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My Blueprint for the Defense

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

  1. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    It's hardly anything close to a crime. As a matter of fact, I regularly circle around the local 7-11 at least a dozen times on my way home looking for action.

    There's a possibility that the sign in the front window might be a bit creepy, but to hell if I care.
     
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  2. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Although Mayo has been gone for a while, this thread deserves a bump.
     
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  3. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I miss him. :( Come home, mayo! We drafted Dominique Easley!
     
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  4. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #24 Jersey

    Well if we're keeping his presence alive, we're probably hoping for Christian Jones and maybe Exum at some stage today. Maybe Brandon Thomas.
     
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  5. everlong

    everlong Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #12 Jersey

    He takes sabbaticals when he gets burnt out from time to time. I expect he'll be back. It's not a bad practice to back off for a bit.
     
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  6. Luxusdk

    Luxusdk Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    #91 Jersey

    I think its safe to say Mayo have been spot on and the good long tread about 5-2 / 4-3 under have not been Waste.
     
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  7. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected

    He's probably a walking sad-face emoticon after Aaron Donald was taken so early by the Rams, which suprised me: I figured that they'd take one of the WRs at 13 instead of a DLman.
     
  8. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr In the Starting Line-Up

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    I feel like the Rams and Giants should just swap picks.
     
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  9. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

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    I think Mayo is Ernie Adams. Spot on with his guys, Donald, Shazier, Fuller and Beasley. Just wow.
     
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  10. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #24 Jersey

    It's right that Mayo gets credit where deserved but I was on Shazier and Fuller before the last college season.
     
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  11. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

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    At this point, I'm ready to name Mayo and you co-gm's. I hate the qb pick. I'm not even going to start to figure out how to spell his name. We got caught with our pants down at 62. Trade up a little for Allen Robinson or Carlos Hyde. It's ain't bleepin rocket science!
     
  12. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks for the props. Not planning on coming back anytime soon, but a couple of thoughts about the draft, this season, and thinking about the defense moving towards 2015:

    The 2014 Draft:

    1. Manx is absolutely correct about deserving recognition for identifying prospects. He has an incredible eye, and he's been ahead of me on many guys that I subsequently adopted with near-binky status. I don't place much stock on originality, and I'm happy to benefit from his and others' acumen.

    2. I think it should be fairly clear that the defense is evolving in a new direction - the Easley and Collins picks in the past 2 drafts show a move towards more explosive playmakers who can be moved around to create mismatches. These guys are play disruptors and gap destroyers, not gap controllers. I don't think it's worth arguing exactly how the defense will evolve, but I think a lot of the discussion in this thread is consistent with the move towards a more aggressive multiple-front attacking hybrid defense.

    3. I loved the Easley pick, obviously. He was the #2 overall player on my draft board after Aaron Donald, and might have been ahead of Donald if not for the injury history. For me, any draft in which the Pats ended up with either of those guys would have been a huge success, and I knew that trading up for Donald was always an extreme long-shot (so I wasn't particularly disappointed). Easley was my realistic top option at #29, and I would have taken him over Anthony Barr (#9 to the Vikings), Kyle Fuller (#14 to the Bears) and Ryan Shazier (#15 to the Steelers), all of whom I loved. I did NOT have a clear 1st round grade on any of the safeties, and was glad the Pats didn't reach in that area.

    4. I wish the Pats had spent a little more resources on adding speed and versatility to the back end of the defense. I expected Christian Jones to fall after his Combine drug test result, but I didn't expect him to drop out of the draft. I would have loved him in the 7th or as a UDFA. I would have loved Kevin Pierre-Louis at #130 and Antone Exum at #179. Any of those guys would have added a lot of versatility and range to the back end of the defense. I like Jemea Thomas' game, but not his size.

    The 2014 Defense:

    1. I expect Dominique Easley to be ready for training camp and to hit the ground running. The team may ease him in slowly similar to Jamie Collins last year, and he may start out as a sub rusher, but I predict that by midseason he will be a force and will be used all over the DL. I think the Pats will have at least 6 impact players on defense in Chandler Jones and Easley on the DL, Jerod Mayo and Jamie Collins at the second level, and Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty in the secondary.

    2. I'm still pessimistic about Vince Wilfork's ability to recover in a meaningful fashion from his Achille's rupture, but we'll have to see how he looks in training camp. Fortunately, we don't need Wilfork c. 2011 for this to be a top defense. Between Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Armond Armstead and Sealver Siliga I think we'll be ok.

    3. I wouldn't be surprised to see Will Smith start the year on PUP, and then come in at mid-season to provide a spark. I'm hoping that just having Smith around will accelerate the development of Zach Moore and Michael Buchanan.

    4. I expect an aggressive, multi-front attacking defense, with a variety of back-end coverage packages (manly Cover-1 and -3, but a lot of disguise and pre- and post-snap adjustments). IMO this will be the best and most interesting BB defense since the SB years, and a legitimate top 5 defense.

