NFL DRAFT

Bedard: A rarity – Patriots leave themselves needing immediate help in draft

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(Getty Images)

Before we kick our position-by-position dive into this NFL draft class, we need to know exactly where the Patriots are.

And, honestly, I've never seen them in this spot. No, I'm not talking about the quarterback position (unlike some, I've covered other teams in the league ... yes, there can be life after TB12, especially when you have Bill Belichick).

I've never really seen the Patriots head into the draft where they need immediate contributions from draft picks. Have rookies become big contributors, even starters? Yes, but that wasn't the plan. Might have been the hope, but Belichick always leaves himself a veteran out because rookies are so hard to project.

Don't believe me? Go back and read the history of first and second-round picks since 2010. Even Devin McCourty, who went on to earn a Pro Bowl spot, had Leigh Bodden and Darius Butler sitting in front of him when drafted.

Belichick also likes to go into the draft with no apparent needs because it makes them that much more unpredictable to other teams. You think other teams, with Bodden and a second-round pick coming back for his second season, thought Belichick would take a corner in the first round in '10? Nope. And then boom.

Just the way The Hoodie likes it. He heads into a draft with a team that, the week of the event, could compete that day without any help from the draft. No need for any draft picks, really.

But that's not the case this year. They need some immediate help.

Yes, we all know the Patriots need options — cheap ones, especially — at quarterback. Jarrett Stidham might be the next Brady. He might be the next Ryan Mallett. Not even people in the building have much of a clue what Stidham is going to be once the lights get turned on. You just never know until it happens.

But there are three other positions that need immediate options right now. Two other positions could use a talent influx to increase competition. Here's our current depth chart. Positions in red means immediate help is needed. Yellow means could use an upgrade or more options.