Breaking down the Patriots draft board
2009 draft preview
Trying to predict in what direction Patriots coach Bill Belichick will go in the draft is like trying to foretell what the stock market will do in the current economic climate.
2009 draft preview > position-by-position breakdown
When quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel were traded in late February, the first domino fell and the recalibration of the Patriots' roster was underway. Since that deal, 17 players were signed, re-signed or acquired by the Patriots.
2009 draft preview > wide receivers
Wide receivers are supposed to create separation, not separation anxiety. But separating the college receivers who can play in the NFL from those who aren't capable can be an angst-ridden decision for teams.
2009 draft preview > defensive backs
For all the derision Pete Carroll endured for his "pumped and jacked" persona when he was Patriots coach, it has been greeted as gridiron gospel at the University of Southern California. Players can't resist the allure of Carroll's charisma.
2009 draft preview > quarterbacks
NFL teams won't go far without a productive quarterback. But since 1990, there have been 43 quarterbacks selected in the first round of the draft, and the failure rate of that group is off the charts: Only 12-14 have had consistent success.
2009 draft preview > defensive line
At Boston College, B.J. Raji and Ron Brace were a disruptive force of nature, weighing in at a combined 647 pounds. They anchored the defensive line, making 69 tackles (27 for losses) and 11 sacks.
2009 draft preview > 1-on-1 with the coach
Typically, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has done some of his best work this time of year. Few teams manipulate and manage the draft as well as the Patriots have in Belichick's tenure, which is now entering its 10th season.
2009 draft preview > offensive line
In his 2006 book, "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game," author Michael Lewis concludes that left tackle - a once-anonymous spot protecting the blind side of righthanded QBs - has evolved into one of the most important positions.
2009 draft preview > running backs
The conventional wisdom in today's NFL is it takes two (or more) backs to make a running game go right. So just because a team has one standout running back doesn't mean that it is out of the running to take another rusher in the draft.
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