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Front Seven Going Into The Draft

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mgteich, Jan 8, 2011.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    BOTTOM LINE
    The front seven may NOT be a critical need to Belichick. This board always wants to draft two pass-rushers, one at DE and one at OLB. It's been that way for years. We can always use a stud DE or OLB, but it is hardly a huge need.

    In 2010 we've added Warren, Cunningham, Spikes, Moore, Deaderick, Fletcher and Love.
    In 2011, Ty Warren, Wright and Brace will be back from IR.

    Considering how well the front seven has been playing, and how much they have been improving, there is no telling how much more these same players could produce in 2011, especially with an improved defensive backfield (with Bodden back).

    ASSUMPTIONS
    Re-sign Warren
    Re-sign Moore
    Wright is back

    DL
    Warren, Wilfork, Warren, Wright
    Brace, Pryor, Love, Deaderick

    OLB/DE
    Cunningham, Banta-Cain, Ninkovich, Moore

    ILB
    Mayo, Spikes, Guyton, Fletcher
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  2. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    #37 Jersey

    I hope your assumption about Wright being back is accurate.

    Also, there is some uncertainty as to how Ty Warren will be next year.

    If we knew for sure that those guys would be 100%, I'd totally agree that DE is of little concern for this draft.
  3. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You list Wilfork twice. The second should be Wright.

    I still want another OLB to play opposite Cunningham in the future. I really like Aldon Smith.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Pryor or Love is beaten out by a rookie, but I think the team would be just fine entering the season with those players. They haven't been perfect this season, but there's tons of potential there.
  4. CheeseMonkeys

    CheeseMonkeys Rookie

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    #11 Jersey

    I think Bill will grab a DT or OL with the first pick. Although we have added many players to the DL over the last couple years, I still think we could use a top DL out of the draft in 2011 and the rest will compete for a roster spot.

    If our defense is really going to be set up front then maybe Bill should look into grabbing a top RB to replace Fred Taylor?
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I could see us drafting Ingram at 17. Of course, we don't need a TOP running back to replace Taylor's production. I suspect we'll see a mid-level free agent or two brought in. That has been Belichick's solution in the past. I think that we need two new faces at running back in addition to Green-Ellis and Woodhead. I might note that Green-Ellis is an RFA and may be here for only one more year.

    I could see us drafting an interior lineman at 33 or before. But then, that may be just me. I've wanted this for the last three drafts.

  6. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm not sure where the uncertainly regarding Ty Warren comes from. His surgery corrected a situation that has been plaguing him for two years. He should be expexted to come back better and stronger than before.

    I do have concerns about Wright. But in the end, I am fine with Brace and Pryor taking a bigger role and being part of the rotation with Warren, Wilfork, and Warren. And it is also possible that Deaderick will improve and be part of the future.
    ==================

    My bottom line is that I am quite satisfied (amazed even) at our production from the OLB position (Cunningham, Banta-Cain, Ninkovich and Moore).

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks! I fixed the post and also added Deaderick who is also a possible contributer in 2011.

  8. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    This is not a "need" draft for the Pats. This is an "upgrade" draft. The top picks in this draft will be moving viable starters down the depth chart or off the team. Sounds kind of cold considering the success the team has had this year, but as the Red Queen from Wonderland said:

    This isn't the time for the Pats to "keep in the same place". A top-heavy draft with a handful of top picks is a prime opportunity for the team to evolve "twice as fast" as their competition.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  9. D-Money

    D-Money Rookie

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    I disagree.They need an impact player on the defensive side of the ball.
  10. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    #37 Jersey

    My uncertainty stems from the fact that I have no idea what his prognosis is. From what you've heard/read he's expected to be 100%?

