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Building your draft board position by position - week 5: Linebacker

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by Box_O_Rocks, Mar 13, 2006.

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  1. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Week Four has come and gone and I'm still struggling to sort out what I want to do at Cornerback, but considering the limited interest in CBs it must time for Week Five, Linebackers.

    If you want a 220 lb. guy who runs the 40 in 4.4, tell us how you see him fitting in the Pats' system as a linebacker (if you want him for Safety or Special Teams wait a bit, they will be discussed later in the process). Please tell us which sites or draft guides you've been reading for background, if a draft guide or pay-site, quote us a line or two which made the strongest impression - just to entertain us cheap devils. :D

    Willie remains unsigned, Chatham is shopping around, and this is reportedly a strong year for LBs and DE-tweeners, seems reasonable BB would be shopping around.
  2. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    You like him as much as I do, dont you? :D I cant see him going later than high three, but we will talk about that later.
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    shhhhhhhh!
  4. drew4008

    drew4008 Rookie

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    If you're talking about Ernie Sims, he is actually up to 231 now.
  5. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nothing up my 'sleeve'. :rolleyes:
  6. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #11 Jersey

    The OLB profile seems pretty clear: we're looking for physical freaks, 6'5" 250, fast, strong, athletic and explosive. Once you've narrowed it down to that miniscule sliver of humanity, you start looking for versatile players who could put their hand down or drop into coverage, and show Patriot-style intangibles. Then you marvel that such human beings exist.

    But ILB is baffling to me. When is the last time the Patriots successfully added an ILB to their roster? What's the profile? The body type isn't so rare, but the position seems to be devilishly hard to master. Football intelligence is a must. With 4-year max contracts can you wait for an agile, athletic DE like Bruschi and Beisel to learn the trade? Do you hunt for the rare college LB with 3-4 experience like Ryan Claridge? Claridge, incidentally, is reputed to be smart, instinctive, athletic and good in pass coverage -- but lacking strength and suspect against the run. So is a run stuffer a higher priority? Overall I have no friggin' idea.

    With that encouraging statement, I'll start on the OLBs:


    Round 1

    Manny Lawson, N.C. State
    I don't think I need to do much persuading here, Lawson is a darling of this board. Looks like a prototype OLB, physical marvel, has played both DL and LB. Main question mark is how much he can improve against the run, which is a glaring weak point.


    Bottom 1 / Top 2

    Bobby Carpenter, Ohio State
    This guy should be at the top of everybody's lists. He has all the physical skills, and get this--he's an actual *linebacker*. A productive one at that. Plus he seems to be a smart, hardworking guy with a good attitude from a football family. Nfldraftcountdown says: "Is very natural and does an excellent job in coverage...Does a nice job of filling against the run...Flies to the ball and makes plays sideline-to-sideline...Tremendous pass rusher and blitzer...Tough as nails and a true football player." So what's not to like about Carpenter? There are whispers about his intelligence and awareness. Also, the fact that he's a relatively polished finished product is oddly held against him -- not enough "upside." But while you wait for the upside of a Kam Wimbley (see below), Carpenter could be contributing steadily.

    Kamerion Wimbley, Florida State
    A lot of mocks have Wimbley neck-and-neck with Lawson, but I'm not sold...I like his talent, but not at #21. He's a terrific athlete, a hard worker and an explosive pass rusher, but not very strong and even more of a liability against the run than Lawson is. Here's a snippet from Nfldraftscout that gives me pause: "Lacks awareness and is slow to react to the play, needing time to digest what is developing around him."


    Round 2-3

    Stanley McClover, Auburn

    McClover is another DE conversion project, a bit slower than Lawson and Wimbley but still explosive and far stouter against the run. Condraft says: "possesses tremendous quickness and speed and can wreak havoc as an edge rusher...He also is a sure tackler and can really stop the run. He plays with a lot of emotion and has a great motor." Fftoolbox says: "alert to plays all over the field, active & consistently in motion, and is very good in pursuit of the ball."

    Mark Anderson, Alabama
    Anderson might be the most well-balanced prospect for the position. He doesn't stand out in any one way, but is very respectable in size, speed, quickness, strength, run support, penetration, and movement in space. I might even rank him higher if he had LB experience. Fftoolbox says: "He displays explosive quickness and speed off the snap...a rather agile and athletic player for the defensive end position...reminds me of current NFL defensive end Willie McGinest."

