Patriots

Bedard: One personnel move the Patriots nailed? Trent Brown over Nate Solder

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(Adam Richins for BSJ)

Let's be honest: The Patriots' 2018 offseason will not be included on Bill Belichick's Hall of Fame plaque.

At best, the draft replenished the young depth on the team for whenever The Transition takes place — that's if the first-year players outside of Sony Michel, J.C. Jackson and Keion Crossen can ever get healthy and take the field.

At worst, the whiffs in free agency, trade and the draft ruined any shot the Patriots had at winning one or multiple titles in the final year(s) of Tom Brady's career.

Six of the team's nine draft picks have at least spent time on injured reserve, including top pick Isaiah Wynn and second-round selection Duke Dawson.

Only one of the Patriots' seven free-agent signings actually suited up for the team, and that lone player (Adrian Clayborn) hasn't come close to living up to expectations.

On the trade front, the Patriots did reasonably well getting Jason McCourty for basically nothing, got marginal return on Cordarrelle Patterson for a fifth-round pick, whiffed on Josh Gordon for a fifth and then swung like Manny Machado against Chris Sale by shipping a third-round pick for Danny Shelton, who hasn't even adequately taken up space at times to this point. (Note: I know they got other picks in some of these deals but ... please. Let's be serious about this.)

I don't think Belichick or Nick Caserio are in the running for NFL Executives of the Year this season.

But there's little doubt they completely knocked one deal out of the park: trading a third-round pick to the 49ers for left tackle Trent Brown and a fifth-round pick. Considering some of the hysteria that went on around here after Solder quickly was signed away by the Giants, that's nothing to sniff at.

When Solder landed a four-year, $62 million contract ($34.8 million in full guarantees) people panicked about Brady's blindside and immediately put the left tackle spot at No. 1 on the Patriots' to-do list in the offseason.

And even after the trade for the unheralded Brown -- who had most of his experience at right tackle -- the drafting of Wynn and the free-agent signings of Matt Tobin and Ulrick John had critics ready to pounce on another Belichick personnel miscalculation.

But then, a funny thing happened. Brown came in, basically grabbed the starting spot early in camp and has quietly — the best compliment you can pay an offensive lineman — gone about his business of being an effective left tackle.

As for the inevitable comparison to Solder, it's been Brown in a walk if you look at the stats.