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Idle thoughts - looking at the WR position

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    Driving down to Foxwoods for the spring poker tournament, my mind shifted from calculating the odds of flopping a flush when you hold suited connectors, to figuring out what is going on at the WR position. And because this is a defined topic it will be a shorter post....relatively ;) Here is what came to mind.

    I broke it down to analyzing what we have. Looking at who we can draft, and finally what is available in the FA market. And here's the bottom line right up front. I think we will be fine, by the time we are ready to play that first game in September.

    Current Roster

    Randy Moss: I really think Moss is getting a bum rap to the point he being underrated. 1200+yds and 13 TDs is a fine season, especially when you figure he had a sub par Brady this year. Another thing we seem to take for granted is Moss' durability. For three years now, he has answered the bell for just about every game he's been asked to play. And while the nitpickers can point out individual plays where he appears to be taking off, he has also shown that he is willing to play through injuries like his bad back and dislocated shoulder. Toughness isn't a word that is associated with Moss very much, but for his years here, Moss has been a very tough WR.

    Bottom line here is that, even in the advanced stages of his career, Moss is not just a true #1 WR, who more than 25 teams would love to have lining up for them, he is someone we can count on. So we go that going for us right off the bat.

    Wes Welker: Now unfortunately, Wes is someone we cannot count on. I think that if he plays anytime before the 8th game of the season, it will be a bonus. I think we should expect to see a somewhat diminished Wes Welker when he DOES return. I'm thinking of a solid possession guy a la Troy Brown at the latter stages of his career. Less YAC than what you'd expect in his prime, but he will run great routes and catch everything thrown to him. In other words we should get back the guy that most of us expected when we signed him (because anyone who told you they expected him to catch 300+ balls in 3 years is lying his ass off ;)

    Bottom Line - This will be a net loss to the WR corp no matter how you couch it. Loss of playing time, loss of physical ability, and a loss of depth.

    Julian Edelman - I was looking at his numbers the other day and given the fact he had a broken arm for most of the season, played behind the guy who LED the league in receptions, and, oh yeah, never played the position before at ANY level; frankly he had a spectacular year. There were only 2 other Rookies in the AFC who caught more passes. If you reflect on it for a second, its remarkable. He did what Joey Galloway and several other gifted WRs couldn't, and mastered a VERY complex passing offense.

    While most just think about him as a Welker clone, he is bigger, stronger (6' 195), with more straight line speed than Welker. Most importantly, EVERY time he had a chance at extended playing time, he produced. Although he lacks Welker's spectacular burst, he isn't a slouch at quickness as his 3 cone times indicated. AND with expanded opportunities, he will be even better this year. I think he will be vastly underrated going into this season.....He won't be when it over.

    Brandon Tate: He's the sleeper. First round talent, available to us because we was hurt in his senior year, he has the talent to be OUR Percy Harvin, a big play making WR/returner. But after almost 2 years of very limited play due to injury, he isn't someone we can count on. But he is someone we can hope for. Kind of like an extra draft pick of a high potential guy.

    Sam Aiken - Sam did a credible job last year filling in, but the fact is that he ISN'T a guy you want out there as the #2 for a full season of a championship team. He's a great special teamer, who is an injury replacement. In other words a good guy to have as one of your receiver corps, just not a guy you want to count on for a lot of production

    David Patten: Sorry but I can't see this being anything more than a nice camp story, a la Patrick Pass. I will truly be worried about this WR corp, if David Patten is still part of the team at the end of camp.

    BTW- what ever happened to that kid we all loved in camp from Nebraska. Is he still on the 80 man roster?

    POSSIBLE ADDITIONS (Draft)

    I'm actually going to let the Draft gurus fill in the blanks for who is on the radar. I think that it is the current wisdom that one of those first 4 picks will be used on a WR. However it will be interesting to see how it pans out. If we DON'T pick a WR with one of those early picks, then it COULD tell us that BB is happy with Tate and Edelman's development this off season, doesn't want to add another WR from the top of the draft. It also could mean that they have a FA WR targeted, if not signed by the draft. How the draft runs will tell us a lot about how BB feels about all the players discussed above.

