Welcome to PatsFans.com

Evaluation of potential OLB from the DE Position

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by Ochmed Jones, Feb 12, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    5,756
    Likes Received:
    10
    Ratings:
    +15 / 2 / -0

    #12 Jersey

    I lot of analysis have been talking about our needs at ILB, CB, S, and OT, but I feel the single most important need for our team is an OLB that can 1.) excel as a pass rusher and 2.) anchor against the run and 3.) drop into coverage when necessary.

    The best player to play this position in the BB era has been Willie MCGinest, early in the BB era.

    Ideally BB would prefer an intelligent, taller player in excess of 260 lbs. that can not only run fast, but is also "sudden".

    Neither of our current 3 OLB's possess all these traits and hopefully Thomas will be moving back inside next season, leaving a perfect sceanario for a "sudden" speed rusher to come in on third and long and beat OT's around the corner. In this scenario needs #2 and #3 become much less important and #1 becomes much more important.

    So who is abailable in the draft.

    1.) C Long - He is intelligent, has the height and maybe a tad too much weight. HE has decent speed but is not "sudden" and has no experience at OLB. Maybe it is best if we let Miami take him and keep him at DE.

    2.) Gholston - He has ideal height and weight, not sure about the intelligence, but has above average speed and is "sudden". He has experience both with the hand down and with the hand off the ground. He has experience dropping into coverage and while not great at it, he is not horrible in coverage.

    3.) Campbell of Miami - He is extrmely tall so his 280 plus pounds do not look excessive. I am not sure he can count to five or that he can spell his own name, and while he may not have great timed speed, he is "suuden" with an outstanding first step. HE has played almost exclusively with his hand on the ground and I am not sure he would ever work in coverage.

    4.) Harvey of Florida - He has the required height but could use a few pounds if he has to anchor on running plays. HE may not be the brightest bulb in the draft, but I am betting he is smarter than Campbell. He has decent speed and has a good first step. I have not seen him play with his hand off the ground much.

    5.) Merling of Clemson - He has ideal hegiht and wieght with decent speed. And although I seen several Clemson games this past year, I can honestly say I can't remember anything he did on the field. Evaluation incomplete!

    6.) Groves of Auburn - He has ideal height and could use a few pounds. Marginally more intelligent than Campbell. Superior speed and is extremely "sudden" with an outstanding first step. Great at chasing from the backside. Some experience with the hand off the ground as well.

    In summary, assuming Long is off the board, Gholston makes sense at #7, however if Gholston is off the board, we might be betrter served to trade down a few spots and secure Groves.
     
  2. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    6,369
    Likes Received:
    33
    Ratings:
    +78 / 2 / -0

    #75 Jersey

    Nice write-up. If Gholston is gone at #7 (or if we just choose to go another direction with that pick), what do you think about waiting until the second or third round and taking Ezra Butler (4.55 speed at 6'1 250, some stand-up experience) or Cliff Avril (6.3 250)? I haven't seen Avril much, but Scouts say he's a better OLB prospect than DE, and if he runs a 4.65 or so, he might be a good value pick.
     
  3. adamprez

    adamprez Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Very nice writeup. I think the reason you dont recall Merling that much is because he was constantly double and triple teamed. He's very difficult to project but I think he could possibly outshine Long in the long run and be the class of the DE prospects. He might be able to transition to any position 4-3 DE/ 3-4 DE/ 3-4 OLB. His combine numbers will be of huge interest to me to figure out what position he's best suited for
     
  4. SeanBruschi54

    SeanBruschi54 In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Messages:
    3,501
    Likes Received:
    14
    Ratings:
    +44 / 0 / -1

    #24 Jersey

    Egh, im still hoping Chris Long is there at 7.
     
  5. Remix 6

    Remix 6 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    7,780
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0

    i would take Gholston over Ellis really. Hes the most explosive DE in the draft and thats how guys like Merriman and Ware create havoc. They are so fast off the ball that the tackle struggles getting in position. I also see Gholston as stronger not because his looks but he way he can trouble lineman around and just drive them back. He brings more variety at OLB and has already dropped back while Ellis has not.

