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NFL draft wrap up: What grades did experts give Patriots?

Ryan Hannable
April 30, 2018 - 10:57 am

After months of hype, the NFL draft is in the books.

For the Patriots, they made eight trades over the three days, which were the most ever in the Bill Belichick era, and then selected nine players including two in the first round -- offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel, both from Georgia.

The Patriots also traded for offensive lineman Trent Brown on Friday, which should be included when it comes to discussing the Patriots' draft.

As a whole, the experts felt the Patriots had a solid weekend. Here's a quick look at what they had to say.

ESPN's Mel Kiper: B+

Every year we ask if the Patriots could have done more, but this team annually picks at the end of Round 1. You have to develop when you pick where they do, and to their credit, they do. The big question will be whether they could have used the Michel pick for needed defensive help.

NFL Media's Chad Reuter: A

There’s not many sub-6-foot-3 tackles in the NFL. But Wynn’s length and athleticism allowed him to excel at the position with the Bulldogs, and there’s no reason to think he can’t be a solid player there in the NFL. He also plays with a nasty streak. Just another four-year, high-character player for Bill Belichick. His college teammate, running back Michel, will join him in Foxboro. Michel has the versatility to be a star in the Patriots’ system, working as a receiver and slashing through defenses as a runner.

SI's Andy Benoit: A+

Instead of using their considerable early-round draft capital to find the next Tom Brady (which, by the way, may never exist, and couldn’t be found in this imperfect class of rookie QBs), the Patriots decided to replenish the talent around the actual Tom Brady, who is coming off an MVP season, which many seemed to forget this offseason. Brady’s departure—whenever it comes—will force a drastic resetting of this franchise one way or another. Instead of investing valuable draft picks on guesses for how to minimize that discomfort, New England spend those picks on players who can help collect more Super Bowls right now.

Rotoworld's Evan Silva: B

The Patriots are always a difficult team to assign post-draft “grades” because they view the draft differently than other teams, using their picks as bait to acquire proven veterans and trading down to collect more chances to hit. They take this approach because they understand the NFL draft is a low-probability, luck-driven event. RT Trent Brown, NT Danny Shelton, KR Cordarrelle Patterson, LB Marquis Flowers, and CB Jason McCourty must all be included in the Pats’ draft class because they were acquired for 2018 picks. New England also landed the Bears’ 2019 second-round pick and the Lions’ 2019 third-rounder in trades down​

Pro Football Focus: Above average

The Patriots spent most of Day 2 trading down, but they did make one selection as they traded back up to get Duke Dawson. He allowed a passer rating of only 41.0 when lined up in the slot last year, eighth-best in the nation, after allowing a rating of only 64.6 (38th) in 2016. Given the value of slot defenders in today’s NFL, Dawson fills an important need for the Patriots’ defense.​

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: B+

The Patriots did a lot of moving up and down this draft, and ended up with nine selections. They had two in the first round and used the first of those on Georgia tackle Isaiah Wynn. He is short to be a left tackle, but he’s a good player. They then took Georgia runner Sony Michel with their other first-round pick. He is perfect for their system. Both Georgia players do come with injury concerns. They traded up in the second round to take Florida corner Duke Dawson, which was probably a little high for him. After that, they addressed linebacker need and then took Miami receiver Braxton Berrios in the sixth to play the slot.

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