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Mid-Season Report Card For 5 New England Patriots Rookies

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New England Patriots Rookies: Mid-Season Report Card

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When it comes to bringing in talented players, today’s NFL is all about two words: draft and develop. More and more general managers around the league are employing this strategy as it has become the best way to build a young, talented and (most importantly) cheap roster. Bill Belichick, who serves as both head coach and general manager for the New England Patriots, has most certainly adopted this concept.

Belichick no longer brings in loads of veterans to lead his team. These days, he’s all about loading up his roster with young and talented players. Over the past few seasons, Belichick has drafted young guns that will define the franchise for years to come. These names include the likes of Nate Solder, Stevan Ridley, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez (though he’s now in jail) and Shane Vereen on offense. Then on defense we have Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Brandon Spikes, Alfonzo Dennard and Devin McCourty.

That’s quite a host of young, talented players. Belichick has been able to collect such a talented group by being mostly conservative with his draft strategies, opting to often trade down in order to secure more picks. That way he can get more players and therefore more depth.

That strategy has certainly worked thus far as more than half of the players listed above were not even taken in the first round. Patriots scouts have done a fantastic job at finding gems in the middle rounds of the draft, which helps support Belichick’s notion that it’s not all about the first round.

As for this draft class, Belichick traded out of the first round to secure more draft picks. Did it work? Let’s take a look at the top-five mid-season grades for players that Belichick took in the 2013 NFL Draft.

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Jamie Collins, OLB, Grade: F

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Collins has been ineffective in his limited time on the field. He has generated little pressure when rushing the passer and looks lost when dropping back into coverage.

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Michael Buchanan, DE, Grade: C-

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Buchanan started out really hot, sacking opposing quarterbacks early on in the season. Since then he has gotten cold, which has dropped his grade a bit.

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Aaron Dobson, WR, Grade: C

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Dobson has been either hit-or-miss. One game he will be dropping the ball all over the place, and in the next game he will be open a lot of the time. There’s a lot to look forward to with him, but the overall consistency is not there yet.

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Duron Harmon, S, Grade: B

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Harmon has really come on since he started playing. He looks to be a better fit at free safety, where he has been around the ball multiple times in the last few weeks.

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Logan Ryan, CB, Grade: A

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Ryan has been a breath of fresh air in the Patriots' secondary. He has created two turnovers in his last two games and is feisty in coverage. There has been no real flaw to his game so far.