    I really think Gholston can be spectacular because his combo of explosiveness and strength really makes it tough and when he has a little room to run at you instead of being in your face at the snap, it could get ugly for the offensive line because a guy that fast, strong and nice size can destroy you.
     
  6. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    5,756
    Likes Received:
    10
    Ratings:
    +15 / 2 / -0

    #12 Jersey

    A large part of the equation that goes into making Wimberley, Ware and Merriman such impact players is that they are "sudden".
    No one on our roster is "sudden" and we haven't had anyone at OLB who even remotely fits into that category since Willie was near his prime. Colvin might have been that guy, but because of the hip injury, we never got a chance to see it on the field.

    Maybe Gholston can be that guy, but if he makes it past the Jets, I would be surprised.
     
  7. patsfan55

    patsfan55 In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    2,673
    Likes Received:
    4
    Ratings:
    +4 / 0 / -0

    #95 Jersey

    great write up ochmed!
    it's nice to finally see someone else speak of willie's versatility and not just his pass-rushing ability
    i've been waiting for the Pats to draft someone in the willie mold since he started getting older, and eventually was released
    last year i felt lamar woodley could possibly be that guy, and this yr, i agree with you, gholston could definitely be that guy
    now, let's just hope he's there at seven, and that we go out and sign namdi asoumgha
     
  8. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    2,221
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0

    :agree:

    :ditto:


    I have no hope of Long dropping to #7 anyway...time to explore other options.

    My favorite at the OLB/DE position. A bit raw for the #7 slot, but if we don't trade down -- someone has to be the value pick. Whoever the selection is will be expected to make an impact by year two at the latest. The only question seems to be, can he play the position in the Pats defense? Scouts, coaches, and Vrabel will have the answer.

    An SEC player I like. Haven't seen evidence to support the "takes plays off" writeups. Of course if he does -- I don't want him.


    Yeah, Willie is one of my all-time favorites. A little side note though -- no one in this draft comes close to having Willie's versatility, as he played DE/OLB/MLB in college. And guess which Pats position coach worked him out before the draft? Long's HC -- Al Groh. :)
     
  9. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,660
    Likes Received:
    21
    Ratings:
    +25 / 3 / -0

    Most college defenses run fire zones requiring DE's to drop into coverage at times during a game, and you can see this in almost any college game. Watching the way a player makes his backpedal changes direction and the decisiveness with which he plants and drives to the ball is a clue to how he will eventually handle his coverage assignments. Athleticism, pass rush ability, ability to hold ground vs the run and fight off blocks are enough of a measure of raw potential to give a prospect a reasonably accurate grade as a 3-4 OLB prospect. After all, Kiwanuka had no "experience" playing 3-4 OLB and in retrospect would have been ideal, and this was evident watching him drop into coverage in college. The same requirements that go into the make up of a classic 4-3 crash end, are enough to indicate potential 3-4 success. Philips, Merriman, Spencer, Ware rush the paser almost every play, serving the same function as a crash end.

    With the combine so close it seems premature to give a list of prospects. The combine will reveal who really has the physical ability to compete with world class athletes.
     
  10. nittanylions52

    nittanylions52 Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    I wouldn't be surprised at all if Miami takes Chris Long and the Jets take Gholston. You know the Pats are the targeted team now, especially in the AFC East. Since the Giants showed that a great pass rush could possibly topple Brady, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if both teams decide to get DE's with their first pick. Long is a beast, and would deserve the #1 pick anyway.
     
  11. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    5,756
    Likes Received:
    10
    Ratings:
    +15 / 2 / -0

    #12 Jersey

    I think the combine is a great tool for measuring an athlete's height, weight, speed and raw quickness.

