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Valuing an alternate position?

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by patchick, Feb 15, 2009.

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  1. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I've been seeing some posts recently suggesting that Connor Barwin (as an example) essentially "counts double" because he projects to both OLB and TE. I'm curious how others value this.

    We talk a lot about BB valuing versatility, and it's easy to point to players like Vrabel and Troy Brown. But to me, Barwin's TE versatility counts very little in my overall evaluation of him because he projects to be vastly more valuable as an OLB. If I'm considering spending a high 2nd-round pick on a pass rusher, the fact that he also could be considered a 7th-round tight end really doesn't sway my judgment much. (What's more, Barwin's such a raw prospect at OLB that learning the one position should be more than enough to throw at him.)

    I guess I'd say that I value versatility in terms of special teams skills or closely related positions (FS/CB, C/OG, etc.) much more than two-way players. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Jimke

    Jimke In the Starting Line-Up

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    Any player the Patriots choose in the draft to play outside linebacker
    is going to have a heck of a time learning the position. Why would they
    choose a player who played only one year on defense? His chance for
    success is minimal.
     
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If you are looking at Barwin as an OLB, we first need to weigh that against a known "Patriot" value: Shawn Crable. Somewhere around here, I think in a Larry English thread, I made a stastical argument to note Barwin's one year on defense was measurably more impressive than any one year by Crable and gave him a one round higher grade as a result. This placed his "base" value in the high second round.

    As a TE, I envision Barwin much the same as we see Vrabel being used, though it would initially seem he was more likely to fill-in as an emergency TE while he was developing at OLB. This adds to his value not so much in comparison to Crable, but to another high second round OLB candidate such as English or Matthews or Sintim. Weighed side-by-side, I think Barwin's TE value somewhat offsets English's longer track record at TE, Matthews with limited starts hisownself, and less production, isn't in the running, and Sintim won out by virtue of his (projected) Inside/Outside versatility and longer, more productive track record.

    The final element (pre-Combine numbers) is Special Teams. Barwin has four blocked kicks in his career, three of which came as a Senior. His profile specifically mentions he's a proficient Special Teams Ace. Again, I found this useful when establishing Barwin's value relative to Crable, it also becomes more relevant when measuring Barwin relative to English (who has no reported Special Team's play), Matthews (who's stock is helped by his Special Team's record), and Sintim. To me it pushed Barwin's value higher than English, didn't help enough for Matthews to rebound any, and put Barwin and Sintim much closer.

    If I recall correctly, I ranked OLB candidates as:

    Sintim (slight edge because of ILB potential)
    Barwin
    English
    Matthews
    Cushing

    with Cody Brown, Kruger, and Michael Johnson all ranking in the third round, in that order.

    Edit: It's VJC's Larry English thread near the bottom of the page and my final ranking was Barwin, Sintim vs. what I misremembered here. Frankly I'd consider either a good pick, though I think Barwin will have a higher ceiling.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  4. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Barwin has more upside on defense than he does at TE. Sure he can catch some passes, but that alone doesn't make him a good TE prospect. Where he would excel immediately is on ST, which is how he'll earn his roster spot, while we wait for him to develop his raw techniques as a pass rusher, all the while gaining much needed experience on the defensive side of the ball. And it's that lack of defensive experience that prevents me from riding the bandwagon (at this time). He has proven athleticism, but is a developmental prospect, who deserves to be drafted in the hope he'll become a solid edge rusher on the NFL level. As we all know by now, versatile players are extremely valuable to Belichick. But so are experienced, productive players who have proven themselves at one position.
     
  5. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Supposedly, there were reports at the Senior Bowl that Barwin was basically telling anyone who'd listen that he would gladly play ST as a rookie.
     
  6. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He gladly played Special Teams as a starter, you can see him on the Punt coverage unit in some of the games I recorded.

    Seneschal: I agree that one year of starting at DE could be a knock, but that TE time does have the virtue of giving him an understanding of routes from the offensive perspective. Lot's of give and take here, with the number of OLB prospects already on roster, I don't mind taking the less experienced Barwin precisely because he does have a much higher ceiling.
     