    POSSIBLE ADDITIONS (FA)

    I think any talk about any of the RFA WRs is pretty much wild speculation. BB's history should prove that he is loathe to spend a first round pick on a WR. The fact is that more quality WRs can be gotten in the middle to low rounds, and UDFA. There are simply more WR type athletes out there than QB, DL, or those with the ability to rush the passer. Every year has at LEAST a half dozen College WRs with first round grades. You can't say that for those other positions. So forget about Marshall or Austin. When it come to FA WRs, the 3 most likely candidates are as follows

    Josh Reed - I liked him coming out of LSU, and I think he has underachieved in Buffalo. Part of that CAN be attributed to their QB situation, and offensive coaching. I think he'd be a good fit here either as the slot or flanker. A solid, if unspectacular addition

    Kevin Curtis - A true flanker who at his best can offer some size and speed opposite Moss. The question is, that after 2 injury riddled seasons, is he at his best? But if the Pats signed him, it would solve an immediate hole.

    Terrell Owens - Yes I said it, TO. TO the nut. TO the crazy. TO the distraction.... BUT also TO the proven producer in a flanker/SE. He will go over the middle, he will give you YAC, he will block on runs, he will spread the field. In fact skill wise, he is a perfect fit for what we are missing for a one year period. The question is, could we support all the baggage that comes with him? I say we could, and it sure would make the next 9 months anything but DULL :D So I'm on record. Sign TO.....(one year only)

    If there is another FA WR out that that someone thinks might be able to come in and make an impact let me know. I know Laverneous Coles is out there. I loved him when he was with the Jets. He always killed the Pats, but there is a question about his health now. Any others??????? This would be a good thread to advise.

    OK, it wasn't very brief, but when have I ever been. :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  2. The_Riddler

    The_Riddler 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Re: idle thoughts- looking at the WR position.

    If ever there was a year to meet TOs lowered salary demands $5 Million, then this is it during the uncapped year. IF we wanted Boldin in at a 1 year deal, then why not TO? He behaved himself in a piss poor offense last season and he just wants a shot at a ring. I think we can both help each other to make this dream happen for him and us.

    He's tough, talented and proven. Moss and TO on opposite sides would be a nightmare to defend. That wouldn't stop us from drafting a Damien Williams or Gilyard, we still go down that path and let them develop watching two of the best.

    Buster my man, where are you? What are your thoughts on bringin in our boy TO on a one year deal to help us hoist up another Lombardi ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  3. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: idle thoughts- looking at the WR position.

    FROM OTHER TEAMS
    I certainly expect us to secure another receiver or two from other teams. The questions are who and how much it will cost in draft choices. I a certainly fine with TO for a year, and with Josh Reed for three years.

    OUR GROUP
    Moss is still one of the best.
    Edelman is certainly no Welker, but he can be expected to be effective as a slot receiver.
    I think that any serious production by Welker is a bonus.
    Tate is the wildcard; perhaps Patten is also. However, I'm not counting on much from them.
    I certainly am not counting on Aiken, Stanback and Slater at wide receiver.

    So, it Moss and Edelman and a wish and a prayer.

    THE DRAFT
    I just don't like the idea of the patriots counting on rookie wide receivers.

     
  4. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Re: idle thoughts- looking at the WR position.

    I noticed you didn't mention Tate, MG. Is he THAT much of an impossible contributor, that he doesn't rate a thought??? But I do agree with you that despite Edelman's success, it will tough to think that a rookie can come in right away and have an immediate significant impact.
     
  5. thechris

    thechris Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I would sign Coles and then draft a couple.
     
