's roster on Sunday.
Now the only question that remains is how many of those newcomers stands a legitimate chance of sticking around?
One trade the Patriots did not make on Saturday evidently was never really in consideration in the first place. Several reports indicated that New England was trying to trade up in the first round with Carolina to get to No. 14. The Jets eventually did work a deal with the Panthers and tabbed Pittsburgh cornerback Darrelle Revis with the selection.
However, according to a Patriots source the team never had any such desire to move up and the Jets weren't really in competition with anyone for Revis.
The Patriots Day 2 picks caused very little ripple effect after the Moss deal dominated the day. They ranged from the big (DT Kareem Brown, OLs Clint Oldenburg and Corey Hilliard) to the athletic (RB Justise Hairston, LB Oscar Lua, CB Mike Richardson) to the almost completely unknown (LB Justin Rogers). When the dust clears this summer in training camp, the majority of this group will be fighting for backup spots and, more likely, practice squad positions.
"We certainly were able to be a lot more active in adding to our roster," Belichick said. "I felt we accomplished two things this weekend: we added some quality depth to our team and put ourselves in good position for next year."
Kareem Brown was the first of the eight players taken, chosen in the fourth round (127th overall). The Patriots entered the day with an additional fourth rounder (No. 110) but that was sent to Oakland in the Moss deal. The 6-4, 290-pound defensive tackle out of Miami could be a candidate to play inside at nose tackle and provide depth behind fellow Hurricanes alum Vince Wilfork, although he said he played end when Miami went 3-4.
Despite the presence of higher regarded defensive teammates Jon Beason (Carolina's first-round pick) and Patriots first rounder Brandon Meriweather, it was Brown who garnered the team's Defensive Player of the Year honors last year. Brown emerged in his first season as a starter, registering 11 sacks and 16 quarterback pressures. He finished his career with 20.5 sacks, which ranks second on the Canes all-time list for defensive tackles.
In the fifth round (171st overall) the Patriots tabbed converted tight end Clint Oldenburg, a tackle out of Colorado State. The 6-5, 297-pound Oldenburg made the switch from tight end to offensive line in 2004 as a redshirt sophomore. He started 10 games that year and added 12 more the following season as a junior, earning honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference as well. He played 11 games as a senior last season.
When asked what comes to mind when the Patriots are mentioned, Oldenburg surely earned points among his new fans by simply saying "Super Bowl championships."
The sixth round was a busy one for the Patriots with four picks. Linebacker Justin Rogers (180 overall) out of SMU was the first of the four. The 6-4, 250-pound Rogers played defensive end for the Mustangs but will make the transition to linebacker. He has the size to play inside in the Patriots scheme but will need time to develop.
Notre Dame cornerback Mike Richardson (202) was the next to hear his name. The 5-11, 188-pound Richardson started every game for Charlie Weis last season and led the Fighting Irish with four interceptions.
The Patriots had a pair of compensatory picks at the end of the round (208 and 209) and tabbed Central Connecticut running back Justise Hairston and Oklahoma State tackle Corey Hilliard. Hairston, 6-1, 210, began his collegiate career at Rutgers before transferring down to Division I-AA Central Connecticut, Scott Pioli's alma mater. He rushed for 1,877 yards and 20 touchdowns last year for the Blue Devils while averaging 6.7 yards per carry.
The 6-5, 310-pound Hairston showed some versatility with the Cowboys, starting multiple games at both right and left tackle and seeing action at both guard spots as well. He is considered a strong and physical player who could make his way onto the roster as a depth player.
USC Oscar Lua was the first pick of the seventh round (211) and is the latest athletic Trojan linebacker. Pro Football Weekly describes the 6-1, 240-pound Lua as having tenacity, toughness and intelligence but added that he'll need medical clearance after a serious knee injury. Depending on his availability he could be given time to develop at a position the team will need depth in the future.
The Patriots finished the day with Iowa center Mike Elgin, taken with the 247th overall pick. Elgin obviously comes with a good recommendation from Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz, a former Belichick protégé. According to Belichick, Elgin showed good technique and fundamentals and will fight for a backup spot.