    Totally agree.
  11. borg

    borg Rookie

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    I agree...Upgrade time. G Warren could return, but his situation reminds me of Ted Washington's 1 year and Keith Traylor's 1 year with New England... a solid fill in until a longterm replacement was drafted/groomed.
    Two factors keep stickin in my head.
    1) The Pats may not have a 1st rounder this low for a number of years, so a foundation type player, aka D lineman/OT should be the pick. Considering this draft is stocked with DL, my bet is BB goes for his DE/DT of the future ...in April. This draft is setting up like 2003 with a strong group of DL and BB grabbed Warren
    2) the 2009 Ravens tore through the Pats line in the wildcard game with Wilfork jumping to DE to compensate for Seymours absence. Wright and Warren played. I'm not sold on Wright as a 3 down guy and see his strength as 3rd down bulldog.
  12. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    If I had enough to drink I could be talked into avoiding any top 60 picks on the Defensive line but at OLB it is a different story. An upgrade is needed.
  13. jsull87

    jsull87 Rookie

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    ok... but in what position and who?
  14. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    The more I think about the defense strategy and how the game is evolving, I don't think the Pats are going to pick high on the defensive line. Unless of course there's a player available to take that just grades out higher than everyone else on their value board. There's always room for that guy.

    In another thread in the main forum I calculated out defensive snaps from Reiss' data based on personnel groupings, and it came out as 2.3 DL, 3.9 LB, and 4.7 DB (and .1 rounding error). For at least the third year in a row the Pats spent most of their time in sub-packages and not their base 3-4 defense. And even when in three man lines, how many of those were penetration lines, with rush specialists like Pryor or Wright on the nose? Likely a sizable number.

    I'd like to split the Patriots drafts into two groups, 2000-04 and 2006-10, with 2005 as the separator because no DL were drafted as it was a stacked position, plus it was the year the passing game began to be opened up as a "point of emphasis." (Though that draft class did produce UDFA Mike Wright).

    2000-04
    5 DL selected low: Jeff Marriott (161), David Nugent (201), Jarvis Green (126), Ethan Kelley (243), Dan Klecko (117)
    4 DL selected high: Richard Seymour (6), Ty Warren (13), Vince Wilfork (21), Marquise Hill (63)

    2006-10
    6 DL selected low: Le Kevin Smith (206), Kareem Brown (127), Myron Pryor (207), Darryl Richard (234), Brandon Deaderick (247), Kade Weston (248)
    1 DL selected high: Ron Brace (40)

    The above of course does not include UDFAs like Mike Wright (2005) and Kyle Love (2010).

    So I think what we're looking at is a de-emphasis of the DL position (and a corresponding emphasis on secondary players). Apart from Mayo, the front 7 players are shuttled on and off to fit the situation. The secondary players are not only the most numerous part of our primary defense, they are also the only static part of the defense from package to package, so they give you the most value. The front seven has two freaks in Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo who hardly/never come off the field, but everyone else is a specialist.

    The Pats going into next year have a bunch of high picks penciled into that secondary, along with a few skilled veterans (Sanders, Bodden) that are in no danger of being cut. You have a good young ILB rotation taking shape. DL, as discussed, isn't a draft priority any more, and they've got a bevy of people there returning from injury anyway.

    So I think next year the position that would give the Pats the most value to upgrade is OLB. TBC, our vet OLB, played 67% of the defensive snaps. Ninkovich and Cunningham each played close to 50% of the snaps. Every DL except Wilfork played fewer snaps than those three. One of Moore, TBC or Ninkovich could probably be upgraded in the long-term by another Cunningham-type player with the ability to rush from a three-point and stand up as an OLB. I think Ninkovich will probably stay as he is a standout special teamer and the youngest of the three. Moore doesn't seem to be a stand-up linebacker and TBC might be slowing down.

    I have no idea if there's any good OLB candidates in this upcoming draft, but it's probably the position on defense the war room will be most interested in going into the draft.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  15. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I AGREE THAT WE SHOULD DRAFT A DE IN THE FIRST ROUND!
    That being said, DE is not a critical need. There are differences between needs, want and opportunties. I certainly hope that we have the OPPORTUNITY to draft the DE we WANT.
    ====
    Now, to state that we have no needs as of now is absolute rubbish.

