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The Patriots have filled some needs and completed a trade in the second and third rounds of the 2008 NFL draft.
With the 62nd overall pick in the draft, the Pats took cornerback Terrence Wheatley from the University of Colorado. Wheatley is 5’9″ and 187 pounds. He’s seen as one of the faster players at the position and was third all time at Colorado in interceptions (14). Wheatley also can help out on special teams for the Patriots.
The first pick on day two to the Pats was supposed to be No. 62, a pick they received from the Raiders, but the pick was traded to the San Diego Chargers for a 5th round pick this season and a 2nd round pick in 2009.
Later in the third round, the Patriots selected LB Shawn Crable from Michigan. Crable brings great size (6’5″, 245lbs.) and he is strong which should help getting by offensive tackles and tight ends. He should fit behind Adalius Thomas and Mike Vrabel on the depth chart.
In their final pick of the third round, the Patriots surprised many people in selecting San Diego State QB Kevin O’Connell. O’Connell possesses ideal size (6’5″, 225) and some say his game translates well to the pros. Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe reported that O’Connell worked out personally for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels which looks to have played a large role in drafting him.
Despite already having three QBs on the roster (Tom Brady, Matt Cassel and Matt Gutierrez), Cassel is a restricted free agent after 2008 and it looks more and more likely that he will be traded, perhaps before the season begins.
The Pats have selected Auburn CB Jonathan Wilhite with the 129th overall pick. Wilhite is 5’10″, 185 lbs. which already makes him one of the biggest CBs on the roster. He possesses excellent speed and is able to recover quickly in pass coverage. He had three interceptions and 14 pass deflections while at Auburn.
The Patriots traded up to the 153rd pick in the draft and selected Matt Slater, a wide receiver from UCLA. Slater is a bit on the small side at just 6’0″ and 185 pounds, but is versatile and has seen time at safety and on special teams in college. He is another player who could help the Patriots out returning kicks and punts. The Pats traded their fifth and seventh round picks to Tampa Bay in order to move up to 153.
In their final pick of the draft barring a trade, the Pats selected Nebraska OLB Bo Ruud with the 197th pick. Ruud, 6’4″ 234lbs, was a three year starter for the Cornhuskers and amassed more than 200 tackles in his career. He had five interceptions in college, three of which he returned for touchdowns. Seems like more depth for the Pats at the linebacker position. His brother – Barrett Ruud – plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.