    Looking Toward 2015:

    I had originally planned on the Pats taking a QB with their top 2015 pick, but that was before they took Jimmy Garoppolo at #62. I thought the 2015 QB class was likely to be much stronger and deeper. But hopefully Garoppolo will pan out. Obviously, I don't want the Pats to take a QB high in 2015. Looking at the defensive side, there are 2 positions that I could see the Pats focusing on:

    1. DE. The Pats need a long-term complement to Chandler Jones. 2015 could be loaded with possibilities, depending on the juniors who declare: Shawn Oakman (my early binky, a 6'8" 285# monster with freakish quickness), Shilique Calhoun, Arik Armstead (6'7" 290#, Armond Armstead's brother), Bronson Kaufusi, Dante Fowler, Mario Edwards, Randy Gregory, Henry Anderson. It's a much deeper and more talented group than the 2014 DE class.

    2. Hybrid LB/S / big DB: The Pats passed up guys like Kevin Pierre-Louis and Antone Exum. 2015 could be loaded with 6'+ 220-230# guys with coverage ability who can hit like trucks, again, depending on the junior declarations: Cody Prewitt (6'2" 220#), Josh Harvey-Clemons (6'4" 220#), Justin Garrett (6'1" 218#), Shaq Thompson (6'2" 225#), Derrick Malone (6'2" 216#), Ronald Martin (6'1" 218#) and Derrick Moncrief (6'3" 225#), among others.
     
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    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  13. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Disable Jersey

    Posts like the above show why you're missed. :(
     
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  14. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Great to hear from you, Mayo! The lack of LB was my biggest surprise (and disappointment) from the draft as well. I have to think that the issues with Christian Jones go way beyond one failed drug test, since other players who tested positive slipped only slightly.
     
  15. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #3 Jersey

    Well, yeah, but you are in Britain, right?

    That's a 6 hour head start,
    Bro.[​IMG]
     
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  16. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    I really wish Mayo wouldn't take these long sabbaticals. What a breath of fresh air.
     
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  17. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    I'm glad this thread has gotten back on track with Mayo's last post. There are a lot of discussion points out there concerning the use of both personnel and schemes that we can talk about over the next several months before the season starts.

    There is no question in my mind that this is the most talented, explosive, deep and most versatile defensive rosters that we've seen here for a LONG, long time. I can't wait to see the final product in action in September. Here a just a few that deserve their own threads

    1. I see a scenario where we keep 10 DLmen, 10 DB's and only 5 LB's

    2. I can see using a different starting safety opposite McCourty each week, depending on who the opponent is. ie Harmon vs certain teams, Browner vs others, Wilson/Ebner vs someone else.

    3. For the first time in....like forever, I can forsee a lot of presnap and postsnap movement by the Pats DL/LB's (and if Ian eventually gets us a "blackboard" application, I can show you how some of it might work)

    4. I agree with Mayo, that Vince's impact on this defense is likely to be small. (hope I am wrong), but not matter. If Kelly is back to his 2013 form, he showed in his brief time on the field, he can consistently provide a power push up the middle that HAS to be attacked by the offense. His size and power were the reason I was initially so hot on Hageman.

    Having that kind of power rush next to players with skill sets like Easly, Armstead, and CJones make for a wealth of schematic opportunities for them to work with both the DE's and Kelly. As for Vince, if he can come back and be a better than average runstopper this season, playing 30% of the snaps, I'd be thrilled.....even though I'm sure Vince won't be. ;)
     
  18. EwanSellars

    EwanSellars On the Game Day Roster

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    #15 Jersey

    Next year I'm hoping we can get a chance at randy gregory or landon collins but we most likely won't have a chance at either I like Michael Bennett from Ohio State, calhoun from MSU and Shaq Thomson a lot as well
     
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  19. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Some miscellaneous responses and thoughts:

    The most interesting take I've heard on Jones' slide was from Walter Football, FWIW:

    http://walterfootball.com/wu2014cjones.php

    I had assumed that because Jones played so many different positions in college that he would excel at "learning his position". If this was a major question then I could see it having a big impact on his draft spot, especially combined with decreased senior production, poorer measurables than predicted at the Combine, and a positive Combine drug test.

    I think this roster has at least 12-13 guys capable of being solid starters: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Dominique Easley, Vince Wilfork (if he can recover to a meaningful level) and Tommy Kelly on the DL; Jerod Mayo, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins at LB; and Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Alfonzo Dennard, Devin McCourty and Logan Ryan at DB. In addition, Kyle Arrington is a solid nickel/dime/slot CB. If any of Armond Armstead, Sealver Siliga, Michael Buchanan or Duron Harmon can step up, this would be an even deeper and stronger group.

    That's been my working assumption. 8 DBs seem like a lock barring injury (Revis, McCourty, Browner, Dennard, Ryan, Arrington, Harmon and Ebner - the latter mainly as a ST ace). I assume that Jemea Thomas, Tavon Wilson, Pat Chung and Justin Green are fighting for 1-2 roster spots. Mayo, Collins and Hightower are locks at LB; I'd love the Pats to sign James Anderson after June 1 - he's sort of a Steve Gregory kind of player at LB, and as a low-cost reserve capable or starting in a pinch would be an outstanding addition - and let Steve Beauharnais, James Morris and whoever else fight it out for the 5th LB spot. Rob Ninkovich could also get some snaps at LB. That leaves around 10 DL spots, which seems about right.

