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Some First Round Musings

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by dryheat44, Mar 19, 2007.

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  1. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    In order to try looking at our possible first round selections from a different angle, I looked through the last several first round selections from Team Belichick:

    Graham
    Warren
    Wilfork
    Watson
    Mankins
    Maroney

    I see three different reasons why these guys were drafted:

    1) Clear upgrade over current starter (Graham and Mankins - whom I believe was initially drafted to replace the Ashworth/Gorin RT tandem). If Belichick is going to make a big trade up, the Graham acquisition suggests it would be for players in this category.

    2) Preparing a year in advance for a player not expected to return (Maroney and Warren, as we had Big Ted on a one-year deal).

    3) Rare athlete who can't be passed up (Wilfork, Watson. Warren and Graham also qualify) - BB has said that he spends a disproportionate amount of high picks on defensive linemen and tight ends because there are only so many football players who have those skill sets/physical attributes)

    Looking at the projected top 35 or so players, does this point clearly to any players in particular?

    1) Which starting spots can be upgraded in this draft? The short list is probably Steve Neal and Eugene Wilson. Ben Grubbs would probably supplant Neal within the first month of the season. I think I value Wilson more than most, but most people would probably argue that Reggie Nelson would be an upgrade. Landry certainly would, but we won't get him. I also don't think Nelson is worth a first round pick, but that's my minority opinion.

    2) Which important players do not have a contract beyond 2007? Well, Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel, Tedy Bruschi, and a cluster of receivers (Caldwell, Gaffney, Stallworth, and maybe Brown) and depth DBs (Scott, Gay). I can't think of any player who may get cut for cap reasons. So who in the draft could be targeted? Bruschi's production probably can't be replaced by anyone in this draft. David Harris would be the best bet. Willis is a possibility. We're left with a large number of WRs and DBs. WRs I can see Anthony Gonzalez and Robert Meachem fitting into the Patriots offense. The only CBs I'm comfortable with being able to play man defense are Darrelle Revis and Josh Wilson.

    3) 3-4 defensive linemen in the top tier (that could conceivably fall) are Alan Branch (unprepared and out of shape for Pro Day) and Adam Carriker. Greg Olson is the lone tight end. Olson is essentially Ben Watson, with less blocking skill, so it's hard to see BB go that route with Watson signed for three more years.

    Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the Patriots will draft one or two of:

    Ben Grubbs
    Reggie Nelson
    Robert Meachem
    Anthoney Gonzalez
    David Harris
    Patrick Willis
    Darrelle Revis
    Josh Wilson
    Alan Branch
    Adam Carriker
     
  2. sebman2112

    sebman2112 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Those are some of the guys on my list..
    You made this thead just so you could push for Grubbs, though:)
     
  3. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Following that logic...Maybe Joe Staley, depending how the organization feels about Light at LT. Also, it depends how the organization feels about Colvin and Vrabel for '08 and beyond. Maybe Spencer then would be on the list.
     
  4. sebman2112

    sebman2112 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yes, if I was going to upgrade anyone it would be Matt Light, not Steven Neal. I think he is one of the better run blockers NE has.
     
  5. ayjackson

    ayjackson Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I think it's possible that if a ROG upgrade was sought, Kazcur could fit the bill. THis would mean that ROT was a possible upgrade position. Meaning Staley, Ugoh, Sears and Blalock are possible selections.

    Also, Cassel is out of contract in a year. Regardless of what we think of the third rated QB in the draft, isn't possible that BB likes the idea of using a second first rounder on a QB (Stanton, par example) that he'd control for five years. I could see Brady retiring in four years (2 Superbowls, to be conservative) to stud in the pastures.
     
  6. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I agree that RG can be upgraded through the draft, but Neal is signed through 2009 so a immediate (0-1 years) replacement is not needed.

    Maroney, Mankins, Wilfork, etc all had plans to start that year or the year after because the current starter was gone or was leaving soon.

    #2 and #3 makes sense and I agree with your list, but I would remove Grubbs.
     
