It happens every spring...
Every year I read the draft guides and the mock drafts. The only certainty is that the Patriots will take players that surprise me. Two years ago they took a TE (Ben Watson) when we already had a starting TE. Last year, we were expected to take a linebacker, we took offensive linemen. In 2004, we were expected to take an offensive linemen and/or a RB, we took a DT and a TE.
This year, we took a RB, WR, two TE’s and another offensive lineman in a very deep defensive draft! What does this mean? It means I don’t know **** about what BB will do on draft day.
The bottom line and end result is as follows:
Warren: Solid performer taken 13th overall and there are too many disappointments to mention taken ahead of him…
Wilson: What can be said about this guy… Just solid!
Johnson: A few WR’s after him turned out to be more productive… Still waiting for him to have a breakout year…
Samuel: Another solid performer who’s best days are ahead of him…
Koppen: Anytime you get a fifth rounder to be a starter, you’ve succeeded!
Banta-Cain: With Willie gone, this is his make or break year! You have to keep in mind that he was a 7th rounder so the fact that he is still on the roster is a plus!
Wilfork: The best DT in the draft falls into our laps at 21. Despite the expectations for us to take a OL or RB we grab big Vince! Great pickup!
Watson: Shocked and stunned at this pick! Two years later, I am very happy to have this stud. This years top 10 pick, Vernon Davis is being compared to Watson!
Hill: It’s now or never for Hill. At the very least, he will provide a big body for the DE rotation. Hope to get more out the 2nd rounder!
Scott: Nice player, may never be more than what we have seen. Injuries are obviously a problem.
Reid, Sam, Cobbs have all been huge disappointments, but that’s life in the draft…
Mankins: Logan who? was my response. This pick will still be paying dividends in 2010 and beyond!
Hobbs: Not sure if this guys will be a legit starter but, nice player either way…
Kaczur: See comments regarding Mankins…
Sanders: See comments regarding Hobbs. Also, may be the reason the Pats didn’t jump on DB help in 06 draft!
Claridge: Clueless when it comes to this guys potential but, also may be the reason Pats didn’t stress over LB help in the draft!
Cassel: 7th round QB pick who didn’t play in college…. He made the team, impressed everyone will be our #2 this year or next!
I’ll leave the analysis of these guys to the pros but let me share some of my non-professional thoughts!
Maroney: MO, this guy is coming in under the radar. We have pretty good backs in Dillon, Faulk and Pass. No need to have to carry the franchise day 1. I’ve watched a lot of film on him since the pick and the one word that comes to me is WOW! When Mike Shannahan, the king of picking RB gushes over Maroney, I know we have something special.
C. Jackson: I sat and watched the 2006 Combine with my son one dreary Saturday afternoon. We were awed by a big, strong, fast WR out of Florida named Chad Jackson. He asked me if the Patriots could get him… I laughed and told him he would be the 1st WR taken probably in the top ten! What is really nice about both Maroney and Jackson is that they don’t need to come in and be the #1 guy day one! I think that’s why so many of these high draft picks fail!
Dave Thomas and Garrett Mills: My thoughts were, “WTF are they doing!” Two more TE’s? I know they need a decent 3rd TE in their offense but two? And, so early (3rd and 4th round)! Looking at film and seeing Thomas in the Rose Bowl gave me hope and I think he should be at least as good as Fauria. I still think there might have been a better option with the Thomas pick, just my opinion! Garrett Mills is another story. Yes it is true that I was not happy when I saw ANOTHER TE but after further review I see this guy making an impact on offense! His highlight reel is very impressive and the fact that they are going to use him out of the backfield alleviates the TE gridlock. This guy caught 87 passes last year!
Gostkowski was a need pick. PK is the one spot that could end up hurting us next year. This is definitely a wait-and-see pick and I’m hoping for the best.
O’Callaghan and Mincey are gravy picks IMO. If they make it, great! If not, no big deal. They both have decent upside and I am hopeful that they will contribute!
These drafts continue to be successful! The rest of the league must cringe every time a Wilfolk, Maroney and Jackson falls into their laps!
Mills and Gostkowski were the ones that made me cringe. I've since lightened up, though, realizing Mills could be the next Keith Byars and Gostkowski has a lot of upside. I'm not a FB guy but the Byars/Centers type receiving FB can be very useful (as opposed to the pure blockers). The thing about Gostkowski is he was very accurate in college, kicked 50+ yarders, and was a half time baseball player. I really wonder if he has extra upside when he spends 100% of his time on kicking.
Deeds...... Nice post. Interesting read and quite logical and to the point. I like the look of our team, its evolving as it should. I hated losing Willie but lets face it, he's in the sunset of a great career. We are younger, faster and hopefully a lot better on offense. I would not be shocked if we carry two kickers next year, Gramatica and Gos....... Gos for KO's and Grams for FG and PAT's. If Gramatica folds Gos takes over and he's replacing Gramatica not a legend! Lotta pressure removed from the youngster..... Just a hunch.... Nice post, Deeds.... Enjoyed it
It finally struck me last night.
Every year it's the same thing. Pats fans eagerly looking forward to draft day like Christmas morning, visions of shiny new toys dancing in their heads: "Mmm, Steven Jackson. Ahh, David Terrell!" Then comes the let down of the practical-but-boring gift: whoop-de-doo, a technically sound lineman and a trade for future picks. In the words of one poster last year, "Logan Mankins, what a buzz kill."
So this year everybody geared up for developmental DE-LB conversion projects, only to be "let down" by...nothing but flashy, dynamic skill players all over the offense! How friggin' funny is that?
"best talent available"
Ditto on the nice post, Deeds. Good research.
As for the "what's going on?" thing we hear each April, isn't BB on record as saying he almost always goes for the "best available talent, regardless of position"??
Maybe it's somebody else who follows that philosophy, but I could swear Bill said that again a couple of weeks ago.
As for the picks, Maroney and Jackson both look like they'll be play-makers, and probably this year. The others look like they'be got good possies, too. It's hardest to read the desire beating under the shirt, however. (Who had the read on TBrady, except him: "Owner Kraft, you will _not_ regret this!!")
I think the key is, as someone above already pointed out, that NFL newbies be brought along slowly. The transition to the big time is a quantum leap from college ball, no matter what "big time" conference one hails from. Belichick knows the importance of not putting so much pressure on a young guy that he folds under the crushing weight of a billion-dollar fanchise and the lathered fan-atics who follow 'em.
Ricky Williams is a classic case in point: out of the box All-Pro talent, but when he began in the NFL as the guy drafted by the team who gave ALL their other draft picks just to get him, that jacked the expectations of him way out of orbit.
Bring 'em along nice and easy, let 'em get a season or two to acclimate, let 'em mature, ge their feet on the ground; then start expecting them to shine. Of course, it also depends on the position. And being called upon due to sudden injury to the perennial starting QB, for example, can bump up the learning curve, obviously. But immediate team needs should not force a 22 year old to have to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders; that's cruel and inhuman punishment, no matter what you pay 'em.
All in all, however, these new guys BB and Co. picked look like they will make life exciting looking for NE, well into the future.
Great expectations for '06!! Let's put the injury gremlin back into the bottle!!
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