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Where do we NEED rookie contributions?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Jul 1, 2010.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We have discussed our draft and the hope we have for various rookies. But where are the clear NEEDs? In what order do you put the need for top contributions.

    In the end, I think that we would be fine without major contributions from rookies, but then I don't it a great success if our tight end only equalled 2009 results.

    I think our improvement might much more likely come from our 2nd players, as should be the case.
    =================================

    The ONE exception I see is at linebacker. There is certainly the possibility that success by Spikes will seriously improve the defense.
     
  2. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    Tight end is the only position where clearly we will be relying on rookies for an awful lot of snaps.

    At WR, either Holt or Tate is going to have to grab that #3 spot. The rookie might surprise a lot of fans and steal the starting spot. Though I'd be surprised to see Holt cut either way. I think he's going to earn a roster spot.

    SILB stands to upgrade/improve due to our rookie and 2nd year ILBs, Spikes and McKenzie.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  3. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Being that we weren't active in free agency, wherever we drafted is in need of a rookie contribution. This includes: WR, TE, OLB, ILB, and (to a lesser extent) CB. Hopefully the bodies that we have at RDE will be able to get the job done and guys like Deaderick can sit back and fine tune their skills to come in within a few years (I have high hopes for him).
     
  4. robertweathers

    robertweathers Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    IMO, Everywhere besides QB and RB...

    O
    OL: Unsure about Mankins. Kazur is a question
    TE: Obvious
    WR: Moss should produce, but Welker is an unknown at this point. So is Tate.

    D
    DL: Maybe not with who is there now but IMO Wright wore down and is not a pure DE/DT in a 3-4. Who knows with Gerard Warren. Maybe one of the late picks can help. Who knows.
    OLB: Not sure where Cunningham fits (OLB in 3-4 and DE in 4-3) but at a minimum, he kid needs to put some pressure on the QB
    ILB: Mayo and Guyton are not thumpers. Spikes seems to be. McKenzie should also be a factor but might as well be considered a rookie as he did not play last year.
    Secondary: IMO McCourty needs to step up and cover the slot receiver or be a regular part of the nickel and dime packages is critical. Willhite is unproven. So is Wheatley.
     
  5. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    My order:

    TE - Obvious, since we only have one real veteran and two rookies. One of the rookies HAS to contribute or we don't have a full team.

    LB - I lumped OLB and ILB here because I believe they can feed off each other. Spikes solidifying the middle or Cunnigham adding a spark on 3rd down pass rush could make a huge impact on this defense.

    CB - Bodden is solid, and Butler seems to be making strides, but in today's NFL we need McCourty to make a contribution in the nickel at least.

    WR - Only listed this last because I believe we have enough options that hopefully Price won't NEED to be a big impact. His contributions are a bonus, but if we need him to be a big time player it means that Welker is out longer than we want, Edelman doesn't improve, Holt is a bust and Tate is still injured (or 3 out of those 4 probably).
     
  6. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Personnel may change, making this issue moot, but as of right now:

    Are Holt and Patten still able to get it done? Is Tate ready to step up? If the answers to those questions are "no", the team needs a rookie wide receiver to contribute.

    TE is clearly going to need rookie contributions.

    OL might need rookie contributions, if the veteran backups haven't improved from last season.

    ILB needs rookie contributions.

    OLB needs rookie contributions.

    If Warren and Lewis both fail at RDE, the team will need something at that position, because Wright cannot handle the position on his own. Whether it's rookie contributions or an act of God is a question for the future.
     
  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I disagree with some of your comments.

    1) I disagree with the statement that we weren't active in free agency. Obviously, there were key re-signings. In addition, we brought in Lewis, Warren, Holt and Crumpler. All figure to fill key positions on the roster. Note that I do not count the usual collection of JAG additions.

    I understand that folks are disappointed that we didn't bring in a Colvin or a Thomas as we did a couple of times in the past. Belichick has (finally) chosen to use the draft to develop linebackers. ALL four of our ILB's brought in over the last three years. Our OLB's are mixture of experienced JAG vets (Banta-Cain, Burgess and Woods) and two kids (Crable and Cunningham). I am not sure how to categorize Ninkovich. He seems to be the inexperienced JAG vet who may or may not win a roster spot. After all, he couldn't beat out Thomas or Woods for reps last year.

    2) I disagree with your statement that Belichick uses the current draft to fill current NEEDS, with expectation that these players will contribute as rookies. I believe that the draft is for the future, for the second and third years of a player's contract. Yes, there is often one NEED that must be fulfilled by a draftee, but this is not the general use of the draft. This year the NEED that will be filled by the draft is at tight end. Even there, it is just possible that Crumpler will get lots of reps.

