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Areas of need and how to maximize the 2008 draft

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by BelizePats, Jan 20, 2008.

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  1. BelizePats

    BelizePats Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Holding the 7th pick in this years draft offers us the luxury of doing many things with this extremely valuable asset. I'm of the opinion that signing a veteran ILB will allow us to really take advantage of this years draft. The options and opportunities abound for us to set ourselves up nicely for the next 5 years if we play the pick properly. Specifically, on the defensive side of the ball. I say this because we are in good shape on offense for the next few years and if you’ll recall, much of the 2006 draft was used to address the offensive skill positions (Maroney, Jackson, Thomas) The 2008 draft should be used to do this for the defense.
    First off, I’m assuming here that we extend Big Vince in the off season in the same way we did with Ty Warren. I believe that Ty had a year left on his rookie contract when we offered him a new deal and I think that the precedent is now set to do this for Vince, a player that BB clearly values and respects. I can’t think of any reason why management would not do this, after doing so for Warren! So, our D line is pretty set, at least in the mid term (2009)
    There is no denying that we have some issues at ILB and DB, going forward into the 2008 season and it would be logical to assume that BB and SP are focused on addressing some or all of these issues. The real question I suppose is how to best do this?
    Both Teddy and Junior are both getting up there in age and if we are fortunate enough to win the Super Bowl this year, at least 1 of them and possibly both, are likely to retire. Neither of them need to retire as they can both still contribute in 2008, should they decide to play on. But, the fact is that they have shown their age, particularly after AD was moved outside in the wake of the Colvin injury. This is an area where speed and athleticism are vital and I can't see BB and SP going into the 2008 season with an ILB core that is not younger and faster. I like AD inside, and as Ochmed pointed out in another thread, his move outside has limited the options that BB has in terms of defensive formations. This will be addressed. At ILB, for 2008, we have AD and ????
    Colvin still has plenty left in the tank and was playing very well before his injury. I think that Colvins strong play had a really positive effect on how Vrabel played and it seemed like Mike slowed down a bit (at least in the stats) after Colvin got hurt. Colvin has to renegotiate his contract or he's gone. And I think he will. Unless he's unhappy here and wants out, in which case he'll refuse to renegotiate and is outta here. If he does refuse to rework his contract, he's coming off a season ending injury which will affect interest and dollars from other teams, at least to some extent. I say he redoes his deal. At OLB, for 2008, we have Vrabel and Colvin as our starters. Two very good pass rushers. Pretty damn good if you ask me!
    At corner, Samuels is as good as gone if he’s expecting anything near Clements money and his agent has repeatedly said that he is. BB and SP have a dollar value for the corner position that they are willing to live with and I think that Assente has priced himself out of the position for the Pats. Yes, the cap is going up and we will have more money to spend. But, just because we have the money does not mean that management is willing to pay more than they feel the dollar value of the position represents. They wouldn’t do it with Ty Law and I don’t see them doing it here.
    We will still have Hobbs under contract and whether you are happy with his play or not, he is our most experienced corner when Assante walks. Chad Scott might figure in here too after his season ending injury. He’s a smart, hard working player that BB really likes. If he can bounce back from his injury, he’s in the mix. There is a big hole here though, when Assante walks. Who knows, maybe management doesn’t like how losing Assante will affect the defense and they throw a pile of money at him to make him stay? However, I just don’t see it. This is a position screaming for new blood in 2008.
    Safety is a position I’m not too worried about. I think that Sanders will be given a nice contract this off season that reflects his improvement and current value to the team. It won’t be for crazy $ but I think that this is one guy that benefits from the salary cap going up in 2008. I also like the way Marriweather has started to come on late in the season and I think that he’s only going to get better as he gets more comfortable with the defense. For all the knuckleheads who’ve been screaming about how he’s a bust, meet the knuckleheads who’ve been insisting that Maroney was a wasted pick. I will trust BB and SP’s player evaluation skills every time.
    Now some have been saying that Rodney will likely retire if the Pats win it all this year. But, I’m not sure that this is the case. I can see Rodney playing another year or 2 at a pretty high level. He clearly loves the game and is still a force. While he has lost a step, his football smarts more than make up for it. I would actually be surprised he retired after a win in Arizona.
    Ok. We have the 7th pick in the draft and we have needs at ILB, a legitimate developmental OLB, and at corner. How do we best address these needs? Here’s my thinking.
    The first thing we ought to do is sign a quality veteran linebacker with experience in the 3-4. Victor Hobson comes to mind, as does Al Wilson. Wilson has recently been given medical clearance to resume his football career. If healthy, boy would he look good in a Pats uniform. Hobson too would do well inside for us and shouldn’t cost too much on a 2 or 3 year deal. Spending money here makes the whole defense better and allows the coaches to scheme the way they prefer to, not have to. By solidifying the ILB position with a quality veteran, we are freed up to really take advantage of the 7th pick and all the options it presents. Before I go on, I’ll ask this question, “is there an ILB in this years draft that you would be comfortable picking at 7? One who would be able to step in and contribute right away? I say no, not even close!
    How does this sound, “an interior of AD, a solid vet, and a rotation of possibly Teddy or Junior”?
    A solid free agent signing here would benefit the entire defence by allowing BB to do run the defenses that were being utilized prior to AD going outside after Colvins’ injury. I think that BB and SP realize this and will put a priority on allocating the funds necessary to sign a quality veteran at the ILB position. Having flexibility in how we play the draft is essential to coming out of it with a couple of potential all pros that can have a big impact on this team for the next 5 years. At least!
    With the 7th pick, once a quality vet at ILB has been signed, we can then trade down to 10-15 and then pick the best corner available. At the moment there does not appear to be a corner worthy of the 7th overall pick. However, at the combine, someone might jump out with an excellent couple of days in Indy. I like Cason a lot as he’s got that natural big play ability we all want. But, not with the 7th pick. Trading down (yes we will need a trade partner but this is not impossible) 3 to 8 slots should net us a second this year or at worst a third? We then pick up our corner of the future at 10-15. With our second pick, + the pick we acquire for trading down, we might have the ability to jump back up into the first round to grab a young linebacker, who will immediately bring some youth and speed to the position With all the experience ahead of him, he would not have to be rushed into action and can learn the notoriously complex defensive system with no pressure on him to produce. Almost like a red shirt year with some special team duty.
    With our two 3rd rounders, there will still be some good value on the board. Maybe we need to sweeten the pot with one of these 3rds to get back into the first round if someone we really like falls. Even if this is the case, we still have a 3rd to pick another corner or linebacker, adding even more youth to positions where it’s needed. The reality here is that only 4 or 5 rookies are going to make the 2008 team so do we really need to draft 8 or 9 players just because we can?
    We’ve been given a great opportunity with San Fran playing so poorly this year. Who would have predicted the 7th overall pick in 2008 when the deal was made at last years draft? Trying to figure out what BB and SP are going to do at the draft is next to impossible and I fully recognize this. My premise here is simply that by spending the money to sign a quality ILB with 3-4 experience, it will greatly improve our options going into the draft. And having multiple options is the best way I know of hitting a home run or two when you’re on the clock in April. I can’t wait to see what they do!
     
