The New England Patriots enter the 2012 NFL Draft completely loaded possessing two first rounders (27th, 31st) and two second rounders (48th, 62nd). It’s no secret the Patriots have relished each and every one of their picks in recent drafts, and while several have not panned out, they have used and traded back with great confidence. With the Patriots in regards to the draft, it is all about one thing when it comes to their picks: value.
With the offensive needs all but addressed with the team’s off-season acquisitions, the focus will most certainly be on the defensive side of the ball. One player who stands out at a position of great need is Alabama safety Mark Barron. The 6’2″ 218 All-American has been one of the players that has been linked to a number of teams, meaning he will not last long on Thursday night. As a matter of fact, the majority of mock drafts do not see Barron lasting past the Cowboys at 14.
So, the question stands, do the Patriots trade up for Barron?
Again, it comes down to value.
Barron is a dynamic player who quarterbacked one of the nations top defenses for the greater part of the past four years and would be a fantastic fit in this defense lacking a “playmaker.” He is a thomper in the box laying hard hits and he patrols the centerfield with super ball-hawking ability.
In addition to being the top safety in the draft, the three year starter is by all accounts very instinctive and athletic, something the Patriots could use in their secondary. None of his statistics truly jump off the page, but he is well rounded in that he notably makes tackles for a loss and deflects/intercepts passes which highlights the entire package he features. Peaking the video below too will showcase the special talent he is.
The revolving door at safety last season was well documented for the Patriots. With Pat Chung missing eight games mid-season, the Pats were forced to give playing time to a variety of players, several of which were out of position. The Patriots did add Steven Gregory in free agency, and pairing Barron with he and Chung would give the Pats a deep core heading into the season.
What will be the cost to move up?
One would have to think any package would entail the team’s two first rounders, and that is just a starting point. If Bill Belichick feels the cost is worth it, he will do what is best for the team. Perhaps what’s best is not Barron in Belichick’s eyes, but all signs point to him aiding a weak part of the team.
As it stands, the window is closing for this team and coming off of another Super Bowl loss, the organization needs to keep in mind what it will take to have another shot or two at an elusive championship while Tom Brady is still around.