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Old 01-22-2014, 09:53 AM    (permalink
Jcn92
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Default 2014 Draft Thread

Since the season is over for the Pats I thought I would create a thread to talk about prospects and the team's draft strategy in the upcoming draft. What would everybody like to see the Pats do in the draft?

Nobody had done it so far and I sent a PM to the moderator to see if he was going to make one but didn't get a response.
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:25 AM    (permalink
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Thanks for creating the thread. :)

Obviously FA is going to have large bearing on how the draft plays out. If we let Talib walk, that substantially changes the draft strategy. Chances are given where we are picking, we cannot get a corner capable of playing to Talib's level (anyone with a better take on likely corners available in the draft can correct me if I'm wrong) but even so CB will probably jump to the top of the list.


For now, assuming we sign Talib the top of the list for me would probably be one of:
Rd 1
Hageman*
Ebron*
M. Evans (WR, I know, I know)*
follow by
ASJ?
Amaro?
Nix?
Trent Murphy? (DE)

I'm not sure on the ? guys, would like to hear more if anyone has opinions.
2nd:Best available guard/center


3. I would simply go BPA here regardless of position.

Edit: I realize the * guys won't be available where we pick. I'd not be adverse to trading up, even if it requires a 2015 rd 2 or rd 3 pick. I don't think we have anyone on our roster we can trade, really.

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Old 01-24-2014, 01:02 PM    (permalink
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Guess it's time for you guys to start learnin me on prospects.

Interior OL needs to be addressed, obviously. Pass rush still needs help, though the premier rushers are never making it down to our pick, as usual.*



*cough* Clay Matthews *cough*
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:21 PM    (permalink
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My fear with adding another rookie WR is that we'll get another Dobson like production at best.
Not terrible but I feel we need an immediate upgrade. Not some future project.
I'd like to add someone via FA if possible, but who knows.

Interior OL, pass rusher, thumper, S, TE and WR are all I'd like to see addressed in the offseason via FA or draft
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:43 PM    (permalink
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Assuming Talib is back, I'd put the draft needs at:

OG, DT, and TE

Everything else is pretty neutral. S would be nice, but I also really like Huron. CB is always a pick, and I don't know if they can handle more young WRs right now. I just don't think Tom has the patience for them anymore. Let's see how Dobson, Thompkins, and Boyce develop. Get Gronk and Amendola back. Hopefully Edelman isn't too expensive.
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:37 PM    (permalink
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In the forum mock, I ended up trading #29 and #93 to Miami for #19 and #174. The nineteenth overall pick was used to select Notre Dame DT Louis Nix. Based on the way the board fell, I think he represented by far the best fit and value remaining, and the fact that the amount of teams looking to trade down dramatically outnumbered the teams looking to trade up meant we were able to get a pretty good value on the deal. With Wilfork entering the final year of his contract, I thought it made sense to bring in a big run stuffer. Back in 2004, the Patriots worked Wilfork into the starting lineup for six games, but primarily started Keith Traylor; something similar could happen here, where Wilfork tutors Nix for one season and Nix steps into the starting lineup the following season.

I also think, based on his quickness and range, Nix may even be able to line up next to Wilfork as a defensive tackle, or in three-man formations, Nix could hold down the nose tackle spot while Wilfork moves out to five-technique to try and stop the run. Sealver Siliga looked really good last year, but I'm not sure the sample size was big enough to pass on an opportunity to add a stud at the position. There's a bit of a logjam at defensive tackle now, with Wilfork, Nix, Siliga, Kelly, Vellano, and Chris Jones all on roster, but that's not a bad problem to have. We'll probably cut down the personnel a bit, though.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:21 AM    (permalink
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Most of the DTs in this draft class fit some role in the Pats defense pretty well.
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:05 AM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nepg View Post
Most of the DTs in this draft class fit some role in the Pats defense pretty well.
I think one of the things that teams like the Bengals and Seahawks have done well recently is build a lot of depth on the defensive line, drafting lots of different skillsets, which allows them to field some interesting combinations. By drafting Nix and trading a seventh-round pick for Karl Klug, I think we have done some of that here as well. Wilfork, Nix, and Siliga are your nose tackles (Wilfork able to move to five-technique to stop the run), Kelly and Vellano are the under tackles, and we've got Armstead and Klug as DT/DE 'tweeners who can either provide some situational interior rushing, work as oversized ends in a 4-3, or play end in the 3-4.

