Matt Williamson of ESPN's Scouts Inc. writes critically on the Patriots' 2010 NFL Draft performance, questioning the team's trade-heavy approach (Insider content).
Under the heading "Are the Patriots' draft tactics getting old?", Williamson opines with the following:
"As usual, all the trading down and wheeling and dealing set the Patriots up very well for the future. But my worry here, and with this philosophy overall, is how many true difference-makers has Bill Belichick brought to New England lately via the draft? In the four previous drafts, the only impact Patriots I see are Jerod Mayo and Brandon Meriweather, and it could be argued that they are not among the top players at their respective positions yet. Mayo was the 10th pick, and Meriweather was 24th. My point? There is some validity to using high picks on difference-makers, and trading down makes acquiring such stars difficult.
"Belichick is the best coach in the NFL and clearly one of the best talent evaluators, but even with his game-day brilliance, the NFL is predicated on creating mismatches with superior football players. Even this draft looks to be made up predominantly of role players -- maybe very good role players if everything works out, but role players just the same.
"So even after the draft, New England still remains short on pass-rushers, and Tom Brady will be handing the ball to the same stable of ordinary running backs. All the moving around is impressive, but maybe it is time that we become a little more critical of the Patriots' draft tactics."