When the assignment was to grade the Patriots' draft, I initially cringed. Then I remembered how Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly graded teams last year and decided to follow in his footsteps, because it seemed like the fair way to carry out a tough assignment.
It is summed up by Nawrocki this way:
"It is never fair to evaluate drafts before talent is even given a chance to prove itself in the NFL, as the intangibles such as toughness, competitiveness and determination often exceed even the greatest talent. With that being said, there is an art to understanding where players will be drafted, how to manipulate the draft board and build through the draft. And those who understand the value of talent generally come away from the draft in the best shape now and in the future."
With this in mind, here is Nawrocki's piece in which he grades each team's NFL draft.
He gives the Patriots an "A."
"... Added up, the Patriots could have at least four solid Year One contributors with starter potential — McCourty, Gronkowski, Spikes and Mesko — and deserve credit for gaining picks next year and manipulating the board."