|—||patriots - Six things we know about Patriots’ approach to draft weekend - WEEI | Christopher Price|
Good stuff from Chris Price…
Like every other team in the league, the Patriots look closely at a prospects physical skill set, but when it comes to wide receivers and defensive backs, they pay particular attention to quickness, agility and footwork. That’s why the 3-cone drill can be a good indicator of whether or not a potential prospect is on New England’s radar screen: lots of the relatively under-the-radar receivers (for purposes of this story, let’s call them non first-rounders) the Patriots have gone after in recent years have all excelled in the agility drills. Edelman had a 6.62 second time in the 3-cone drill as a collegian. Deion Branch was 6.71 (at the 2002 combine), Chad Jackson (at the 2006 combine) was 6.74 and Wes Welker was 7.06. (For some perspective, those performances would put them in the Top 10 at the combine most years.) That also translates to the defensive side of the football, as Devin McCourty’s 6.7 in the 3-cone drill at the 2010 combine put him second among all corners.
Good stuff from Doug Kyed at NESN, with a few interesting coverage linebackers. I’m all for taking one of those somewhere along the line.
Nice work here from Michael Talarski who dives into the professional vs. amateur draft pundit predictions.
If you’re fan of only one sport the off-season can be long and arduous. So you have to find ways to keep yourself entertained. For NFL fans the NFL draft adds a break from the wait. As such it becomes a tad insane. Following the draft can be fun, though it’s hard to educate yourself. The “best”…
The biggest focus of my last five years of blogging about the Patriots has been Bill Belichick’s chance to rebuild his defense from scratch and with total authority. While Belichick deserves a great deal of credit for the Patriots defenses that won three Super Bowls, ultimately those defenses were not hand picked by him.
Sure, he took the draftees of the previous regime like Bruschi, McGinest and Milloy, along with a collection of castoffs from other teams like Vrabel, Phifer and Harrison, and put them in positions to succeed, but those years just proved his coaching genius. Those players were not going to play forever, and now Belichick has a chance to prove his scouting and development genius.
It’s rare that a coach has the kind of control and vision that he gets to construct a defense from scratch, but that’s exactly what Belichick began doing in 2008 with the selection of Jerod Mayo.
Thus, one of my most favorite times of year is the draft, especially when Belichick takes defensive players. So you can imagine my excitement after this year’s haul, and in fact it’s taken a few days for it all to actually sink in. It’s safe to say it left me speechless. Until now.
Although the Pats had a universally-praised day one of draft picks there’s still work to be done today and tomorrow. While they only have two second-round picks remaining in the draft, I expect they’ll try to work the trade downs as much as possible to pick up some additional selections. I wouldn’t rule out a potential Brian Hoyer trade as to add some picks as well.
What positions do I see as needs still? Well I think there are a lot of defensive backs that will be available in the next two rounds who could be impact players like Brandon Boykin, DeQuan Menzie and Trumaine Johnson. There are also some running backs that might interest the Pats as well like Robert Turbin.
I also still have quite a few wide receivers that I like who are still available like Mohamed Sanu and Joe Adams.
We’ll see how it all plays out but if I had to bet, I’d go something like this.
- 48th overall: Defensive Back (with return potential perhaps)
- 62nd overall: TRADE DOWN (3rd & 4th round picks acquired)
- 3rd round: Wide Receiver (with return potential if not from previous pick)
I always find the draft somewhat anti-climactic. You have three months of build-up with endless possibilities to who your team could add, but by Sunday the Patriots will have a handful of players and all the speculation of who fits and who doesn’t will be dead and buried.
Here are some final quick hit thoughts as we await the Commish taking the stage.
- As much as I see them pop up on various mock drafts I just don’t see it with Nick Perry and Whitney Mercilus. I could be wrong on them, and I’d actually be happy if I am, but right now I’m just not convinced they can do enough to warrant a first round selection.
- I am not however questioning my decision to avoid Janoris Jenkins and Dont’e Hightower on the big board. I don’t think Jenkins is worth the risk until the 3rd round, and Hightower just has too much overlap with Spikes and while he might’ve rushed with his hand down in college, (so did Spikes) I don’t see him as an impact pass rusher in the NFL.
- Both Frenz and I had the Pats addressing DL, Guard, WR, CB, OLB and Safety in our respective mocks. If there’s a position I think we’ll miss on it’s running back.
- I’d love to see an impact interior rusher picked somewhere. I went with Jerel Worthy in my mock, but even if they don’t take him I think a quick-off-the-ball defensive lineman could make a huge impact.
- As I mentioned on the podcast if I’m the Jets (or any other AFC East team) I’m targetting Mark Barron and having him prepare to take on Gronk twice a year for his entire first contract. If you want to beat the Patriots you have to have a plan to deal with Gronk.
- I don’t know who the Bills are going to take at 10th overall, but whoever it is they’ll only add to the hype in Buffalo this off-season. If they get another impact defender I’ll be concerned.
- I would not rule out a Mallet/Hoyer trade in the next few days. I’d prefer it’s Hoyer.
- I think the Patriots are more likely to trade out of the first round completely before trading up. But if they did trade up I’d bet it’s to the early 20’s for an impact defensive lineman, maybe Brockers if he’s dropping.
- No Pats fans want an offensive lineman but I bet we’d be glad we took one heading into the 2013 season with Brian Waters almost certainly gone.
- There aren’t many things I’m sure of for this weekend, but one is that we’ll add a wide receiver or cornerback with kick and/or punt return potential.
- One under the radar player type I could regret not looking into more thoroughly is a pass coverage middle linebacker. Someone in the 6-01, 230 range to compete with Dane Fletcher and Tracy White. That could be a break-the-mold pick.
- I think I’m most looking forward to the Pats head-scratcher selection of some guy that wasn’t at the combine, wasn’t on any big boards and doesn’t even have a highlights package for the networks to show after the pick.
Here’s the 2012 Patriots Big Board. These are draft prospects I like and think fit the Patriots style of play, roughly in the order I value them.
All comments, criticism, advice welcome. I make no claims of being a scout. This is simply a fun exercise for myself to find quality applicants for the New England Football Machine. I’ll allow this list to go as high as 50, so I’m still looking, but the goal as it was last year is to nail as many Pats picks as possible. Hence slots won’t be wasted on positions that aren’t glaring needs.