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Off-Season Pre Draft Pre-view: Part 1 (OFFENSE)

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by DaBruinz, Apr 21, 2007.

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  1. DaBruinz

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

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    Well, this is my 2nd off-season review. Call it Pre-Draft review. For the purpose of this review, I am going to consider ERFA and RFA as part of the team. There have been several players released.

    Here’s a re-cap.
    Corey Dillon, Earl Charles, Zuriel Smith, Ray Ventrone, and Tebucky Jones have all been released.

    Sean Bubin and Don Davis have retired.

    Asante Samuel has been Franchised.

    The Pats made a HUGE splash with the signing of Adalius Thomas. They then added to it with Kyle Brady (TE), Dante’ Stallworth (WR), Kelley Washington (WR) and Sammie Morris (RB). They also traded a 2nd and 7th round pick for Wes Welker (WR). Eddie Jackson (CB) was signed to a 2 year deal. The Pats must have liked what they saw in him because he’s going to be PUPed or IRed more than likely. Tory James (CB) was signed to a 1 year deal. He could be a reclamation project like Ty Poole and Chad Scott.

    The Pats signed Billy Yates to a new 3 year deal and Heath Evans to a 2 year deal. The Pats re-signed Larry Izzo to a 1 year deal.

    Please note: Draft options are ones in GENERAL and not MY picks.

    QB - Brady,
    Cassel, - Cassel showed that he has real potential. The Pats went for several weeks last season without a veteran back-up until they brought in Vinny Testaverde. This will be Cassel’s 3rd year wth the team and could be his last depending on how he performs in pre-season. The Pats usually sign a youngster either as a UDFA or draft a QB late for TC. It will be interesting to see if Vinny returns for one more run or if the Patriots bring in a different veteran.

    Free Agents: Vinny Testaverde (
    UFA)

    RB – Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, Sammie Morris– Big question marks here beyond Maroney. Corey Dillon was released on March 2nd and the Pats supposedly used the new CBA rule that allows them to treat Dillon as a June 1st release, hence pushing 2.5 mill of his cap hit into 2008. The Pats did save about 3.3 million on THIS year’s cap because of the move.


    Kevin Faulk is on the wrong side of 30 now and he was injured again. When healthy, he’s one of the best 3rd down backs in the league. The problem is keeping him healthy.

    Sammie Morris was signed. He’s a replacement for Patrick Pass and possibly Faulk. Honestly? I am still not comfortable with the depth here. As the play-offs showed us, having 4 RBs is almost a must.

    I can definitely see the Pats drafting another RB. Brian Leonard is an intriguing prospect as the new hybrid back to Faulk. Leonard has different aspects to his game than Faulk, but might be a better compliment to Maroney because Leonard is known as a down-hill runner while Maroney clearly has the speed to get outside. Other players include Tony Hunt and Lorenzo Booker.

    Free Agents: none

    FB – Heath Evans, Quadtrine Hill – Evans is what he is. An average FB. He has average running skills and average to above average blocking skills. He has average receiving skills. Unfortunately, the Pats had to rely on him in a critical situation and Brady obviously didn’t trust him. People have mentioned that I am harsh on Evans, but I just call it like I see it. Maybe Evans will win me over in time.


    Hill supposedly excels as a receiver out of the backfield and is a solid straight-line runner. He was brought in mid-season and the Pats liked enough of what they saw to keep him around.

    Garrett Mills was mentioned as a possible FB/TE/H-back type player in the mold of Chris Cooley, but he red-shirted last season and will need to work through camp to get onto the roster.

    I could see the Pats drafting Leonard to do work at both FB and RB and giving the Pats a lot more versatility out of the backfield.
    Free Agents: Patrick Pass (UFA), Heath Evans (UFA- Signed a 2 yr extension)

    O-Line – Matt Light, Nick Kaczur, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Russ Hochstein, Wesley Britt, Stephen Neal, Gene Mruczkowski, Billy Yates, Ryan O’Callaghan, Brian Barthelmes- 4 of the 5 starters seem to be set with Light, Mankins, Koppen and Neal from left to right. The question mark is RT where the Pats will have Kaczur, Britt, and O’Callaghan fighting it out next season. Hochstein continues to be a solid reserve.


    The Pats have 11 O-linemen signed or probably tendered, including Yates and Mruczkowski. Many of whom are signed through 2009 With the re-signing of Yates and Hochstein on the roster, I doubt that the Pats will be drafting a C/G, unless they are planning on shipping Hochstein to Cleveland for a draft pick in 2008.

    Look for a couple of JAG guards in free agency or UDFA. The Pats could surprise us if they look at Enoka Lucas or Doug Datish at center, Manuel Ramirez at Guard, and Allan Barbre at Tackle. A true surprise would be Joe Staley falling to 28 and the Pats taking him.

    Free Agents: Billy Yates (RFA-resigned), Gene Mruczkowski (ERFA)


    TE – Ben Watson, David Thomas, Kyle Brady, Garrett Mills, Matt Kranschick – Graham is gone. Kyle Brady has been signed to take his place. Brady is an excellent blocker with decent hands.


    With how Watson played, I definitely would have liked Graham back. Especially since neither can seem to stay on the field for more than a few games. Maybe a 3 man rotation with Thomas would have helped their longevity. I can only hope that K. Brady being the primary blocker can help with Watson not getting hurt.


    There are some intriguing prospects in the draft. Those prospects include Dante’ Rosario, Michael Allan, and Ben Patrick.