    Round 4-5

    Charlton Keith, Kansas
    A tall, lanky DE at 6'5" 237, and a very intriguing project. Condraft says: "Charlton displays an incredible amount of athleticism, possesses solid technique for knifing through an opposing team's offensive line." Nfldraftscout says: "All-out hustler...Has the functional strength to explode behind his hits...Has developed a nice feel for blocking schemes and is quick to locate the ball working down the line...Takes good angles and demonstrates superb lateral range to chase the play down." Downsides are his slight build and total lack of LB experience. Also, one of the most confusing names in the draft. Parents, if your last name is a first name, don't choose a first name that's a last name, ok?

    Chris Gocong, Cal Poly

    6'2" 263 4.70, Div 1-AA player of the year. Didn't try football until high school. A powerful player, Nfldraftcountdown says: "Makes a lot of plays in the backfield and simply has a knack for getting to the quarterback." Condraft says: "a dedicated player and a student of the game, who can breakdown game film and learn from it." Top-notch intangibles, unknown upside.

    Brandon Guillory, Louisiana-Monroe
    Tremendous athlete at 6'4" 250 4.5, 38" vertical. Call him a very, very raw Manny Lawson: explosive, fearsome penetrator who's iffy against the run. Fftoolbox says: "battles opponents till the whistle, with the physical nastiness needed to be a dominant figure on the field...disruptive playmaker and momentum changer...in his enthusiasm to get to the quarterback he leaves running lanes open...I would like to see him improve on securing tackles better."
  7. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Very nice list, we will parallel each other closely when I get my board up.

    When you discuss ILB skills I'd say there are four essentials: A nose for the ball; An ability to play through trash; An ability to fight off blocks (this one is interesting, TJ used to batter the opposing Guards, Tedy side steps them and Vrabes just tries to stand them up and use them to plug the hole); Great tacklers - once they get their hands on you the play stops.

    I've had the opportunity to watch Lawson, Wimbley, Anderson, and Gocong play in All-Star games.

    Lawson and Gocong had a really desirable talent, they found the ball quickly. I like Gocong more for ILB, he's a High School signal caller (QB), he started out as a NT at Cal-Poly his Sophomore year, before moving to DE and exploding on the scene - NT suggests he has some of the hand skills he'll need to battle Guards.

    Anderson did remind me of Willie, slower, but better able to set up the OT and us a mix of power and moves. I'm still not sure if he just slid under people's radars or pulled a Gabe Watson and let the talent show in the money games....

    Wimbley ate slow OTs like Trueblood alive in the Senior Bowl, then TE Klopfenstein stayed in and handled him one-on-one without breaking a sweat - I read that as one dimensional (speed) only.

    Keith left me with mixed, but generally positive feelings after his Combine workout. Carpenter sounds like the real deal with only the reservations Ochmed (I think you were the one) raised about his smarts. Mclover leaves me thinking eh, maaaaybeeee. Guillory sounds hopeful since he has played OLB, I just doubt if he's learned to do it Pats' style.
  8. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    With regards to LBs I want to say this real quick. The beuaty of the 3-4 when done correctly is that the opposing QB is not supposed to know where/if the 4th pass rusher is coming from. It could be any of the 4 LBS or even one of the safties. However if you are not the designated pass rusher, then you have to be able to cover.

    I think that with Willie and Colvin out there at the same time, opposing QBs tended to know that one of them would be coming and that the ILBs were going to be dropping into coverage. That may have taken away some of the advantage our defense was designed to incorporate.

    If BB drafts a Lawson and lines him up at OLB, the opposing QB knows 1) that Lawson is coming and 2) draws, screens and running plays to Lawson's side have huge potential for big gains.
    If BB waits til day 2 and drafts a Brandon Johnson of Louisville, opposing QBs know this guy is droping into coverage.
    Rookies LBs (not named LT) in our defense will key the opposing offense. How much of the versatility of our defense is BB willing to sacrifice by going the rookie route?

    However that being said, unless BB goes on a FA splurge real soon, I see us taking a LB or two in the upcoming draft. When do/if they get on the field is a different question.
  9. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Vrabel moving outside doesn't worry me, Beisel showed improvement as the season progressed and I expect him to be better set up physically after the off-season program resets his playing weight to one better suited for the ILB role. I'd like to see TBC in coverage more to get a feel for his status. I think Lawson will do okay dropping into coverage, but any rookie is going to be a target for misdirection stuff to keep him confused and off-balance.

    Brandon Johnson Louisville 6047 228 4.44 - this is his Combine weigh-in, he may have the frame to pack on another 25 lbs, but that limits him for a full year, maybe two while he gets built up. Still, he's an intriguing 2nd day prospect.
  10. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    ILB prospects:

    1. A nose for the ball.
    2. An ability to play through trash.
    3. An ability to fight off blocks.
    4. Great tacklers.

