Welcome to PatsFans.com

Young backup LB's

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by kas, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. kas

    kas Practice Squad Player

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    I just want to here your thoughts on 3 of our young backup LB's: Woods, Alexander, Mays. Even the most die hard LB advocates must admit that it seems to be against BB's MO to draft LB's - he prefers to develop them himself. That being said, these guys probably represent a good amount of our future at the LB position (along with key vets added along the line, of course).

    Alexander - I'm higher on him than most. He's very athletic and is probably our best cover LB (although AD might have that title now - but do you really want our prized LB's chasing TE's instead of rushing the QB the majority of the time?). He's not so big, but is very aggressive and physical (like Tedy), and he seems to be able to fight through trash. Great form tackler who is, IMO, was our best STer last year. I think he could really contribute in a rotation if he can add just a little more strength.

    Woods - The guy basically won himself a roster spot last year out of TC, and seems to have the physical dimensions down (6'5, 250, athletic). Obviously, there's a lot more to the position than just the physical aspect, but he looked great in limited action last year (preseason) and was good on ST. I'd like to see him earn some reps in the base D this season (hopefully due to blowout and not injury), and hopefully he delivers. I have to say I'm intrigued though.

    Mays - We know, like Alexander, he'll earn his roster spot through top ST work. I'm not sure if he has the instincts/block shedding ability to ever be a contributor in the base D, so like Izzo he'll make himself worthy as a pure STer and maybe get some spot duty in the GL package, but that's it. IMO he might be fighting with Izzo for that last LB spot (as I am assuming/hoping at least 1 other guy is brought in to play some LB), or, more precisely, with Izzo/Mel Mitchell/Andrews for one of those pure STer spots. If I had to guess, I'd say barring a few injuries in camp he'll start the season on the ps (he has one year of eligibility left) before some ST help is needed due to injury - sort of like Alexander 2 seasons ago.

    These are some of the lesser known/discussed players on the roster, but these guys are important as they are probably the closest thing we'll ever see to youth at LB (although I'm sure another late roudn pick or UDFA or two will be added as well).

    Beats the minute-by-minute updates on Stallworth or Moss rumours at the very least...
     
  2. stinkypete

    stinkypete In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    17
    Ratings:
    +37 / 0 / -1

    #24 Jersey

    I think we do add youth through the draft in the form of a run plugger ILB, but you are right, these guys represent, at the very least, the future backups/rotation guys. If the group I do like what Woods brings to the table.
     
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    Messages:
    20,550
    Likes Received:
    25
    Ratings:
    +25 / 0 / -0

    Alexander has been here three years, I doubt he puts on much more muscle/weight at this point. Vrabel said he started to blossom at the end of last season, hopefully we'll see that with faster reads in pre-season play.

    Woods had some 3-4 exposure at Michigan before he got on Lloyd's crap list. He was excellent on Special Teams,one of the few with double digit tackles. I remember him best for the block he threw that helped open the hole for Hobbs TD runback against Houston.

    Mays played a heck of a Hula Bowl, I was just checking to see if I still had my notes (deleted) but I remember his hustle and always being around the ball. He was the other LB whose blocking opened the hole for Hobbs TD run. He's bigger than Notre Dame reported, the Pats have him listed as Bruschi size. I hope to see him doing a better job of play recognition in preseason too.
     
  4. ClevTrev

    ClevTrev Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,341
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0

    Good summary of the LB candidates today. I, too, hope the team goes for some youth in the draft. If we figure that in the last 5 years, the only starting LBs drafted by the team were Johnson, McGinest, and Bruschi, it's obvious that it takes some time for players to become effective LBs in the current scheme.

    That being said, it's time to bring in 2 to 3 rookies to add to the development candidates you mention. With Bruschi and Vrabel getting closer to retirement and Colvin possibly needing a renegotiation or release in the next year or two, it's time to begin the reloading process with a vengeance. Given the time it takes an LB to mature into a productive starter in this system, I'll be surprised if the team doesn't draft some viable candidates this year.
     
