The New England Patriots are obviously the best team in professional football…ever. They are led by the master tactician and their head coach Bill Belichick. In the beginning of the offseason, the Patriots gave up their first and second round picks in the 2017 NFL draft. Following a passive/aggressive coaching style, the Patriots opted to settle for veterans instead of taking their chance in the draft. They acquired Receiver Brandin Cooks in exchange for their first round pick (from the Saints). New England’s 1st pick was in the third round. Furthermore, the Pats traded down early in the third round (the Bill Belichick special)
New England added their first player of the draft at No. 83 overall (the 19th selection of the third round) selecting defensive end Derek Rivers. The last time a team had its 1st pick this late in the draft was in 2012. Both Raiders (95th) and Saints (89th) had their first selection after pick 83 in 2012. The Patriots finally selected Derek RIvers in the 3rd round. Rivers, standing at 6-foot-4, and weighing in at 248-pounds, is a product of Youngstown St. He compiled 173 total tackles and 37.5 sacks in his four seasons at the college level. Rivers displayed good burst at the college level and the ability to disrupt the passer, something the Patriots are in desperate need of. Derek Rivers has position versatility to stand up as an outside linebacker or put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer; and we all know how much Belichick loves versatile players.
After this move, the Patriots sent their second pick in the 3rd round along with a 4th round selection to Detroit in order to move up to pick #85 overall in the 3rd Round. New England used the selection on 6-foot-6 Troy offensive tackle Antonio Garcia. The Patriots drafted Garcia to play left tackle, the position Nate Solder currently plays. With only 1 year left on Solder’s contract, Antonio will more than likely be “long term insurance” for the left tackle position in New England. Garcia was drafted from Troy University, ending the drought of not having a player drafted. According to his player profile, his lanky frame sets him apart from other tackles, but his positive attributes show up on tape more than his weaknesses. Mass and functional strength are concerns and he still needs plenty of technical work, but a team could look to draft and stash him based on his starter’s traits and ability. In this case the Patriots drafted out of need.
According to the NFL, the Patriots got a C grade this draft, but New ENgland doesn’t care what everyone else thinks. It has that “Us vs World” mentality.