  6. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    When you ask about the kid from Nebraska, I think you mean Terrance Nunn. While he showed some promise in the preseason, he hasn't been on the team since the middle of last year. And not to be a smart ass at all, but he was part of the 8 man practice squad, or '61' man roster, although it was 80 at one time;)

    Anyway, nice post. Although I cannot speak for him, I think MG did respond on his feelings of Tate, FWIW. I believe he said he and Patten were wild cards, and that he didn't count on much from them. I feel the same. If he and/or Patten contribute on any level, I believe it will be a bonus. I agree with you on his good upside etc, though I still basically count him as a rookie with knowledge of the playbook. I think Belichick will target him at times, while slowly blending him in like some of the other 1st-2nd yr WR in the past. If I had to guess, I'd say he'll catch somewhere between Watson's production (2009) and Stallworth's production--meaning I'd 'guess' at him catching about 35 balls, hopefully 3 or 4 TD's. Hopefully, we'll get lucky, and he'll produce at a higher level this year. I believe he will indeed produce well, I'm just not holding my breath for it to be this year quite yet. The same thing goes for any drafted rookie, I think just about anyone has the capability to produce with this offense/QB, I just don't know if they'll come in with the immediate impact that some are hoping for. With a complicated offense, I think just about any rookie will spend most of the 1st yr learning and being a small role player at best. Again, maybe we'll luck out and a rookie can come in and contribute immediately, but I personally will not count on it.

    I would like to see Reed added possibly, but we're alright at the slot right now with Edelman + the hopeful return of Welker. If Reed is added, we still need to address the #2 opposite Moss as a downfield threat. I am fine with your additions of Laverneus Coles, or yes, even Terrel Owens--obviously trusting BB and his assessment of TO over mine. Some other posters mentioned the possibility of wanting Lance Moore as a #2, with the addition of Reed also--that would be the best case scenario IMO, but that is one of those 'wish' scenarios. Many mentioned Vincent Jackson or Miles Austin, but they would require 1st and 3rd's, way too much IMO. If I had to choose a RFA to give up a pick or two for, it'd be Steve Breaston. ARZ has him tendered at a 2nd rounder, which to me would be worth it--although they'd probably want a higher #2 pick. As one of those 'wish' scenarios, that'd be the best case for a 2nd rder IMO. Young, proven, and plenty of talent, I think he'd be a great downfield threat opposite Moss.
     
  7. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ten Characters..
     
  8. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I can think of only two players the Pats have acquired under BB who were widely regarded as low-character guys: Dillon and Moss. Both worked out pretty well.

    If the Pats sign Owens, I'll be pretty optimistic.

    By the same token, I'm not holding my breath for it to happen.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  9. JMarr

    JMarr In the Starting Line-Up

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    Pats need 1 more legitimate WR option by TC--a can't miss guy who BB knows can pick up the offense. Pretty much rules out rookies. There still are reasonable options out there:

    Tate: A lot depends on where BB thinks he is at. anyone know if Tate is doing the voluntary workouts? I would sure hope so, although Brady needs to be here soon as well so Tate's progress can be better evaluated.

    Josh Reed: the fact that we haven't signed him alrealdy probably means BB thinks that there are other options out there equally as good if not better. I'm sure there are a lot of potential TC cuts that he is looking at.

    TO: He would appear to be a perfect fit-- talent/skill set wise. He's a playmaker,which we desperately need, and if he toned down the drama in Buffalo, no reason to think he can't be a pretty solid guy playing one year for a ring in NE. Chemistry concerns are the back-breaker here. Surely BB is placing max importance on this after last year. If Moss and Brady give the thumbs up, it might happen. Have a feeling BB isn't going to be sold though, and TO's chronic case of the dropsies will be anothe deal-breaker probably.

    Welker: We won't be privy to any progress info for quite awhile. If BB stands pat in FA/trades, one would think WW is ahead of schedule (who would be surprised?), and will be ready to return before the middle/end of the season.

    Gaffney/[Branch] :eek:: not sure he'd want to return, but if so, ideally BB could package a draft pick + AD that Denver couldn't pass up. Gaffney was good last year, but Denver has depth at WR if they hold on to Marshall.

