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Pondering the future of our LINEBACKER Position

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by DefenseRules, Nov 29, 2007.

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  1. DefenseRules

    DefenseRules Rookie

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    After reading this article in the Globe,
    a couple of things became crystal clear.

    1. I will be STUNNED if we draft a linebacker on day 1 of the draft. If we do, this young linebacker would have to be "SPECIAL", and I mean Richard Seymour / Teddy Bruschi / Mike Vrabel "SPECIAL".

    2. BB values "EXPERIENCE" above everything else in his linebackers.

    We all know this, but I think some of us forget this especially at draft time.
    Count me among those who continue to forget. :bricks:

    Now having said all of that and keeping that in mind, what do you guys think the Pats will do to improve our Linebackers?

    If we win the Super Bowl, Junior Seau and Chad Brown are gone...PERIOD.
    It's also possible that Bruschi will follow them into retirement also.

    I've also heard a strange comment from the PFW guys that Mike Vrabel might retire as well...I don't believe that for a second, but you never know.

    Colvin has a VERY HIGH cap number next year, he will either reconstruct or they will cut him, IMHO.

    So it's VERY POSSIBLE that we could lose 3 to 4 linebackers from our current linebacking corp next season.

    How do you think BB/Pioli will rebuild that group? I am done looking at the draft. Unless you guys know of an EXTRA SPECIAL Linebacker that the Pats might select with that 1st round pick, I just don't think that we will take a LB that High.

    What about free agency or trade? Who is available? Are there a few 30ish linebackers that BB might be interested in?
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  2. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    I sure hope Chad Brown can cover, cause Colvin was probably the best out in space.

    Karlos Dansby is the linebacker to get excited about on the free agent market, but I haven't seen much of him. Boss Bailey from the Lions is an athlete, not a linebacker. Then you a bunch of riff-raff. Kawika Mitchell has been passed on before, Simoneau doesn't have a position in the 3-4, and so on.

    Then again, if someone like Barry Gardner can come in and do decently, they might be able to find one or two guys next year to fill in.

    I really hope Eric Alexander is ready to play as a coverage backer, because we are getting thin in that middle.
  3. RussFrancis

    RussFrancis Rookie

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    Considering the tenative situations of many of those players you mentioned entering '08, I dont see how we CANT draft a LB on the 1st day next year. It may not be in the 1st round, but we've got 2 3rd rounders iirc, one is Oakland's which is early 3rd, so one of those picks is going to be a LB. Not a doubt in my mind. It doesnt make sense to bring in high priced FAs every single year and pay them all 7 or 8 million a year. And that's what a guy like Dansby would demand.

    A couple of years ago, when we drafted Maroney and Chad Jackson with our first 2 picks, I remember being shocked. Never thought Id see that happen. But it did. Ive learned to never say never with how these guys draft. Anything's possible. But a 1st day LB next year is not just likely, imo. Its almost a lock.
  4. PatsRI

    PatsRI PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    For this year don't be surprised if Rodney isn't playing more of a LB/S hybrid like he did against Dallas Clark and Indy.
  5. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think they lose 2.5 LBs, Seau and Brown. Bruschi comes back but shouldn't be considered more than a situational player. I also think Colvin stays.

    The FA market stinks, so I think the will draft an ILB and OLB plus sign a veteran. I disagree about the special part, a LB in round 1 would have to be special. A LB is rounds 2 & 3 would just have to be good.

    My peek into free agency

    This LB thing is driving me crazy. By not drafting any LBs we have put the heart of the defense in a tough spot next year. Keeping Rogers would have helped the cause, I don't think he was ever going to be a starter but could provide TBC quality backup (which wasn't that bad).

    2008 LB Picture
    ROLB - Colvin, Woods - no real problems here
    RILB - VETERAN FA, Bruschi
    LILB - Thomas, Lua, DRAFT PICK
    LOLB - Vrabel, DRAFT PICK
    Assessment
    Colvin - Very solid player in the peak of his career, no issues with him at all.
    Woods - Appears to be an improving adequate backup, time will tell.
    Thomas - Good player, not sure I want him at ILB but so far I like what I see.
    Alexander - Improving player, not sure I want him as the number 1 starter
    Vrabel - Trending down, it will be interesting to see if he bounces back with more time at OLB.

    Lua - Has shown some potential, it would be a disaster to pencil him in as the starter next year.

