Mayock praises New England's first round moves

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Mayock praises New England's first round moves

NFL Network's Mike Mayock is a big fan of New England's first round draft moves. A big, big fan.

On Rich Eisen's Thursday podcast, Mayock lauded the Patriots for trading up, not once but twice, to select DL Chandler Jones at 21 and linebacker Dont'a Hightower at 25.

I love those two moves and part of the reason is I love the two players they got. If I didnt love them, Id probably be killing the Patriots," he said in the draft recap. "Atypical of Bill Belichick, everybody assumes hes moving down and out. If you look at that offense, it is obviously Super Bowl-ready; it carried them to one last year. That offense is ready to go; theres not a whole lot more necessary even with the retirement of left tackle Matt Light

"Defensively is what they had to augment and I went on the record before the draft in saying I thought that the defensive end from Syracuse, Chandler Jones, who was number nine on my board three years from now he might be the best defensive end in football. I believe that strongly: he might be the best defensive player that comes out of this draft.

"I love that pick and the Donta Hightower thing was a no-brainer. You want to talk about somebody who is right up Bill Belichicks alley its this kid. Anytime you can get two starters in your front seven on a defense that needs help, thats a huge win.

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."