    More varied offensive attack: Draft a stud RB to carry the load with Maroney, and let them ride in the wake of guys like Vollmer and Crumpler. Mankins needs to find his nasty streak again.

    I think we're going to take a RB with one of our high picks. Obviously Brady needs more weapons, but a RB that can consistently punish defenses fits the bill just as much as any "stud" receiver would.

    Bottom line: BB didn't pull the trigger on guys like Boldin, Mason, Randle El, and Moore, probably for good reasons--there are and will be options out there. Not worried--yet.
     
  10. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ken, terrific post. "Moss, Edelman, a wish and a prayer" does seem to wrap it up, alas. On the draft board, it's leading a number of posters to look for WRs in terms of readiness and intelligence with a focus on early impact.

    One quibble, which I mention because it's been said here a few times lately:

    Don't trust the patriots.com measurement on that one -- Edelman's just 5'10" by a real yardstick, and he and Welker are the same weight. Even before the draft pundits were calling Edelman a "Welker type."
     
  11. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Good stuff, Ken! Agree about Welker - 8 games in would be close to a best-case, and he's unlikely to be the same old Wes, maybe ever. Still, we keep hope alive...
     
  12. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

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    It may not be as bad a situation as it appears. Best case scenario would see Welker returning this year and Tate also healthy enough to contribute... if he progresses that would give a solid 4 man Moss-Welker-Edelman-Tate. Which would be excellent for 2010, and would prefer to have a rookie to develop while Moss plays out what I think is the final year in NE. But the worst case has Welker out and Tate either injured again or not panning out which leaves the travesty our passing game was in the wild card game. Safest way to approach it would be sign a 1 year stopgap so you are not committed to it longterm, only until Welker is back for sure, and draft your future WR with a day one. No need to panic here.
     
  13. buile

    buile PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    Moss is great; he is our solid veteran. Who will be the dynamic youngster?

    I can't predict "chemistry" regarding TO. Best case scenario is Moss vs TO on the same team elevates their inherent competetive nature to the highest.
     
  14. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Re: idle thoughts- looking at the WR position.

    ??? Other teams are doing it.

    Maclin, Garcon, Collie, Harvin, Wallace
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  15. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    While I don't necessarily trust team stats, I have to say that I saw Welker and Edelman up close at camp and by the eyeball test, Edelman IS taller...by a couple of inches at least.
     
  16. DaBruinz

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

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    Re: idle thoughts- looking at the WR position.

    Garcon was not a rookie last year. And just because "other teams are doing it" doesn't mean anything, necessarily. You don't know if those teams dumbed down their routes so those players could produce.
     
  17. DaBruinz

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

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    Actually, Welker and Edelman are NOT the same height. Edelman is 5'10 and 3/8" per the Kent State Pro Day. Welker is 5'8 and 3/4" per his Pro Day.
     
  18. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Brady has 5-6 good to great seasons left. Enough with the musical chair retread and aging WR's. It's time to develop and retain a core group for him to ride into the sunset with. And they'd be well served to continue to maintain their focus on that unit so it is set up well to help transition his eventual successor in the way Brown and Patten did. Teambuilding isn't simply a matter of overhyped talent collection or Snyder would have managed to win a Lombardi by now. It's all about system fits, just like it was with the QB. I know they struck out on Bethel and CJ, that you can't coach speed is true in more ways than one, but that they nailed it on Welker and Edleman more recently gives me reason to hope they can again start identifying guys who fit the system (smart, tough, instinctive) as Branch and Givens once did on the road to back to back championships.

    2007 was great fun...while it lasted. But that ship has sailed for a number of reasons and tring to recreate it would be a fools game, as 2008 and 2009 underscored.
     
  19. ayjackson

    ayjackson Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Do you know the rest of their key measurables? 40, 10-yard split, 3-cone, short shuttle and vertical?
     
  20. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I don't remember exactly what it was, but I do remember reading that it the 3 cone (which I think more accurately predicts football speed) was one of the best at that combine. I'm sure someone here can access that info.
     
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