    Minimum measurables: 240 lbs, 5'11", 4.8-ish 40

    1st round:

    Chad Greenway, Iowa, 6'2.5" 242 4.75. I see him in Phifer's coverage role as opposed to an every down player. He could eventually work his way into an every down role as he builds up strength and bulk.
    http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/olb/chadgreenway.html

    2nd round: None.

    3rd round:

    Chris Gocong, Cal-Poly, 6'2" 263 4.70. As already noted he demonstrated an ability to find the ball quickly with his play in the Shrine Game - I also liked his lane discipline. Draft Daddy http://www.draftdaddy.com/prospects/EastWest.cfm had this to say.
    He looked good in drills at the Combine and has pretty impressive stats: http://condraft.com/player.php?id=498
    Beck is 30 lbs lighter and listed as a LB for Atlanta, NFL.com has no stats for him.

    Tim McGarigle, Northwestern, 6' 242 4.73. NCAA's all-time leading tackler with 545 take downs. http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/ilb/timmcgarigle.html From my Shrine Game notes:

    Tim Dobbins, Iowa St., 6'1" 246 4.63. More of a two down run stuffer, but could learn coverage skills. http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/ilb/timdobbins.html


    Mike Kudla, Ohio St., 6'1.5" 265 4.70. The Huddle Report had him as one of their features and listed his strengths:
    His weakness is the injuries he wracked up playing with reckless abandon.
  11. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The name that comes to mind when I read that is Darryl Tapp. Any thoughts?
  12. rookBoston

    rookBoston Rookie

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    Now we're talking. Box, that's a great cut at ILB, with a very Patriot's Point-of-View.

    McGarigle is one of my favorites in this draft, and (I was surprised) he apparently does have the size to play ILB for us. I was concerned he wouldn't be able to stand up to an OG and win. What I love are his smarts, proven productivity and off the chart intangibles.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2006
  13. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I love McGarigle too. Career tackle leader at Northwestern with a classic full-tilt, full-time attitude. So can anyone tell me why he's not rated higher? Nfldraftscout projects round 6, the Huddle Report doesn't even have him drafted. I'd been assuming that meant sub-NFL measurables, but on the contrary:

    Height: 6005
    Weight: 242
    40 Yrd Dash: 4.73
    Vertical Jump: 38
    Broad Jump: 9'10"
    20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.08
    3-Cone Drill: 7.10

    Those are some nifty numbers for a college ILB, comparing very favorably to Abdul Hodge and D'Qwell Jackson. The only knocks on McGarigle: short arms, iffy backpedal and poor hands for the interception. But if you're looking for a young run-oriented ILB to complement your young coverage-oriented ILB (Claridge), what's not to like?
  14. big mike

    big mike Rookie

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    Many of you seem to be completely ignoring some decent prospects. Guys like Abdul Hodge (sure, he's listed at 4 pounds under your 240 lb limit - so what? He can gain weight): http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/ilb/abdulhodge.html

    and D'Qwell Jackson:
    http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/ilb/dqwelljackson.html
    yes, he's also under the 240 lb limit you set - but being a few pounds heavier is not the most important thing. From that page above, "Incredibly instinctive and smart football player who is like an extra coach on the field...Is a pretty good natural athlete and has a burst...Makes plays sideline-to-sideline and has good range...Is a sure tackler...Very solid in coverage...Has a lot of experience...Possesses great intangibles and has a fire in his belly that drives him to be the best...Extremely productive and is always around the ball. "

    Many people here were saying Jonathan Vilma was too small to play ILB in the NFL, and that he would be a wasted pick. Do you guys still feel that way about him?

    At ILB, intelligence, play recognition, and other intangibles are arguably more important than the ideal size.
  15. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I started to list him as an ILB then held off. I was reminded of Rosie Colvin when I watched him in the Senior Bowl, I've decided to let that impression guide me regarding his value at ILB or OLB.

    Reading draft profiles on Tapp, they question his run D and report he just makes plays in pass D despite having less then desirable measurables. If you think about it from a 3-4 vs 4-3 perspective, the OLB in a 3-4 is more often blocked by a TE or RB, while the DE in a 4-3 would be the T's responsibility - seems like moving him to a 3-4 OLB would improve his run game immediately, moving him inside to take on Gs is less sure. Despite having shorter arms, he reportedly has owned Fergusen, the consensus LT in regular season and All-Star games, that says he is quick, smart, has great hands, studies some tape to break down his opposition, and has multiple moves to beat the block and disrupt the passer - I like that better outside.

