Brace, Chung, Crable, McKenzie, Tate, Wheatley

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by DocE, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. DocE

    DocE Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    The above 6 guys were all drafted in the first 3 rounds of the draft and the Patriots got almost nothing from them this year. I know my own hopes for 2009 were contingent on a few of these players becoming significant contributors. Obviously, injuries had a lot to do with Crable, McKenzie, and Tate not contributing, but the other 3? I expected the 2nd pick of the 2nd round to be a better player than James Sanders at some point in his rookie year. I expected to see the Terrence Wheatley who's quick twitch and fast feet was so impressive against the Colts in 2008. I didn't expect Brace to dominate, but I felt like he could be a key piece on short yardage and goal line situations.

    When thinking about next year, I think the progression of the above 6 is key. I don't want to speak for everyone, but I get the feeling that most PatsFans have written off Crable. I am not willing to do that yet, but feel like any production we get from him will be a bonus. I actually feel like Wheatley is an even longer shot than Crable at this point. If Wheatley was not a 2nd round pick, I can't imagine him making it out of training camp after the performance he put on in the preseason games. What we saw from Brace at the end of the year wasn't encouraging and Tate's rumored 2nd ligament injury certainly isn't good news for someone who's game is based on explosion and quick cuts.

    Who do you feel good about among this group of 6? Can any of them fill a need in 2010?
  2. BillBelichickFan79

    BillBelichickFan79 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I expect Chung to take over as the starting SS in 2010. Crable, who knows but hopefully we get something out of him. He will get Chad Jackson treatment if he struggles in TC. McKenzie was loved by the staff before getting hurt so if he can fully recover I'm encouraged to see him get on the field for us. I was a big Tate fan and thought it was a great pick, but a 2nd knee injury is tough. Hopefully he'll be alright and can contribute. Brace will be a sub-DT. I was hoping to see Wheatley make some progress this year, but he was barely on the field. I don't know what to expect in 2010.
  3. cupofjoe1962

    cupofjoe1962 In the Starting Line-Up

    I know I am getting tired of the Patriots drafting DB's in the 2nd. 3rd & 4th rounds.

    Since drafting Asante Samuals in the 4th round for 2003 we have swung and missed quite often on DB's.

    2009 - Patrick Chung - 2nd round
    2009 - Darrius Butler - 2nd Round
    2008 - Terrence Wheatley - 2nd round
    2008 - Johnathan Wilhite - 4th round
    2005 - Ellis Hobbs - 3rd round
    2004 - Guss Scott - 3rd round
    2004 - Dexter Reid - 4th round

    I still have hopes for Butler & Chung, but the remainder of the list
    all seem like questionable picks.

    As bad ad the above pick have been the Ron Brace pick is the biggest
    bust I have seen since Eugene Chung.

    I honestly believe that if Brace was not a 2nd round pick he would have
    been cut this year. He got destroyed at NT & I have zero hope for him
    in the future.
  4. TealSox

    TealSox Guest

    First of all, I'm glad none of these guys were drafted in the first round.

    As second round picks, I'm willing to accept that a few of them will fail to make a significant impact. Now if you want to bring up Chris Canty, I'll jump on that wagon of complaining.

    Second, I hate to jump all over a player after his rookie season and question his value on the team, in terms of immediate and future contributions. I never expected Ron Brace to come in and be all "Vince Wilfork"-like against opposing teams. If anything, this was the Patriots safety net against Wilfork leaving in free agency.

    McKenzie and Tate were hurt early on, so to say anything about them before they play a game in the NFL, is idiotic. Tate has low expectations from me, as he recovers from a severe injury, as well as McKenzie, who needs to log game time and learn the system. Ideally, yet realistically, injuries have pushed their expected contribution back a year or two. That's football for you!

    Crable is a joke, injury or not. I've been fair with him for a long time and I was happy when they drafted him, but time is up and I have yet to see one thing to prove he has value in the NFL. Wheatley is very much on the same path. I realize that the front office needed CBs that year and thought it was smart to throw a couple picks at it early on and see what happens, but Wheatley needs to step up. Even Samuel stepped up quicker!

