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Filling holes

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by patchick, Apr 30, 2011.

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  1. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Contemplating the focus on offense, I had a little moment of something that feels like clarity.

    We know that Belichick always fills gaping roster holes in the draft. Usually he uses free agency to do that in order to approach the draft without absolute needs tying his hands, so that he can take advantage of opportunities as they come. But in the rare case that a job was just sitting open -- Mankins, Gostkowski -- he aggressively fills it.

    For all that we wanted to see upgrades at DL & OLB, those positions are at least filled. What's more, the talent there is young enough that they should be able to at least modestly upgrade themselves. But with Neal retiring and Light, Faulk, Taylor and Morris all unsigned and aging, OL and RB had multiple, genuine gaping holes. And now the team has two new o-linemen and 2 new RBs.

    There's been a lot of grousing on the board that BB got cute playing with value and ignored need. What if it's the reverse?
  2. tricktak

    tricktak Banned

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    I read today that Belichick is very high on Eric Moore and would like to see how he progresses with a full offseason with the team. This could've been a factor to why they didn't target outside linebackers as early as we though they would. Moore looked great in the few games he played in down the stretch and concistently made big plays.
  3. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'd add safety to that list. We have a 2012 need at safety. It takes a year to learn the position. So one could argue that OT, S, RB, RB, and OG were ALL needs picks.

    Even Mallett and Smith fill 2012 needs, when Hoyer is an RFA and Crumpler will likely be gone.

    I WOULD argue that, from Belichick's perspective, these were all likely to be needs before DE and OLB.

  4. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Where was this? I'd love to be able to link to it every time somebody complains about the pass rush!
  5. tricktak

    tricktak Banned

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  6. PATRIOTSFANINPA

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    That title sounds more like the title of an adult film :eek:
  7. Sciz

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  8. MaineMan

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    Well, I'd say that Moore at least challenges TBC for the sub-package OLB/edge-rusher role, but he's also 30 yrs old and only 6 months younger than TBC, so it's not like he's a long term solution either.
  9. NEGoldenAge

    NEGoldenAge Banned

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    Good link. I think this quote sums up why we didn't draft a DE or OLB in the early rounds:

    "The draft fell in a way that shifted the Patriots away from certain players. There were early runs on OLBs and DEs that forced OLBs with less value up the draft board. Belichick does not overdraft a player and thought their value was not worth the pick and didn't trade up to beat the inflation. (my thoughts: Implied that he did not have a first round grade on Muhammad Wilkerson and Cameron Heyward). There were some players he had his eyes on, but the players were unavailable because the teams were unwilling to trade. (my thoughts: Aldon Smith). The draft fell so that players were drafted higher than they were valued. In response, the Patriots drafted players who dropped because less valued players were rising up the board."
    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  10. everlong

    everlong Rookie

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    I think most would agree that Solder fits both criteria.

    Dowling, for them not to trade out of 33 when you know there must have been some great offers means they simply love this kid so there was certainly value. If he hadn't been hurt his senior year we could have been talking about a top 20 pick. Need? If philosophically they are going to press with McCorty, Dowling and Boddin and what the depth to do so in case of injury then there's a need. If they plan on auditioning Boddin and\or (and I think it's both) at FS that certainly creates a need with Sanders and Meriweather being free agents in a year. Personally I think Sanders for all the board's lust to get rid of him is resigned and Meriweather is allowed to walk so this is certainly a need. Not to steal the thread and get off topic but Sanders is such a perfect Patriot. He's not flashy, not perfect but he has a great attitude, DOES HIS JOB and understand the scheme and team goals. /rant

    Vereen need to replace Faulk. I hope Faulk does one more year to tutor him and then gets a job with the organization in some capacity if not coaching.

    Ridley is a replacement for Morris/Taylor and some young depth. They obviously saw something they liked about him and perhaps they took him this early because the Steelers had showed a lot of interest. I think most people saw him going a round or two later. Interestingly his 40 and short shuttle are both .05 slower than Ingram but his 3 cone is .35 faster indicating has better short area speed and agility which should make him an ideal banger. I've wanted a kid like this for a while for our offense.

    Mallet. I don't think there's any other take than this is pure value and risk\reward at a time in the draft where you can gamble on the upside. Personally I think Hoyer has shown more than Cassel ever did to this point so I think Mallet is going to have to want it because Hoyer will fight for it. I think it was a great pick even if he never makes it. Side note on Cassel. His two big years 2008 and 2010 he played the NFC and AFC West. Obviously he's in the west now but look at his big games. None of them come against a great defense, ever. Great defenses obviously slow down great QBs but great QBs will have a day against them at least periodically. Cassel has a much tougher schedule this year and will not repeat last year's performance.

