NEPD Editor: James Christensen
The Patriots have a history of making risky picks in the NFL Draft. Are they primed to make some more “questionable decisions” during the 2013 NFL Draft?
Some of the risks have certainly paid off for the Patriots.
Rob Gronkowski and Vince Wilfork had injury issues that led to them falling in the draft. Aaron Hernandez and Alfonzo Dennard both had off the field issues that haven’t prevented them from excelling on the field. Marcus Cannon has been a good depth pick after recovering from cancer.
If those five players never play another down for New England, the Patriots will have certainly received a good return on investment.
Unfortunately, many other risky picks haven’t panned out. Brandon Tate, Terrence Wheatley and Bethel Johnson – among others – all had injury histories that made teams wary. The Patriots invested top 100 picks and received little to show for their use of draft capital.
The jury is still out on Ras-I Dowling – who has shown glimpses of being a solid starter when he is able to stay on the field.
In this draft, the Patriots have their eyes set on two prospects that have had recent injuries.
D.J. Hayden (CB, Houston) nearly died after rupturing his vena cava during practice. He has been medically cleared to return to play, but that certainly has to be a concern. Hayden projects as a first round pick on tape, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable investing in him until the second round.
Tank Carradine (DE, Florida State) must be superhuman like Adrian Peterson and Wes Welker. Just a few months after tearing his ACL, Carradine ran a 4.7 forty at his workout yesterday – which the Patriots attended. They’ve also had Carradine in for an official visit. He is a top ten pick based on his play this year. If he is available at pick 29 – not likely at this point – I’d accept the risk and make the pick.
Your turn: Should the Patriots take a risky prospect or play it safe?