Florida defensive end Jermaine Cunningham is the pick for the Patriots at No. 53. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound Cunningham figures to be an outside linebacker in the Patriots’ 3-4. In four years at Florida, Cunningham had 33 tackles for losses and 18.5 sacks. Cunningham has off-the-field issues, as he was arrested back in December for attacking a restaurant employee after being told he had to pay for a bag of chips. A quadriceps strain kept him from working out at the Combine or Florida’s Pro Day.

 The Patriots traded up two spots with the Raiders, going from No. 44 to No. 42 to select Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski. The junior missed all of last year due to back surgery but had 10 touchdowns as a sophomore and is believed by many to be the most complete tight end in the draft. For more on Gronkowski and and the NFL Draft, check the It Is What It Is blog. 

There were plenty of surprises in Round 1 of the NFL draft Thursday night, which means elite players remain on the board heading into the second round. The Patriots' selection of cornerback Devin McCourty may have been a bit of a luxury pick, so it's important that they target help at linebacker, defensive end and tight end in the second round.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Patriots' selection of his player, Devin McCourty, in the first round of Thursday night's draft. Patriots fans may be underwhelmed by McCourty, but Schiano said the team is getting a special player -- and not just a special teams player.


FOXBORO — Devin McCourty was as surprised as anyone.

With the 27th overall pick in Thursday's NFL Draft, the Patriots have selected Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty. Known as a premier kick returner, the 5-foot-11, 193-pound McCourty had six interceptions in three seasons at cornerback with the Scarlet Knights. For more Patriots updates, check out It Is What It Is.

The Patriots have traded down twice in the first round of Thursday night's draft, making a deal with the Broncos to move from the 22nd overall pick to the 24th overall selection. They then traded down again — this time with the Cowboys — for the 27th overall pick. They currently hold the No. 27 overall selection in the NFL Draft, as well as four other picks in the top 90. For more Patriots updates, check out It Is What It Is.

This past week, WEEI has been polling our readers on who they thought the Patriots should take with their first-round pick by opening a bracket with 16 names that could be available when the Patriots are on the clock with the 22nd overall selection. Well, we are down to the final two players. CLICK HERE to launch the bracket to see who advanced to the finals and to vote on the champion. We’ll announce the winner right before the draft starts on Thursday, April 22nd at 7:30 p.m.

Join WEEI.com football writers Chris Price and D.J. Bean as they help break down the NFL Draft with a live chat, starting at noon Thursday afternoon.

ESPN NFL analyst and former coach Herm Edwards made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the NFL draft, which starts Thursday night. Asked which way Patriots coach Bill Belichick would go if the Patriots had a choice between Texas linebacker/defensive end Sergio Kindle or Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham, Edwards said: "He's going to have to go defense, When you look at them right now, he built that team defensively minded. There's some good linebackers out there. If you can get one of those guys, I think that's important.