Originally Posted by Marqui
I would definitely risk a late 1st rounder on Hardy. He has too much talent to pass up on, and its looking like Derrick Morgan won't be anywhere near the Pats drafting range. Hardy slipping because of injury concerns would probably be the best chance at drafting an elite pass rusher prospect.
Right now there are 3 guys (outside of Ndamukong Suh, who will go top 5) who I think are clearly worthy of a 1st round pick for the Pats:
1. Derrick Morgan, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech (junior). 6'4" 268# guy with tremendous strength and a non-stop motor, reminiscent of Shawne Merriman at his best. Has been unstoppable this year. Plays the run as well as he rushes the passer. Will go top 20, probably top 15, possibly top 10. He's not likely to be as much of a workout warrior as some other guys (Carlos Dunlap, Everson Griffen, Jason Pierre-Paul), but he's been just too good to ignore.
2. Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama (junior). 6'4" 255#, can play 4-3 SAM as well as 3-4 SILB. Would be the perfect complement to Jerod Mayo. Will probably go top 20, possibly top 15. Slight chance he could slip because of his position, but like Morgan he's been just too good this season.
3. Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State (junior). 6'6" 290#. Tremendous athleticism, can play both DE and DT, and does everything well. I think he may have the most upside at 3-4 DE of anyone in the draft (including Suh, as a 3-4 DE) and is reminiscent of a young Richard Seymour. Is reportedly leaning towards staying in school. Probably 1st round pick if he declares, possibly top 15-20.
I think the odds are >75% that all 3 of these guys (assuming all declare, which is not clear at this point) will be gone well before the Pats pick, and that the cost to trade up will be prohibitive.
Ochmed would include Mount Cody in this group. I don't include him because it's not clear to me that he's more than a 2 down run stuffer, and because we don't need a 3-4 NT as things stand. I think Cody will also go top 20 given all the teams running 3-4 defenses that could use a NT.
If any of these guys slip to the Pats' pick, I think it's a no-brainer. If none make it that far, there's 3 basic options:
1. Trade the pick into 2011 to someone who wants an extra 1st rounder and who preferably will have a high 2011 1st.
2. Trade back, as we did in 2009.
3. Pick one of a dozen or so players who don't have the same clear-cut 1st round stamp as those 3 guys, but who have significant upside and may be worth a late 1st round pick. Those guys include:
- Greg Hardy, DE/OLB. Injury prone and inconsistent, but tremendous upside.
- Carlos Dunlap, DE. Inconsistent. Not physical enough to play 3-4 DE. Is he too big to play 4-3 DE/3-4 elephant? Likely to go top 20 anyway because he's such a physical freak.
- Everson Griffen, DE. Inconsistent. Same issues as Dunlap. Will likely be a big time workout warrior at the combine and could jump into the top 20.
- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE/OLB. Tremendous physical upside, still growing into his body and learning how to use it.
- Brandon Graham, DE/OLB. Terrific motor and productivity. Average speed, short compared to what BB prefers at OLB.
- Arthur Jones, DE. Injury prone. Not clear he's a true 1st round talent.
- Jared Odrick, DE. Not clear he's a true 1st round talent.
- Jermaine Gresham, TE. Injured. Not clear TE is that big a need.
- Jonathan Dwyer, RB. Not clear RB is that big a need, or how he would adapt coming form an unorthodox college system.
- Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB. Not clear he's stout enough to play the edge for BB. More of an athlete than a football player.
- Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB. Terrific rusher, but not clear that he's strong enough against the run.
- Eric Norwood, DE/OLB. Terrific versatility, very strong, does a lot of things well. A bit on the short side for a BB OLB. May freelance too much in the South Carolina system.
- Mike Iupati, OG. Is he sufficient value to take in the 1st round?
- Maurkice Pouncey, OG/C. Same question as with Iupati.
So unless we get lucky, or we trade back or trade out, I see us reaching somewhat at the end of the 1st round for someone like the guys listed above, all of whom have questions and issues. A lot depends on how safe the FO wants to play the pick vs. going for upside. I'd personally take a shot at Greg Hardy or Jason Pierre-Paul (or possibly Dunlap or Griffen, if the FO thinks they fit) in that situation, as the pass rush is our biggest need and those guys have such enormous upside.