Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mayoclinic, Oct 25, 2012.
If he's not here now why would you expect him to be here next year?
If we're going to develop Salas the Pats need to push Brady to play ball with guy
Jabar Gaffney was injured during training camp and subsequently cut. My gut feeling is that Bill Belichick lost patience with Gaffney which, in my estimation, was a mistake. Meanwhile, Visanthe Shiancoe participated in practice only during the first week of training camp and was subsequently placed on retroactive injured reserve.
With one reception in his first game with the Miami Dolphins, Jabar Gaffney exceeded the pass receiving yards of Deion Branch and Julian Edelman in the last two games (Jets & Rams) combined.
Very true; but I would rather have better players at the bottom of the roster
than any of the aforementioned bums.
The above was all part of the OP. 10 days later, the Pats have indeed traded for Aqib Talib. Meanwhile Ras-I Dowling has gone on IR and Sterling Moore has been cut and signed to the PS. Right now my revised plan for the secondary for the next 6 months looks something like this:
1. See what the team does with Devin McCourty. Does he stay at CB or move to FS (my preference). If McCourty emerges as a true deep cover-1 FS over the second half of the season, it will affect any need to sign a FA such as Ed Reed, Dashon Goldson or Jarius Byrd, or to draft a rookie safety.
2. See how Aqib Talib adjusts to the "Patriot Way", whether he can keep his head on straight, and whether the Pats extend him beyond this year. That would be the ideal scenario, but ideal doesn't always happen. Talib is reportedly excited to be a Pat and to be getting a new start, but reportedly Albert Haynesworth said the same thing. Talib doesn't have Haynesworth's work ethic issues, so it's more a question of whether he can keep under control, and survive in a disciplined organization.
3. See how Alfonzo Dennard continues to develop, and hopefully get some read on Ras-I Dowling. My personal hope is that McCourty moves to FS and Dennard and Talib play outside CB. Both are suited to press-man coverage. If that scenario plays out, it will affect the need to draft or sign a DB for 2013, particularly if the FO/coaching staff things that Ras-I Dowling can come back healthy for 2013. We probably won't know what's going on with Dowling in the next 6 months, but hopefully the Pats will. They may have shut him down more as a precaution and to let him get healthy for next year, or he may just continue to be damaged goods. Dowling certainly has the size and skill set to play press-man coverage, and a Talib-Dennard-Dowling trio moving forward with McCourty at FS would be a darn good nucleus to build around.
4. See how Patrick Chung does the rest of the year. Chung has fallen off the cliff this year, doing his best human torch imitation. Is that because the coaching staff has been playing him out of position as a deep cover safety out of desperation, or because he's been trying to do to much and doing his own Brandon Meriweather impersonation? If McCourty does move to FS that would allow Chung to play a more natural downhill kind of role, as well as a hybrid S/LB role on 3rd down. There's no doubt Chung has a skill set, and if he can recover he may be worth keeping beyond this year, if the price is right.
5. Evaluate the other pieces. That includes the development of Tavon Wilson and (to a much lesser extent) Nate Wilson, Steve Gregory as a utility man rather than as a starting DB, whether Kyle Arrington is toast or just been injured, whether Marquice Cole is indeed more than just a STer and could be the "new Arrington", etc.
Lots of work to do in the next 3-6 months. There's 4 months until FAs starts, and just under 6 months till the draft. I'm guessing these discussions will be very different by that time, for better or worse.
Who is Nate Wilson?
The love child of Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner.
Tavon Ebner would have been a much better name.
That's his evil twin.
One of PatsfaninPA's "special demons"
Right now it seems like our defense is really coming into shape. I'm deferring evaluation of the secondary until the evolution of that area becomes clearer with the Aqib Talib trade and his long term contract situation, the potential move of Devin McCourty to FS, and Alfonzo Dennard's development, but I'm more optimistic than I've been in a while. We could use a stud LDE opposite Chandler Jones, a penetrating DT, an eventual successor to Vince Wilfork, a coverage OLB/S hybrid, and some developmental DB talent. But we're in pretty good shape, assuming the secondary plan develops.
Here's 20 or so guys who are high on my radar for 2013. I'm excluding top 20 picks like Star Lotulelei, Johnathan Hankins, Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Stephon Tuitt (2014, but he's such a stud that I'd list him anyway), Jarvis Jones, etc. Most of those guys would be interesting if they fell, some more than others. I'm keeping descriptions brief due to length restrictions. Prospects are grouped by position and then ordered in rough draft projection, not in order of preference, ranging from 1st rounders down to late round/UDFA guys. Underclassmen are noted with an *.