    OFFENSIVE LINE
    We have an OL in total disarray without action. We have Vollmer and Connolly for 2012. We have Koppen for 2011. We also MIGHT have Neal for 2011.

    RUNNING BACK
    Going into this coming offseason, we have our Antowain Smith equivalent (who has been a very able starter) as our starting running back with the THREE OLDEST BACKS as the backups. For those who think Green-Ellis is Dillon, that's fine. We still need a second running back in case Green-Ellis is injured. For me, I would like to see an upgrade from Morris at FB, and an upgrade from Taylor as one of our change of pace back. I'm fine with Faulk as our #5 back backing up Woodhead.

    SAFETY
    At safety, neither Meriweather or Sanders is signed for 2012. Page in't even signed for 2011. It takes at least year for a safety to be effective in our system. We need to eithger extend a couple of players or draft a safety. BTW, I think Sanders is still our only effective signal caller in the secondary.

  16. borg

    borg Rookie

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    I disagree with your theory. The stud Dlinemen were already on the roster for the back half of the decade...no need to draft. G Warren is serving as the bridge before the Seymour's replacement gets found. This 1st round is stacked with Dlinemen, much like '03 when they grabbed Warren. The Pats may not be drafting this high again for 5 years...they need a foundation player, not a sub freak IMO
  17. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Didn't say that. Said that this was not a "needs" draft for the Pats. Key words being "this draft" and "for the Pats". There is elite talent at the top of this draft and the Pats may have 3 picks in that elite range depending on how the draft falls. Outside of QB, TE and NT, the Pats need to maximize the talent upgrade of these picks vs. filling a need. Hopefully those 2 aspects align but need shouldn't even be a consideration until well into day two.

    Vollmer, Koppen and Connolly are playing now and playing well. Wendell and LeVoir have held their own when asked to play. Ohrnberger and Ojinnaka were acquired and are being kept around for a reason. That is hardly "total disarray" and that is assuming Light walks (doubtful), Mankins isn't signed/franchised (also doubtful) and Neal falls off the planet.

    The OL certainly could use work but the OL talent in this draft isn't all the impressive when compared to other positions. Given the litany of teams with severe OL needs, they are also likely to be overdrafted.

    There are some interesting prospects at RB but only Ingram would be viable early. I could see multiple RBs taken from round 3 on.

    Safety is a position where the Pats should go big (meaning early) or don't bother. The Pats have lots of young options at safety and bringing in a JAG or developmental guy doesn't make much sense. If the Pats get a sense that a guy like Tate/Moore/DWilliams could be a Troy Polamalu/Ed Reed type of difference maker, you get him and sort out the depth chart later.

    But that is pretty much my bottom line...try to find a Ware, Ngata, Ed Reed type of player on defense and get them (even trading up to do so). If a Larry Fitzgerald type is available on offense, don't hesitate even though the Pats have 6 nice receivers for an offense that runs 2-TE a lot.

    I would agree that from a needs perspective, the OL would be at the top of the list along with the pass rush. However, I don't see a Clady or Mangold or Mankins in this draft. IMO, drafting for need in this draft would be a huge mistake and would be wasting a tremendous opportunity that the Pats may not see again for several years. While team need is obviously a factor, the time is now to bring in difference-makers that can raise an already solid team to the next level.
  18. SunnyDenmark

    SunnyDenmark Rookie

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    You make a good point - above; still there is merit with what (poster) unoriginal is saying. More high picks on DL in the early part of the 2000's and less in the later parts 2006-2010. Consequently - look what has happened with the drafting in the same period on the 'back end' of the defense (DB's).

    Early on, BB /Pioli were picking DB's either mid-round or later. Eugene Wilson-3rd, A. Sameul-4th, and alittle later E. Hobbs 3rd (if my memory servers). Then in last 5 years (and correspondingly with spread offenses / losing last few years to Colts) high round picks on DBs: Merriweather-1st, Chung -2nd, Wheatley-2nd, Butler-2nd, Whilite-4th, McCourtney-1st.

