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My Blueprint for the Defense

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mayoclinic, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. everlong

    everlong Rookie

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    I still think\hope that Hightower becomes the hybrid LB\Rotational DE. If they play a run heavy team or if there's an injury he can play LB and a pass heavy team he rotates in to give Jones and Nink a blow. I don't see picking up one or two LBs in this draft being an issue. It's getting another DE unless BB feels Buchannan is going to make the jump. The other option is adding both Hightower and Collins to the DE rotation situationally. Perhaps Hightower is the early down DE and Collins the late down. Hightower should be stout enough to play LDE and really what Hightower gives up in length vs Nink he should be able to compensate with speed. With Collins I think he's a great change up from Jones. I still say the DE's in this draft suck.
  2. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with most of this, though I still think LB depth and better coverage ability is a high priority. With the kind of hybrid scheme we've been discussing above, I think there are a lot of moving parts. Guys like Collins, Hightower and Nink will line up at LB on one snap and DE on another.

    That's the problem.

    Realistically, I could see using a bandaid approach this year to scrape by, given the lack of talent in the draft. Maybe sign Will Smith as a one year stopgap, add some UDFA developmental guys, plus the stuff you've described above. I have hopes for Buchanan, but I'm not willing to bet the bank on him. But I think BB will figure out how to spread guys around, and then perhaps target a DE next year.
  3. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I guess Buchanan has taken up Chandler's offseason boxing regimen, we'll see how he comes back. Like Beauharnis, athletically he should have been a high draft pick - but he wasn't - so we'll see if he can turn athleticism into play. Hopefully a bigger, thicker, upper body while maintaining his ridiculous three cone time will do the trick.
  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We disagree. I understand every point you make (see some of the comments in red above), but the bottom line is that I think we need another safety besides McCourty, Ryan and Harmon, and I'm not willing to bet on any of Chung, Wilson or Ebner becoming that player. Any of them could, and I'm fine with giving them a shot, but I want competition. Make them work for their roster spots, and if they are still standing at the end of TC, fine. I wouldn't prioritize it over the DL - which is part of why I would prefer a DT to someone like Ryan Shazier - but that it still needs to be addressed.

    I would load up on as many athletic, versatile guys who can play in space on the back end of a hybrid scheme as possible. That includes LBs, LB/S hybrids, and CB/S hybrids. The more versatility, the better. My list includes the following:

    - LBs: Christian Jones (3rd/4th round), Jordan Tripp (3rd/4th round), Kyle Van Noy (2nd/3rd round), Ronald Powell (late round).
    - LB/S hybrid: Ryan Shazier (1st round), Kevin Pierre-Louis (late round), Lonnie Ballantine (late round/UDFA), Terrance Bullitt (late round/UDFA).
    - CB/S hybrid: Antone Exum (day 3), Dez Southward (late round), Dontae Johnson (late round), Jonathan Dowling (late round/UDFA).

    A lot of these guys are going to be available day 3 and in UDFA. It won't take a lot of draft capital to load up. Some of these guys already have experience in hybrid roles, some have freakish size and athleticism. Load up on them, give them a chance to compete in training camp, and if Wilson, Chung, Ebner and Beaharnais turn out to still be the best guys, so be it.
  5. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A couple of profiles on Dominique Easley. From Oliver Thomas:

    2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Florida Defensive Lineman Dominique Easley | NEPatriotsDraft.com - 2014 NFL Draft

    And from Nick O'Malley:

    New England Patriots 2014 NFL Draft Prospects: Florida DL Dominique Easley could transform a pass rush from the inside | masslive.com
  6. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Oliver Thomas tries to "make sense" of the Chung re-signing and the depth at safety:

    Making Sense of Patrick Chung?s Surprise Return to the Patriots | NEPatriotsDraft.com - 2014 NFL Draft
  7. everlong

    everlong Rookie

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    I was saying they will be able to and should pick up a LB or two. I just think Hightower will stil be part of the picture on top of that.
  8. Big-T

    Big-T On the Roster

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    Adewale Ojomo cleared waivers, 6'4" 270lbs DE. He was released for getting arrested for soliciting a prostitute.

    He could be worth a look for TC/pre-season games. Thought the Pats might have been interested when the Giants released him during final cut downs last year.
  9. JayNM

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    I'm not a fan of drafting Shazier in the First round. When I see the Pats 4 years from now, I'm expecting to still have Mayo, Hightower and Collins, so having a 4th great thing now and then is worse than having a great 3rd thing now and maybe a 2nd thing then.

    I'd rather get a DE, so he could go up the depth chart and play across Jones in the future.
  10. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    With some of the above discussion about the shift from a 3-4 2-gapping defense to a multiple-front hybrid defense, the need to increase the ability to play in space, and the evolution of the college game driving the recruitment and development of more players that fit this mold, I found the following read quite intriguing:

    The Future of the Alabama Defense - Roll 'Bama Roll

    Saban's been recruiting guys like 6'6" 230# DE Mehki Brown, who originally had a basketball background but then turned to football. A guy who is long and mobile, and excels at playing in space - possibly the next Dion Jordan.

    Regardless, it's an interesting read from the perspective of a traditional 2-gapping 3-4 defensive guru adapting to a more pass-oriented and spread out game.
  11. Luxusdk

    Luxusdk Rookie

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    Wonder if a NT is really a need in a 5-2 where you have NT vs C - 8/10 DTs should be able to handle a C, so mayby the "NT" is getting replaced with a Hageman type instead?

    AND if you really want a SS/OLB as your ILB?

    Something like: DE-DT-DT-DT-DE
  12. BobDigital

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    Speaking of Easley. If the Patriots do draft him then I would be very much against him putting on weight. I would rather use him for 60% of the snaps with his current abilities than be able to use him for 85% with him gaining 15-20LBs but also perhaps losing half a step.