Vince Wilfork is a HOFer but is beginning to show a few signs of slowing down and wear and tear. He needs to be used more wisely. Kyle Love is a demi-stud. The team needs depth and a successor to VW. We haven't had a penetrating DT since Mike Wright. Myron Pryor is in a contract year and can't stay healthy. Ron Brace is in a conract year and is a JAG. The team missed out on Red Bryant in FA, and Jonathan Fanene turned out to be damaged goods. Priority = high.
1. Louis Nix*, Notre Dame. 6'3" 325#.
A red shirt sophomore, Nix probably won't come out in 2013 but could be this year's Brockers. Projection: likely 1st round pick if he declares. Comparison: Vince Wilfork.
2. Jesse Williams, Alabama. 6'4" 320#.
The Aussie JUCO transfer hasn't put up much in terms of numbers, but he is a monster in the middle for a dominant Crimson Tide defense. He also has the versatility to move outside in a 3-4, and possibly also play 4-3 jumbo LDE. Projection: top 40 pick. Comparison: Red Bryant.
3. Sheldon Richardson*, Missouri. 6'4" 295#.
Richardson has been exploding this season, putting up impressive numbers and making splash plays all over the field. He could easily be this year's version of Nick Fairley/Fletcher Cox. Projection: top 40 pick, probably higher. Comparison: Fletcher Cox, but with more core strength and a bit less explosiveness.
4. Kawann Short, Purdue, 6'3" 316#.
Projection: top 40 pick. Comparison: He's Mackenzie's boy, and Mackenzie compares him to Kevin Williams. Who am I to argue?
5. Sylvester Williams, North Carolina. 6'3" 305#.
A slightly older project who is a bit inconsistent but who has nice athletic ability and great core strength. Willaims can both play the run and also generate some pressure inside. Current projection: 2nd or 3rd round. Comparison: a poor man's Ndamukong Suh.
6. Brandon Moore*, Texas. 6'5" 335#.
Originally recruited by Alabama, Moore has tremendous athleticism and has only begun to scratch his potential. I think he is a big time sleeper with tremendous upside. Current projection: late round pick. Comparison: A bigger Jay Ratliff.
7. Daniel McCullers*, Tennessee. 6'7" 370#.
A mammoth of a man with only 23% body fat, who is a space eater/run stuffer only right now. Projection: day 2/3 pick if he comes out this year. Comparison: A very raw Ted Washington.
The Pats landed a true stud in Chandler Jones at #21 in the draft, the best move they've made since drafting Rob Gronkowski in 2010. They have some legitimate talent to go alongside him in Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich and hopefully Jake Bequette. Travis Scott is on a 1 year deal but has talent. Justin Francis has shown flashes. But a true stud LDE opposite Jones would make the DL beastly, and I strongly adhere to the NY Giants' principle of stockpiling talent on the DL in accordance with OTG's "overload" theory of building dominance at a position. Priority high.
8. Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, BYU. 6'6" 270#.
Ansah has exploded onto draft boards this year, and is one of the hottest prospects around. His size/speed combination is unreal, and he has made tremendous progress. Mike Mayock thinks he could be a 1st round pick, though right now he is still very raw. Projection: Top 50 pick. Comparison: Potential fusion of JJ Watt and Jason Pierre-Paul, though very, very raw.
9. Dion Jordan, Oregon. 6'7" 243#.
The "Preying Mantis" is a rare insect with the footwork and fluidity of a basketball small forward, agile enough to play DB and cover slot receivers. He could be a unique weapon in today's pass-oriented league. Current projection: late 1st round, though Tony Pauline has suggested that there are health issues involving Jordan's shoulder that could affect his draft stock. Comparison: Ted Hendricks.
10. Margus Hunt, SMU. 6'8" 290#.
Another athletic freak, Hunt has fallen off the radar a bit this season, though that will likely change in the pre-draft games and workout process. He will be 26 by the time the 2013 season starts. Projection: late 2nd/early 3rd round. Comparison: A bigger version of JJ Watt with a bit less mobility and explosiveness.
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11. Cornelius "Tank" Carradine", Florida St.. 6'5" 265#.
Carradine has burst on the scene since Brandon Jenkins went down with a Lisfranc fracture. He has size, length, and strength, and a game somewhat reminiscent of Chandler Jones. Current projection: 1st or 2nd round pick. Comparison: Jones will do just fine.