    Wildcards - Bruschi - I think he returns for P/T duty.

    Forecast - very hazy
    Day 1 - ILB\OLB is drafted, doesn't start but provides some versatility and backup ability
    Aging veteran - Who knows maybe Big Willie is brought back from the dead


    Potential FAs - A ragtail bunch to be sure, outside of Haggins, Hobson and Dansby none of them offer starting ability.
    Name Team Pos DOB Age Height Weight Comments Link
    Victor Hobson Jets ILB 2/3/1980 27.6 6'0 252 Knows system http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...=910&sport=NFL
    Clark Haggins Steelers OLB 1/10/1977 30.6 6'4 243 Pure OLB http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...=689&sport=NFL
    Chaun Thompson Browns ILB 5/22/1980 27.3 6'2 249 Hardly starting quality http://www.rotoworld.com/content/pla...rt=NFL&id=2591
    Boss Bailey Lions ILB 10/14/1979 27.9 6'3 235 Small, no 3-4 http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...1884&sport=NFL
    Dontarrious Thomas Vikings ILB 9/2/1980 27.0 6'2 241 Small, no 3-4 http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...2791&sport=NFL
    Karlos Dansby Cardinals ILB/OLB 11/3/1981 25.8 6'4 240 May be expensive http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...2663&sport=NFL
    Darryl Blackstock Cardinals ILB 5/30/1983 24.3 6'3 240 RFA in 08 http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...3302&sport=NFL
    Calvin Pace Cardinals OLB/ILB 10/28/1980 26.9 6'4 270 Seems like more of an OLB http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...2054&sport=NFL
    Niko Koutouvides Seahawks ILB 3/25/1981 26.4 6'2 244 special teams http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...1731&sport=NFL
    Brandon Chillar Rams ILB 10/21/1982 24.9 6'3 242 Hardly starting quality http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...1630&sport=NFL
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  6. BrianAZ

    BrianAZ Rookie

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    With BB...it appears that to play linebacker for him, you need to possess special characteristics...notably, experience, flexibility, and the ability to think quickly in dynamic situations. All of his current starters, with the exception of Bruschi, is a free agent acquisition. He doesn't draft linebackers because he can't project any young players to possess the necessary qualities.

    He will never bring in a LB just to bring one in, as last year should prove..as he went almost into the season without a full set of linebackers.

    It's clearly a demanding position to play...look for him to continue to stock the position with free agents.
  7. DefenseRules

    DefenseRules Rookie

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    Thanks guys. Good Answers.

    But how about the draft? Have any young Linebackers in the college ranks stood out this year? I haven't had time to pay attention to the College games this year, I had to change my schedule around at work. :mad:
    I always like to pay attention to Defensive Players that may come out in the draft.

    For those of you that have had a chance to watch, has anyone stood out?
  8. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    If he declares early, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis would look good in a New England Patriots uniform.
  9. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi Rookie

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    Wait...what? Vrabel trending down??
  10. Bertil

    Bertil Rookie

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    I'd like to see Pierre Woods given an opportunity to step up his game. He looked pretty good in pass rush mode from what I've seen in limited time. How he holds up at the point of attack and how he plays in space are complete unknowns. He wouldn't be the first UDFA to have to fill a role due to injury. Maybe he can step up like Blue did in '04.
  11. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I wrote that before the season started, nailed another one! Vrabel is my favorite current Patriot and I glad he is doing so well.

    As usual my predictions are deadly accurate, let me lnow if you need any stock tips...
  12. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    Good post, John.

    According to KFFL, Bruschi and Vrabel are also UFAs.

    http://www.kffl.com/static/nfl/features/freeagents/fa.php?option=LB&y=2008

    Are you sure about Haggins, Hobson and Thompson? Their names aren't listed with the other '08 FAs.

    I don't think that Dontarrius Thomas is too small for ILB, at least not WILB.