  5. kas

    kas Practice Squad Player

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    See it's funny you say that because that's exactly why I disagree with adding LB's early. With the new CBA, we can sign a guy max 5 years. The whole point of drafting well is to reap the benefits of cheap but contributing talent. It obviously takes at least 3 years for a young LB to learn and master the complexities of what BB demands in this system. Now, as vets have shown, if they have the skills BB believes they do, then they can pick up the scheme relatively quickly in comparison. Now, even this is debatable, as guys like Chad Brown and Monty Beisel really struggled. So, why would you spend a 1st round pick on a LB, who won't be able to do much except ST for his first few years, and then, if he does even ever get it (as picking LB's for any system is as risky as any position), you only get a year or two max of production before you have to spend that same amount of money to retain him?

    In other words, isn't it more economical for BB to keep picking DL's, TE's, OL's, and especially DB's in the draft - as he's proven to be able to spot good fits in the system, when these players have proven that more often not they can come in immediately and contribute within their first 2 years. Light, Samuel, Wilson, Watson, Graham, Mankins, Kaczur, Seymour, Wilfork, Warren, Hobbs - basically every day 1 pick at these positions, has contributed immediately as at least a backup or ST player. In fact, the only 2 I can think of are Brock Williams (injured) and Gus Scott (ditto). Even Dave Thomas, buried behind 2 first rounders, was able to help out on ST and made a few nice grabs. Then use the cap savings on these positions to splurge a little more on veteran LB's. I think BB is finding more value with WR's here as well - which is why you see more of a focus recently on FA WR's as opposed to just drafting them.

    On a similar note, this is why I expect Samuel to be gone next year. It's not that BB doesn't value him as a player, only that he's not willing to break the bank on a CB when he should be able to spot one who can contribute immediately and do almost as good a job as Asante at a fraction of the cost.
     
  6. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    11,801
    Likes Received:
    414
    Ratings:
    +1,134 / 9 / -2

    #11 Jersey

    Woods has a huge opportunity this year. With TBC gone and a very, very weak group of OLB prospects in the draft, a 2nd-year guy with his physical gifts should have every chance to get on the field.

    Woods was one of the most coveted recruits in the country coming out of high school, was considered a rising star early in his college career, and then...nothing. It's not clear what went wrong -- there have been rumbles about lack of effort, and being in the coach's doghouse. But hustling his way onto the Patriots of all teams as a UDFA (beating out a drafted player) was a great sign. Forcing his way onto the field for 8 games with his special teams performance was an even better sign. Maybe he's just a special teamer, but maybe more...he's definitely one of the players I'm most interested to see in TC.
     
  7. Wotan_the_Wanderer

    Wotan_the_Wanderer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    882
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    That's pretty much what I saw also. I've been keeping an eye on Alexander since his LSU days and I was really pleased BB picked him up. He was put into a tough position against the Colts and I thought he played a very solid game. Yeah he gave up completions to Clark and the other TE who's really an oversized WR, but LBs will get beaten in coverage. Phifer I think was a solid cover LB and even he was beaten often by the likes of McMichael.

    At the very least, he's a solid ST cover guy and I share your thoughts that I'd like to see him get more reps in preseason at LB. And you're right. With the above mentioned two and Mays, we have more depth than in previous years at the LB corp, but I'd still love to see one more high calibre, young guy like Willis on board.
     
  8. ClevTrev

    ClevTrev Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,341
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0

    kas, good points. I would argue that as long as you can sign the right FA(s) to bring in and contribute as an LB immediately, then it makes sense to go this route. However, you mentioned Beisel and Brown as two examples. Yes, there have been the Coxs and the Phifers who have made veteran contributions in the past, but I'd say the team needs to develop a few who can play STs, step into the position due to injury, and be available to develop into a contributor within 2 years. That doesn't happen often, but the success rate on FAs is not a given either.

    I'd say they've got to go both routes in order to develop some depth for the FAs that do come in. If they don't, the team ends up like it did in early 2005 with 2 prime starters injured and retired, failed FAs unable to contribute, and no younger players to take their places.
     