    Cannon upside since he may not be ready this year or at least start on the pup.

    Smith, Carter and Williams are all competition.
  11. convertedpatsfan

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    I agree, I think I'm drinking too much Kool Aid but I wonder if Moore could be the answer.

    Though I wouldn't put too much stock into anything BB says to the media. He rarely says anything bad about anyone in the media. If I tried out for QB, he'd probably say I was a hard worker, improving all the time, accepts coaching and we'll see where it goes, we'll do what's best for the team...

    Then again, he kept repeating himself about the great value at RB and no one took that seriously, then he drafted two, and we all acted surprised.
  12. Bigfatcat999

    Bigfatcat999 Rookie

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    This draft is heavy with DE's and DT's prime targets for teams to pick up and fill their systems. Other teams to pick up and fill their systems. One thing I kept hearing this whole draft is how hard it is to convert a college DE to OLB which Belicheck needs to do to improve the Patriots. Why draft a guy and dedicate your resources , time, and coaching talents to ONE player when you can pick up a trained veteran who's just lost his job because of a draft pick that was just picked up who's not quote as good as the vet but will be better, later?
    Belicheck drafted knowing that if you can't fill a roster need you can fill an age need. You can't guarentee that a draft pick will be an all-star but you can guarentee that the age of the roster will get younger and fill spots of the 10 oldest players you have on the roster. The 10 oldest players are; Brady, Koppen, Branch, Light, Kazcur, Crumpler, G. Warren, Morris, Faulk, Taylor.
    Vereen and Ridley cover Morris, Faulk, and Taylor. Mallett covers Brady, Solder and Cannon cover Light and Kazcur, Smith covers Crumpler. All the age was in the offense and the youth is on defense. So, all the draft picks were on the offensive side of the team and all of the UFAs will add age to the defensive side of the team. The only two players this doesn't cover are Branch and Koppen. but there is also a possible shift in the offensive play next year.
    Before the draft started I asked myself 'Why do the Patriots need a WR when Hernandez is a long threat like Shannon Sharpe?' the answer is to switch to a 2 TE set, beef up the RB position and then draft a road paver TE. Smith fills that role. Vereen filles this role. Ridley fills this role. The Pats switch from 5 RBs with age to 4RBs with youth creating a roster spot for Mallett. Brady's 4 main receivers will be Gronkowski, Welker, Branch, Hernandez. Everyone is switching to a 3-4, what does that mean for a rushing offense? Big TEs to block rushing LBs, the offensive line dedicated solely to the D-line, Which leaves the middle LBs back to tackle RBs or back in zone to help the secondary. Which means the LB's will be playing guessing games when the middle is rushed by a TE, Welker and Branch. Do they defend the WRs or the RB in a play action? Is the shift in offense a move to counter the shift in defense?
  13. DaBruinz

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

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    Moore turned 30 in February. He's a short term answer, not a long term solution. Though I agree that he did look pretty good when he was on the field.
  14. DaBruinz

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

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    Not sure how it could be the reverse when need is part of the value equation.
  15. Synovia

    Synovia Rookie

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    I'd argue safety is one of the strongest positions on the team between Chung, Merriweather, Page, Sanders, etc. Yes, they're coming up on the ends of their contracts next year (BMW,Sanders, and Page), but they're all young enough that they'll probably be signed again. This isn't like Light where you're afraid hes going to fall apart during the contract.
  16. DaBruinz

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

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    Page is an RFA. His status could be changed to UFA if the CBA changes when a player can become a free agent.

    The Pats were impressed enough with Page to offer him a 2nd round tender.

    I'm not sure that the Pats would Franchise Meriweather next year. I believe that we could see Meriweather traded once player transactions are allowed again in the NFL. Though, maybe they'll re-sign him to a decent long term offer...

    I like Sanders, but I'm not sure we'll see him re-signed. It will depend on how Chung, Page, Brown and Dowling have progressed. If those 4 have surpassed Sanders by a wide enough margin, I could see the Pats letting Sanders go. But, on the other hand, I could see the Pats keeping Sanders if he agreed to a vet min deal plus incentives. And he just might..
  17. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You know, Nut recently posted how he was fed up with the word "value" because everybody uses it to mean something different to justify their own positions. I'm going to attempt to follow his example and expunge the word from my own draft vocabulary. (It had nothing to do with the point of this thread anyway.) So let's rephrase...