    The backend has gotten the higher draft picks the last few year which is almost complete opposite of the early part of the 2000's. Seems BB was 'targeting' the front DL's early in his reign and lately the back end of his defense. With the rules changing to support passing offenses and the proliferation of spread offenses- I don't think this shift of draft resources is a coincidence.
  19. Taxed in Maine

    Taxed in Maine Rookie

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    Completely disagree. How many 5T DEs have been AVAILABLE to draft in the last few years. Very few. They have been taking a bunch of late DL hoping that some crap would stick to the wall. This year and next there will be a bumper crop of 5T DEs, then the next couple years after that there will be very few again.
    They need to take a couple DEs early in the next 2 drafts or they could be SOL for a while.
    At OLB there may not be many that really 'fit' this year. But there could be a bunch next year.

    They have had to run a alot of sub-packages this because the talent up front just isn't there. There was a time when they could put a front like Vrable - Ty Warren - Wilfork - Seymour - Colvin and just play. They Can't do it now. They need to get back to having a dominant DL. It will make the entire defense better.
  20. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    Could very well be the case. But in service of my hypothesis, they had the draft ammunition to trade up in the draft and snag Seymour's replacement last year, and they could have done it the year before if we all agree that replacement is not named Ron Brace (you implied he was selected too low to be a foundation player). I mean, is pick 23 in 2009 or pick 22 in 2010 really far enough away from pick 17 to make this THE year we just have to go DL? 2010 was a much better draft, richer at the top and far deeper, yet the Pats "reached" for a CB first and waited on DTs until their last two picks... both comp picks I might add, unable to be traded.

    Surely we could have moved up and picked Seymour's replacement, if there was a sore need, in any recent draft. Yet the Pats have gone two full seasons without a high draft pick worthy of being Seymour's replacement being added to the roster. Usually the Pats have a methodology of having the replacement already on the roster - or near at hand (Branch) - when they send a guy packing. So that seems strange.

    Thanks for the post, but just want to note Wilson was a high 2nd round selection. You are right in that everybody else was a "mid-round" pick however. Frequently DBs were taken 5th round and later too, which I don't think the Pats have done since Willie Andrews (2006). And he was primarily a STer.

    A lot of teams have recently switched to 3-4 systems so their 5 techs have to have come from somewhere. Packers and Chiefs are the most notable, as they're in the playoffs this year.

    I also think the days of lining up in the base 3-4 and "just playing" are over. (Look what Todd Heap did to the Chiefs base defense today, vs. how the Packers defense played against Vick.) The Pats didn't do lots of base the last few years they had all of Seymour, Wilfork, and Warren on the roster either, as we saw plenty of Jarvis Green, Mike Wright, Le Kevin Smith and so forth, thus why I think they had little problem letting Seymour go.

    I do completely agree with you that the Pats should take a DL if they think they need to replace Ty Warren next year or the year after. Having two studs when your DL averages 2.3 players per snap seems like a good policy. I am completely sympathetic to that line of reasoning.

    But the other line of reasoning I'm now developing and leaning towards is that it seems like it would be more beneficial to find a stud all-around OLB the Pats can leave on the field three snaps a series instead of a stud DT who'll probably come off on 3rd down. I also think qualitatively a better edge rush offers the most bang-for-buck for our defense, especially with the offense as presently construed. I mean, look what the Patriots have done going into this year's playoffs; after shuttling street free agents they ended up dropping a lineman and adding an OLB (Murrell) to the roster who basically does everything Eric Moore can't do; he can stand up, cover, and play special teams.

    So going into next year I think a stud player at OLB could replace both Moore and Murrell as stand-up backer, edge rusher and special teams player. I think that's the spot most easily upgradable, most in need of an upgrade, and provides the most value. Meanwhile the DL has so many people competing for so little playing time I think the Pats could easily find 6 or 7 good players to use in rotation, even if Ty Warren isn't the rock he once was.
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