    Teddy Lehman and Raonall Smith are two other names to consider.
  13. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

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    Even if we draft a linebacker, he won't be effective or see much time on the field for 3-4 years in our system. College linebackers don't really have the size to play in the 3-4, and the experience/intelligence required to be effective in this system isn't going to come from a rookie.
  14. Jimke

    Jimke Rookie

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    In eight years Bill Belichick has not drafted a linebacker higher

    than the fifth round. I do not expect him to do so in 2008. He

    obviously prefers to sign a veteran free agent. Unfortunately,

    very few teams play a 3-4 defense.
  15. RussFrancis

    RussFrancis Rookie

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    3 or 4 years? Geez, what do we think Belichick is teaching in his D schemes...advanced astrological physics? New precedent is set all the time. We'd never gone out and aggressively pursued a player like Moss before. Or who'da thought we'd given up a few picks for a small slot receiver. I dont doubt no rookie LB would be prepared to start in the system. But Im sure there are unique players out there available in the draft with the intelligence and skill set to pick up the system by year 2. It would obviously be rare. But I cant write it off just because it hasnt happened. But 3 or 4 years? Im sure a smart young player could pick it up quicker than that. Imagine a player like the 'Niners' Patrick Willis playing ILB on this team. that kid's already a Pro Bowler. You honestly dont think that kid would be good enough to be ready by year 2? he was drafted 11th last year. The rare players are there. NE has just chosen to load up on young, big stud linemen with most of those early picks. I have no doubt if they were to draft the LB equivalent of Richard Seymour and received Belichick coaching, he'd be an All-Pro.
  16. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    KFFL is wrong and I am right... well maybe not, but I am pretty sure that Vrabel is not an UFA until after the 2008 season (per Miguel who I trust above all others).

    I also trust RotoWorld above must internet sites, they list these guys as FAs.
    Victor Hobson Jets ILB 2/3/1980 27.6 6'0 252 Knows system http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...=910&sport=NFL
    Clark Haggins Steelers OLB 1/10/1977 30.6 6'4 243 Pure OLB http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/pla...=689&sport=NFL
    Chaun Thompson Browns ILB 5/22/1980 27.3 6'2 249 Hardly starting quality http://www.rotoworld.com/content/pla...rt=NFL&id=2591

    I have been wrong for 5 years and won't stop now, the Patriots will draft a LB and a CB in the first 3 rounds of the 08 draft! (ok, prepare for OG, Punter and QB)
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  17. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey
    In the many years BB worked for Parcells, he secretly conducted cloning experiments in his spare time.

    Pepper Johnson and Lawrence Taylor II are almost ready with Carl Banks Jr. soon to follow.

    Young McGoo and Bruschi are still a few years away.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  18. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Yeah. I'll also be interested to see whether the Red Sox recover from their slump and make some noise in the postseason ...

    C'mon, man. The Philly game notwithstanding, Vrabel's doing great this season.
  19. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey
    My unfortunate prediction is we will end up sticking a couple green rookies or JAGS into the lineup and the will stink because we didn't develop LBs years ago when we had a chance.

    Of course I hope I'm wrong.
  20. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

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    He's the one constant that I almost never see out of position or have a brainfart, aside from that whole pushing rodney over on the Addai catch and run.


    Those hoping for that special player in the first round, don't hold your breath. It's not easy to find a college player capable of playing the 3-4 LB. Even a "special" player may not make an impact for a couple of years.
  21. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

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    Who knows maybe Woods and/or Alexander are developing into what we want :).

    Hey it's possible
  22. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    I hope so. I like Woods myself. Problem is we need 2 ILBs right away and others LBs down the road.

    We've got one UFA ILB for two spots, so if he succeeds we're still one short, if he fails, two. Woods is OLB and so is Thomas in my opinion.
  23. Brady to Brown

    Brady to Brown Rookie

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    I have watched David Harris and Patrick Willis start as rookies this year and do well. Just because Belichick will not pick a LB high in the draft does not mean that they are not out there.
  24. oldskool138

    oldskool138 Rookie

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    I'm with you on this one. For the last 3 years I've been waiting for BB to draft a potential ILB replacement but each draft goes by with out any of those types of players being drafted. I think he should have already drafted a project ILB and had him study under the tutelage of Tedy so he'll be ready when he retires.

    I hope I'm wrong (and I still love Tedy) but I don't see where the next big 3-4 ILB player is going to come from.
  25. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

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    You are right that ILB position is gonna be really tough to fill. I hope we have something already we don't know about or we find a gem through the draft or FA this offseason.
  26. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Again I wrote that before the season, Vrabel has played great on the outside. He is so consistent and fundamentally solid (plus just a little bit ****y). Vrabs is my favorite, moving to the edge has made all the difference, happy to say I was wrong.
  27. PatsandTrojans55

    PatsandTrojans55 Rookie

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    I think there is an LB that will be a special player potentially.