To help recoup some of the picks lost in trading for Nix and Klug, I agreed to a trade with Dallas which sends DT Chris Jones their way for a fifth-round pick.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:38 PM    (permalink
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A trade up for Nix that costs us our 3rd round pick is horrendous, especially if Wilfork and Kelly are retained. Simply put the value for a run stuffing NT is not something that the Pats should be looking into trading up for presently. The rationale for picking Nix is that the sample size with Siliga is too small, well if you retain Wilfork you can get a larger sample size from Siliga without having quite the potential hurt if he doesn't pan out. The way he played down the stretch though definitely minimizes the need of a 1st round NT though.

You can always find a run specialist in free agency for a low-mid cost if that is the route you're looking for. Alan Branch, Terrence Knighton, and Glenn Dorsey are all prime examples. With guys like Ahtyba Rubin, Paul Soliai, and Arthur Jones all hitting free agency it would be much more prudent to just go after one of those with the cap savings from releasing Kelly and Soopoaga who may not be needed anymore.

The goal of any offseason is to get better, and building depth at a run stuffing DT position seems counter-productive considering we lost in the playoffs for like the 5th time in a row because we couldn't get open down the field, get enough pass rush, or cover well enough. Blowing all of our assets for someone whose position is being turned into a rotational one in the new NFL doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

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Old 01-26-2014, 01:11 PM    (permalink
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Does anybody else feel like a pass rushing DE might be one of the Pats' biggest needs. I know OG/C and CB are obvious ones, but the inability to get pressure definitely hurt this team down the stretch. I don't think Nink is best used as a DE in a 4-3 and a true young pass rushing DE to compliment and play opposite Jones would definitely help. That's why I'm glad the Patriots have at least some preliminary interest in Michael Johnson. He would be a great DE to put on the other side of Chandler Jones.

That being said here are the players I would like to see the Patriots draft based on who could fall to them and who they are likely to draft. Not all of them are first round guys.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
David Yankey, G, Stanford
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Michael Sam, DE, Missouri
Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State
Aaaron Donald, DT, Pitt
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:13 PM    (permalink
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With our second-round pick, #62 overall, we selected Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller. He's a tall, lanky guy with solid speed who served as one of the Hokies' permanent team captains. For me, his most impressive qualities are his mental tools - confidence, swagger, physicality, leadership, etc., but he also plays the ball well, works well in man coverage, plays outside and inside, and has been productive blitzing. During his time at Virginia Tech, he's played in the slot, as a hybrid nickel/linebacker, and on the outside, with special-teams contributions as well. We had four cornerbacks last year and Logan Ryan ended up getting onto the field plenty, so with Talib gone I think it makes sense to bring in another boundary guy. Our next pick is in the fourth round.
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:12 AM    (permalink
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I'd be pretty happy if our first two picks went that way with Talib not coming back

:( @ Talib not coming back though
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:35 AM    (permalink
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A few guys who I really like at this stage:

Eric Ebron, TE - more of a vertical threat than the Pats have had in recent years. Doesn't have the wiggle that Hernandez had or the brute strength and route running that Gronk has but he can stress defenses with his ability to run down the seam

Jace Amaro, TE - can play that hybrid TE/WR role that Hernandez played. He isn't as sudden in his cuts as Hernandez but has better size.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE - physically he is an absolute monster. Has some maturity concerns but if his head is on straight he will be good

CJ Fiedorowicz, TE - not really a good compliment to Gronk because he does a lot of the same things, but if we can grab him in the 3rd he is great insurance should Gronk get hurt again

Ra'Shede Hageman, DT - one of my top rated prospects this year but doesn't seem to be getting hyped at this stage. Has positional flexibility and can play the 0, 1, 3 and 5 technique.

Aaron Donald, DT - could do with some more sand in his pants but this guy can attacke the offense. May be more of a rotational player though

Zack Martin, OL - not a pretty pick but could solidify the RG spot and eventually take over LG from Mankins. Fits the profile of a Pats OG.

