Posted by Will Brinson
The knee-jerk reaction to the deal that sent Randy Moss from the Patriots to the Vikings is "TOM BRADY IS DONE!" (Well, from a fantasy football perspective anyway -- there's also the "The Patriots are giving up!" reaction as well.)
Both are silly, of course.
The deal just, hypothetically, means less deep balls in their offense -- but even that might not be correct with the lightning-fast Brandon Tate on the roster. And outside of that, they still have plenty of weapons in Wes Welker (he's good, duh), Julian Edelman (he's Wes Welker 2.0), Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
More importantly though, they now have two draft picks in the each of the first FOUR rounds of the 2011 NFL draft.
Think for a moment about how silly that is -- assuming they don't package these picks for more selections (which is not a safe assumption), they'll be grabbing eight players before most people get four and some people get three.
They have the Oakland Raiders' first-rounder (which is looking like a lottery ticket at the moment), the Carolina Panthers second-rounder (appearing to be in the high end of that round as well), the Minnesota Vikings third-rounder, and the Denver Broncos' fourth-rounder (you may recall they sent Laurence Maroney's corpse for that).
So, yes, eight selections in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft, a freshly signed Tom Brady, a slew of weapons on the offensive end and a young, but talented defense that needs some time to gel.
Are they the Super Bowl favorites this year? Of course not. Did losing Randy Moss probably hurt their short-term chances? Yes.
Can they turn those picks into high quality contributors and/or more picks in the future? That's the most important question, but it's safe to say that, yeah, they probably can do that. And because of that, the 2010 Patriots, once considered a near-dead dynasty, are suddenly straight reloaded.