    My choice would be to trade down to about 10-15 pick up a 2009 1st, 2008 2nd and 4th. And pick

    Auburn DE/OLB Quintin Groves. He plays multiple positions which BB loves and this guy reminds me of an Adalius Thomas clone.

    I'm not big on Laurinatius (sp?) because like many OSU LB'S I think this guy is not as versatile as Groves nor as fast.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nfldraft/draft/tracker/player?id=11565

    Report from NFLDraftscout.com

    Quentin Groves, DS #3 OLB, Auburn [Submit Groves Info]

    Name: Quentin Groves (+) Coming off foot injury
    College: Auburn Number: 54
    Height: 6-3 Weight: 250
    Position: OLB Pos2: DE
    Class/Draft Year: rSr/2008
    40 Time: 4.46 40 Low: 4.40 40 High: 4.56
    Projected Round: 1 Stock:
    Rated number 3 out of 221 OLB's 14 / 2384 TOTAL

    Draft Scout Snapshot: 13 GP; 13 GS; 35 TT, 11 TFL, 9.5 SK, 7 QBH, 3 FF; Coaches All-SEC First Team … AP All-SEC First Team in '06. 12 GP; 3 GS; 21 TT, 8 TFL, 6 SK, 1 PBU, 4 QBH, 1 FF; Coaches' Preseason All-SEC Third-Team in '05. 13 GP; 0 GS; 23 TT, 10 TFL, 7.5 SK, 4 QBH, 2 FF in '04. Redshirted in '03.
    Draft Scout Quentin Groves News | Submit Quentin Groves News Here
    11/27/07 - DE Quentin Groves has three sacks, seven tackles for loss, 35 tackles, 23 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles this season despite missing two games and playing a limited role in two others because of three dislocated toes. He's seen more playing time at outside linebacker throughout the season and played there more than usual late in the season as Auburn looked for more ways to get Groves and DE Antonio Coleman on the field at the same time. He did come back to play an active role against Alabama with three tackles and three quarterback hurries.

    11/24/07 - DE Quentin Groves has three sacks, seven tackles for loss, 32 tackles, 20 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles this season despite missing two games and playing a limited role in two others because of three dislocated toes. He's seen more playing time at outside linebacker throughout the season and played there more than usual in the past two games as Auburn looks for more ways to get Groves and DE Antonio Coleman on the field at the same time. The results were mixed at best, with Groves struggling against both the pass and the run, so he's more likely be back in a more hybrid end/linebacker role this week.

    11/13/07 - Auburn senior defensive end Quentin Groves was named one of the 10 finalists for the Awards and Recognition Association (ARA) Sportsmanship Award, which is given annually to one outstanding NCAA Division I football player who best personifies the spirit of sportsmanship. The 2007 Sportsmanship Award recipient will be chosen from one of the ten finalists (listed below) and announced this December. Finalists represent a variety of schools of all sizes and locations throughout the United States and award criteria take into consideration the athlete's conduct both on and off the field. This year's finalists are: Alex Brink (Washington State, QB), Jordan Brown (Houston, WR), Quentin Groves (Auburn, DE), Jacob Gutierrez (Oklahoma, RB), Dionte Johnson (Ohio State, FB), Thomas Keith (Central Michigan, LB), Micah Rucker (Eastern Illinois, WR), Jarrid Smith (Florida Atlantic, G), Jeremy Thompson (Wake Forest, DE) and Robert Vallentti (Iona, LT). - Auburn Sports
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  28. Wretch

    Wretch Rookie

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    If the stories are true BB has coveted LBs early but they have been gone when it came time for the Pats to draft. I think Vilma was one of those, and Vilma is not a LB that we, as outside observers, would expect BB to want. He would seemed undersized for the Pats 3-4 scheme.

    So if the stories regarding Vilma and BB are true it would prove that it is almost impossible to predict what BB is going to do regarding evaluating, drafting or signing LBs.

    I also think that Vilma is going to be traded or outright released by the Jets after the season. It is obvious that he is not adjusting well to Mangini's coaching style.

    Would he be an option for the Pats if he was released?
  29. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

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    Yea I'm gonna stop assuming what I think BB would do or is even looking for and just hope he finds something good somewhere :)
  30. mcbee

    mcbee Banned

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    I guess they pay the price for not developing LBs next year.

    No one available and Seau will be what, 40?

    They'll have to draft a few unless they just want to go with waiver wire guys.
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