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Pats Not Doomed By Vikings

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Aaron Dobson, left, no. 17, and Josh Boyce, right, no. 82, will ultimately decide if the Patriots "won" the draft-day trade with the Vikings. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images.
Aaron Dobson, left, no. 17, and Josh Boyce, right, no. 82, will ultimately decide if the Patriots "won" the draft-day trade with the Vikings. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images.

As part of my morning routine, I always check the headlines on football.com. I was surprised to see fellow football.com writer Richard Martin’s latest headline. 

Did the Vikings Set the Patriots up for Future Disaster?

The piece focused on the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots 2013 draft-day trade where the Patriots received the Vikings second, third, fourth, and seventh round picks while the Vikings received the Patriots first round pick. 

Richard believes the Patriots may have gotten the short end of the stick, with Cordarrelle Patterson being a weapon the Patriots could have used. While it’s way too early to declare a winner of the trade — that will come later — we can dissect the trade itself. 

The Patriots were reportedly trying to get out of the first round as they felt none of the wide receivers in the 2013 draft were worth a first round pick. That would include Patterson. 

With the four picks the Patriots received from Minnesota, the Pats took linebacker Jamie Collins (second round, 52nd overall), safety Duron Harmon (third round, 91st overall), and wide receiver Josh Boyce (fourth round, 102nd overall). The Patriots traded the seventh rounder, along with running back Jeff Demps, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for running back LeGarrette Blount. 

In a direct comparison, it would be Patterson versus Collins, Harmon, Boyce, and Blount. Is Patterson greater than those four players? Collins and Boyce could be major contributors to the Patriots in their rookie seasons, while Blount could serve as a goal-line back. 

But the Patriots drafted another WR with their original second round pick, Aaron Dobson. By all accounts, Dobson is getting every opportunity to start in his rookie season, lining up with the first-team in practice. 

In reality, we should compare the production of Patterson to that of Dobson and Boyce. The Patriots had a chance to get one of the top WRs on the board and instead went with two other receivers they felt comfortable with. 

Time will tell who got the better end of the deal. Perhaps Patterson will turn into a superstar. Or perhaps one on of the many acquisitions the Patriots received will. 

At the very least, even if all the players don’t pan out for New England, they will not be doomed to disaster. As long as Belichick and Brady are there, the team is always a contender. 

As for Brady’s targets, the preseason is for figuring that out. While there aren’t a lot of proven players on the team, there is talent there. Gronkowski will be back, and he’s the best tight end in the game. Brady worked with much less in 2006, a season they went to the AFC Championship game and were moments away from going to the Superbowl. 

Belichick is not immune to draft day mistakes. In 2009, the team traded their first round pick away to the Green Bay Packers, who used the pick to take Clay Matthews. What’s worse is the team desperately needed pass-rushing help that year. 

But the mistake didn’t doom the Patriots. They had the number one seed in 2010, went to the Superbowl in 2011, and went to the AFC championship game in 2012. Patterson could be a superstar, and if he is, and Boyce, Dobson, Collins, Harmon and Blount all end up being duds, then so be it. It won’t doom the Patriots though. A Tom Brady injury would do that.