BOSTON (CBS) — When the Tennessee Titans made a trade to move up to get one spot in front of the New England Patriots in the first round of April’s draft, many people looked at it as old friends Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel pulling a fast one on Bill Belichick. But according to a new report, that wasn’t quite the case.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss, in his weekly notes column, did some follow-up work on the draft. And considering the Titans used their new position at No. 22 overall to select much-heralded linebacker Rashaan Evans out of Alabama, Reiss did some digging to find out if the Patriots were indeed intending to use the 23rd overall pick on the same player.
“I’ve since learned that [Evans] wasn’t a serious consideration for them in the first round,” Reiss said of the Patriots’ draft plans. “Once Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State) was off the board in the first round (No. 19, Cowboys), the Patriots knew they weren’t going with a linebacker with their No. 23 pick.”
The Patriots ended up drafting offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn at No. 23, but Reiss’ reporting might help soothe some feelings of missing out with regard to Evans.
After the first round of the draft concluded, Patriots director of personnel Nick Caserio said that New England didn’t feel as though Vrabel and Robinson were trying to outmaneuver the Patriots for a certain player.
“With all due respect, that wasn’t the response. Jon and Mike do what they thought was best for their team,” Caserio said. “We didn’t throw our pens against the wall and go, ‘Oh my gosh, what just happened?’. We were just ready to move on to the next pick.”
The Patriots did eventually draft a linebacker — Ja’Whaun Bentley out of Purdue — in the fifth round.