  7. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    I didn't include the OT positions because besides Joe Thomas, nobody in the draft (IMO, of course) is going to come in and start over Light or Kaczur/O'C this year, which was the premise. As much as I think Ugoh is a decent value in the first, he didn't fit the criteria. Same with Staley, although I've never seen Staley play, so I can't rule it out entirely. That is, for reason #1.

    If you're suggesting Light might be replaced under reason #2, then yes, I suppose Ugoh and Staley could be considerations. However, Light doesn't make a ton of money, so I don't see him being cut next year. He is a starting calibre LT, which don't grow on trees.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2007
  8. Boston Tim

    Boston Tim On the Roster

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    I am thinking that we'll take a DT or DE in the first round.

    1. Warren has 2 years left on his contract, but given Seymour's contract success I don't think that last year is concrete. As that it takes 2+ years for a rookie DL to mature in BB's system, it makes sense to look now if we need to think about potentially replacing Warren.
    2. Marquise Hill will be leaving soon and depth will be needed.
    3. Did Mike Wright win a roster spot because he was so promising, or because he simply beat out Ethan Kelly and Jonathan Sullivan? The answer to this question dictates our need for additional depth at NT.
    4. As you said, BB likes DL and TE in the first round.
     
  9. ayjackson

    ayjackson Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I was suggesting that Kaczur would be an upgrade over Neal and thus a ROT might have a play at the end of the first round. No love for Kazcur at ROG??
     
  10. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #1 is always a nice find, unfortunately, FS is the only position where you could argue the need (your ranking Neal there notwithstanding) and I'm not convinced that BB views FS as a position that requires elite talent to be effective. We already know he's willing to slide Hawkins, Scott, and Gay back there, has a young CB/SS STs star who may have improved enough to be competitive in Training Camp, and there's young master Spann who is another tall, fast CB (lovely hit in San Diego). All that and a delightfully healthy S/coverage LB class in a fairly abysmal draft. I don't see the first round value in a FS with Geno in a contract year and so many good kids available to compete behind him.

    #2 is a more worthy targeting standard - I will add that some positions are two year considerations. "Key" contributors who may need replacement include, Hochstein, Warren, assorted WRs, ILB, SS, FS, DL pool, P, Res. QB.
    - Hochstein is a 5th round selection picked up off waivers and schooled in the Scarnecchia Academy for the Performing Arts. As long as no one seems to want to dip Mruczkowski out of the shadow roster pool (and to date no one has been tempted) it's hard to get too worried about Russ' replacement (as physically attractive as Ben Grubbs may be). Not a 1st round investment.
    - Warren is a #13 overall selection who took two years to blossom. Now that is the kind of player I can see BB shopping for, I can also see one or two kids in this draft who would be worth consideration at the end of round one (assuming no trade overtures are concluded). Carriker is my favorite, but Okoye may beckon, not to mention second round talents Harrell, McDonald, or Alama-Francis. A move here also addresses DL depth.
    - WR to date hasn't been a first round investment choice. Despite the various pundits proclaiming the depth in this class, I consider it a one dimensional depth focused on straightline speed and ignoring an apparent taste for quickness and change of direction acceleration BB appears to like. With Gonzalez carrying an apparent 2nd round rank, this might be a late round one move, though I think unlikely.
    - ILB may be met by Alexander's late season growth spurt. Mays appears to be in the pipeline too. Thomas' signing adds depth there. And there is a long lamented history of draft prospects bypassed in favor of veteran headknockers. Despite this seasons pleas to acquire Willis, Posluszney, and Harris, only the latter rates consideration in my book, and not then in the first round.
    - SS is a conundrum, the acquisition of Mitchell and Jones last off-season was treated as a Special Teams move, but it could just as easily be viewed as a desire for relatively beefy veteran slobberknockers in the reserve Safety pool. The point is fairly moot given that only the out of reach Landry seems to have the size and first round grade for the position unless one planned to revert Beason. As a priority, it isn't urgent with the beefy lads available in the middle and late rounds.
    - FS was dismissed in #1.
    - P, all jesting aside, the Pats currently have they hooks into four punters. Even if they could be made foolish enough to attempt a Crazy Al, there doesn't seem to be a strong lobby for any punter in this class our AZ friend's cheerleading included.
    - Res. QB is interesting since the Pats have been in touch with another Drew who potentially fits as a late first round talent. A hard to fathom concept when initially low cost fellows such as Tom Brady and Matt Cassel populate the roster. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest there are one or two other kids in later rounds who will make the trek to Foxborough.

