By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) –The first round of the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books, and the New England Patriots were merely spectators as 32 new players were introduced into the league.
The Patriots sat back as other teams drafted rookies they hope develop into future cornerstones. At the moment, New England do the same in the second round on Friday night, with their first selection coming in the third round at No. 72 overall.
Thursday night came and went, and Jimmy Garoppolo is still Tom Brady’s backup. Malcolm Butler will share the defensive backfield with free agent addition Stephon Gilmore. And instead of a new name on the depth chart fresh out of college, Patriots fans will get to watch Brandin Cooks run routes in the New England offense.
The Pats made their first-round pick back on March 10 when they sent the 32nd selection and a third rounder to New Orleans for the dynamic receiver. They opted to go with a known commodity rather than the great unknown of a draft pick. Cooks is just 23 with three NFL seasons under his belt and 20 touchdowns to his name.
That makes it pretty hard to complain about the Patriots sitting out of Thursday night’s fun.
But 32 kids now have a job in the National Football League, and some of the picks did mean something for the Patriots. Here are a few observations from Thursday night:
– The New Orleans Saints drafted cornerback Marshon Lattimore with the 11th overall pick, so that pretty much ends any Malcolm Butler trade talks.
– The Pats will face some talented offensive rookies in 2017. Quarterback Deshaun Watson out of Clemson (who said he’s chasing Brady’s five Super Bowl wins) may get to go head-to-head with Brady in Week 3 when the Texans come to Foxboro, if he can beat out Tom Savage for the starting job. The following week the Pats will get a glimpse of running back Christian McCaffrey, the eighth overall pick by the Carolina Panthers. And come October 29, one of the Gilmore-Butler tandem may find themselves covering receiver Mike Williams, the seventh overall pick by the L.A. Chargers.
– It’s been reported that the Patriots are not trading Garoppolo this season, but that doesn’t mean they don’t slap the franchise tag on the QB and shop him next offseason. But with three quarterbacks being drafted on Thursday, a few potential trade suitors are now off the board.
The Chicago Bears mortgaged their future for Mitchell Trubisky, trading up to grab him at No. 2, and the Texans did the same to draft Waston. Kansas City also found their way into the Top 10 to draft Patrick Mahomes, though they were never really mentioned as possible partners in a Garoppolo swap.
However, the Cleveland Browns made three picks on Thursday and none of them will be throwing passes (unless they really get crazy with Jabrill Peppers). Cleveland is also stacked with picks in next year’s draft, owning a pair of first rounders (their own and the Texans) and three second rounders. The Browns have always been at the forefront of the Garoppolo trade rumors, and things could get interesting around this time next season. That is, unless something happens on Friday night.
– The Patriots are scheduled to make a pair of third-round selections on Friday: No. 72 and No. 96.