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Experience Matters

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by PatsCanDoIt, Dec 31, 2010.

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  1. PatsCanDoIt

    PatsCanDoIt Rookie

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    I wanted to know how important a prospect's experience was in the draft process for BB. I decided to look at their years in a college football program and years at their position. I mostly looked at the last two drafts.

    The only conclusion I was able to draw from this information is that BB does not draft redshirt sophomores or juniors. In fact the only juniors he drafted were the two rookie TEs Gronkowski and Hernandez, Wilfork, Maroney, and Chad Jackson. Jerod Mayo was the only redshirt junior BB has drafted AFAIK. I take this to mean that if a prospect isn't talented enough to play right away it's because they require more experience to compensate. Unless he's the total package of talent, maturity and leadership. The only player with fewer than 30 games played is Gronkowski and that was because of injury.

    I think gambling on one-hit-wonder redshirt sophomores, juniors and JUCO transfers is to be avoided and it appears BB is in agreement. OTOH, highly rated true juniors are not ignored. It seems to me that three years of experience, at a minimum, is a requirement. Unless the prospect has fully recovered from an injury that stopped previously dominant play.
  2. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's a very strong tendency, but tough to figure out how to weigh it in a year when the talent is likely to skew young. It's also hard to know whether the key factor is experience, readiness, or just having a greater sample size to feel confident in your judgments.
  3. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    As a rule of thumb when building my Patriots type player early round draft board, I try to stock it with players.....

    1.) That are from major conferences.
    2.) Players with three or more years of starting experience.

    I think BB projects every player he watches on film and the less projecting, the better the chance that player has to be drafted early by BB. Multiple years starting (especially as a freshman or sophomore) and the better the competition, the less projecting BB needs to do.

    All star practices/games seem to help BB in the projecting process as well.

    Vollmer is a perfect example, he didn't go to the combine, but had a really good all star game. I would not say the all star game was the entire reason BB took Vollmer, but I would say that it contributed to some degree.
  4. MaineMan

    MaineMan Rookie

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    Seems like this has to be a big part of it.

    I actually just looked up BB's 1st and 2nd round picks back through 2001. There have been only six (out of 25?) with 3 years' college experience or less, as far as I can tell:

    Wilfork
    Marquise Hill (end of 2nd)
    Maroney
    Chad Jackson
    Mayo
    Gronkowski.
  5. MaineMan

    MaineMan Rookie

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    Seems to have been a lot of focus on players appearing in the Shrine Game in particular (18 currently on the regular roster, P/S or IR). Especially wrt O-line guys - Wendell, Koppen, Kaczur, Vollmer, Mankins, Thomas Austin and Connolly (I think) all came out of the Shrine Game. O'Callaghan and a couple other former Pats O-line guys may have as well.

    Also, BGE, Guyton, Ninkovich, Pryor and Welker.
  6. State

    State Rookie

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    That's it. Play at a high level for a long time. That's the best indicator of future NFL success. Devon Thomas was a one-year wonder with Michigan State, who hasn't done anything in the NFL.

    And I look for the Patriots to begin a relationship with the Alabama program that they've had in recent years with the departing Urban Meyer at Florida.

    The talent Alabama has, esp. on both lines, is scary good. That defensive front seven is better than the Cleveland Browns', I sometimes think. Follow the puddin'!

    EDIT: I'd add a #3) Go for players who make football a priority in their life. We've all been disappointed by players who have the measurables in bushels, but if the desire isn't there...

    4) The Rodney Harrison Rule. Good players can indeed come from unknown places. It pays to have the best scouting department. So we don't always have to go with big name schools.
    ***Give extra weight to SEC players who dominate than, let's say, the stinky pete Big Ten. Wisconsin'sJJ Watt? Fuhgetaboutit. How does one spell Mike Mamula?
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  7. PatsCanDoIt

    PatsCanDoIt Rookie

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    I didn't really think about sample size. I understand a lot of what BB tries to do is gain more certainty that a prospect will have what it takes. Earlier my focus was on the fact that prospects with more experience require less coaching all else being equal.

    If I'm an NFL coach there's a level of confidence that I can teach anyone with talent to play well. In that case draft preparation is more about confirming the talent is there than confirming all the skills are there. I think Chung is a good example of a player at Oregon that clearly had talent, and years of game tape confirmed it, but still required extra work on his coverage skills.
  8. MVPatsfan13

    MVPatsfan13 Rookie

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    Agreed. And I think this has manifested itself in the Pats selecting a good amount of (prior) team captains.
  9. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    This is really true.

    We have broadcast the Senior bowl the last several years and I got to see BB down there one year. He did not look happy or even interested. He sat and watched practice, but seemed oddly uninterested and distracted. He stayed short two days of practice and flew the coop.

    I have never gotten to do the Shrine game, but from what I have heard, BB does not attend that game. So it seems to me the assistant coaches are driving the bus on prospects from the Shrine game.

    My guess is the coaches do all the interviews and watch all the practices and then BB does a vast majority of the tape work on the players.

    Does anybody know how many Shrine bowl veterans that are on our roster were brought up to New England for a pre-draft visit?
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