Potential Draft Targets
So yeah, it's middle of the season. I think we have as good of an idea as we will have about where and who this football team is this year at this point, so it's probably a good time to start thinking about how this entire draft thing is going to shake out in April. Putting together a list of guys I think we could draft and could be a good fit in our system, as well as give a bit of insight I've gathered on them from watching college games/gathering information. I'll probably fill this up over time, but for today I'll just do the wide receivers who I think warrant a first round grade for us.
Needs on offense(prioritized);
WR, OL, RB
AJ Green, JR, Georgia
The ideal option to replace Randy Moss' production and presence. Tall, rangy, athletic target. His speed is a bit overrated by some here. I think he's a mid 4.4 to low 4.5 guy in terms of 40 yard dash speed, but he has excellent hands and the ability to fight for the ball in the air. He's the type of guy who can go vertical on you, but he's also not bad going across the middle. That might change a bit when he starts taking NFL hits, but he's still capable of being a complete receiver. He compares favorably to Braylon Edwards.
Julio Jones, JR, Alabama
The other half of the talented SEC receivers. His main strength is his body. He's athletic and built like a tank. Rare combination of power, speed, and strength for the position. He could probably play runningback if he was asked to because he's just built so solidly. He's rawer as a receiver than Green is, but has just as much ability. His hands run hot and cold at time and he doesn't have the head for the game that you like to see, but he does so many things well that it makes up for it a bit. His physique and toughness allow him to be a complete receiver, maintaining the threat to be vertical target and letting him play like a possession receiver and pick up big time yards after the catch too. If he can put everything together, he has the potential to be a lot like Andre Johnson in the NFL.
Jonathan Baldwin, JR, Pitt
Massive target with massive upside. Probably the fastest out of all of the stellar junior receivers as well as being the biggest. He does not play up to his size in a lot of ways though. He runs poor routes and show an unwillingness to use the middle of the field. His long legs and heavy frame don't lend themselves well to being quick in space either. The thing he does do well, however, is stretch the field. He's nearly impossible to cover when the ball is thrown deep. He has big, strong hands and long arms that he uses to get the ball before smaller defensive backs have a chance to get to it. He'll win the jump ball almost every time and will demand double coverage just to get traffic in his face at times. He can also flatout run by guys with his speed. He's taken a step backwards this year in terms of production, but honestly, he's getting not only poor quarterback play, but quarterback play that doesn't cater to what he does well. He may well drop because of that lack of production, which makes him an attractive guy to snag in the mid first round. He reminds me a lot of Vincent Jackson.
Second Round WR's;
I like Jones for that Pats' offense because he brings a lot of different things other than just going deep. He can be moved all around the offense and play any of the WR positions for the Pats at any given point in a game. Match-up nightmare in the Pats' offense.
The other guys are really just... "Go deep!" And that's pretty much it.
Nice list you've out together there EE. I like all but Baldwin, his ability to run routes is just so bad that I don't want him for us. I like AJ Green the best, but all the rest would be nice to have.
2nd-3rd Round Grade
Anthony Costonzo, T, Boston College
Guy we've watched grow up locally. He's really done his best to add weight and strength after coming in and playing well as a skinny freshmen. He's up to 295 now, but probably still has some room to bulk up and settle in at 305-315 eventually. Problem is that he still struggles with bigger pass rushers and can be blown back off the line. In spite of that, he's an excellent all around blocker. Might have some of the same issues going forward Matt Light has.
Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida
His brother is already in the NFL and playing extremely well for a young center. He's struggled at times snapping in the shotgun, which is a major problem if you're projecting him to the Patriots, but if that can be coached he could be a steal. Even as a guard, he is still a good prospect. He's strong and both get and maintains good leverage. Shows a good initial punch and the start of the play, particularly when he's lined up at guard. We have shown time and time again that we like Florida players, so with our need at interior offensive line, he would be an attractive guy to snap up.
Ben Ijalana, G, Villanova
To be terribly honest with you guys, I've never seen him play. There's a lot to like about what you hear though. Obviously he has the size and he's supposedly a good athlete and carries his frame well. Good run blocker by most accounts too. Played the majority of his college career at tackle, but will likely have to switch to guard to stick in the NFL. Villanova is another program that we have ties to, having brought in a few players from that program in years past.
I'd like to see another pass rusher and maybe a LB for the defense, seems late in the game the guys could use a blow.
Without looking they have two firsts and .........
Possible first round targets as of now:
WR Julio Jones-I am assuming that AJ Green will be gone in the top 10. Julio also has the potential to go top 10 and will test off the charts but his inconsistent hands may push him more into the Patriots range. I actually love the fit for our offense. Despite what is said about his drops he is money on third downs. With quick crossing routes and outs he is almost uncoverable because of his size and strength and combined with Welker and the TEs this passing game could become a real high percentage, ball control threat.
RB Mark Ingram-I'm not sure I see RB as a first round need, however especially if he was there for the second first rounder Ingram may well be too valuable to pass up. What he'll have to show with offseason workouts is if he can pass protect. BJGE gives a good downhill threat at RB and Woodhead is dynamic out of the backfield so unless Ingram can be utilized in every facet I don't think they go RB that high but it is a possibility.
OT Derek Sherrod-The most annoying thing about Matt Light is he is now too inconsistent. He can shut out James Harrison one week and be raped by Anthony Applewhite another. Sherrod is a very solid OT who can come in and take over. He strikes me as more of a LT than both and I definitely think Vollmer should be the LT so that lack of versatility may hurt his chances.
OT Nate Solder-I am not overly high on Solder at the moment but he has a massive frame and tremendous upside and BB has shown in the past that he is willing to reach a little if that potential is there. I actually see a bit of similarity with Solder and Vollmer. Both are very tall, mobile guys with the frame to add strength.
OLB-Robert Quinn-If Quinn taks a fall in the draft similar to the Dez Bryant thing last year he would be very tempting for the Pats. While it is not a given that he can fully set the edge or drop into coverage, from a pure measureable and production standpoint he is an ideal candidate for an OLB in BB's defense.
DE-Jared Crick-6'6 295lbs. That sounds pretty close to Richard Seymour/Ty Warren type size to me. Crick obviously hasn't had the same statistical year he had last year, however he is a great fit at DE in the Patriots 2 gap scheme.
DE-Cameron Heyward-Like Crick, Heyward hasnt had the greatest of seasons and may actually have lost money by returning to school. However he is also a great fit at 5 tech and has the technique to be a 3 down player at that position.
OT-Demarcus Love-Playing for Bobby Petrino will help Love in the draft as he has versatility as he has to switch sides depending on which is the strong side and also the Razorbacks have a pass happy offense. That versatility may endear him to BB.
WR-Michael Floyd-The Pats offense is now getting more like the old Charlie Weiss-run offense from the Superbowl years and less like the high flying Josh McDaniels offense of recent years. Floyd's familiarity with this type of offense may help him in this regards.
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