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NFLDraftCountdown: Patriots draft review, B-

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by BRiZ, Jun 5, 2008.

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  1. BRiZ

    BRiZ Rookie

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    http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/reviews/reviews/newenglandpatriots.html

    Scott Wright
    President, NFL Draft Countdown

    Despite losing their own first round pick as a result of the "Spygate" incident the Patriots still wound up selecting in the Top 10 overall thanks to a Draft Day trade with San Francisco last year. After coming within minutes of an undefeated season that is a classic case of the rich getting richer! Despite that dominant 2007 season the Patriots, like most teams, still had their fair share of needs and if nothing else they had to use this draft to get younger and add depth, especially at linebacker and cornerback. Will this class be the foundation for future success or will age and free agency finally catch up with this New England dynasty?

    After trading down from #7 to #10 the Patriots chose to use their top pick on Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo, which came as a bit of a surprise. There is no question that New England was looking for help at linebacker but most of the speculation centered around Vernon Gholston and Keith Rivers, with Mayo's name rarely if ever even coming up in the pre-draft rumblings. While some may have considered Mayo to be a reach in the Top 10 his stock had been on the rise in the month leading up to the draft and it's unlikely he would have made it out of the Top 15 so it's hard to fault the Pats for taking him where they did, especially since they had already traded down. Mayo is a fast, athletic 'backer with great intangibles and while he has experience both in the middle and outside he will line up inside with New England. Tedy Bruschi is going to hang up his cleats any year now and Junior Seau's return is still very much up in the air so Mayo will have a chance to compete for a starting job as a rookie and even if he does begin his career as a backup there is no doubt that he is being viewed as the future leader of that defense.

    After being linked to guys like Leodis McKelvin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in round one the Patriots opted to wait until round two to address their need at cornerback with Colorado's Terrence Wheatley. After losing both Asante Samuel and Randall Gay in free agency corner was a major concern for New England and arguably their greatest need so from that perspective this was a great pick. However, I was probably higher on Wheatley than most and even I thought he was a bit of a reach in round two. With that said Wheatley is a good player and while he may not have the ideal size you look for he plays big and is also a ballhawk in the secondary. Wheatley may never be a starter in the NFL but he can be a terrific nickel guy and he could be viewed as Gay's replacement in that role. With the first of two third round picks the Patriots selected Michigan outside linebacker Shawn Crable, who should be a perfect fit for their 3-4 scheme. A tall, rangy linebacker at 6-5 and 245 lbs. Crable is a great athlete with above average speed and he simply knows how to make plays in the backfield, which was evidenced by his 28.5 TFL and 7.5 sacks as a senior. Mike Vrabel and Adalius Thomas are the starters but depth was a problem even before Rosey Colvin was cut so Crable will help rectify that problem while also working as a situational pass rusher.

    Late in round three New England shocked everyone when they chose San Diego St. quarterback Kevin O'Connell, even though they already had someone by the name of Tom Brady under center. He may not have been a high-profile prospect but O'Connell was quietly generating a lot of buzz in the scouting community as the draft neared and was being viewed as one of the top developmental signal callers available. At 6-5 and 225 lbs. O'Connell certainly has the size you look for but he's also a very good athlete with excellent speed (4.61) and was a four-year starter with the Aztecs. O'Connell is still a work in progress and will begin his pro career third on the depth chart but with Matt Cassel falling out of favor and nearing free agency he will likely be groomed to take over the backup job, perhaps as soon as 2009. In round four the Patriots brought in some more help at cornerback when they chose Jonathan Wilhite of Auburn. A 3-year starter, Wilhite is similar to Terrence Wheatley in that he is on the small side but very quick, fast and athletic. Wilhite profiles as more of a nickel or dime type down the road but as a rookie he will be stuck battling for playing time as the #5 or #6 corner on the depth chart.

    In round five the Pats surprised everyone when they reached for UCLA wide receiver Matt Slater, even trading up to land him. The son of NFL Hall of Famer Jackie, Slater's name had emerged on the radar late in the process but most teams were looking at him as a seventh rounder or undrafted free agent whose greatest impact would come on special teams. At best Slater will compete for the #5 or #6 wideout job in New England and while he will see action special teams this was still one of the '08 Draft's most questionable decisions. With their final pick in round six the Patriots added one more linebacker, this time opting for Bo Ruud of Nebraska. Another prospect with good bloodlines, Ruud's brother Barrett is a starting outside linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. An outside linebacker in college, Rudd will move inside with the Pats where he will battle for a backup job. Normally Ruud would be considered a long-shot to make a roster but considering his intangibles and New England's lack of depth at the position he just might have a better chance that you'd think.

    As always New England made some unorthodox decisions on Draft Day but with their track record you almost hate to question them at this point. You can certainly make the case that they didn't get proper value with all of their picks but the Pats have never been concerned about the outside perception of "value", instead relying on their own board and evaluations of how a prospect will fit in with their team, both on and off the field. At the end of the day they accomplished their goal of stocking up at both linebacker and cornerback and while this class may be lacking when it comes to star potential most of their selections should make an immediate impact, albeit in supporting roles. This crop of rookies should help offset most of New England's key offseason losses (Asante Samuel, Junior Seau, Randall Gay) and there is really no reason to think they won't once again be one of the league's elite teams in 2008.

