Excellent evaluations and I could spend a long time pointing out areas of agreement, but you don't need people patting you on the back for obvious reasons.
1. Autrocious was my intial reaction to picking Mallet. I was really against picking any QB before round 7. BUT the more I think on it the more I am warming up to it for the following reasons.
a. On a pure talent/value basis it might have been the easiest pick BB had all night.
b. I think, although he isn't going to effect the team in any way on the field for the next 2 years, the long term flexibility of the pick could make it worth it for a couple of reasons.
c. Mallet wound up in the absolute best situation he could have. He has the luxury of learning from a coaching staff that made NFL QBs out of the likes of Matt Cassell and Bryan Hoyer. Plus he has the advantage of sitting for a couple of years without the pressure of carrying a team. PLUS when he does get a chance to play it will be on for a team with very good offense around him.
d. NOW the Pats have a legitimate franchise QB talent without having to spend the draft capitol one normally associates with the acquisition of getting one.
e. When he came in for his visit, clearly BB didn't see the entitled, surly, uncooperative personality that was reported about endlessly this off season. So on the "character" issue I have to side with BB's assessment. He doesn't suffer fools.
f. Now if Brady decides he wants to end his career on the westcoast as the face of the new LA franchise, the Pats will be the position to replace him and accept the boatload of picks that kind of trade would engender, knowing they had an acceptable replacement ready.
g. The Pats can trade him at anytime over the next 4 years, for anything from a 3rd to a first and get some value from the deal.
h. And for the first time the Pats have a better alternative if lightning DOES strike twice and Brady gets hurt.
I'm not really knowledgeable about who was available when the Pats did pick Mallet, but Im doubting that it would have been a player who would have been any more likely to impact the near future of the Pats any more than Mallet
2. I think you contradict yourself on the issue of the lack of a DE pick in the draft. First you complain about it, and then you list the skill and depth that the Pats already have at the positiion.. Despite not picking a DE the Pats will have the deepest, and most talented DL line up they've had for the last 3 years. One that should excell at stopping the run and be better (how could they not be) at rushing the passer
I think you underestimate the return of a healthy Ty Warren, since we haven't really seen him be healthy for the last 3 seasons. I'm also taking the right to infer that one of the reasons BB didn't draft a DE because he feels Mike Wright IS going to be healthy this season. And he was a guy to had 5.5 sacks in 7 games, which BTW is pretty good, and goes widely unreported or appreciated.
Looking back at it, BB MIGHT have taken Watt if he were available, but the more I think about it, the odds are he was targetting Solder all along and got the guy he wanted.
Speaking of Solder I'm surprised at all the talk about his supposed lack of strength, and how he won't be a great run blocker. Guys he's 20 pounds heavier than Light RIGHT now, AND has much quicker feet. How does that NOT translate into a more powerful run blocker. And that is NOW, how much better will it be when he's 335 with under 10% body fat in a couple of years
This will go down as one of BB's best picks ever and its easy to trust BB when you consider his past picks on the OL
3.On the OLB we agree. I think Cunningham had a very remarkable rookie season, especially when you consider, as you said, the difficulty of playing the position, and the fact he missed most of training camp. Regardless of the results, he definitely showed some exciting flashes of the skills we all hope for in a OLB, and because he got all those snaps, his progression was accellerated vastly. Although I doubt you will see a finished product this season, but it WILL be greatly improved.
I also agree that Ninko is being unjustly downgraded. While he has been in the league 6 years, his functional playing time has been really limited. I thought he did a really good job given the low expectations we had. He showed some surprising coverage abilities, and riushed the passer actually better than I expected . Don't forget that Vrabel had more years with 4 or 5 sacks than he did with 12. Its the nature of the system
Add TBC as a situational rusher (although an over paid one), and the surprising Moore, OLB, while still a weakness, isn't really the black hole some represent it to be.
Of course all that being said, adding a Kiwanuka or Lawson wouldn't hurt.
4. I'm coming to grips with getting TWO RBs that early. Clearly BB is gearing up the Rats to become able to produce a "clock killin' " aspect to their offense. I also love the comparisons of Vereen to Ray Rice. I hope they are true.
5. I love the Smith pick too. Adding a guy with THAT particular skill set is critical to the overall effectiveness of the TE position. I believe the Pats are looking for 3 skill sets. One elite bocker (check) One elite move TE ie Dallas Clark type (check) One all round guy (double check) Although it might be a year too soon for him, better a year too soon than not at all. This is probably Alge's last season, so who better to mentor another critical factor to the Pats offense. His special teams skills will offset the burden of carrying 4 TEs on the roster.
Its ikind of funny how one's intial reaction to a pick can change when you actually find out about the individual's specific skill set and how it fits into the greater team profile. So your reaction can go from "Why another TE
, to....."cool pick, I get it now" Also another reason to be glad that "WE" aren't doing the picking.
BTW- thanks for the read, you know that I always appreciate a post that takes two posts to get on the board.