The power of potential


2008 New England Patriots Preliminary Report

The New England Patriots are in a position to be tied, as their independence day did not happen as predicted. The New England Patriots’ 48th season ended with an impressive 18-1 score, just before winning the final game against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. What can you say about the Patriots’ strategy? Given that they only lost to the Giants by three points, it can’t really be argued that the team should completely restructure. Sometimes there is just bad luck in the air and fate seemingly denied the Patriots their Super Bowl freedom. In 2008, the team will attempt to play another undefeated season, this time winning the Super Bowl that many feel they rightly deserved in 2007.

One of the biggest clues to his success in 2008 will be the NFL Draft. Their draft season got off to a slow start as they were penalized by the league for using video equipment to record a team’s signals during a September 9, 2007 game against the New York Jets. (Like you need to turn to Spygate to beat the Jets?) The Patriots had to give up their original first-round pick, which would have been the 31st overall pick due to the loss of the championship. However, the team has managed to score some successful talents at the start of the season.

The team will add linebacker Jerod Mayo from the University of Tennessee, as well as linebackers Shawn Crable from Michigan and Bo Ruud from Nebraska. The team has also acquired two strong cornerbacks in Colorado’s Terrence Wheatley and Auburn’s Jonathan Wilhite. Quarterback Kevin O’Connell will also play ball for the Patriots, coming from San Diego State. Finally, there is safety Matt Slater of the University of California, Los Angeles. Additionally, the team signed 13 undrafted agents after the NFL draft.

What was the fan reaction to the team’s NFL draft picks? Reaction mixed with Terrence Wheatley, as he is relatively small at 5’9 187 pounds, but still maintains great running speed. While some describe this choice as arriving, others believe it was to fill a position of need. As for Jerod Mayo, experts say that the team changed with their selection, but still received a player who fit their system. There has been high praise for O’Connell, as he was considered one of the dormant draft picks. Other players brought less excitement, as many of the most promising new talents have already been snatched up by other teams. Fans were surprised to see Shawn Crable, an outside linebacker, chosen instead of a defensive end. Many also questioned the hiring of Jonathan Wilhite, who is largely untested, and started just six games during his senior year.

The draft focused attention on seven players who will make or break New England next season. New England doesn’t have much to be ashamed of, practically nothing to lose, but plenty of motivation to win. Fans agree that while New England’s draft picks were unexpected, their overall chances look very good. Even if New England finished one more loss than in the 2007 season, they still have a lot to be proud of as they have proven to be one of the most dominant teams of the decade.


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