    GRADE: B-
  2. BRiZ

    BRiZ Rookie

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    not bad, i give the draft a A- based on NEED and a B based on TALENT. We did take some guys earlier than they should have gone but the pats have shown they like to do that so they can get their guys.
  3. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Can't say that I agree with the writers assumption that "...Wheatley may never be a starter in the NFL but he can be a terrific nickel guy..."
    I very much doubt the Pats drafted him in the second round so he could be a terrific nickel guy.
  4. bradmahn

    bradmahn Rookie

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    Nickel back is becoming a much more critical position with the evolution of the passing attack, so I don't think you can discount the possibility that they did draft him to be the "third corner" simply based on an assumptive lack of import concerning the position.

    I'd tend to agree with you, though, that he was probably drafted to be one of the "starting two" at cornerback.
  5. Keegs

    Keegs Rookie

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    hey a B- that's not bad.

    That means that our draft class of 08 will perform over average right?

    i mean "nfldraftcountdown" ranked our draft class (who haven't even blown their noses yet) so they must all be above average.

    Thanks NFLDC, i was worried, but after seeing this im perfectly comfortable with our draft this year.

    the pats have another solid draft....
  6. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    I like Mayo, Crable, Wheatley

    Neutral about Wilhite

    Confused or frustrated about O'Connell, Slater, Ruud

    So B- or C, works for me.

    Seems like O Line or TE would have helped the club, but beggars can't be choosers. What is done is done, the Pats are a very talented, pretty deep team that just got younger (cheaper) which should allow them to lock up some of the key younger players (Wilfork, Mankins). My money is that one of them gets extended before the 08 season begins.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  7. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    More correctly:

    After all, the Pats have their own board; if anything, the Patriots may have waited on taking some of "their" guys, because of need/cap issues (or, rather, the lack thereof). For example, while they took O'Connell at 94, it is quite possible that they had him higher on their board--talentwise at least--than they had Wheatley, but couldn't justify spending that much money on him. [And we know that the Pats passed on Brady at least once when he was the top-rated talent on their board.]
  8. WhiZa

    WhiZa Rookie

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    He never mentioned the 2nd round pick we received. Overall I think it's a good draft of need (Mayo, Wheatley) and value (O'Connell). Along with picking up extra picks for next year.
  9. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady On the Roster

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    #24 Jersey

    Funny that Wheatly is a stretch pick when They had us taking Godfrey who was of the board and there were only two CBs that rated between our pick and where they had Wheatly going. The ego of these people...its stretch we had him 18 picks later and 2 CBs later. Maybe it isnt a stretch maybe he was just underated but only time will tell but if you wanna give grades before the semester starts go for it
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2008
  10. BRiZ

    BRiZ Rookie

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    generally i would agree with this, especially for other drafts, but not this one. Mayo was a low first rounder imo based on talent, based on need and his insane intangibles he was a top 10 pick for the Pats no doubt. I would say they reached for him some deffinitly. Other guys are a bit similar maybe with the exception of Oconnell like you say, i bet the pats know something about this kid that we dont, he runs like Vick and throws like Bledsoe, this kid could be really good in the future.
  11. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    The FO took some guys (Wheatley, Crable) earlier than they should've gone;
    the FO took other guys (O'Connell, Wilhite) much earlier than they should've gone; and
    the FO never should've taken other guys (Slater, Ruud) at all.

    The myth that the NEP are right and the rest of the NFL, and the professional scouting community, are wrong has been debunked before; and it looks like they have set themselves up for additional debunkification.

    The Draft According to Me:

    1st Round: Mayo

    2nd: RB Jamaal Charles. BPA, regardless of position; home-run threat to spell LaMa; possible Returner; Faulk's (eventual) replacement.

    Mid-3rd: OLB Cliff Avril. I'll be watching his career very closely v. Chicken Legs Crable.

    End of 3rd: Wheatley, though I'd still rather take DB Tyvon Branch. But at least Wheatley's a better value here than at #62.

    4th: OG Roy Schuening. One of BPA, ROP; Neal's replacement; already > Hochstein or Yates.

    5th: DT Atyhba Rubin. One of BPA, ROP; legit backup for Wilfork (sorry, Keegs).

    6th: Wilhite. If taken, then maybe C Steven Justice (Koppen's backup), or SS Josh Barrett (BPA, ROP), or slot WR Darius Reynaud (Welker's backup), or DB Michael Grant (Big CB/FS). Or maybe - maybe - O'Connell at this spot, if available.

    7th: LB Erin Henderson. Whatever lil' Bo peep Ruud can do, Henderson can do better - much better. Or how about Bentley College's first-ever-drafted alum, OL Mackenzy Bernadeau? Reynaud and Grant would still be available, too. As would some UDFA blocking TEs.

