My take on the Pats' draft choices:
Devin McCourty, CB - I was a little bit surprised that they chose to take McCourty, a cornerback over Jerry Hughes or Sergio Kindle, who would have been pass rushers for the Pats' 3-4 defense. However, the Pats' pass defense was not great last year, and McCourty gives them a solid young corner to develop besides Darius Butler and Jonathan Wilhite. In a related note, this may mean the Terence Wheatley, the former 2nd round draft pick will not be seeing much playing time, seeing as he was behind both Butler and Wilhite last year. Overall, this was a surprising pick, but ultimately a fine one.
Rob Gronkowski, TE - Great pick for the Pats. They have very little depth at tight end, and their only known commidity, Alge Crumpler is an aging blocking tight end. Gronkowski can catch and block, and will benefit from having a veteran like Crumpler on the team. I think he will contribute immediately and be a weapon, especially since the Pats don't have Wes Welker as a security option this year. A very nice pick.
Jermaine Cunningham, DE/OLB - Cunningham was a DE for Florida in college, but projects as a outtside rush linebacker for the Pats. He's a big man (6'4" and 266 lbs.), but good explosion and agility suggest that he should be able to make the transition to OLB. The Pats badly need a good pass rusher, and hopefully he can be the answer.
Brandon Spikes, ILB - Spikes out of Florida has good talent, but his stock slipped after he ran a 4.9 40 yard dash. However, in college, he showed good game speed, moving well laterally and being fast in short bursts. Besides that, he is an excellent tackler, and has very good instincts. He won't be a sideline to sideline defender like Jerod Mayo, but he is excellent between the tackles and can be a valuable player for the Patriots. I think this is a very good pick for the Pats.
Taylor Price, WR - With Wes Welker out, and Randy Moss nearing the end of his contract, Price could be an important pickup for the Pats. At 6'1", 200 lbs, Price has good size, and ran a 4.4 40, indicating very good speed. With this in mind, he can be another outside receiver for the Pats, and hopefully could eventually take over for Randy Moss in a few years. Without Welker, Price may be looked to as a contributor sooner rather than later, and if he can take on the challenge, the Pats offense will be much improved.
Aaron Hernandez, TE - This was the other pick, besides McCourty that really surprised me, especially considering that they had taken Gronkowski in the 2nd round. Hernandez, out of Florida, is more of a receiver than a blocker. Because they drafted him as well as Gronkowski, I wonder if the Pats might go to more double TE sets, especially with Welker out, depleting the WR corps. Another option could be to use him like Dallas Clark and split him out in addition to having him line up in the traditional TE spot. This was a surprising and interesting pick, and I'll be curious to see how the Pats work him into the offense next year.
Zoltan Mesko, P - Mesko was the best punter in the draft, but still, it was a little bit of a surprise to see the Patriots take him in the 5th round. However, as Shane Lechler and Brian Moorman have proven, a good punter can be a valuable weapon. He will most likely start for the Pats this season.
Ted Larsen, C - This is really just a depth pick. Dan Koppen is a good starter, and is only 31, so he should be around a little longer, so Larsen probably won't see much playing time. With Stephen Neal getting older, a guard may have been a better pick.
Thomas Welch, OT - A big boy, Welch has good potential, and will provide depth and could possibly contribute quite a bit in a few years.
Brandon Deaderick, DT/DE - I really like this pick. Deaderick was a DT in college, but would probably move to DE to be a run stuffer in the Pats' 3-4 like Ty Warren or Richard Seymour. With Seymour and Jarvis Green gone, the DE position is fairly open. Mike Wright will be the starter, but if Deaderick impresses, he could see some time. I think that this is a very good pick, and Deaderick will make the team and make some noise.
Kade Weston, DT/DE - Very similar to Deaderick, but I don't think he'll be as good. He's big, but I just don't think he'll do much for the Pats.
Zac Robinson, QB - Robinson will provide depth for the Pats behind Brady and Brian Hoyer. However, he is a talented player, and could move past Hoyer on the depth chart. His good athleticism also opens up the possibility of the Pats using him as a specialty package player, or maybe trying him at WR. I think he'll make the team, and I'll be interested to see how he does.
Overall, this was a good draft for the Pats. However, Belichick will have to prove that he was smart in taking Cunningham as his only pass rusher, and in the 2nd round at that. He needs to hope that McCourty and/or Cunningham comes through big this season to prove him right. They did get some O-Line depth, but a little later than I thought they might. A big thing though is that they did not take a running back. Perhaps this means that they have more faith in Maroney than we thought? Either way, this was a good, solid draft for the Pats, and they filled some big holes (LB, TE) and improved their team. I'll be looking forward to next year.