    3) And yes, I also have high hopes for Deaderick. I expect him to be on the Practice Squad, but I would be fine with keeping him on the roster as a developmental DE and 7th DL (replacing Pyor). We always have room for one or two developmental players, even though they will be inactive in almost all games.


     
  8. robertweathers

    robertweathers Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    BB absolutely uses the draft to fill need. What he will not do is overpay for the talent to fill the need.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  9. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Where do we need rookie contributions?
    I would rank them this way:

    • Punter: the rookie will get 100% of the snaps there barring injury or a complete meltdown.
    • Tight End: similar to above, the two rookies will have no choice but to contribute a great deal.
    • Special Teams: I wouldn't be surprised if some veterans who have primarily been key ST players don't make the cut, which means rookies will need to be significant as their replacements.
    • OLB: since this was the biggest area of need for the team after the season ended in January, it would make sense that this is an area that the high rookie draft pick needs to contribute right away in order for the team to be successful this year.
    • ILB and CB: based on the depth at these positions, I would expect rookies to get significant playing time at both spots.
     
  10. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    In order of importance:

    1) Deep/middle threat (to force the defense to play honest)
    2) Red Zone threat
    3) Run stopper/inside neutralizer (LB)
     
  11. resdubwhite

    resdubwhite In the Starting Line-Up

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    I terms of need. I think Cunningham is the one that the team NEEDS to perform. Strong contributions from the others would also help
     
  12. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    OLB - Cunningham is on the hot seat
    MLB - need Spikes to be what Ted Johnson was to the Pats
    TE - need someone to open up the command the middle of the field.
     
  13. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    :)

    So, Cunningham (or perhaps Crable) "needs to contribute right away in order for the team to be successful this year"
    ==================================

    I think that this is a very strong statement and puts too much emphasis on one position. For example, I could see Ninkovich stepping up a bit and replacing the 2009 "contributions" of Thomas. In that case, we might have the same OLB as in 2009 with returnees Banta-Cain, Burgess, Woods and Ninkovich. And yes, we MIGHT get contributiosn from the #5 OLB whoever he might be.

    Personally, I think that a healthy Mayo and some maturing of the secondary will rsult in imporvements in the defense, enough to make up for possible decrease in DL or OLB play.

    The place I am hoping for rookie contribution on defense is at ILB, where Seau is being replaced by Spikes and/or McKenzie.

     
  14. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think we heavily over analyze the importance of any individual and the idea that every draft choice free agent acquisition, move or non-move is a piece of a complex and fragile overall strategy.
    We tend to talk in terms of the big picture meaning of every decision, and what is being counted on, i.e. we must be counting on Warren or Lewis because we didn't draft a DE, and from the perspective that there is supposed to be a plan in place to guarantee there are absolutely no weaknesses.
    I think this is backwards.

    I think the reality is that each decision is made independently, based on what is the best way to improve the team.
    Do we need rookie contributions? Of course we do, because we will have a number of rookies on the roster. I am certain that there is an expectation that many rookies will contribute, but they are competing for that opportunity. The only difference between a rookie and a veteran is that there are more accpetable reasons for a rookie to not earn a role, but still have one in the future.
    The team, and any team, is a combination of strengths and weaknesses. If Cunningham or Spikes are not ready to play as rookies, there will be another player out there on the field. It is likely that the other player would create a greater weakness than we would have if those players were able to play at the maximum of their talent level as rookies, but the defense will need to deal with the strengths and weaknesses the players on the field bring to the table.

    There is absolutely no question that there is enough talent on this team to win the SB. The question comes in how deep the weaknesses are. Yes, the rookies are expected to shore up some of the weaknesses on the roster, but if they do not someone else will be asked to. The goal is not perfection at every position, because that is simply unattainble.

    I think too many people look at it backwards. That viewpoint is looking for holes and using the resources to plug them. I think it works the other way, that when the resources (draft choices, FA contracts, cap room) are used the purpose is to maximize the value of that resources, THEN form the team around the srengths and weaknesses you have assembled. I know this may sound vague, so here is an example.
    Somewhere on this board there was a comment regarding the Chung draft choice, that went something like:
    BB was comfortable with McKenzie in the 3rd instead of Laurenitis, even though there were many safeties left when he picked Chung and we could have had Laurenitis, and we already have 2 capable safeties.
    IMO,this is not consistent with the way decisions are made. IMO, all it means is that Chung was the best football player on the board, and was seen as the best way to improve the team, given the other players on the roster at his position also taking into consideration how much better he was to the team than other players at his position who could be chosen later. IMO, Laurenitis wasn't valued anywhere near Chung, but the decision had nothing to do with guessing that McKenzie would be there.
    I do not think that BB will ever take a player who he thinks will not contribute as much to the ability of the team to win simply because the bar is lower at that position. I recognize that at some positions (QB could be the only one) you will not take a player because he spot is blocked, but I don't think having a medicore starter ever causes that consideration (ie not taking Chung because Sanders is capable of being a starter).

