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Patriots fill needs on Day Two

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted April 23, 2010 @ 10:14 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Patriots Nation filled up Twitter, Facebook and other social-media outlets with a collective outcry: Who? Where?

Devin McCourty was not a popular first pick.

In Bill We Trust? It’s starting to lose its meaning for some people.

Time to back off from the ledge, folks.

The Patriots came back in Round Two and got back to business. They traded up — a rarity under Bill Belichick — to get TE Rob Gronkowski, a player they clearly had dancing in their heads overnight.

Then it was an Urban Meyer duo: OLB Jermaine Cunningham (one pick ahead of Carlos Dunlap, interestingly) and ILB Brandon Spikes.

In Round Three, the Patriots made another strong pick, snagging WR Taylor Price, who was hindered by subpar QB play at Ohio. He won’t suffer from that in New England.

Patriots fans took a deep breath and released it collectively. The Patriots had drafted football players they knew from schools they had heard of.

But it goes past that.

Gronkowski might have been a first-round pick, gone in the Jermaine Gresham range, had he played last season. Yeah, there are maturity issues, but the Patriots think he can be a dangerous blocker and receiver. The position is no longer a major concern.

Cunningham competes hard and should be able to make the transition to outside linebacker after playing down for his career at Florida. He has some natural pass-rush ability, some power at the point and a nice motor. Good fit.

An even better fit is Spikes, who is this generation’s Bryan Cox. Forget the slow 40-yard dash times (mostly in the 5.0 range). Spikes can line up next to Jerod Mayo and help curtail the run. He’s the perfect Bill Belichick type: selfless, smart, football-savvy and loves the game. Patriots fans will love this guy.


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