Gresh & Zo: The ‘Riskiest’ Draft For Patriots Under Belichick
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BOSTON (CBS) – After addressing the needs at wide receiver and in the secondary during free agency this offseason, heading into the draft Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak felt like there were two positions that needed attention: linebacker and tight end.
Sitting here on Monday, what were two positions not taken by the Patriots in the draft? Linebacker and tight end.
The Patriots did, however, elect to use their 2nd round pick (no. 62 overall) on Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Now you might be wondering, what are the Patriots doing drafting a quarterback now when they’ve already got a first-ballot Hall of Famer on the roster and under contract?
Aside from Garoppolo, Gresh feels like in totality this was the riskiest draft ever for the Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick because of the risk factor involved.
“This, in many ways, was a futures draft, and I could argue the riskiest draft of the Belichick era,” said Gresh to lead the discussion. “If [Dominique] Easley gets hurt, and his knees don’t hold up or it takes awhile for the explosiveness to come back, people are gonna say, ‘Why did you jump at him at no. 29?‘ You assumed the risk of an injured guy.
“If we’re sitting here three years from now and Jimmy Garoppolo can’t find the way into the lineup when Tom Brady struggles or is injured, you’ll be in the same position now as you are with Ryan Mallett. That’s another risk they assumed.”
Under Belichick, the Patriots have never drafted a quarterback as high as Garoppolo was taken. Because of this, Zo feels like fans, because of the expectations, will treat Garoppolo as a first round pick.
Zo called Garoppolo a “luxury” pick because the team views itself as a Super Bowl contender without many holes.
“In a talent-laden draft, where you have buckets and buckets of talent, they go and waste — no, I’m not gonna say waste — they elect with one of their highest picks to take a quarterback that should not play unless it’s catastrophic and what we went through in 2008 happens again.
“Is this indicative of a team that’s loaded? Is that what Bill is saying here? ‘We can do this in the second round in a draft where I can probably get three guys that can help us, but really we don’t have any holes. We’re loaded. We are freakin’ loaded.'”
Despite using a second round pick on a quarterback, the Patriots were still able to acquire talent in the later rounds — specifically the offensive lineman. Zo applauds the picks and believes the three o-lineman will all challenge for spots and push the veteran incumbents — especially center Bryan Stork.
“I love the fact they brought the lineman in, because if you’re Dan Connolly and you’re Ryan Wendell, every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at practice you can’t just punch a card and be guaranteed to be the starting center and guard. Now you’re a little uncomfortable. Belichick is creating competition in the interior here,” said Zo.
Listen below for the full discussion:
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