Starting off the week with a look ahead at what we might be able to discern from the limited observations at OTAs and mini camp over the next couple weeks.
It’s hard to believe that in just a little over two months training camp will open. Since the Pats bowed out to the Ravens in the AFC Championship game we’ve written plenty on where we thought the team should go, how they should evolve schematically and the kind of weapons needed to take them to the next level.
Here’s our review of the things we prescribed and what the team has done regarding those prescriptions.
Obviously this was not an easy conclusion to come to. Wes was an outstanding player, but ultimately it came down to:
It’s time for the Patriots to evolve their offense again. We’ve seen the peak of the Welker-based attack, and it was great, especially in the regular season against teams that were ill-equipped to defend it. But if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse, and making another large investment in Welker will only delay the inevitable—at a detriment to the long-term viability of the team.
It’s unfortunate that Welker ended up with Peyton Manning, but it was the right move for the Patriots.
2. Rookies I Liked - Mock Draft Number One (2/4/2013) & Mock Draft #2 (2/27/2013)
This might make me re-think all the draft research I do because in this first mock I nailed two of the Pats picks:
On paper, Dobson seems to be the wide receiver the Patriots have been missing for both his ability to take the top off a defense as well as his size.
If the Patriots let Wes Welker walk they should likely bring back Julian Edelman for the slot receiver role, but with his injury history it would be smart to have some insurance for him. Boyce is a quick and physical wide receiver, and unlike Edelman or Welker, weighs over 200 pounds, so he should have the frame to hold up. Again, the biggest thing with the Patriots and receivers is whether or not they’re smart enough to play in the system, but Boyce is described as “competitive and a savvy route runner.”
We got progressively worse with our three mock drafts, but still nailed Logan Ryan in our second one.
Ryan excelled in a few of the events the Patriots like most. While his 4.56 40-yard-dash was average, he had the second-best defensive back time in the three cone drill and 60-yard shuttle, and the fourth-best defensive back time in the 20-yard shuttle. Couple those standout stats with his physical play, intelligence and association with one of Bill Belichick’s favorite college programs, and you have a prime Patriots draft target.
Patriots defensive DVOA against different types of receivers. TEs and slot receivers killed them, with running backs just behind them.
Patriots DVOA rankings over the past 12 seasons.
The offensive side of the board certainly looks pretty green, eh? That will be put to the test this season.
And check out the Patriots run defense this past season after two down seasons. It’s strange because everyone remembers Ray Rice’s first play touchdown run in the 2009 AFC Wild Card. But they were significantly worse in 2010 and 2011, primarily because of runs against their sub-defense.
Draft analysis is still pouring in as the pundits get more looks at the new guys. Everyone will be spinning their wheels for a bit, but at least we get a short reprieve in early June with the full team mini camp.
Here’s the best of the week:
Join Frenz and I today as we finally talk about the Patriots draft haul, and how the new players will fit into the team.