12. David Bass, Missouri Western St. 6'5" 282#.
A Mackenzie Pantoja special, Bass is a small school prospect with great productivity, and terrific fluidity and coverage ability for a big man. Current projection: day 3 pick, probably late round. Comparison: Makenzie says Greg Hardy without the character issues. I haven't seen enough to say for sure. Sounds like he has a bit of Justin Tuck in him based on his coverage ability, but that's just a guess.
13. Devin Taylor, South Carolina. 6'7" 260#.
A riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma, Taylor has elite size and athleticism but spotty production and consistency, even opposite Jadeveon Clowney. He has a long, lanky frame and is fluid enough to drop into coverage, but may need to bulk up to be effective. Current projection: probable day 3 pick, could sneak into day 2 with a good post-season. Comparison: Somewhere in between Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap in terms of his long frame and fluid movement ability, combined with inconsistency issues.
Priority = low/moderate.
14. Alec Ogletree, Georgia.* 6' 3" 235#.
Brother Manx's binky, Ogletree has dazzlying speed, range, and athleticsim. He is finally back to form after being suspended for the first 4 games of the season, and his return seems to have made a huge difference to Georgia's defensive performance. Current projection: day 1 or 2 pick. Comparison: I'll let Brother Manx decide who Ogletree best compares to.
15. Jonathan Brown, Illinois. 6'1" 235#.
Mackenzie thinks Brown is a 1st round talent and could be better than Lavonte David. I'm not that high on him, but he is a rangy coverage LB who would be a solid addition to the midfielders. He also has experience working with Tavon Wilson. Current Projection: 3rd-4th round pick. Comparison: Demario Davis.
16. Alonzo Highsmith, Arkansas. 6'1" 233#.
A JUCO transfer and the son of the former Miami Hurricane and NFL RB of the same name, Highsmith had surgery for a torn pectoral muscle this spring, recovered in time to lead the team in tackles through 6 games before tearing ligaments in his foot. He will probably not be healthy enough to work out for teams next spring, which will hinder his draft spot. Projection: late round pick/UDFA. Comparison: Wesley Woodward.
With the Talib trade I'm very happy with our CBs, especially if Ras-I Dowling can recover. Talib, Dowling and Dennard would be one hell of a strong nucleus. Sterling Moore has talent and is on the PS. Marquice Cole has shown flashes. Kyle Arrington may walk after this year or may be kept. He's been banged up. I'm hoping that Devin McCourty moves to FS and becomes an Earl Thomas kind of ballhawk, allowing Pat Chung and Tavon Wilson to play downfield, and Steve Gregory to be a jack-of-all trades utility guy instead of a starter. Nate Ebner has tons of talent but needs time to develop. Chung may or may not recover from being used as a coverage safety, and may or may not stay on after 2013. There's no need to go after an "impact" rookie DB, but a developmental pick or two would always be nice. Priority = low/moderate.
17. Matt Elam, Florida*. 5'10" 202#.
Elam is clearly emerging is the most interesting draft-eligible safety prospect. He plays much bigger than his listed size, and is just a playmaker. Tony Pauline describes him as "a multi-dimensional safety with the ability to make plays sideline-to-sideline against the run and pass" and who "does a terrific job patrolling centerfield, aggressively defending the run while capitalizing on mistakes made by opposing quarterbacks." Sounds like exactly what we wish Patrick Chung would be. Current projection: day 1 or 2 pick. Comparison: a poor man's Troy Polamalu?
18. Tyrann Mathieu*, CB/S, LSU. 5'9" 178#.
The Honey Badger has fallen from grace, and is likely to be the 2013 version of Vontaze Burfict after his latest arrest for MJ possession. Although he is undersized and limited in man coverage, he is a dynamic playmaker and ballhawk with a feisty attitude who would fit in nicely along with Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard. Current projection: late round/UDFA. Comparison: A fusion of Janoris Jenkins and Janzen Jackson, with some Ed Reed ball skills.
19. Dontae Johnson*, CB/FS, North Carolina St. 6'3" 190#.
David Amerson's battery-mate at CB this season, Johnson played FS last year before being moved to boundary CB. He has great length, nice ball skills, and is a physical back who is strong in run support. Projection: day 3 pick. Comparison: Richard Sherman.
20 (tie). Aaron Hester, CB, UCLA. 6'1" 207#. Sheldon Price, CB, USCA. 6'1" 180#.
Two Mackenzie Pantoja specials with the size and skills to play man-press, in case the Pats want to add depth behind Talib and Dennard. Current projection: late round/UDFA. Comparison: Again, I'll defer to Mackenzie, who has compared both to Al Harris. I'd be thrilled to add an Al Harris type of CB to our secondary.
These guys are just the tip of the iceberg. There are obviously dozens of other guys who could be of great interest. But I like this list as a starting point, for now.
