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Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by BradyManny, Nov 30, 2008.

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  1. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    SAFETY (6), 1 signed, 5 unsigned


    FS - Meriweather (2011)

    FA
    SS/FS - Sanders
    SS/LB - Williams
    SS - Harrison
    FS - Spann (RFA?)

    Practice Squad
    S - Dillard

    LOCKS (1):
    Meriweather is the only safety under contract for next season. I imagine the team will make every effort to re-sign James Sanders.

    SPOTS UP FOR GRAB (3):

    1) Starting Strong Safety 2) SS/LB hybrid 3) Depth at either position

    CURRENT COMPETITION FOR OPEN SPOTS (5):

    - Sanders has been a reliable starter and can play either position. The team would be in good shape if they could re-sign him.
    - The team planned to use Williams as a coverage LB before his season ending injury. If he comes back healthy, the team may again sign him to a low risk-high reward contract
    - Harrison may be done, or at the very least, would miss the start of the 08 season. If he doesn’t hang it up, the team could bring him in mid-season next year in the case of an injury.
    - Spann looked good in pre-season and is now on the roster with Harrison injured. He could be re-signed and provide depth at FS.
    - Dillard is a long term prospect at strong safety, but isn’t likely to make the 53.

    PLAN OF ACTION IN DRAFT/FREE AGENCY:
    - The team should work quickly to re-sign James Sanders so it can go into the draft in a position of strength. Hypothetically, they could also re-sign Williams and Spann and essentially be set at the position, although the draft could provide a cheap, higher upside solution.

    Bottom Line: 3 players are needed. They could solve all problems in-house by re-signing the guys they have, but they could and should look for a safety in the draft for competition and upside.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  2. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    As usual, feedback on prospects of interest are welcome...one guy on my radar is Nic Harris from Oklahoma as an SS/LB hybrid potential.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  4. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with the analysis. We do need 3 players. I believe this is the #1 draft priority.

    And yes, theoretically, we could be all set if we re-signed Sanders, a healthy Tank WIlliams, and Spann. However, I think that we need more talent at this position.
  5. tanked_as_usual

    tanked_as_usual Banned

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    need some size to take TE's on for the deeper routes.......

    I'm figuring there will be 2 vets and 2 rookies brought into the mix.......would not be surprised to see the pats in the running for the top FA's for the position.........a rework ala 2002-2003 is in store
  6. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Taylor Mays, 4.4 40 yard dash, hits like a truck.
  7. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Yeah, it seems like if Mayo and Guyton are going to be on the field for passing downs, the SS/LB hybrid isn't as necessary. Though instead of sticking the hybrid player at ILB, the hybrid could be more of what Rodney was this year, when he was either covering TEs or slot receivers or covering the flats in zone. That still requires a safety with above average size and adequate coverage skills, so a Nic Harris type might fit. That would also seem to fit for your post in the other thread with OLB Jonathan Casillas or LB Michael Brown.

    The Pats probably could've used such a player yesterday when they went to the nickel package quite a bit in place of the base 3-4 and the Steelers ran the ball with a lot of success.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  8. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    My real question is how do they value Sanders. I think he's good but is he upgradeable long term? That could be an area they target if they see a prospect who could be an upgrade at SS within a year or two.
  9. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    His measurable sound great, but I remember Ochmed Jones saying his play didn't stack up.
  10. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    I completely agree. Lil' Jimmy Sanders is simply not a starting-calibre SS on a team with SB aspirations. His open-field tackling is weak, and his opponents do not fear him (quite the opposite, I imagine). I would offer him, Tank & Spann only their respective vet minimums, and not one penny more.
  11. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Historically BB has preferred a strong communicator, extremely respected, veteran big play thumper at SS.

    Although he plays the position now, I do not see Sanders as that type player. I see Sanders as a FS type that makes no big plays but won't normally give up many either.

    I think Wilson of the Cardinals would be perfect in the BB defense, and I think he BB can't get Wilson, he would prefer another veteran before using a high draft pick on a rookie.
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    With James Sanders as a free agent, decisions need to be made at safety in this off-season.