  7. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    I might disagree with individual rankings but it would be hard to be disappointed with a draft that included 1 of those top 3 players for the Patriots. The combine and the results of free agency might change the picture obviously, but pre-combine, I'd think that adding one of those 3 will help upgrade the Pats defense and inject some more youthful talent into it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  8. DW Toys

    DW Toys In the Starting Line-Up

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    There are two other solid picks that have more value than people project. One is TE James Casey. He had 104 catches and 13 TD's. He also had 46 carries as the lead RB from the Owl's version of the Wild Cat formation with 6 TD's and a 4.2 average.
    He also played some safety and DE for the Owls. He is 6'4" and 238 with a 4.62 40 speed. We need a TE in this draft. The Watson experiment is over and much to his credit, he became a better blocker. Thomas teased us at some time but got bumped for a start by a journeyman TE. Health? Staying healthy is part of the NFL as well. Casey was a member of the National Honor Society at Azele HS

    The other is Nik Harris. 6'3", 233lbs.The kid can play both safety positions and OLB. BB type versatility. He has run a 4.5. He can cover and hit like hell. He could be the in-the-box Rodney guy as well.They are trying to stuff him in as an OLB but I think he is a strong safety and has the coverage skills. "Prototypical size for the position. … Instinctive defender who reads the action well and is quick to close. … Flashes explosiveness as a hitter. … At least adequate lateral quickness to remain at safety and is an instinctive player who flows well, avoiding blockers to make the play. … Reliable one-on-one tackler in the open field. … Versatile defender has also seen time at nickel cornerback and free safety and is a mainstay on special teams.Harris has earned playing time at cornerback, free safety, strong safety, middle linebacker and special teams". He is also an excellent citizen. He is an honors student at OU. The ways we play Rodney in the box alot and the way wanted to play Tank, this would be a good fit.
    DW Toys
     
  9. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    His name is spelled "Nic Harris" not Nik Harris, also not to be confused with Victor "Macho" Harris.
     
  10. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Dont get me started on "two way players".....I thought it a farce when we drafted Slater without a POSITION last year.....saw him make the team, play, and BLOW the Pittsurgh game. Put me on record being AGAINST drafting ST players and FOR using recruitment back ups.
     
  11. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    Slater has made some huge gaffes, but overall he seemed to be a valuable ST contributor. Slater's main value is as a STer and not as a safety. He is NOT a dual position player ala Barwin OLB/TE or Sintim OLB/ILB so the comparison you're making is not very good.

    It's debateable whether dual position flexibility is better to have than someone who has just proven strong at one position, but that kind of player does offer a desirable added dimension of flexibility when building your roster.
     
  12. tanked_as_usual

    tanked_as_usual Banned

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    why not? cassel played zero years on offense
     
  13. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Slater blew the Pittsburgh game? Or do you think a rookie placed out on a cold, wet field under those conditions was a coaching miscue? Slater earned his way as a gunner and lead blocker, but he wouldn't have been my first choice back there with Kevin Faulk or Sammy Morris available to protect the ball. And it's not like Randy 'effin' Moss didn't have some serious handle problems that night either.
     
  14. DW Toys

    DW Toys In the Starting Line-Up

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    Spelled both ways on the net.
    Sorry.
    DW Toys
     
  15. DW Toys

    DW Toys In the Starting Line-Up

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    I agree. Slater has been a bust. Didn't we move up to get him? I think he made the team to prove a point so the skeptics wouldn't give you a "told-ya-so". He is a potential cut for 2009.
    DW Toys
     
  16. ctpatsfan77

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    Or maybe we can blame Ellis Hobbs for getting a case of the pukes right around the end of halftime, so he couldn't be out there to return the kick. . . . :confused:
     
  17. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm not going to make comparisons, but I'll just point out that it might not be far-fetched to say that Casey is the best football player Rice has had in a very long time (remember, this is Rice, not Texas); the "Owls' version of the Wildcat" is the "Thor package"--and he was Thor. :)
     
  18. DW Toys

    DW Toys In the Starting Line-Up

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    Did not know that. Good stuff.
    DW Toys
     
  19. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I think Special teams is the key with this player. Can he beat out Woods on ST? Probably not. Can he beat out Redd and/or Crable on Special teams? Probably.

    As long as Thomas and Vrabel are on the outside, whoever the 4th OLB is, must be a special teams demon.

    I would love to see someone come in and claim the starter position at OLB opposite Vrabel. That would allow us to move Thomas, a playmaker, back inside to play next to Mayo.
     
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