    "There have been a lot of complaints here that BB got cute playing the draft board as if the guy with the most trade-chart points at the end of the decade wins, and lost focus on current team needs. What if this was, in fact, a highly needs-focused draft -- with the needs being defined by holes in the roster rather than by teamwide statistical deficiencies?"
  18. DaBruinz

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

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    So, you're saying that in the Pats rating of players (tangibles/Intangibles/team need) that they weighted "NEED" more heavily than they have in the past.. That is something that could have happened. I can give it a Mythbusters "Plausible" grade.. :D
  19. Snake Eyes

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    It seems the only difference is that you'd be looking at it from a player specific as opposed to group deficiency: our OLB corp is weak as opposed to TBC being weak. Is that what you're getting at? If so, the solution is the same, by upgrading an individual, by default, you upgrade the group.
  20. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nope, I'm tossing out the idea that they're weighing need exactly as they've always done, but that the lack of free agency to fill holes with plausible bodies makes the results more pronounced this year.
  21. DaBruinz

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

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    I find that even more plausible.
  22. pats_premi

    pats_premi Rookie

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    To fill pass rush holes, I would like to see the Patriots acquire Mark Anderson (Texans)/Cris Gocong (browns). I think they were both D-line in college and have transitioned to linebackers in the nfl, but their production has not peaked yet but I think they are on the verge. Their current teams may be lossing patience and ready to move onto the rookies, and this may be a chance for the Pats to acquire talent at low cost.
  23. Sfpat

    Sfpat Rookie

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    The Texans are trying to install a 34 defense (and trying to emulate the Pats). They will keep anyone who may be able to play in the 34 (i.e. Pats system) such as Anderson and Barwin. I believe they based their draft on who this board said would be good fits in the 34 while BB made his own decisions.
  24. stinkypete

    stinkypete Rookie

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    Gocong emerged as an ILB for the Browns and filled more of a run-stuffing role.

    That leaves Roth, Lawson and Kiwanuka as the best looking fits at OLB.

    Roth is the most likely fit, IMO. He has had success playing under both Saben and Mangini, so he can come in and contribute early despite limited practice reps, as is likely the case. He won't cost anything in draft compensation and won't carry too heavy a price tag.

    Lawson has the highest upside as a 3 down player. He lacks the pass rushing numbers, despite super high ratings from PFF (for what they're worth). Lawson was strong in run support and in coverage as well. Free agency rules come into play here. If the eventual labor agreement keeps the 2010 offseason rules (which I expect at least in the short term, given how close we're cutting it to camp time), then he is off limits. I would expect Lawson to be the most coveted OLB on the market if he hits the market.

    Kiwanuka is the big time wild card, given his injury history. He's the only pure pass rusher of the bunch, but least experienced in the system.

    My gut feeling is that Roth comes here on a 2 year deal. Not a world beater, but an OLB group of Roth, Ninkovich, Cunningham, Moore and TBC wouldn't be tragic.
  25. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    The problem is that for "value" to make sense, you need a value system. There are 32 of those in the NFL. The scouting services have their own value systems, which consolidate as group-think starts to set in (ever notice how players rise/fall for no apparent reason?).

    Rating a pick or trade based on your personal value system is fun but otherwise not overly meaningful. Value isn't inherently a 4-letter word...but throwing around your own value system as factual or somehow better than anyone else's (or even the team's) is a bit much at times.



    Agree and I'll go one further. Belichick didn't just have specific positions targeted, but he had specific players. Solder, Vereen, Ridley and Smith were going to be drafted by the Pats...the only question was with which picks. Mallett and Cannon fell into the Pats laps and the last couple picks were probably at the top of O'Brien's wish list. The only question is around Dowling since it looked like Belichick was willing to trade into 2012 and miss out on him entirely.

    So it looks to me like Belichick wanted to:
    1) Get Solder, Vereen, Ridley and Smith
    2) Acquire as many top 64 picks in 2012 as possible
    3) Catch any big sliders (even if they don't contribute in 2011)
    4) Fill out special teams with whatever is left

    You can hate the plan (not sure that I'm thrilled with it) but dude sure gets what he wants.
  26. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think even that understates the problem with the word. You're talking about multiple systems but a single definition of the word. The real waste of time comes when posters aren't even talking about the same basic concept.

    Sometimes the word "value" is used to refer a player's fundamental worth to a team in terms of upgrading their roster; other times it's a strategic question of whether a player should be taken in round X or whether the team should use that ammo elsewhere because the player will likely be available in round X+2; still other times its about the process of ranking/slotting a draft board; etc. etc. etc.