    One important consideration is that the Pats will be in position to "phase in" some key defenders. Brandon Browner won't count against the roster for his 4 game suspension, and any of Will Smith (very likely, IMO), Vince Wilfork (quite possible) and Dominique Easley (unlikely, IMO) could start the season on PUP. It's a long, long season, and there's no need to have the final defense assembled for week 1. I don't expect to see the "final product" until November or later.

    I think that a bunch of guys will get time at safety, but I'm not sure I buy into this. Consistency is important. I think that our 5 best DBs are Revis, McCourty, Browner, Dennard and Ryan, and those are the 5 guys I would want on the field most of the time. How those guys get deployed and what their positional designations are is less important to me. IMO, there is a big drop off between those 5 guys and the next tier, unless someone makes a big leap.

    I think there will be a lot of pre- and post-snap movement from both the front 7 and the secondary. The 3 guys who stand out to me as defensive "queens on the chessboard" who can be moved around to create mismatches are Dominique Easley on the DL, Jamie Collins at the LB level, and Brandon Browner in the secondary. Logan Ryan could also possibly fall into that category, moving between safety, press-man CB, and slot CB. I think that BB/MP will rely the majority of guys to "do their job", provide the backbone of the defense, coordinate things and make sure that there aren't major breakdowns (Mayo, Hightower, Ninkovich, Jones, Revis and McCourty), but will have more freedom and flexibility to get creative with the other guys because he has such a solid foundation and because there is so much playmaking capability and ability to disrupt and wreck havoc. Revis' impact will be huge, taking away half the field.

    I'll be thrilled if Wilfork can recover to something close to his 2011-2012 form, and obviously that would be a great addition to the defense, but I'm not counting on it, and I don't think it's critical. I'm more optimistic about Kelly returning to his pre-injury 2013 form, and agree with you that he could have a big impact. I'm still optimistic about Armond Armstead stepping up, as well. I'm happy to let this sort itself out.

    I would love to see a 5-2 "base" with a DL such as the following:

    LDE Ninkovich/Hightower - 3/5-tech Kelly/Armstead - NT Wilfork/Siliga - 3T Easley/Chr. Jones - RDE Cha. Jones/Buchanan

    In "sub" (70% of the time), either the NT, 3/5 tech or LDE would come off the field, depending on the specific opponent and scheme, morphing into a 4-2-5 (over or under, depending on who drops out) / 3-3-5 (with someone standing up) / 5-1-5 (with someone moving up on the line) / 4-1-6 (with a LB playing more of a hybrid LB/S role, or with a 6th DB playing a hybrid role).

    It's obviously very early, but (assuming Revis is signed long term) I'm focusing on DE and LB/S, as mentioned above. I think that QB, OL, DL and DB are likely to be the 4 deepest positions for 2015. Of the DE prospects, I think that they can be grouped into 3 categories:

    - "Base DEs" who can play inside at DT. Leonard Williams (6'4" 290#), Shawn Oakman (6'8" 285#), Arik Armstead (6'7" 290#), Henry Anderson (6'5" 295#) and Mario Edwards (6'3" 282#) fall into this group. Michael Bennett could also fit here as a DE/DT hybrid. Lots of different shapes and skill sets.

    - "Base DE's" who have the strength and power to anchor but also the athleticism and flexibility to stand up at times and play different roles. Shilique Calhoun (6'4" 250#), Dante Fowler (6'3" 266#, has played LB and all over the DL), and Bronson Kaufusi (6'6" 270#; moving from DE to OLB this year) all fall into those role. Cedric Reed (6'5" 258#), Marcus Golden (6'3" 260#) and Trey Flowers (6'3" 263#) could possibly also fit in here.

    - "Edge rushers", who are mainly attacking players (pass rushers), whether as DEs or OLBs. Randy Gregory (more like Anthony Barr than Chandler Jones, IMO), Vic Beasley, Noah Spence I don't see this group as being as interesting to me as the other two groups, but that's JMO.

    As far as LB/S space players, I should have included Landon Collins in my list. Josh Harvey-Clemons has transferred to Louisville and will sit out 2014 so I don't expect him to come out until 2016; Derrick Moncrief (who I think will be a big time player) is a JUCO transfer and also unlikely to come out until 2016, and Myles Jack is a true sophomore and not draft eligible. But between Landon Collins, Cody Prewitt, Justin Garrett, Shaq Thompson, Ronald Martin and Derrick Malone I think there is going to be a pretty deep group for 2015.

    There's plenty of time to see how the 2014 defense pans out and what the needs are for 2015, but there is a ton of exciting talent coming down the pipeline.
     
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    Last edited: May 19, 2014
  20. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Good find, I had wondered about that. The ability to play multiple positions is good, but when you see a player remain unsettled like that for 4 years it often points to a failure to take hold of a role. A classic example was Matthew Slater, a terrific athlete who kept getting shuttled ineffectually from offense to defense in college. When he was first drafted a lot of fans tsk-tsked at UCLA for wasting him that way, but it became apparent in the NFL that ST was his only real position.
     
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