  2. SunnyDenmark

    SunnyDenmark Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    BelizePats -
    Sounds pretty rational....most of your thoughts are similar to what I have also foreseen in my crystal ball. Sounds good...nice analysis (because it agrees with mine naturally :bricks: ).

    Not much specifically to add but just in general to remind everyone that this year the draft has the 1st round down (from 15) to 10 minutes and the 2nd round (from 10) to 7 minutes. As Bill and Pioli love to 'wheel and deal' - my first impression was that would negatively impact our draft. (How often do Pats have or will have a top 10 pick to trade with? ) However, it affects every team the same and so I would imagine it would affect (negatively) more severely those War Rooms where they have new HC's, GM's. As they will be working together for the first time. Whereas our staff knows each other so well that it is a fine tuned central brain trust.

    With this supposidly deep draft and good ammunition of picks on the first draft day - I am expecting lots of trades by our war room and hopefully a rich bounty of future Pats starters. Maybe do like the Jets (last year )and trade multiple picks to target specific players. As you said, how many draftees are really going to be able to make the team anyway?
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2008
  3. SamBamCunningham32

    SamBamCunningham32 Rookie

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    Wouldnt you say that generally the Pats stay away from positions with low percentage success in the first round? Picking a corner is never a sure bet and the team would benefit from trading for the future and maybe maximizing with a lower pick at LB where value is comparable.
     
  4. SunnyDenmark

    SunnyDenmark Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Interesting question....Do Pats stay away (in first round) from positions with low % of success.
    07 Meriweather - Safety
    06 Marony - RB
    05 Mankins - Guard (was playing Tackle at Fresno)
    04 Wilfork - DL & Watson - TE
    03 Warren - DL
    02 Graham - TE
    01 Seymore - DL

    So thats lots of DL (3) plus two TE's and a RB and Safety as well. I would think that the Coaches and GM's team building philosophy and also value (at that point when you pick the player vs what players are left available probably 'trumps' the % of bust probability.

    But I am sure there must be some consideration. I remember a Dr. Z answer about that and he felt RB are the safest picks as far as least chance of bust in the first round. Naturally QB was one of the highest risks. Also have to figure out what value to the team would that position bring - skill player vs OL grunt (guard). Extreme example being you don't draft a punter in the first round. (I know you know this but just saying to make the point). Even if greater chance to go bust - you still want to draft a position that has a chance to make an impact in the game - either a skill position or say a pass rusher (think Mario Williams) .

    I am no draft guru but I would think CB would have a less chance than the other positions to bust (be a better bet than QB or WR or TE). Just my opinion ...
     
  5. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    First of all, please use paragraphs! It would make it a LOT easier to read what you're trying to say.

    And second of all, I think most would agree that CB and LB are going to be the Pats most pressing needs come draft time.
    Signing a good FA ILB will really solidify this D.

    It also means that any LB the Pats draft won't need to produce right away.
    That's a GOOD thing, because the Pats defense is so complex.
    I think a trade down of a few slots is likely, unless the Pats see that there is a stud, must have player available at #7.
     
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