Another fine post Mayo.
Re Alec Ogletree.
I'm not enough of a student of the NFL to give you a comparison but I would like to talk about him as I've been doing some thinking as of late.
1. Ogletree's weakness is getting off blocks so isn't a dominant LOS of scrimmage guy. He still makes outstanding plays if blockers are kept off him so if he's going to play ILB in the bigs, he needs to be paired with a big guy inside (or a big D/line).
2. Here's where I think he could really help the Pats. As you said, Ogletree has superb speed and range. Not only that, he's got a really good vertical leap combined with his height and long arms. If the Pats were to draft him (unlikely), Ogletree would be best used dropping back into the mid range between the numbers. His range allows him to jump any passes in that zone allowing the corners and safety to guard the deep and outside almost exclusively. The less our D/Backs have to protect, the less vulnerable they are.
3. In terms of drafting him, considering the investments we've made at LB, I think it's unlikely we dip into the position again. However, because Ogletree isn't really a MLB in the NFL, because of his suspension issues and the strength of this class in terms of fast pass defending linebackers I could see Ogletree falling to the 2nd or 3rd rounds should he come out. In that case, I think picking him becomes a much better investment for us.
4. I think he'd make a good Brian Urlacher replacement.
Thanks. It's fun to organize some of the discussions we've had in the prospects and Ye Olde Mock Draft threads around my "Blueprint". I've tried to include prospects at different levels of development and projection. At midfielder, for example, if the Pats are looking for a rangy coverage LB who can cover a lot of territory, Alec Ogletree seems to be the clear frontrunner, but also the guy likely to go highest. A bunch of guys such as Jonathan Brown, Jelani Jenkins (not included), and Arthur Brown are in the next tier. Alonzo Highsmith would probably be in that group as well, but his injury history has probably dropped him back and made him an attractive value pick in the late rounds.
Urlacher did come to mind for me. He was a safety at New Mexico, so he had a lot of speed and coverage ability, and he wasn't nearly as bulky as he is now. His height (6'4", vs. 6'3" for Ogletree) creates difficulties for teams. While Urlacher as been a MLB his entire career, his atheticism would doubtless have allowed him to succeed outside as well. FWIW, BB's always been pretty complimentary of Urlacher.
I'm pretty well sold on Ogletree as a prospect, depending, of course, on how he's used. All prospects have strengths and weaknesses, and need to be used accordingly. I was a bit suspicious earlier in the year, but my feeling now is that Ogletree was still shaking off the cobwebs from his 4 game suspension. His return has clearly sparked a dramatic turnaround in Georgia's defense, and they are finally playing the way I expected them to coming into this year.
The big question to me with Ogletree and the Pats - as it was with Lavonte David, and to some extent is with Dion Jordan - is how high a draft pick the Pats are willing to spend on a "boutique" player who doesn't really fit into a natural slot, but is more of a playmaker who can be moved around. A rangy coverage LB who can blitz, spy, drop into coverage, etc. would be a nice addition to the midfielders. But I'm not sure how high a price BB is willing to pay for that role. Dane Fletcher's status may also factor in.
My general sense is that Ogletree is a player of interest to keep an eye on, like Dion Jordan. If his stock skyrockets, he probably won't be a target. If he falls, he could be a great value. Otherwise, someone like Alonzo Highsmith could be a cheaper alternative.
Loved it mayo, you should do one for the offense.
I would add Floyd from Florida to that DT list, not sure he will come out this year though.
I'll try to get around to the offense in the next few days. Floyd would be a worthy addition if he comes out, though I'm not sure I'd rate him ahead of either Sheldon Richardson or Kawann Short as a pass rushing DT right now.
I can understand if, given how very few we have next April, no picks are used on LBs.
However, nothing should preclude Bill to sign the very best available UDFA coverage LB.
Our starting LBs as a unit have to be the slowest in the league, and our depth is non-existent.
That's one reason I'm partularly interested in Highsmith. With his ligament injury he may not be able to work out for teams and could drop as far as being a UDFA. Ogletree > Highsmith, but value-wise if Highsmith is a UDFA (or with an extra late round pick; we have an extra 7th now, and we could end up with more if we trade back) taking a gamble on a couple of guys like him could play off handsomely.
Great work Mayo.
As for a Matt Elam comparison, I'd go with an easy one. Major Wright. Former Florida safety that's now an unsung hero of the Bears defense. I don't know if there's any comparison to the amount brings the of energy he brings to the field. Maybe Clay Mathews or Ray Lewis, maybe.
Separate names with a comma.