When the Patriots assess prospects in the NFL Draft, it's not an exercise performed in a vacuum. They look at their current roster, they evaluate potential newcomers against those already in the fold. Can a rookie inside linebacker supplant a veteran? If not in Year 1, then what about in Year 2 or 3? They take the short-term and long-term into account. There have been years when the team has felt confident in its roster as constructed headed into the draft, and in those years there may not be much room for rookies.