  13. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    I would love Adrian Wilson here too, but that seems unlikely. But remember, Lawyer Milloy was a rookie under Belichick in '96, so a rookie starting at SS for him is not unprecedented. Milloy was their starter then, wasn't he?
  14. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Again, super breakdown. But enough with the pleasantries, "All Set" if Sanders, Williams and Spann are re-signed? Wow, you are an easy grader, seems like a collection of allstar JAGS. I think they need a impact player, my money is on Mike Brown (Bears). Knowing his history he signs and then gets hurt in pre-season...

    This is about the only glaring hole on the team going into 09. All other units can be improved but Safety is a mess. The good news is that Safeties are relatively cheap and quality players can be found in later rounds. That being said Mays (USC) is supposed to be the #1 Safety is he comes out.
  15. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    Yes, but Al Groh was the DC that year, not BB. BB had to made good with what was already here.
  16. satz

    satz Rookie

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    Safety has 2 position and in our scheme FS and SS play different role.

    FS : Merriweather is good in this as the coverage providing safety. keep him away from the LINE or Box like last year where they tryed him their to injuries.

    SS : Sanders at 225-230 LB lower side if the 4-3 LB size so one needs to compare him to that role. Any replacement should be big enough to not get smashed by pulling gaurds or TE coming out the LINE [merriweather got injured ]

    Hybrid : Sanders + 10 LB - 4-3 LB Size . You put this guy in their for a LB as he is better in coverage and does not allow the box to get too light against the run. this safety is about 15 lb lighter and hence faster than your ILB.
  17. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    I have a hard time evaluating Sanders' play. He has had his up and down moments this season. He's taken a couple bad angles that led to big plays. He's missed a couple tackles here and there. But he's also generally a real sound tackler, and generally we don't see the coverage mistakes often.

    So I'm not sure how to evaluate his play, particularly since the TV doesn't show safety play much, but the fact that he is probably #2 on the team in snaps tells me the team has to have faith in him.

    Belichick doesn't just play guys for the heck of it, and Sanders was up there in snaps even before Harrison went out. To me, that's the best indication of what the coaches think of his play.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  18. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Agree w the assessment. The way I see it - The Pats have mixed up the coverages a little bit more this year to my eyes (could just be my lack of paying attention or knowledge) but they remain a team that plays a lot of cover 3 and likes freeing up their strong safety, and having their corners prevent the deep ball. So they need a centerfielder type safety (Meriweather) and an SS who can be a force against the run, and cover TEs/the flats.

    Harrison was struggling in coverage this season, but was good against the run, as always. I don't know if he'll be back given his age and the nature of his injury.

    The team seems to have confidence in James Sanders as a SS, so he might be the answer long term.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  19. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Except James Sanders is not playing the traditional SS, he's playing more of a FS role and Meriweather is the one more likely to be brought down close to the LOS.

    I can understand why BB was experimenting with Tank Williams in the box, but I think Guyton's emergence has made that a moot point. Factor in that Ruud was a pretty effective coverage LB at Nebraska (5 interceptions and 13 PBUs) and Alexander was a SS converted to MLB at LSU and Mayo is pretty good too, and you have a pool of coverage LBs to work with on Nickel and Dime sets.

    Some more names to ponder:

    - Chris Clemons, Clemson has good size, but his speed is a concern, we'll need to watch his Combine/pro-Day data.
    - Darian Stewart, South Carolina is a junior, but he has size and stood out to me watching a DVR of the Clemson game - he'll probably stay, but he's one to monitor.
  20. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Do you think they might be viewing Ruud as more of a Don Davis hybrid LB/S type?
  21. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    This is true, though I'm sure that Bill as DBs Coach prob. had some input into the who plays/who sits decisions.

    Here's PFW's list of '09 FAs, incl. Safeties:
    Features - NFL pro football articles and coverage from Pro Football Weekly

    Adrian Wilson isn't a FA, but Brian Dawkins is. He'll turn 36 next season, however, so at best he could serve as a 1/2-year mentor to our SS of the Future, if he were so inclined.

    Other interesting FA names at SS:
    Yeremiah Bell, Michael Boulware, James Butler, Sean Considine, Sean Jones,
    Brandon McGowan, Jon McGraw, Jermaine Phillips, Gerald Sensabaugh, and Darren Sharper.

    Oh, and Lawyer Milloy, too. But he would never return here, would he?