    However their is so much more to playing this game than measurables. The combine can not measure an athletes heart, character, football IQ, instincts, technique, desire to bring the wood and/or love of or aversion to hitting just to name a few.

    However as Ted Marchabroda used to tell us in the Colts locker room, "game film does not lie."

    I think BB does it the right way. He and/or his staff watches all the tape on an athlete, interviews the athlete, the athlete's coaches, family and friends. BB brings the athlete into the class room and makes the athlete break down tape with him. All of which is all probably why he has not had a bust with a first round pick since joining the Pats.

    At the end of the day, the combine is a tool and where most teams screw up their draft is they over value that tool. A linebacker can have 4.4 speed, but if he makes false steps, then he really is running at 4.8. The combine can't help you see things like that.
     
  12. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    6,369
    Likes Received:
    33
    Ratings:
    +78 / 2 / -0

    #75 Jersey

    Shifting gears slightly, Calvin Pace is a UFA this season. He appears able to rush very well from the OLB position, and really, who wants to be stuck on the Cardinals. He's never been asked to cover, to my knowledge, but he could be a sneaky Belichick signing for the OLB rotation that we haven't talked about.
     
  13. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,660
    Likes Received:
    21
    Ratings:
    +25 / 3 / -0

    Heart, desire etc are all very nice but when you're facing the elite athletes in the world you better bring way more to the table. In baseball, occasionally you'll find a Glavine or Moyer, but soft throwers usually get hammered. A pitcher who can bring the heat is more likely to succeed. In basketball occasionally you'll find a try hard kid who does the dirty work and contributes. But generally if he doesn't have the length/athleticism he's not going to be a star. The NFL is similar. The best athletes at positions other than QB are the most likely to succeed. There always going to be outliers, 'dirt dogs" who find a way based on moxy and immeasurable qualities. But those immeasurables make drafting the kid high in the draft a real risk. Better to wait for the "try hard" kids until Day 2 or UFA.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2008
  14. pats63

    pats63 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Could this had with a reasonable contract???With more teams playing a 3-4,it is going to harder to find such players....By the way what is the age of LBer???I agree with you this could be a steal....
     
  15. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    6,369
    Likes Received:
    33
    Ratings:
    +78 / 2 / -0

    #75 Jersey

    His rookie contract just expired...so he'll be 25-26 at the start of the season. The Cardinals had him miscast as a DE for a while, and he underachieved. When they moved him to OLB, he looked great.

    He was a first round pick, albeit a late one, so who knows how he feels about money vs. playing for a winner. Either way, I haven't read his name as a prime free agent target, so his price tag shouldn't be exhorbitant.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2008
  16. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    5,756
    Likes Received:
    10
    Ratings:
    +15 / 2 / -0

    #12 Jersey

    I think Pace struggled at DE when teams ran straight at him. If he has the athleticism and is "sudden" enough to play OLB, then he could be another Vrabel type pick up for us.
     
  17. Handel

    Handel Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    650
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    I would trade down and pick Derrick Harvey.
     
  18. pats_premi

    pats_premi On the Game Day Roster

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    I read somewhere that Patriots were showing interest in Jeremy Thompson at the Senior Bowl. He is 6-5 - 265lb appears to be in the Willie MCGinest's mold.
     
  19. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    2,221
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0

    Doesn't surprise me IF they were showing interest. Had a good week of practices there. Certainly fits the smarts/character/team player mold. If we lose out on Gholston - have to be prepared for other DE/OLB options later on. Thompson and maybe a Darrell Robertson are two to consider.
     
  20. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    5,041
    Likes Received:
    23
    Ratings:
    +43 / 11 / -4

    #54 Jersey

    Nice thread, good write up by Ochmed.

    Take Pace off your list, he is at least 10 years too young and may actually be faster than 4.7, not exactly Patriot material. Seriously, I wonder if he would be a decent fit. I am also keeping tabs on Chillar from St. Louis for an ILB spot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2008
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

unset ($sidebar_block_show); ?>