NFL Draft Live Blog: Patriots Improve Defense With Solid Performance in Draft


April 28, 2012

NFL Draft Live Blog: Patriots Improve Defense With Solid Performance in Draft

7:07 p.m.: Here's a rundown of the Patriots' seven draft picks:

No. 21 (Round 1): Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones

No. 25 (1): Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower

No. 48 (2): Illinois safety Tavon Wilson

No. 90 (3): Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette

No. 197 (6): Ohio State safety Nate Ebner

No. 224 (7): Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard

No. 235 (7): Northwestern wide receiver Jeremy Ebert

On the whole, the Patriots' draft should be considered a success due to their first-round performance, but Bequette should be a very solid player and Dennard was a worthwhile pick in the seventh round. Wilson will be second-guessed for a while, though.

Ebner is already being made out as a fan favorite with his rugby background. He should be a blast to watch in camp.

Bottom line, the Patriots improved in the draft. That's a big deal for a team coming off a Super Bowl appearance.

6:42 p.m.: The Patriots have completed their work in the 2012 draft, selecting Northwestern wide receiver Jeremy Ebert with the 235th pick in the seventh round. He's a slot receiver with average quickness.

6:33 p.m.: The Patriots are on the clock, and Merrimack linebacker Shawn Loiseau is still on the board.

6:30 p.m.: The Patriots are almost on the clock with their 235th pick, which is the last one at their disposal. There are four picks between their selection and the compensatory picks, so the possibility exists that they could trade down.

6:06 p.m.: The Patriots drafted Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard with the 224th pick in the seventh round. That's a terrific pick in terms of value. I gave Dennard to the Patriots with the 31st pick in my first mock draft of teh season. It was an oversight on my part, for sure, but it speaks to the quality of his game.

Dennard fell because he was arrested for allegedly punching a police officer last week.

6:00 p.m.: The Patriots are almost on the clock. They've got the 224th and 235th picks to close this out.

5:49 p.m.: Nate Ebner said he draws strength from his father's memory. Nate's father was murdered while defending his own business in 2008. Here's a story from the Springfield News-Sun if you're interested.

5:12 p.m.: I'm putting together my profile on Nate Ebner, but for now, if you're looking for info on him, you absolutely have to read this story from the Plain Dealer. He had no expectations to get drafted.

4:56 p.m.: The Pats selected Ohio State defensive back Nate Ebner with the 197th pick in the sixth round.

4:51 p.m.: The Patriots are up in a couple picks. They have the 197th selection.

4:42 p.m.: The Patriots lost four free agents in 1999 who factored into the Patriots' compensatory picks in the 2000 draft — one of which netted them Tom Brady.

Those four players were linebacker Todd Collins, punter Tom Tupa, defensive tackle Mark Wheeler and offensive lineman Dave Wohlabaugh.

4:12 p.m.: The Patriots just tweeted a photo of Tom Brady's draft card. That's really cool.

4:03 p.m.: The Bengals made another good pick by nabbing Boise State safety George Iloka at the end of the fifth round. Add him to Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Thompson and Orson Charles, and they've got a phenomenal thing going this weekend. Good for them. These aren't your older brother's Bengals.

3:24 p.m.: So, why the trade? At this point in the draft, unless there's a player that surprisingly dropped — like Marcus Cannon — the difference in talent between fifth-rounders and sixth- and seventh-rounders is just about negligible, generally speaking.

The extra assets will give Bill Belichick a chance to trade into next year's draft or add players for camp competition.

3:18 p.m.: It's time to get comfortable, folks. The Patriots sent the 163rd pick to the Packers for three selections — one sixth-rounder (No. 197) and two seventh-rounders (Nos. 224 and 235).

The 224th pick once belonged to the Jets. Oh, what might have been.

3:13 p.m.: Well, so much for that. The Patriots traded the 163rd pick back to the Packers. Still waiting on compensation.

3:11 p.m.: The Patriots are on the clock at No. 163. What to do, what to do.

2:48 p.m.: The Patriots are up in less than 10 picks. If they use the selection, they'll set a franchise record for their fewest picks ever in one draft.

2:12 p.m.: Tavon Wilson had to pick up a sweatshirt at the airport, so he thought this one was fitting.

2:09 p.m.: Tavon Wilson just met with the media for the first time. Want to know something wild? His great-great-grandmother, Eddye Williams, is 112 years old.

1:32 p.m.: Nebraska defensive lineman Jared Crick just went to the Texans at No. 126, which was the pick the Patriots used to trade up for Dont'a Hightower.

Since we're on the subject, the Bengals selected Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson at No. 93, which the Pats traded to move up for Chandler Jones.

1:22 p.m.: A couple good picks late in the fourth round. The Saints got Wisconsin wide receiver Nick Toon, who should be a nice fit in that offense. I liked him as a mid-round pick.

And the Eagles continued to add solid defensive players to the roster by grabbing Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin, who is a freak athlete. Boykin is only 5-foot-9, so I'm not sure how much potential he's got as a cornerback, but the athleticism is great for a fourth-rounder.

1:14 p.m.: The Vikings added Arkansas wide receiver Jarius Wright in the fourth round, and that should be a helpful weapon for Christian Ponder. It's an interesting class of wideouts from Arkansas, and Greg Childs is the last one remaining. Childs makes big plays and has tons of potential, but he also has a knack for dumb mistakes. I'm curious where he goes.

12:46 p.m.: Robert Griffin III might be the second coming in Washington, but he got a quick lesson of life in the NFL. The Redskins just drafted Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round. Obviously, the quarterback depth chart is set, but it didn't take long for Griffin to realize the organization will always be looking to upgrade the position, even if it's just with the backup in mind.

12:29 p.m.: The Panthers took Arkansas receiver Joe Adams with the 104th pick. Adams is explosive in space and is a terrific punt returner. Just another solid piece to that offense. The NFC South is going to be awesome to watch next season.

12:13 p.m.: The Dolphins moved up to draft Miami running back Lamar Miller with the second pick of the fourth round. Miller joins Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas in the backfield. I wonder how those two feel about the pick, considering Thomas was essentially a bust last year and Bush was a 1,000-yard rusher.

12:06 p.m.: Wake Forest wide receiver Chris Givens is the first pick of the third day, and he's heading to St. Louis, which is having one of the strongest drafts in the league.

12:00 p.m.: The third and final day of the draft has begun, and I'm back at Gillette to get this thing wrapped up.

8 a.m.: There are only a few hours remaining in the NFL's 2012 drafting season.

The draft concludes Saturday with the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. After a couple exciting nights in prime time, the final day serves as a steady downshift, as a vast majority of Saturday's 158 draftees will be unknowns, even to the most hardcore football followers.

The Patriots only have one pick Saturday: the 163rd overall selection in the fifth round. They've already made four selections through three rounds, and they're in line to make the fewest draft picks in one draft in franchise history (the previous low was six picks in 2002).

If the Patriots are looking to trade up, they've got picks in the first, second, third, fourth and seventh rounds in the 2013 draft as currency.

Stay with throughout the day for complete coverage. Second-round pick Tavon Wilson and third-rounder Jake Bequette will also visit Gillette Stadium for the first time, so we'll have plenty to discuss Saturday.

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