I thought the Patriots had an average draft. I believe in the Patriots draft philosophy of trading third round picks for second round picks of the following year, and it's gotten them much success over the years. But I wasn't all too fond of every pick the Patriots made. Overall, the Patriots had an okay draft.
I was always a big fan of Devin McCourty due to his solid athleticism and excellent versatility. Not only does McCourty have solid cover skills, but he is an outstanding run stopper who is also an excellent special teams player, blocking numerous kicks and punts. McCourty has good athleticism and he is an excellent run stopper. Also he puts up a great numbers and he puts a lot of effort onto the football field. A good player and great value at pick 27.
I always thought Gronkowski was an overrated prospect due to durability issues. I'll admit that Gronkowski, when healthy, is the second coming of Jason Witten but I think that his back injury is more serious than advertised. One factor that points to that being true is the fact Gronkowski went out for the draft. If Gronkowski had stayed another year at Arizona, he could have been a top ten pick if he had proven his back was healthy by putting up excellent numbers. If he had come back with a messed up back and put up poor numbers in Arizona, he probably would have been a 3rd or a 4th round pick in next year's draft. Gronkowski deciding to leave Arizona makes me think that he is inclined to believe something closer to the latter would happen if he came back next year. Also, Gronkowski decided not too run the 40 yard dash at the combine. Could it be because his back isn't quite healthy yet? I am inclined to believe so. I think that Gronkowski has one real serious back injury that could haunt him for much of his career. But, when healthy, Gronkowski is an athletic pass catcher who will put up great numbers as well as be an extremely productive run blocker. Overall, I think this is an extremely risky pick, but it could pay large dividends if Gronkowski is or can become healthy.
I definitely thought Cunningham was a reach at pick 53. Cunningham doesn't seem to put a consistently high effort onto the field and he doesn't possess enough straight line speed to play a good 3-4 outside linebacker at the NFL. His side to side athleticism and range are fantastic, but he probably doesn't have enough straight line speed to sack the quarterback consistently at the next level. Overall, I definitely thought that Cunningham was an overrated player and a reach at pick 53.
I always considered Spikes to be an overrated player. Spikes showed at the combine that he has absolutely no athleticism at all and has anyone since the stunt he pulled against Georgia. The eye-gouge on Washuan Ealey? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wgNwrtOLs4. It was a thug-like thing for him to do and he really could have poked Ealey's eye out. So the guy can't lead a defense with that kind of character. He lacks physical tools. Not a lot of appeal here. But he does have excellent instincts and he has solid awareness in coverage. An overrated player here, and poor value at pick 62.
I like Taylor Price. In Price, I see uncanny resemblance to Donnie Avery; solid stats, mid-major school, pretty short, outstanding speed, huge home run threat. Price is an ideal complement to the large but aging Randy moss, and Price could push for immediate playing time. I like Price's crisp route runner and excellent physical tools that will make him an excellent player. Definitely a good pick for the Patriots and excellent value at pick 90.
I like Hernandez. Hernandez is probably the best pass catching tight end in all of this year's draft class; but his lack of height, bulk, and his liabilities as a run blocker make him project as an H-Back (not to be confused with halfback. H-Back is a fullback-tight end hybrid) at the next level (see: Chris Cooley). But he still can be very productive on any team and his good athleticism and soft hands make him great value at pick 113.