Patriots Go For Offense

Possibilities with the 21st pick:
1. Laurence Maroney, Minnesota–RB–Fresh legs, untapped potential … the perfect head-shaker pick by Belichick.”

Hector Longo, Eagle-Tribune, 4/28/06

I give Hector Longo a hard time on here for some of the things he writes in his columns and says while on the Radio with Mike Felger, but I can also give credit where it is due. Not too many people had the Patriots going with the running back Maroney with their first pick in this weekend’s draft.

There was coverage everywhere however, so Patriots fans had plenty of options to turn to for analysis of the picks as they happened. With two networks devoting pick-by-pick coverage, plus radio, newspapers and internet coverage, this NFL draft was the most accessible in league history.

Some notes of the local coverage. WEEI did a good job in the afternoon by trotting out several football writers to give their thoughts and picks from Foxboro as the draft was going on. Paul Perillo and Tom E Curran were among those who joined Jon Wallach during the draft. Those two have become the station’s “go-to” guys when it comes to the Patriots since Michael Felger left the station to take a shot at his own show on ESPN Boston.

The local writers were blogging through the draft, but once again, no one touched Mike Reiss. Fresh off his honeymoon, the prolific Globe blogger had end-to-end coverage of the draft, giving the picks as they were made, then following them up with more bio information, comments from Bill Belichick and then transcripts of conference calls. John Tomase of the Herald did some good work on Sunday, but mysteriously, the paper did not have him or anyone else blog on the first day of the draft. (Turns out Tomase was in a wedding over the weekend.) In contrast, the Pats Blog on the Projo only had entries on Saturday…those entries were scattered about, and included information from teams other than the Patriots. Patriots.com had a draft blog as well, and their entries were interesting, though a little unpredictable, the posts seemed to come at random, and could be about anything on the draft. Still, Paul Perillo, Andy Hart and Tom Casale did a pretty good job at making the blog interesting.

The NFL Network’s coverage was impressive for a first time effort. For a guy who is still an active NFL player, Corey Chavous of the Rams was very good at his draft knowledge and analysis. It was noted somewhere this weekend that if this guy puts this sort of effort into game preparation, then perhaps the Patriots should’ve looked at signing him. Former NFL player and Boston College alumni Mike Mayock was also very good with his performance over the weekend. Both guys showed a very good knowledge of not only the players available in the draft, but of the situations and needs of the teams across the league.

I turned to ESPN a few times over the weekend, but never stayed very long. An article from last week in the USA Today really turned me off to the production. However, ESPN had more firepower than the NFL Network when it came to personnel, as they could bring in many different faces to talk about the draft, and ESPN had the on-screen clock ticking down for each selection, something that the NFLN didn’t have.

Cold Hard Football Facts takes a look at the results of the experts mock drafts. Football Outsiders also has a lot of discussion on the selections over the weekend.

For the Patriots, yesterday’s picks were about depth and flexibility. Probably the most noteworthy pick was that of Memphis Kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who will be given every chance to win the starting placekicker position in training camp. Jerome Solomon says Gostkowski is just happy to get the opportunity right now. John Tomase has more on Gostkowski, who comes in with some impressive credentials. Tom E Curran also looks at the kicker, who is looking forward to kicking game winners for the Patriots. Michael Parente says that Gostkowski understands the challenge that faces him here in New England. Jennifer Toland also has a look at the two sport athlete. Albert Breer says that the Patriots might’ve seen things in Gostkowski which led them to believe he was capable of replacing a legend.

Ron Borges looks at the draft picks of the AFC East and likes what the Jets and Patriots did, and doesn’t think so highly of the picks made by the Bills and Dolphins. Michael Felger also looks around the AFC East and is impressed with the Jets, who picked D

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