    Free Agents: Daniel Graham (UFA- Denver)

    WR- Donte’ Stallworth, Wes Welker, Kelley Washington, Jabar Gaffney, Reche’ Caldwell, “BAM”
    Childress, Chad Jackson, Johnathan Smith, Kelvin Kight – Caldwell and Gaffney were the starters going into the off-season. Both took some time to get used to the system and both seemed to click in the play-offs until the Colts game where Caldwell had 1 major drop. Obviously, since both are on the last year of their 2 year deals, they are both fighting for a position on the team.

    Wes Welker cost the Pats a 2nd and a 7th rounder and a lot of cash. However, he brings a LOT to the table. He’s a very good kick returner and a very good punt returner. With the Pats kick return and punt return blocking, Welker will be a very good #2 kick returner and primary punt returner. Welker is easily the #3 WR on the team.

    Stallworth’s abilities mean he should be the primary receiver. He has the ability to stretch the field and make the catch. There are some injury concerns, but he passed his physical and that is a start.

    Kelley Washington will be fighting for a job with Jabar Gaffney and Reche’ Caldwell. The #2, #4 and #5 jobs are all wide open.

    Kelvin Kight beat out Bam Childress for a roster spot and it wasn’t until the end of the season that Bam was re-signed off the Pats practice squad.

    Troy Brown is a UFA and recovering from injury. BB has all but said that #80 has a spot on the roster when he is ready so I expect Brown back at some point.

    Previously, I said we should expect big things from Chad Jackson. However, that was before news of his ACL tear (of which there is no confirmation on the severity of it) was released. I won’t speculate one way or the other what Jackson will do.

    That being said, I don’t believe it affects the Pats drafting strategy or free agency strategy because I felt they would bring in 1-3 via those avenues. They’ve brought in 3. So they may or may not draft someone like Jacoby Jones, Chanci Stuckey or Steve Smith. Chris Davis is another one that has been linked with the Pats. As has Tony Gonzalez.

    Free Agents:Troy Brown (UFA), “Bam” Childress (ERFA), Kelvin Kight (ERFA-resigned)
  2. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I see the Pats taking a late round developmental QB as their 3rd QB in preparation for a possible Cassel teade next year. No Vinnie unless no kids with potential taken.
    Definitely a RB if a value player is available.
    I'd feel a FB pick would be a waste with Evans solid IMO and Mills TBD.
    Always take a solid LT if one fell to our picks. Center could be a day 2 pick.
    I'll say nothing about TEs.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2007
  3. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    2 TEs....................
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2007
  4. Brady'sButtBoy

    Brady'sButtBoy Rookie

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    How Much Impact Will Mills Have?

    Just what is the plan for Mills? It's too simple to say he's just fighting for a roster spot - The guy is smart (3.91 GPA), a precise route runner, has the skill to seperate (second fastest 20 yard shuttle run of 4.05 and he tied with Sheffler for the fastest 3-cone at 6.81) even with limited speed, was super productive in college and was ranked the no.1 fullback in the draft by Vic Carucci, no. 2 by Mel Kiper. Dan Pompei of the Sporting News said of the Pat's draft, "my favorite selections were tight ends Dave Thomas and Garrett Mills in the third and fourth rounds." I saw Mills play once (the OK game, I believe) and remember wondering - who the heck is this guy? But BB and Pioli knew he was a tweener that wasn't big enough (6' 1", 235lbs) to line up at TE (in the NFL) on a regular basis and that Mills didn't carry the ball as a fullback would either, yet they took him 106 overall in the 4th round even though they had just drafted another TE.

    Mills would have be considered a sizable bust for the Pats if he isn't productive this year. With his smarts, high effort, and dedication he ought to be a real factor in the offense and a star on ST.

    Check out some of the hype on Mills predraft (there's plenty more positive stuff out there if you look) ... http://colts.scout.com/2/519659.html
  5. patman52

    patman52 Rookie

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    I think Mills will be given every opportunity to win the starting full-back job.

    Evans I hope will be relegated to short down and distance situations.
  6. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    LOL

    Overall I agree, but I think there could even be an early day 2 QB and a late day 2 QB and a UDFA QB. Somehow I don't expect to see Vinnie or a Vinnie clone in 2008. We need some decent arms for camp to work out all those WR, and we need one of them to make the roster with enough upside and potential to make the move from 3-4 to realistic #2 - preferebly by 2008 so that Matt can potentially be flipped but if not by 2009 when he's gone anyway as a FA. Ideally we need a young #3 QB on the roster and another one on the PS.
  7. primetime

    primetime Rookie

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    Evans is hardly a short yardage back. He just doesn't have the pop to push the line for an extra couple of yards.
  8. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    I know everyone thinks we're set at WR because of free agency, but in the draft, WRs are taken for 1 -2 years down the road.

    So look ahead to see who is signed 1-2 years down the road. Welker. Chad Jackson? Who else?

    Gaffney and Caldwell's contracts are up after next season. Washington and Stallworth's contract both have options but can just be 1 year deals if they don't pan out or someone else steps up.

    Since this draft is supposedly deep at WR I'd be shocked if you didn't see them take some receivers. This is a very good strategic time to get some young guys into camp who won't be depeneded on for awhile.

    In other moves a developmental QB makes sense - stash him on the practice squad this year - get Cassell some playing time by having a lot of blowouts and maximize that investment with a trade, and start the process over again.

    OL is always a good pick - considering we've gotten so much value from mid- round picks look for those selections next weekend
  9. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    Mo, you might want to check out my "draft 4 QBs in the sixth round thread".

    It's in the draft forum.

    It combines the ability to use 4 6th round picks we have no place for with the need for young arms you have noted.

    It's chief use is as a psychological ploy versus GMs around the league. Of course Cassel was a great 7th round pick, but our ability to target greatness in a 6th round QB is undisputed.

    What GM is secure enough to turn down a possible Tom Brady when he could be had with a 4th rounder.

    It's positively Auerbachian, IMO.
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