Marqise Lee, WR - starting to become underrated now IMO. Isn't the biggest or most physical guy but he is dynamic. Get him the ball in space and watch out

Kelvin Benjamin, WR - so raw but huge upside. At worst as a first year player he could improve the red zone offense

Mike Evans, WR - big bodied guy who may not be a burner but can win with body control and physicality at the line of scrimmage. Also will help the red zone offense

Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, S - smart and instinctual player who could be a great compliment to McCourty. Gone are the days of strong and free safety. You need 2 guys who can cover ground

Scott Crichton, DE - I wouldn't be happy taking him in the first but after a trade down or in the late second this guy would be tremendous value. After the huge miss of Jake Bequette we need a guy who can spell either Jones or Nink

Kony Ealy, DE - upside pick here. Very inconsistent player to watch but when he's good he is really good. Gotta hope he can be taught how to use his ridiculous athletic ability
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:52 AM    (permalink
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http://www.sbnation.com/longform/201...esota-football

Hageman's character makes me extremely wary of selecting him with a first. It still sounds like he has a lot of issues to sort out. So soon after the Hernandez fiasco, I'm a bit conscious of picking guys who could go off the deep end.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:37 AM    (permalink
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Good find, I didn't know that. I think it's definitely a tough balance between getting big, nasty guys and getting people with potential to do what Hernandez did.

We can't have a team full of choir boys but at the same time we can't have a team full of headcases. The main thing I took from the Hernandez debacle is this team needs to do a better job of recognizing when one of their players is falling off that cliff.

I would say it all comes down to the team's psychological testing, but clearly that has shown it can't be trusted.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:35 AM    (permalink
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I really think Hernandez was a special case our testing/whatever you want to call it shouldn't be at fault.
What Hernandez did, who he is, is such an outlier to anything I've ever heard of in the NFL that I wouldn't call it a failure. No one could of thought the hole went as deep as it eventually did.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:43 AM    (permalink
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It's an interesting thing to look at really. Hernandez showed no outward signs of being a psychopath, however many sources are saying there were some signs bubbling underneath. That is my issue.

Overall, I think the Patriots do as good a job in the NFL at getting their guys to buy in and become a professional on and off the field. Look at guys like LGB and Talib. Both guys with maturity and some serious off field concerns have been model pros. And I'm sure there are other guys on this team who could very easily go off the ledge who don't.

My problem is, what happens internally once these signs do start to manifest?
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:07 AM    (permalink
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I don't have an issue with poor character guys in a vacuum, but as a team with multiple needs and not a ton of cap flexibility, I'm pretty hesitant of dropping our best offseason asset on a guy we're not entirely sure we can rely on.

Talib, Dennard, and Blount, and even the Hernandez draft pick are the perfect kinds of character risks, low asset risk, high potential reward. A first on Hageman brings both elements to the table, and as much as I love his potential that makes me nervous.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:17 AM    (permalink
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I don't have an issue with poor character guys in a vacuum, but as a team with multiple needs and not a ton of cap flexibility, I'm pretty hesitant of dropping our best offseason asset on a guy we're not entirely sure we can rely on.

Talib, Dennard, and Blount, and even the Hernandez draft pick are the perfect kinds of character risks, low asset risk, high potential reward. A first on Hageman brings both elements to the table, and as much as I love his potential that makes me nervous.
The risk/reward part is obviously a major consideration, however if you look at it another way this team has either increased the risk or is considering increasing the risk with those guys.

Having Hernandez's career production for a 4th rounder is actually probably a fair exchange. However when they offered him the contract extension that is what has hurt the team.

Likewise, if they extend either Talib or Blount the risk increases. Both have outperformed what the Patriots gave up for them already. But if for instance Talib gets a 5 year $50m deal then the risk gets so much bigger. Probably bigger than using a first round pick now due to the change in the rookie wage scale.

I do get the unknown part of this. With Hernandez it was a case of getting it wrong but based on 3 years of having him on the team they were confident he wasn't going to get in trouble. Huge error but at least they had the information. With Hageman, or anyother prospect, they are somewhat going in blind.