    In the end, BB has the luxury of taking the top LB prospect for ILB or OLB, whenever he falls to him, thanks to Mr. Everything, Mike Vrable.
  16. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That leads me back to a question you must have missed, what does NFLDraftScout.com charge for a subscription, I can't seem to find it anywhere on the site?

    Also, what were McGarigle's 10 and 20 yd splits?
  17. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Sorry, did miss that -- it's $25/year.

    And McGarigle's splits were very good indeed: 1.63 / 2.74. For comparison, take a look at the numbers on DeMeco Ryans, who is praised for his quickness and athleticism and is considered a potential first rounder:

    Height: 6012
    Weight: 236
    40 Yrd Dash: 4.65
    20 Yrd Dash: 2.74
    10 Yrd Dash: 1.64
    Vertical Jump: 39
    Broad Jump: 10'9"
    20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.18
    3-Cone Drill: 7.19

    I just don't get it.
  18. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You make a great case for both of these gentlemen at LB. My minimum weight is a personal benchmark based on what I've watched Bruschi, Vrabel, Beisel, Brown, and Ted Johnson do at ILB in the Pats' 3-4. Beisel came over from KC listed at 238 and was pushed around - Chad did much better playing a little heavier and being more experienced. Both were slow to make their reads which combined with Wilfork's slow start killed them inside. But the bottom line is small LBs get beaten up in the Pats' version of 3-4.

    240 is my benchmark because it isn't too much of a stretch to figure a college player could add 5-10 lbs of muscle with a top notch training program. I think that explains McGarigle being at 242, up from his 235-ish playing weight in college - he has been working full time with a trainer to prepare himself for the draft. He lacks 5 lbs of Bruschi's listed 247, the question then becomes one of his playing style inside. Tedy succeeds by being very evasive and avoiding a lot of head-to-head matches with the Gs, he slides around them with movement and good hands. TJ would meet them head on and knock them backwards into the hole; Vrabel does something similar, but with more hand fighting to keep them off balance and unable to drive him off. I would prefer if McGarigle, at 242, proves to be more successful playing a style similar to Tedy's.

    I have to assume both Hodge and Jackson have been working with trainers for their Combine/Pro-Day tests and have elected to stay lighter and sell their speed/quickness over their ability to go toe-to-toe with the Gs.

    Greenway is also borderline, but his physique at the Combine showed lots of room for bulking up - he only benched 16 times at 225, I think Woicik can help him improve that and add another 10 lbs of muscle. But, I also looked at him for his role in the defense - I don't see him as an every down player at 242. Given his coverage skills, he would be good in Phifer's old 3rd down role, and he would do okay as a blitzer to keep offense's honest. Incidentally, his projected role limitations are a big strike against him for being a first round pick by the Pats, not to say never, but I think your looking for a three down player in the first round.

    Vilma is a great MLB, we will get to see how well he does as an ILB in a 3-4. Part of that will depend on Mangini's ability to develop his D-line, but Baltimore reportedly went away from the 3-4 for partially due to the need to keep an aging Lewis clean with extra D-linemen. Vilma is young and tough and should do well, but we already know he loses when an O-lineman gets to him, we know the Pats' ILBs win a lot of those battles when everybody plays their assignments. Part of the reason Wilfork had so many tackles last season came from the ILBs filling their gaps and plugging the holes wth the G's and their bodies, allowing Vince to fight off his block and make the tackle as the RB slowed to pick his way through the pile-up.

    All of that aside, you are welcome to disagree and build your draft board the way you see best. I will cheerfully read your critique of my board and try to thoughtfully (my wild imagination, :p ) provide you with feedback.
  19. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    McGarigle, six pounds heavier has essentially the same splits, but loses .05 seconds on the last 20 to Ryans. The selling point to me is the short shuttle and 3-cone, they tell me McGarigle has the better change of direction talent, and it must translate well to his reaction speed if he made all those tackles.

    Thanks for the subscription info, last year I was able to rearrange the combine/pro-day data by category, but they apparently are now limiting that to subscribers so I guess I become one.
  20. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Big_Mike - Vilma IS too small to play ILB in the NFL. However, he's almost the perfect size to be a MLB in the NFL. There is a HUGE difference between the two. positions and I believe that is the fault in your logic. ILBs need to have the size and strength to take on guards on a regular basis. MLBs only have to worry about guards on occasion, but mostly are going against FBs and TEs.
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