On Thursday the Patriots acquired Aqib Talib and a 2013 seventh-round pick for a 2013 fourth-round pick, in a move directly aimed at improving their single biggest trouble spot.
A fourth round pick is fairly significant compensation for a player currently serving a suspension, and with a history of meatball moves.
But at this point in Tom Brady’s career, why not?
The secondary is clearly a weakness for this team and let’s be honest, the only missing ingredient from being a real Super Bowl favorite.
Talib might work out. He might not and walk at the end of the season leaving the Pats holding on to a seventh round draft pick that they gave up a fourth for. We can worry about that in February.
But let’s imagine a world in which he does work out. Most experts seem to think he’s the best defensive back on the Patriots roster the day he walks through the door. That might be a little bold, but there’s no question Talib has talent and size.
To get back to the Super Bowl the Pats will have to shut down some combination of Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub. All of those teams can fling it.
The Pats won’t be so lucky to get a Tim Tebow quarterbacked team in the divisional round. And you can bet whoever they face is going to go after them through the air.
Some think a 4th round pick is too much to give up, but since they lack a 5th and 6th rounder in 2013 it’s not like they had a lot of options. And those picks in the first three rounds could easily be traded down to acquire more mid-round picks if the Pats want to round out their selections.
The Pats history of poor drafting has left me viewing draft picks more as raffle tickets anyway. And at this point the Pats can no longer continue to select ten players every April. There’s not going to be same turnover of veterans like there was in 2008 and 2009. The Patriots are young now, and better served to target specific selections like they did in 2012 with Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower.
If Talib can just solidify one corner position the trade will be well worth it. You can’t underestimate the impact having one good corner can have through the rest of the secondary. Not to say Talib is Revis, but it certainly would allow the Patriots to roll coverages and give help in other areas.
The outcome of this trade cannot be solely judged on whether or not the Pats win the Super Bowl. If their pass defense improves, and they’re able to knock off a couple pass-happy teams I will consider it a success.
But winning a Super Bowl takes 53 guys all on the same page. Can Talib get on the same page? That’s the question. But I like the aggressiveness, especially since Brady isn’t getting any younger and the secondary seemingly not getting any better.
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