Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Moss Trade Shows Patriots’ Brilliance

It was day two of the NFL draft. Before the day’s first picks started rolling in at 11 a.m., I wanted to log on to the internet and discover some late-round gems who I could root for the iami Dolphins to select.

But when I opened my browser to ESPN.com, the comforting coif of el Kiper, Jr. was not there to greet me. Instead, the headline informed me that the New England Patriots had acquired Randy Moss for a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft. I might as well have been handed a death sentence.

I relayed the grim news to my roommate – a New York Jets fan – and his response was characteristically gloomy. “Why do we even bother to play the season?” he lamented. “We should just hand the Patriots the trophy.”

Though in some cases his shortsightedness is silly – such as his insistence that since offensive linemen do not touch the ball, picking them on the draft’s first day is a waste – here was one instance in which we actually saw eye-to-eye. Though my heart told me not to give up hope, my head could not believe that yet again the richest team of all had gotten even richer.

I have always loved the NFL draft, particularly the second day, because it represents infinite possibilities for improvement. Even if your team’s past season ended in abject failure, come April you can still sit back, relax and envision a quarterback selected in the fifth round blossomimg into the future face of your favorite franchise.

But while each team might dream its chosen prospect du jour is the perfect puzzle piece which will lead it to the Promised Land, last weekend the Patriots offered a prescription-strength dose of reality. New England, you see, is like a real-life Madden franchise where adding all of the best free agents is as simple as offering them a contract they can’t refuse. Needing to upgrade its receiving corp this offseason, the Patriots lured coveted free agents Donte Stallworth and Kelley Washington and then traded for Wes Welker. The trio caught 114 passes for 1,527 yards and seven touchdowns in 2006.

Furthermore, New England also bolstered its run defense by signing the best available defender on the market, defensive end Adalius Thomas.

When it comes to stockpiling new talent, the Patriots are like the football equivalent of the New York Yankees – except amazingly, their mix of all-stars blends so well that players actually take pay cuts to play in Foxboro.

Moss going to New England is unquestionably bad news for the rest of the NFL. Arguments that he is washed up and over-the-hill are ridiculous. Keep in mind that Moss was once the most dynamic offensive weapon in the NFL. His limited production in Oakland was the result of a lack of effort exacerbated by Oakland having one of the worst offenses that the league has seen in a long time. With a porous offensive line and a starting quarterback you wouldn’t want on your intramural team, Moss wasn’t allowed much opportunity to shine.

The fact that Moss reportedly ran a 4.29 second 40-yard dash in a private workout last month shows that his athleticism has not missed a beat. Moss has been known to take plays off, but the chance to win in New England may light a fire under his usually cool attitude.

Upon learning of the trade, he told ESPN, “You’re going to see some things you’ve never seen before.” New England will provide Moss with a framework in which he will not be asked to be a leader. He can go out and play football at a phenomenal level and win games, which may be all he has ever wanted to do in the first place.

The Super Bowl-champion Indianapolis Colts added another new offensive weapon on Saturday and other talented teams like the Chargers, Bears and Saints were all able to make a few luxury picks and bolster their depth. But now the Patriots are in a class of their own. They added Moss, a highly-regarded safety in first-round selection Brandon Meriweather, and by trading wisely with San Francisco, still managed to come away with an extra first round pick for next year – like they need it. The Patriots may not have won the Super Bowl last season, but even with an injury-riddled roster they still came within thirty minutes of reaching their fourth title game of the decade. This year, once again healthy and with an influx of top-notch talent hungry for its chance at a championship, they are surely the team to beat.

Since the NFL is a league with revenue sharing and a hard salary cap, teams with outlooks less favorable than New England’s only have themselves to blame. The Patriots are where they are because they have not only made sterling selections in the draft, but have also refused to overpay for any single player in order to maintain a balanced squad and a team-oriented focus. They are the blueprint for a team which is simultaneously able to build for the future while remaining dominant in the present.

The bottom line is that last weekend the Patriots added to what is already a finished product.

For the rest of the NFL, it was a rough draft.

Chris Seneca is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. He can be reached at senecathehoya.com. SLOW MOTION appears every other Tuesday in HOYA SPORTS.

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