    #3 is where the fun occurs. Some lobby for Willis, others for Carriker, the FS quartet has their adherents, CBs get mentioned every other breath, an OT gets the occasional nod, one oddball even likes an OG! And all this before Clonamery, Cubedoggy, and JoeSixPat complete rehab. Exciting times to be a draftnik indeed.
     
  11. hobbsownscoles

    hobbsownscoles On the Game Day Roster

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    No it isn't possible
     
  12. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Belichick put good money into re-signing Neal just 12 months ago. $2.6M cap hit, 11th highest on the team. I realize his cap number won't keep him out there but the fact that Belichick gave him that cap number so recently suggests that he won't be replaced any time soon.
     
  13. ayjackson

    ayjackson Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    my point has been lost.
     
  14. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I basically agree with all your reasoning, but thought I'd note that those players have more qualities in common. They're pretty much straight-down-the middle picks -- "sure things" you feel confident about signing to a nice long contract. No high-risk, high-reward guys. Nobody has character question marks. Only Mankins was making a position shift, and LT -> LG has to be one of the lowest-risk shifts possible. Every single guy had prototype measurables for his position. (Sorry, Josh Wilson fans.)

    I'd agree with tossing Staley into to mix. He hits the "rare athlete" bullseye and could be considered a dramatic upgrade to the 6th OL slot, a position that unfortunately becomes important every season.
     
  15. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Your "point" was a that a guy who's never played Guard for us is going to replace a guy who Belichick gave a fairly big contract to only 12 months ago.

    Nice point :rolleyes:
     
  16. SamBamsFan

    SamBamsFan Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    "#3 is where the fun occurs. Some lobby for Willis, others for Carriker, the FS quartet has their adherents, CBs get mentioned every other breath, an OT gets the occasional nod, one oddball even likes an OG! And all this before Clonamery, Cubedoggy, and JoeSixPat complete rehab. Exciting times to be a draftnik indeed."

    There is more than one oddball!:rocker:
     
  17. SamBamsFan

    SamBamsFan Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Fairly big? I'll grant you fairly long. If that guard comes in and outplays Neal, he will start. This contract stuff is just noise IMO.
     
  18. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    He has the 11th biggest cap hit on the team next year, about $2.6M. Maybe it would be noise if they came across a stud but if they thought that stud was Kaczur they never would have re-signed Neal 12 months ago.
     
  19. ayjackson

    ayjackson Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    no it wasn't.

    My point was in response to dh44's suggestion that we could upgrade Neal by selecting Grubbs. He was trying to formulate a possible first round list (not sure if you've read the thread :rolleyes: ). I suggested that if the upgrade at guard was necessary, it could be filled in-house and that ROT could be a possible first round selection to replace Kazcur (who'd move to guard).

    I in know way meant to infer that I felt BB would or should upgrade Neal.

    Though I would add that the circumstances surrounding our Oline when Neal was extended and our circumstances now are different. We didn't have a legit replacement for Neal at the time and we had to protect our assets. Resigning him was the thing to do at the time, regardless of whether you felt he, Kazcur or a 2007 draft pick was the long term solution at ROG.
     
  20. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey


    Whoa, whoa....this oddball like Grubbs in the scenario that:

    1. We are unable to trade up, AND
    2. Carriker (target #1) is unavailable, AND
    3. Revis (#2) is unavailable, AND
    4. Meacham (#3) is unavailable, AND
    5. Spencer (#4) is unavailable, AND
    6. We are unable to trade the pick.

    There seems to be a perception that I have a full-on man-crush on Grubbs. Not necessarily the case.
     
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