But in saying that, this is something that all teams have to deal with. Not every prospect is off the charts potential wise while also being squeaky clean, ala Luck. Take Clowney as a prime example. Teams at the top of the draft will have to weigh up his potential over his potential character issues. If Hageman is rated highest on the Pats board and he is available at 29 I would be relatively comfortable with the pick.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:20 AM    (permalink
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I don't think Hageman has the mental tools either. I also think he's a much better two-gap five-technique right end in our old scheme than he is a fit for a four-man front (especially at under tackle.) I'm hesitant to go back to the 3-4 at this point because I'm not sure Chandler Jones would do very well as a stand-up linebacker.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:35 AM    (permalink
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I agree Matthew, however there is nothing that says we have to go back to that.

Losing Wilfork hurt a lot of what we could do up front this year, but last year there were often times where you would say the 4 down linemen playing the following techiques

Chandler Jones (7 technique)
Vince Wilfork (3 technique)
Kyle Love (0 technique)
Brandon Deaderick (5 technique)

I am not necessarily saying that it would be this easy, however very few teams nowadays run with two 5s and a nose.

I think Hageman can play any position inside the OTs and offers a blend of versatility and explosiveness.

Realistically looking at our defense it is a mix of all sorts.

On our defensive line it screams your typical 4 man front with Jones at right end, Vince at the 1 and Kelly, Armstead or Jones at 3 technique. But then you look at Nink or Buchanan who aren't your prototypical left ends.

Then our LBs are more suited for a 34. Mayo has shown he is more than capable of being a top player at tthe weakside ILB and Spikes is the TED. Jamie Collins would be a perfect weakside OLB and Hightower would probably be more suited to the outside as well.

The in the secondary Talib and McCourty both fit that press man cover 1 look. But Dennard and Ryan are better in off man or even zone coverage. Dennard can play press man but if he misses the jam he is beat. Steve Gregory fits as a robber but can't play man coverage and his angles aren't good enough to consistently play deep.

Regardless of who the Pats pick on defense at any stage of the draft you can bet that Belichick will not try to pigeon hole them or try to put a square peg in a round hole. He has a way of putting people in the right place to succeed.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:36 AM    (permalink
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I don't think Hageman has the mental tools either. I also think he's a much better two-gap five-technique right end in our old scheme than he is a fit for a four-man front (especially at under tackle.) I'm hesitant to go back to the 3-4 at this point because I'm not sure Chandler Jones would do very well as a stand-up linebacker.
Chandler Jones should be a 1 gap 5 tech. That is clearly his best position in the NFL. His pass rushing splits show that. I think he'd be a sensational fit there, and could stand up when needed.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:41 AM    (permalink
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Chandler Jones should be a 1 gap 5 tech. That is clearly his best position in the NFL. His pass rushing splits show that. I think he'd be a sensational fit there, and could stand up when needed.
This!!! I don't understand why he isn't used there more. He is at his best when he can use his hands and control the OT. How often does he ever when with his bend or speed? Rarely if ever. And an underrated part of his game which would only get better inside is his run defense.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:12 PM    (permalink
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Chandler Jones should be a 1 gap 5 tech. That is clearly his best position in the NFL. His pass rushing splits show that. I think he'd be a sensational fit there, and could stand up when needed.
I agree, but New England's run fits in a three-man front rely on all of the linemen playing two-gap. I would like to see this as well, though.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:18 PM    (permalink
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Where do you guys think Colvin will fall given his injury? He was a guy who I wouldn't have loved in the 15-20 range where some projections had him prior but I imagine he'd fall at least to the mid- or late second and the size, tools and return game are enticing, even if he does have some technical flaws with a penchant to get beat more than you might like. If he's supposedly ready to go full speed around week one could be a nice 4/5 CB dpeth option for the first half of the season while slowly working him into the fold or coming off the PUP list for week 7.

On a semi-related note, curious as to what people think of Spencer Long from Nebraska and where he may go. He lost a good portion of the season and it sounded like he may be a solid 2nd rounder before the injury. Depending how far he falls sounds like he could be a bargain in the late third or fourth. Didn't see him at all this year but read a lot about how critical his loss to that team was...expecially against Minnesota/Hageman.
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