The ripples of ‘Deflategate’ are still reverberating as the Patriots enter the 2016 draft. Patriots fans must be steaming angry, with no first round pick. Fans obviously feel cheated by the whole incident, as evidenced by the failed fan lawsuit. Perhaps their fans are now getting a taste of how it feels to be on the other end of it.
Regardless, of the arguments, the Patriots have to move on now. The draft is just days away, and it doesn’t look like there is anything more to be done. Not only are the Patriots having to wait until the 2nd round to make their selections, their selections (Nos. 60 and 61) are nearly at the very end of that round.
As an NFL fan, I feel for their team fans for essentially losing out on a fun part of the NFL season. This is akin to getting grounded from going to prom, or finding that tickets to see your favorite band live have been sold out – it is an epic disappointment.
Yet, even though the Patriots and fans alike are getting punished, does it really matter? The Patriots are the Patriots, and by that I mean they are still one of the most dominant franchises in pro-football. When all the dust settles on the draft, some teams will be improved, but New England will still be the favorite to win their division yet again.
Keep in mind that the Patriots set the bar in the NFL, and all the other teams are really just trying to play catch up. They have their formula for success, and year in and out, they run it to perfection. Their offense is still high powered – last year they were 3rd in points, 6th in total yards, and 5th in total passing yards.
They were weak in rushing – perhaps they could improve that by picking for their offensive line and running back positions. Devontae Booker (RB, Utah) is predicted to be available late in the second round. Le’Raven Clark (OT, Texas Tech) may be also be available as well that late. Getting these two very good position players would give fans something to be excited about. As long as they are scoring points, they can win games.
Finally, also keep in mind that Bill Belicheck is a master at getting great value from his players. He already has some running backs signed who know his system and can compete. They go with running back by committee approach, and it works for them. Even if they do go defensive with their 2nd round picks, it could work for them.
Regardless of what they do, I am already picking them to win their division. Who would say otherwise? They’ve won their division and made the playoffs nearly every year since Tom Brady became the QB. Would you really pick against them making the playoffs?
They may have missed the prom, but graduation is right around the corner.