They did, however, achieve quite a lot, and, as always, Bill Belichick found value and gathered more picks for the future.
With their first pick in the draft, Belichick nabbed a left tackle of the future in the massive Nate Solder, a great value for the seventeenth-overall pick. Belichick also found another hulking lineman in the fifth round in Marcus Cannon, a player projected to be a second rounder before being diagnosed with Non-Hodkins Lymphoma. With an aging offensive line riddled with contract questions, Belichick did very well to keep the future bright.
Belichick also was able to find an heir apparent to Tom Brady in the third round in Ryan Mallett, projected by many as the most talented quarterback in the draft. There may be questions about his character, but his arm is undeniable, and in New England, he is in the perfect setting to mature.
Some of Belichick’s other choices, however, were a bit surprising. Why reach on cornerback Ras-I Dowling with the top pick of the second round when you have Leigh Bodden and Devin McCourty? Why let the Saints draft Mark Ingram when you could have done the same? Why pass on Cameron Jordan?
Surely, 2011’s draft was a classic Belichick performance, part brilliant, but part inexplicable.
What grade would you give the Patriots 2011 draft? Leave your thoughts below.
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