Cleaning out the Patriots notebook

Cleaning out the Patriots notebook...

1. One takeaway from Bill Belichick's interview on WEEI on Tuesday afternoon: Cornerback Antwaun Molden played his way on to the roster with a strong performance in the preseason finale, serving as an example of a player who shows enough late to stick. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Molden "wasn't even on the radar of Tuesday of last week." He had been awarded to the Patriots on waivers Wednesday.

2. If the Patriots officially sign free-agent tight end Dan Gronkowski today, it raises a question to me on their decision-making process to waive rookie tight ends Will Yeatman (Dolphins) and Lee Smith (Bills), both of whom were claimed If the team needed a third tight end for the season-opener, why not keep one who has been with you all camp while working in the system and release Darius Butler earlier? That one is sort of puzzling to me if the Gronkowski signing unfolds.

3. In claiming linebacker A.J. Edds on waivers Tuesday, it adds another layer to the Patriots' well executed trade down in the 2010 draft. The Patriots traded the 24th overall pick (Dez Bryant) and 119th selection (which ended up being Edds) to the Cowboys to pick up 27 (Devin McCourty) and 90 (Taylor Price). Now the Patriots have three of the players picked in those spots (119 was traded to the Dolphins). Hat tip to Dan Snapp for that factoid.

4. On the flip side, Bill Belichick's two trades out of the 2009 first round don't look good. Belichick moved out twice and two of the key chips in the trades down were cornerback Darius Butler (second round, 41st overall) and receiver Brandon Tate (third round, 83rd overall). Both are no longer with the team. For those looking for reasons to criticize Belichick's drafting, and his trade downs, that is one place to start. Just don't forget to balance it off and note that Jerod Mayo and McCourty were also drafted after trading down.