    I think that one consideration lost in most fans thought process is that if you look 3 years forward, the chance of any player still being on the roster, healthy and playing their best is not great. How many positions on this team would a future probowler not be able to get on the field at within 3 years?
     
  15. resdubwhite

    resdubwhite In the Starting Line-Up

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  16. QB12

    QB12 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Tate is not a rookie, and Spikes is not a 2nd year ILB.

    QB12
     
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    While I agree with your comments, I think you misrepresent others with regard to "holes" and needs. Of course, the first question is how we would play with the best use of the resources that we have. Also, I don't think that there is any question that rookies are treated differently.

    I always view a roster before the draft (before rookies and before late additions). Don't you think Belichick does that? The staff considers how the team might develop and play with the team as consitituted BEFORE the draft. Perhaps "hole" is the wrong word. The question is always is how to use value (draft picks and additional signings) to upgrade the team at various positions.

    Coming in to the draft and later free agency, it was certainly clear to all that we needed help at TE. This was a clear hole in the roster. Other than that, we are simply talking about upgrades.


     
  18. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re-signing our own doesn't count to me, especially with what would have happened if we let one of the top NT's in the league walk when we run a two gap 3-4 and if we had let Bodden go when we would have been left with Butler, Wilhite, and Wheatley. Those had to be done and were essentially no-brainers. I like the Holt and Crumpler signings as I think Holt still has something left in the tank and should be a better option than Aiken and Crumpler is one of the better blocking TE's in the league going by his production from a year ago. Outside of that, Warren and Lewis were JAG signings. Warren hasn't shown that he can be a reliable every down starter for a full season in his career and Lewis, to my knowledge, has not played in a system like our's throughout his entire (HS, college, or pro) career. On top of that, he seems more suited to be playing DT in the 4-3 than he does a 3-4 end. Hopefully I'm wrong, but we'll see.

    This pretty much drives home my point that, because we weren't active in free agency or through trade, we need to rely on a rookie contribution at OLB from Cunningham. TBC was great for us last year in the pass rush, but that was a career year for him and he shouldn't be expected to do it again. On top of that, he's still somewhat of a liability against the run. Burgess is really more of a 4-3 DE than he is a 3-4 OLB, and Woods is good depth but should not be relied on to start. Crable hasn't even shown the capacity to get on the field, much less make an impact at the spot. Therefore, we're relying on a rookie to make an impact at OLB.

    As for ILB, the drafting of Spikes this year and McKenzie last year shows that BB might only want to rely on Guyton on passing downs as an ILB, despite what so many here were trying to drive home about the guy before the draft. Mayo is fine at his spot, but at the other ILB spot, we're either going to have to rely on a rookie or a first year player. Hence my including them in my original post.

    You can disagree until the cows come home, but BB absolutely uses the draft to fill needs. Let's have a look at our needs going into the offseason (not listed for importance): O-Line, TE, WR, DE, OLB, ILB, CB. Now let's take a look at what we drafted for: CB, TE (x2), OLB, ILB, WR (x2), O-Line, DE, P. How you can possibly disagree that we don't draft for need is beyond me. No offense or anything.

    I can dig this.
     
  19. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    resdubwhite pretty much answered for me earlier, but let me clarify. I listed punter first because that's a position that will be manned 100% by a rookie, and tight end next because 2/3 of that unit will be rookies - and the vet that is there will primarily be a blocker.

    Next I listed OLB because it is, in my opinion, the biggest question mark on the team and the position most in need of improved performance from last year. Yes, if there is impovement it can come from vets rather than a rookie. I was looking at it from the perspective that the Pats need somebody to contribute more there, so therefore we need more of a rookie contribution there than we need a rookie contribution at another position.
     
  20. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    So... we needed everything except QB, K, and NT. And somehow we managed to have players available in the draft at those seven different positions.

    I think you're drawing a one to one correlation that isn't there. Need is a factor, but not the driving force behind a pick. If we needed an OLB, and there was a future pro-bowl safety available at our slot OR a mediocre OLB, I guarantee you we're taking the safety, not the OLB.
     
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