    And that, folks, is how a draft is worked: by combining Positions of Need with BPA (PoN + BPA = Value), and considering scheme fit, coachability, general character and a little bit o' poker-style bluffing.

    My grade (for now): C+. They should've done more on Day 2.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2008
  12. BritPat

    BritPat Rookie

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    #54 Jersey

    And this is why you're average Joe sat at home, whilst those guys earn millions running a football team.

    The Pats don't give a fig for anyone elses opinion of value, they simply see ability, and x's and o's.
  13. BRiZ

    BRiZ Rookie

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    only RB i would have considered drafting was Chris Johnson in the 2nd, but the Titans really reached for him in the 1st. Im not really upset at their 3rd round picks since they traded one away and got SD's 2nd rounder next year (which is a first day pick now), we'll get a good player with that. We needed some linebackers and corners and the Pats made sure they got them, we really couldnt afford to go BPA this draft.
  14. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    Another lemming heard from.

    Don't you find it at all arrogant, and foolish, for the FO to consider nobody else's opinion but their own?

    You should try to stop drinking the Kool-Aid from Stacy James' office for awhile, and try to start thinking for yourself regarding the NEP's personnel decisions, for once.
  15. NePatriots

    NePatriots PatsFans.com Draftnik PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Why should they care about others opinions when only they know where the team is going? They take guys that they feel will play football for the Patriots in the future. Matt Slater seems like a terrible value to some, but so did Logan Mankins. Debunkify that.
  16. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady On the Roster

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    #24 Jersey

    Can I please have you drafting for us instead of those Bums BB and Pioli. I mean they can't do anything right.
  17. DaBruinz

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

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    #50 Jersey

    Why would it be arrogant and foolish for the Front Office to consider only what their own scouts tell them, particularly when the scouting agencies are the ones basing everything on talent and very little on the intangibles.

    Or do you really believe that Ryan Leaf should have been considered in the same class as Peyton Manning?
  18. DaBruinz

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

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    #50 Jersey

    Why shouldn't they have taken Slater or Ruud? Cause you said so? Please forgive me if I laugh in your face. What makes you such an expert? OH. That's right. Nothing at all.

    Crable was a 4th round pick. That isn't earlier than he should have gone. Crable was actually rated as a 3rd rounder for much of the off-season prior to the draft. So I don't see how you can say he was taken earlier.

    This is just pure fabrication on your part. There is no myth that the NEP scouting is right and the rest are wrong. That is you just being an exagerative arse.

    Yes, lets draft a guy who wouldn't fit on the roster unless they throw the whole roster out of whack by keeping 4 RBs and a FB on the roster. When is Charles supposed to get snaps? OR are you suggesting that someone whose not proven anything is a better option than Morris? OH, and since when did the Pats draft by BPA?


    Crable's legs are actually very well built compared to McFadden's.


    Why would you take Tyvon Branch? A guy who has issues changing direction and covering players. Also a guy who is lazy in the film room.. Yes, really sounds like a Patriots type player there.


    Scheuning isn't very good at pulling for screens and sweeps. Something that the Pats like to do. He also has issues getting to the second level to block.


    Clearly the Pats felt that neither Rubin nor Bryant would fit in the Pats 3-4 system and that others provided better value.


    You can only have so many "back-ups" because there are only so many roster spots on the team. The Pats already have Hochstein, Yates, and Connolly on the team for Centers..


    Really? Erin Henderson can do everything better than Bo Ruud? He can't run the 40 better then Ruud (4.71 to 4.6), nor the broad jump (9'5 to 9'10), nor the vertical (31" to 32.5"). You want to know what else? Hernderson was a bigger injury risk than Ruud.

    I find it laughable that people grade drafts immediately after the draft when it takes 3 years before you can judge it.

    Also, while the Pats aren't perfect, they put a helluva lot more time and effort into scouting these guys than anyone on this board can begin to imagine. Not to mention the interviews and everything else they put these kids through.

    My draft grade for the Pats is: INCOMPLETE. For the reason that you can't judge the draft yet.
  19. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Excellent point.
  20. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rookie

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    I think if all of us threw out all the crap we read on the draft then it would be easier to take....but the point is there are lots of people making lots of $$ besides our scouts evaluating football talent. We just have to accept that our FO is hard-headed and will take EVERY player a round ahead of where everyone else ranks them. Yes, its essentially like we give our first round pick every year(coincidence? LOL).
    Binkies aside, I think there will never be a true test to evaluate our drafting because our COACHING makes the best lemonade going(no,not Koolade, there is a difference). We dont run every player into the ground before they leave and we dont keep every player forever.....but you will note how many former PATS players "suceed"(I define as worth their FA $$)---almost ZERO. To me that means they were never as good as their glory or stats said they were here on this team. Molloy,Branch, Givens, Woody, A.Smith, Law, and that guard from Cleveland(name escapes me) all were busts with other teams. They may still be in the league(some)but they never lived up to their big FA contract did they?
    And I really liked Charles too.....on the field. If you have the patience to listen to him talk he will make you be very happy Eckel is on our team.....Intelligence is just that important to this team, cant blame em for that.
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