    This all leads to endless, pointless arguments where the participants don't even realize that they're comparing apples and alligators. So I'm trying to go cold turkey on the word. (It's surprisingly challenging!)
  27. Metaphors

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    All depends on who is talking. Beat writers have organizational bias. If they are generally supportive, they see value in just about every pick. If they are ball busters, there is always better value elsewhere.

    Scouts have institutional bias. Their job is to e-value-ate players and assign them a grade. If a player is drafted different than the grade, it is either great or poor value.

    Ex-players have positional bias. Their experiences cloud their judgement and it makes their value assessments pretty wild at times.

    Ex-coaches have process bias. Teams that draft like they used to must be getting great value.

    Fans have a temporal bias. If a team won a certain way, that must be the way to do it. They need to find the next <insert name here> to duplicate that success. If a draft pick is familiar (position, skills, round in draft) then the value will be familiar. Drafting a DL in the 1st will always be a good move. WR in the 2nd? Not so much.

    Try juggling all of that when everyone on the planet puts their unfiltered thoughts on Twitter.

    You wouldn't get very far in life not saying "value".

    [​IMG]
  28. patsfan-1982

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  29. captain stone

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    I don't think that you would have found many people on this particular forum
    who would've argued before the draft against drafting OLmen with at least
    2 of our top-150 picks.

    I also don't think, however, that you would've found many people who would've argued
    in favor of drafting RBs with 2 of our top-75 picks, esp. when not 1 defensive front-7
    player had yet to be taken.

    But what really blows my mind is that the Pats, of all teams, should have understood
    that servicable, reliable RBs can be found in the 3rd-day rounds of a draft - or later.
    Besides our own Law & Order, last year's leading rusher Arian Foster was undrafted
    in 1999; Priest Holmes also went from UDFA to Rushing Champ, in 2001.

    Taking the success & youth of both Sherriff Woody & the Law Firm into consideration,
    I contended before the draft (and still do) that all our Offensive Backfield needed was:
    the re-signing of Kevin Faulk - provided, of course, that he was healthy & wanted to play
    another season splitting the touches with Woody & acting as backup Returner;
    the acquisition via either free agency or draft of a FB/RB such as Jason Snelling or
    LeRon McClain, esp. if Bill is serious about returning Power Running to the Pat's offense;
    and the acquisition of a workhorse-type back to split the tougher carries with BJGE.

    There is no doubt that Fragile Fred & Sometimes Sammy need to go; in fact,
    they both should've been replaced before last year. As an example of poss. replacements,
    I had hoped that Bill would've used one of his 6th/7th-rounders in 2007 on Snelling,
    and one of his 6th/7th-rounders in 2009 on Rashad Jennings of Jacksonville.
    But I'm not ready to send Faulk to the scrap heap; he was very effective in 2009.
    His leadership in the locker room cannot be understated, either.
    If he does decide to retire, however, there will be plenty of his type of RB available
    once Free Agency begins. Hell, there'll be plenty of the Taylor/Morris types available, too.

    I also respectfully disagree with your contention that at least the OLB & DE positions are filled.

    TBC is overpaid, underproductive, over 30, and is therefore a possible cap casualty;
    Eric Moore was unemployed on Thanksgiving;
    and Marques Murrell couldn't make the team out of TC
    (or any other team throughout the reg season).
    This leaves us Ninko, Cunningham & now a late-round project who needs to add
    strength (17 reps) while increasing his explosiveness (1.71 10-yd split).
    I don't consider the OLB position filled at all, by a longshot.

    And as far as DE is concerned, excluding the iffy injury status of Ty Warren & Mike Wright,
    Bill does have quantity there, but I wouldn't give you a conditional 7th-rounder for the rest of them.
    The athleticism of the unit is severely lacking, and I see nobody there capable of improving
    the pass rush, even if they're used in 4-man fronts.

    Sorry for the buzz kill, but that's just as I see it right now.
  30. Shelterdog

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    The fallacy in your argument is that the NFL draft is a farmer's marker--which may not have what you want at any price--and not Macy's or something where you can get what you want. You can't just say "I'd like a third round LB" and automatically get a LB or a DE of a certain caliber. (I'd also add that no obvious 3-4 OLBs or DEs were drafted after the Mallett pick (75) until KJ wright was drafted 103; the Chargers/Steelers/Jets/Packers didn't see value at that point in the draft either.)

    The two running backs isn't that surprising. BJGE isn't even under contract and is probably a free agent in 2012; Woodhead is the only other back under contract.
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