Patriots coach Bill Belichick has said on multiple occasions that the 2007 draft was not strong.
He most recently made the point when speaking on Boston sports radio station WEEI, noting that the grades the Patriots had on 2010 sixth-round pick Ted Larsen and 2010 seventh-round pick Thomas Welch were better than the team had on fourth-round players in 2007.
With Belichick's comments serving as the springboard, and the release of 2007 No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell one of the big NFL stories of late, I looked back on the '07 first and second rounds to see what teams might do differently now.
Four of the first 13 selections are no longer with the team that drafted them (Russell, the late Gaines Adams, Ted Ginn Jr., Adam Carriker). Another three probably would be considered not worthy of a top-13 pick (Levi Brown, Jamaal Anderson, Amobi Okoye), with Marshawn Lynch seemingly close to joining that group.
The Patriots selected safety Brandon Meriweather 24th overall in 2007. Meriweather hasn't been overwhelming, but he's been a serviceable starter.
These are the players from the first two rounds that I would put in front of Meriweather (number they were drafted next to their name):
2. WR Calvin Johnson (Lions)
3. LT Joe Thomas (Browns)
6. S LaRon Landry (Redskins)
7. RB Adrian Peterson (Vikings)
11. LB Patrick Willis (49ers)
14. CB Darrelle Revis (Jets)
18. CB Leon Hall (Bengals)
19. S Michael Griffin (Titans)
25. LB Jon Beason (Panthers)
28. OT Joe Staley (49ers)
29. G Ben Grubbs (Ravens)
44. WR Sidney Rice (Vikings)
46. OLB LaMarr Woodley (Steelers)
47. ILB David Harris (Jets)
51 WR Steve Smith (Giants)
I think the list above includes players that could fit in any system, and represents the upper tier of the players selected within the first two rounds of the 2007 draft. At this point, I'd put Meriweather in the second tier category, in the 16-24 range.
So based on where he was picked, and what has happened to some of the other first and second-round picks from 2007, the Patriots' selection of Meriweather looks better when factoring in that 32-team NFL context.