If you looked over the Patriots' depth chart before the first round of the draft Thursday night, you wouldn't see a whole lot of glaring needs, if you were being honest.
As per his method of operation, Bill Belichick spent the run-up to the draft, and what little cap room they had during the height of free agency to at least address the needs, in some fashion. Not to say it was all a finished product by any means, but the Patriots at least gave themselves options.
Our No. 1 need was Y (in-line tight end), after the retirement by Rob Gronkowski. Enter Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Not the total answer, but it was something.
No. 2 on our list was a starting-caliber nose tackle with Malcom Brown (Saints) and Danny Shelton (free agent) off the roster. Enter Mike Pennel from the Jets. While the Patriots could use another big body at the position, Pennel is a starter, and the Patriots can line up tomorrow for a game.
And No. 4 on our list was a veteran edge player after the departure of Trey Flowers. That was solved by the trade for Michael Bennett. Could they use another one? Sure. But, again, the Patriots can field a team.
After that, the needs consisted of a youth infusion at spots where the Patriots are getting older, and a few depth additions.
It left just one really glaring need: a starting caliber receiver -- we had that as the No. 3 need on our list.
But GM Belichick takes your needs lists and, well, we'll let Jack Edwards take it from here...
And would Belichick really go for a receiver in the first round for the first time, especially with the team's porous history at the position — do we really need to trot out the names of Chad Jackson, Bethel Johnson, Aaron Dobson, et al?
Apparently, Belichick would finally take the receiver first-round plunge as the team selected Arizona State's N'Keal Harry with the 32nd overall pick. (Only position left to draft in the first round now is quarterback ... and Tom Brady will be 43 heading into the 2020 season, just saying.)
So, why this player and this position now?