    What the NEP should do is sign one of the aforementioned SSs - Jones & Phillips are my top 2 - and draft a SS of the Future, a young Rodney Harrison, with a Top 100 pick - the earlier the better.
  22. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think he was drafted as an additional late round candidate for ILB.

    He's the lightest LB they've drafted while in NE, but he has the frame to carry more muscle, he also comes from a LB family and has experience in a two-gap, zone blitz defensive system. Looking at his stats suggests he had some coverage ability, but certainly not enough for SS.

    My best guess is he was the late round candidate whom they believed offered the best mental and physical tools, combined with his starting experience in the Big 12, to compete for an ILB role while on Special Teams. I think they would have preferred to have him on the Practice Squad, but IR also allows him to work with Woicik, Nash, and Davis to get stronger and more explosive. Reading his profile at NFLDraftScout.com he's described as "instinctive" and "quick to diagnose." His athleticism is questioned, but he was being projected as a 4-3 OLB. He's also described as having good hands to stack and shed blockers and being good in "trash," if he can bulk up to survive a 3-4, he reads like the kind of cerebral, good in a phone booth player whom BB would use at SILB - I hope he is spending film time with Tedy.
  23. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Interesting that they have Meriweather in the box more often. I think Meriweather has looked pretty good in run support. On the surface, he looks a little too small for the job, but he has a bit of that stockiness that Bob Sanders has, and he packs a pretty good hit. Perhaps more importantly, he locates and gets to the ball carrier quickly. (Admittedly, Meriweather's hits on TEs on late have left a little more to be desired, at least the Jets game that is)

    So is Meriweather-Sanders the combo of the future at safety?
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  24. tanked_as_usual

    tanked_as_usual Banned

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    the pats don't have anyone that opposing players need to be fearful of.........if a WR/TE is going across the middle, they need to assume that there's someone back there that will ring their bell.......either that or an ed reed type whose instincts are off the charts where the QB always has him on their mind

    the pats have neither the physical play back there nor the instinct
  25. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This was certain the plan of the Front Office. This will likely be settled before free agency opens. Once James Sanders is a free agent, it seems likely that several teams will pay more than the patriots.

    Of course, most posters on this site would prefer to have James Sanders as a backup for us, or have him play somewhere else.

  26. cstjohn17

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    I don't think it was the plan otherwise why would they wait so long? Sanders would be a fool to not test free agency now that there are only 4 games left in the season (plus 4 playoff games).

    Maybe they will add both a veteran JAG (Williams, Harrison, etc.) and a mid level draft pick (rounds 3-4).
  27. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    Truer words were never spoken.
  28. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    A great safety would really change this team. Nobody will ever mistake Sanders for a great safety. We've been missing Rodney's presence in the backfield, even at his age he has made this team better when healthy. I don't think he is coming back next year. It's time to draft a true hitting safety that can actually cover a tight end as well as deliver the big hit to make the receivers hear footsteps coming.
  29. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The FO thought they had their future starters in Meriweather and Sanders, with Sanders as the "true" strong safety. I agree that it is time to look again. After all we have three openings at safety.

  30. Wotan_the_Wanderer

    Wotan_the_Wanderer Rookie

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    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    Glad to see more are coming around to this. It's a bit of sore spot for me after having gotten flamed a year ago that I didn't see Sanders as a starting caliber safety though I thought then and still think now that he's a decent 3rd safety. There's just so much one can attribute to the Rashomon phenomenon and at some point, one begins to wonder what a great deal of otherwise knowlegeable posters have been smoking. I'll also note, nowhere in my posts contra Sanders have I been even close to that DW Toys "dear cousins" character's pathological disdain for Sanders.

    Now, I regret I could not catch more college games so for the scouts here, your contributions on the subject have been and will continue to be greatly appreciated.

    We need someone back there to smack the snot out of would be receivers coming over the middle. We also need a sure tackler who'll actually bring down a RB or TE on contact without getting dragged three additional yards for a first down.

    I noticed Box's threads which he was good enough to have re-posted here. A few of the usual suspect seem to have stayed the same on the list as those mentioned here following the draft.

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england...stion-re-draft-why-no-ss-pick.html#post877777
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
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