    Speaking of Asante Samuel, I clearly remember Pats fans labeling him as a career nickel corner. He wasn't an immediate impact for the Patriots and, in fact, his first year was very much comparable to Jonathan Wilhite and exceeded by Darius Butler.

    Meanwhile, to hear anyone give praise to James Sanders, who seemed to be only begrudgingly respected by the Patriots after being forced into the starting line up, as a way to put down Chung, I say "relax". Chung wasn't needed to be a force in the secondary now much like Terrell Davis wasn't needed to run the ball in his first year with the Broncos. Young guys pay dividends on special teams and work their way into the starting line up. Chung may get his time to shine too, but in the meantime, he has to contribute on special teams.

    Keep in mind, the sky isn't falling quite yet.
  5. furley

    furley Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Belichick should cut his losses with Crable and Wheatley, and see whether or not he can acquire a lower round pick (fifth or sixth) for either of them. Seeing as Crable has been placed on injured reserve in consecutive seasons, it wouldn't surprise me to see him get released.

    McGowan and Sanders are under contract for next season. Sanders has two more years remaining. Ideally, Chung will emerge during the off-season as a starter along side Meriweather. He at strong safety and Meriweather at free safety.

    I think Bodden could sign elsewhere and Springs might get released. So, I expect Butler to be one of the starting corner backs next season. The question is: Who'll be the other?

    It's possible that Tate will get an opportunity, if healthy, to return kickoffs part-time while playing backup wide receiver with the uncertainty of Welker's return and Aiken a free agent.

    I don't know what to expect from Brace or McKenzie. But I'll like to hope that Belichick has something in Brace. I mean the Patriots did draft three defensive tackles last year. So someone among Brace, Pryor and Richard has to emerge.
  6. BritPat

    BritPat In the Starting Line-Up

    #54 Jersey

    People are seriously missing the point about Brace.

    The kid is a NG/NT. Whether you're playing 3-4 or 4/3, you only have one pure NG/NT on the field.

    We've been playing 4/3 for most of the year with Vince manning the NG spot, so common sense says that you put an under-tackle next to him - who must be athletic (in terms of the position).

    No team in this league plays two pure space eaters at DT, not even the Vikes seeing as Kevin Williams is probably the quickest 300lb guy in the league. The only team I can ever think of in the last decade who played two monsters up front was the Ravens in 2000 with Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams.

    Brace hasn't played because he doesn't have the requirements to play the spot where there was an opening. Pryor, Wright and Richard do.

    Not because he's a "bust"
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  7. Nestapats

    Nestapats Practice Squad Player

    Thank You!!! Finally someone with a good argument.
    But still, when vince was out, he didn't look spectacular. I'm not calling him a bust yet, but he hasn't shown anything yet either.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  8. BritPat

    BritPat In the Starting Line-Up

    #54 Jersey

    Neither has BJ Raji who everyone expected to be All-Pro at the end of his rookie year.

    Brace has played a grand total of 55 snaps so far in his career and is still getting a feel for the level. Let's give him a chance before we throw him out with the bath-water eh?
  9. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 Supporter Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    If Bodden leaves, they probably won't release Springs. If they trade/cut Wheatley, they probably won't release Springs.

    Aiken signed a two-year extension (through 2011). :)
  10. JoeShmoe

    JoeShmoe 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Fair points BP but from what I did see when he did take the field he had some serious technique issues - he got utterly manhandled when he played the Nose. so much so, they subbed Wright in there

    I dont know, id expect a second round NT to have some sembalance of technique. If he were drafted just for insurance for Vince then im not sure that was the best use of that pick by any means

    Butler - I think a lot of us thought he'd be starting come the end of the year but he wasnt so perhaps not quite the progress we'd hoped for. I have little faith in Wilhite/Wheatley as anything but sub package guys
  11. wilfork is beastin'

    wilfork is beastin' On the Game Day Roster

    Mckenzie and Crable were both very good LBers in college and had no history of injury before being drafted. BB had no problem getting rid of Ruud or O'Connell, yet Crable still remains on the team despite missing 2 years. The only explanation is that the coaches see something in him and believe he can contribute down the road. We talk about how teams like the Steelers develop young linebackers over time, yet some want us to get rid of 2 guys who haven't had the opportunity to play a regular season game.