    Not to mention the knee issues. I don't think he needs to put on more weight and risk aggravating that even more.
  13. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Doug Kyed echoes a "report" by Mike Florio that the Pats are the favorites to sign DE Will Smith:

    Report: Patriots Viewed As Favorites To Sign Defensive End Will Smith | New England Patriots | NESN.com

    Florio's original "report" doesn't list any source or reason for that opinion, so it may just be speculation, though no other team has been rumored to have shown interest in Smith. If he can recover from his 2013 injury and has anything at all left, Smith would be a very good rotational end to compete with (and probably replace) Jake Bequette. I could live with Jones-Ninkovich-Smith-Buchanan, especially with guys like Hightower, Collins and Armstead probably also getting some reps at DE depending on the particular scheme and package. Given the lack of base DE talent in the draft, I'd be fine with a short-term stopgap.
  14. BobDigital

    BobDigital Rookie

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    Will Smith be okay but I don't see it as a solution. I would still hope we could do better with our 3rd DE than him. He comes off to me as a 4th DE/Emergency DE. He is not a player I want in any regular rotation.

    I would not be against signing him but I would still want to draft someone or hope Buchanan can take a step up this year cause if Smith is your 3rd DE I am worried he could turn out so ineffective you end up playing Jones/Nink 95% of the time again & your D falls apart cause your DEs are burned out by December.
  15. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I certainly wouldn't want Easley to put on weight. Besides, I want him to play at DE as well as the 3-tech, so his weight is perfect as far as I'm concerned. He could be eased in as a sub-rusher, and gradually worked in to a broader role, which would be consistent with BB's MO.

    Again, I don't think you draft to fill immediate holes, I think you draft for the long term. We have Tommy Kelly right now, but he's 33 and also coming off an ACL (though one that didn't require surgery), Armond Armstead and Chris Jones. I don't much care if Easley is ready immediately - put him on PUP if necessary, though I suspect he'll be ready sooner - but I would love to see him brought along slowly the way Jamie Collins was last year, and then unleashed late in the season.

    The Nick O'Malley report on Easley listed above also had this interesting observation, FWIW:

    New England Patriots 2014 NFL Draft Prospects: Florida DL Dominique Easley could transform a pass rush from the inside | masslive.com
  16. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's obviously not a long-term "solution", which is why I termed it a stopgap. But I'd prefer it to reaching for a rookie DE and expecting him to contribute immediately.

    BB's MO seems to be to make low-cost signings and throw darts, hoping that one of them will stick. Contributors come from unexpected sources - Rob Ninkovich was signed as a training camp body and backup LSer in 2009, but played his way into a larger role and hasn't stopped getting better. I have high hopes for Buchanan, and if he develops into the #3 DE that's fine, but I wouldn't be averse to bringing in someone like Smith at low cost and letting him push the youngsters.

    Consider the alternatives in the draft: Kony Ealy, Stephon Tuitt, Scott Crichton and Trent Murphy are the 4 day 1-2 guys who could potentially play a rotational base DE role. Maybe Demarcus Lawrence, though he's pretty undersized. Murphy would have to bulk up and get stronger, Crichton is athletically limited in what role he can play, Tuitt is coming off of surgery from a foot injury which could limit him. Maybe BB falls in love with Ealy, but I have my doubts about him, and wouldn't personally want to spend a 1st round pick on him. I personally like Dominique Easley as a DT/DE hybrid, but he's also coming off an injury. Marcus Smith, Jeremiah Attaochu and Dee Ford are all better suited as sub rushers and won't be terribly effective in terms of decreasing Jones' and Ninkovich's snap counts. Anyone drafted after those guys is essentially a crap shoot in terms of expecting them to contribute meaningfully in 2014.

    I thought addressing DE should have been a priority early in FA. Obviously, BB disagreed.
  17. Big-T

    Big-T On the Roster

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    Ojomo would be cheaper and offer more upside than Will Smith. What Smith does have though is that vet presence.
  18. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Wasn't Ojomo cut by Tennessee after being arrested for solicitation?

    Titans waive DE Adewale Ojomo after arrest - NFL - SI.com

    I'm fine picking up a kid like this on the cheap and seeing if he sticks, but I wouldn't count on him. He's a UDFA who has bounced around a couple of practice squads, and got cut after being arrested. Maybe he'll be a Sealver Siliga kind of diamond in the rough. He certainly shouldn't cost much. But I think he's an apples vs. oranges comparison with Will Smith - a proven veteran with leadership skills, productivity and versatility, but one at the end of his career and coming off of an injury. By all means pick up both at low cost and see who sticks. As I said, that seems to be BB's general MO.
  19. BobDigital

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    Oh I don't think anyone on this board looks at him as a long term solution. I just happen to not look at him as even a short term solution either. I think he is a decent enough backup plan if you absolutely can not get anyone else but I still think you need someone else for this year or the Pats are asking for trouble.

    I would be happy to be wrong about this but my hopes are just not that high for this player. Also, like you I wanted them to address DE early in FA. It is too important a position to go in without a reliable 3rd option.
  20. Off The Grid

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    Well said, Brother!! :rocker:

    There is too much tendency among some, it seems to me ~ including Coach Bill himself!! :eek: ~ to ignore Reality when it comes to aging Veterans. We struck gold with 32 Year old Andre Carter in 2011, but Carter keeps himself in freakishly good shape, and even so, he broke down when we needed him most, perhaps due to Creeping Age. :eek:

    Smith is going on 33, and 2014 projects as a Recovery Year from last August's ACL Injury: A Year where he gradually recovers what Agility, Power, and Explosiveness he might have left.

    Pass.

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