Should the Patriots have made more defensive moves in the draft?
Robert Deutsch | USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots’ fans are well aware that the defense needs some major help, especially with its poor showing at the end of last season and especially in Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles; and some fans thought they would address those issues in this year’s NFL Draft.
The Patriots’ front seven wasn’t addressed until the fifth and sixth rounds, but you wouldn’t have expected that at the beginning of the draft, as 12 of the first 22 picks came on defense. However, once the Patriots chose offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn at No. 23, things swayed in the way of offense. Seventeen of the next 22 picks were offense.
New England must not have seen anyone defensively worth trading up for or overpaying for. Head Coach Bill Belichick reflected on the importance of ‘player value’ in a press conference before the draft, and that’s what the team stuck with.
“The whole draft-need thing is – I don’t really understand that,” Belichick said. “You put a card up on the board. That doesn’t mean the guy is a good player. I think it’s important to acquire good players wherever they are. If you take a player at a position that you might so-called ‘need’ but he’s not good enough to fill that need, then it’s a wasted pick. So, I don’t understand the whole need thing. I understand player value, and that’s what we try to go by.”
New England may have evaluated other defensive moves already made this offseason as a reason to not be so aggressive in the draft. The Patriots acquired defensive tackle Danny Shelton and cornerback Jason McCourty in trades, signed free-agent pass-rusher Adrian Clayborn and will get Dont’a Hightower and Derek Rivers back from injuries. Deatrich Wise also had a breakout defensive year, and he will be returning as well.