    I agree about Wheatley though, that pick still makes me confused.
  12. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    Coach Pell, my old college coach, used to say that all college players improve by the same percent from their first day of pro ball to the summit of their careers. The only difference is where each player's ability "slots" them when the first start out as pros.

    Under that scenario, Brace is starting out extremely low, which means the MOST he can ever hope to become is an average NT at best. Needless to say, I am not feeling the love currently and hoping my old college coach was a bit confused.
  13. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

    You don't get rid of Wheatley and Wilhite now. They are getting paid draft wages.

    Does the name Earthwind Moreland ring a bell?

    The Patriots have been through injuries and depleted secondaries before, and when you scan down the roster and see Wheatley as your number CB, that's not a bad thing.

    Darius Butler played better than Asante Samuel did in his first year, and Asante had to beat Terrel Buckley out, while Butler had to bring Shawn Springs out.

    Let me say that Shawn springs is better than Terrel Buckley.

    Meriweather and Sanders are still developing, believe it or not, and so you can't judge Chung at all at this point. Sanders especially went from smart field ranger with tackling and speed deficiencies to smart field ranger who was hitting guys hard and tackling well. He was surely playing better than Pro Bowler Meriweather by year's end.

    I am totally optimistic about this D-backfield for the Patriots' future. The players need a little more seasoning, but we are solid. We need one more CB to replace Springs and then we are done there. We are four deep at safety. Of course, I'm assuming we sign Bodden. We actually HAVE to sign Bodden, and the good thing is that not many teams will come sniffing around the Patriots for a CB because of the super bad reputation of our pass defense. That being said, I'm more than comfortable signing Bodden at double his current salary ($5 million). I don't think Wilhite will give us that kind of production next year UNLESS he develops some ball skills quick.

    Brace had bad technique. That's a problem. But he needs to get stronger, and that happens in a pro weight program. Watching the Vikings and Cowboys game, I noticed Jimmy Kennedy making a lot of nice plays for the Vikings. I remember Kennedy as a rookie. He was not any better than Brace. We can't expect Brace to start next year, and so his value as a second rounder is suspect, but cutting him is premature, because if you can keep him through Wilfork's second contract the way we kept Jarvis Green around, the kid may actually be a real player five years down the line.

    In a few years, we may be getting Pro bowl level play from Darius Butler, Patrick Chung, Sebastian Vollmer, and that will silence the complaints about the draft.
  14. rsd

    rsd On the Game Day Roster

    With no offense to your former coach, but that absolutely is no way true at all. So a guy's skills cannot improve from age 21+?
  15. Hercules Rockefeller

    Hercules Rockefeller Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    I don't think that's what he's saying, but I still disagree. To say that all players improve in the same increments is to ignore players like James Harrison (cut multiple times by Pittsburgh) and Tom Brady (once 6th string at Michigan, thought to be a career backup at draft time).

    Also, if that were true, wouldn't players simply always improve no matter what? There are different career arcs for players. Players improve, flatten out, regress. I do not agree with this assertion.
  16. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    Whyn would you expect every player to contribute in their rookie or even sencod year after an injury?

    We got solid production from last year's rookies: Mayo, Guyton and Wilhite and
    from this year's rookies: Butler, Vollmer, and Edelman

  17. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    I agree the arc is different for all players, but I think the percentages represented by the arc is about the same for most players. I think the exceptions are the self made players, like Harrision, but those are the exception not the rule.

    Also in this theory draft position matters little, just performance from day one of your pro career. There is a reason BB kept 4 QB's in Brady's rookie season.

    But regardless of whether you agree or not, I still think it is important to show your ability as soon as possible and as much as possible.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  18. DocE

    DocE Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    1. Read it again and tell me where I said I expected every player to contribute. I think you will be able to find out I said something quite different.

    2. These are 2nd-3rd round draft picks, not late rounders that I mentioned

    3. How are you defining solid production? Mayo took a step (or multiple steps) back from his rookie year, Wilhite was picked on constantly, and upgrading over Guyton at ILB seems like an offseason priority.

    4. Any of these guys could still contribute and the coaching staff's opinion of their abilities to fill holes on the roster in 2010 will have a major impact on out draft/fa strategy.

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