Patriots Football Weekly, Draft Edition

A look at the April 4th edition of Patriots Football Weekly.

The links below require a subscription to PFW, unless noted otherwise.

This issue focuses mostly on the draft. Editor-in-Chief Fred S Kirsch leads off by praising Richard Seymour as a professional athlete who “gets it.” In the era of PacMan Jones and Chris Henry, Seymour stands out as a good example for not only other players, but for anyone.

The First Down segment looks at the cancellation of the China Bowl, Wes Welker talking about playing against the Patriots in the past, and Rosevelt Colvin gushing over Adalius Thomas.

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Tom Casale has a look at the evolution of the NFL Draft, which used to be held during the week with very little publicity. ESPN first proposed televising the draft in 1979, but the NFL voted down their idea 28-0. The next year the league did agree, and every year since 1980 the draft, or at least a portion of it has been televised. 1984 saw Chris Berman and Mel Kiper Jr working together on the event for the first time. In 1988, the draft was moved from Tuesday morning to Sunday-Monday, then six years later it was moved to its current Saturday-Sunday slot. Now both ESPN and NFL Network provide coverage of the event, and the internet has spawned hundreds of draft “experts” and sites.

In point-counterpoint, the issue is whether safety is the most important need in the draft. Andy Hart says it is, while Casale says that linebacker is more important.

Erik Scalavino has a look at Benjamin Watson’s visit to the troops in the Middle East. This segment stands out:

Remorse evident in his strong, deep voice, Benjamin Watson recounted the conversation.

“I’m sitting there about to sign an autograph, and he’s like, ‘My best friend was a Patriots fan and he loved you guys.’ And I was like, ‘Well, where is he?’”

The Marine’s reply pierced Watson’s heart like a sniper’s bullet.

“Well, um, he died last week on patrol.”

Welcome to war, Benjamin.

Andy Hart serves up a look at new Patriots receiver Donte’ Stallworth, who chose the Patriots over the Titans and the Dolphins for the opportunity to win and play with Tom Brady. Casale has a look at the Patriots other new receiver, Kelley Washington, who comes over from the Bengals, hopeful of a new start with the Patriots.

Then it is into the draft coverage as Paul Perillo looks at the steps involved in the Patriots finding a winning combination for the draft. He looks at candidates for the top of the draft, the middle rounds and the late rounds.

The Patriots have two first round selections, and Andy Hart has a piece called Draft day Double-down which looks at how the franchise has down in this position in the past. The 1976 draft, where the Patriots had three first rounders and landed Mike Haynes, Pete Brock and Tim Fox stands out, as does the 1973 draft, where John Hannah, Sam Cunningham and Darryl Stingley were drafted by the Patriots in the first round. Those drafts really built the strong Patriots teams of the ’70′s. More recently, the 2004 draft saw the Patriots landing Vince Wilfork and Benjamin Watson with first round selections.

The publication has a Writers’ Mock Draft with a reporter who covers each NFL team making the pick for the club they watch. The PFT staff has the Patriots taking Texas Safety Michael Griffin at 24 and Central Michigan Tackle Joe Staley at 28. In the actual PFW Mock Draft has the Patriots taking the same two players, but in the reverse order.

Rob McCartney of robscouting.com handles all the positional breakdowns for the issue, which takes up 10 pages.

Perillo has another feature on nine steps to catching a draft, where he talks to Patriots director of college scouting Thomas Dimitroff about the year-round process of college scouting and preparing for the draft.

For league perspective, Howard Balzer has the Lions possibly looking at another wide receiver, Calvin Johnson with the second pick. He also has Ben Roethlisberger disputing some comments from former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who claimed that the Steelers QB rushed back too quickly last season. Paul Domowitch has Andy Reid back on the job with the Eagles and calling his position “as good as it gets.”