  9. braveht

    braveht Practice Squad Player

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0


    I agree with all you said. It seems that young DBs can immediately use their athletic abilities, eg Hobbs, Samuel, Wilson. It takes longer to blossom on our DL (VW and TW took awhile) and even longer at LB. Our OLBs are making a big change from the DE position in NCAA, and playing ILB behind a 2-gap DL is a long way from college ball, both physically and mentally.

    Unless Asante has a lot poorer year than '06, I don't think we can keep him long term. With QBs like TB. Manning, Palmer, etc. you need a lot of good coverage guys, not one great shutdown corner and a bunch of JAGS. There's only so much dough for the DBs.
     
  10. hwc

    hwc 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,888
    Likes Received:
    151
    Ratings:
    +415 / 41 / -23

    It will be interesting to see if any of them make the final roster. If they do, it will probably be in Don Davis' role.

    If you guys wanna annoint 'em, annoint they ass. But, I'll take a wait n' see.
     
  11. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Messages:
    4,257
    Likes Received:
    29
    Ratings:
    +98 / 3 / -0

    Since they were on the team this past year, they would need someone to come in and take their spot, no?
     
  12. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    6,357
    Likes Received:
    129
    Ratings:
    +300 / 22 / -15

    Al three reserves are UDFA without great athletic abilities, but Woods "may" Be the lone exception.

    Pierre was highly regarded and a potential first day pick after his Sophomore year. then he got on Lloyd Carr's S*t List and sat on the end of the bench and was bad mouthed for a bad attitude.

    Mays and Alexander are nice guys, but aside from their ST ability, should never see the field. Period. They are easily replaced, and hopefully will be this year.

    Woods might have some staying power, as the OLB/DE conversion candidates are somewhat limited in this draft.
     
  13. chunkypony

    chunkypony Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    1,113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Woods is the only one out of the three I hold any hope for. I really hope we pick up at least 2 guys to play ILB/OLB in the draft, because not only do I think we need them, but it would also make me feel better. At this point, with the roster shaking out the way it is, I think the drafting of a LB is as close to a sure thing as any position to be drafted alot this year (and a lot means two or more guys)
     
  14. salty

    salty On the Game Day Roster

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    377
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Alexander played pretty well in the AFCCG. 10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass defensed. Not bad for his first ever start.
     
  15. jczxohn1

    jczxohn1 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0

    It'll also be interesting to see how Barry Gardner recovers from his broken leg.
     
  16. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    2,221
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0

    His coverage skills are probably due to him being a former Safety and OLB at LSU. Excelled on ST there also. Back then he played at 225. Probably maxed out now at 240. Hopefully he's still developing...

    I liked him in college. Untapped potential IMO.
     
  17. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Messages:
    8,963
    Likes Received:
    102
    Ratings:
    +271 / 51 / -28

    No Jersey Selected

    A fair assessment of the yutes. Allow me to add :

    Alexander - An undistinguished college career has been followed by an undistinguished professional career. Next TC is Put Up Or Shut Up time. If he can't assume meaningful snaps on the regular defense, then Sayonara.

    Woods - The biggest and fastest of the 3, he also carries the most potential.
    Although I still hope that an OLB is drafted, Woods will almost certainly be given an honest chance at the 53. He needs to add intensity, consistency, coachability and field intelligence to his athletic ability. If he can, he has a chance.

    Mays - Another undistinguished college career, followed by a penalty-marred, useless rookie season. This team cannot afford 2 JAGs at ILB, in "addition" to Izzo. It's either Alexander or Mays, not both. Preferably neither.
     
  18. pats63

    pats63 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    I like Woods,I think he can move up...I can see Pats draft one or two draft picks....Will see who will the vbest players...I would hope for a Wills to drop for us....Getting back to Alexander I thought he played better than I thought...He had good game,but got burned 1,2 plays....Overall played welll...Will see about Mays,thou that was a heads up play on that fake punt..WILLSWILLISWILLIS
     
  19. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    4
    Ratings:
    +9 / 0 / -0

    No Jersey Selected

    This is one of the most informative threads I have read on here so far. I am watching this off-season more closely than ever before and am anticipating the draft even more than opening day at Fenway. I like to think that BB will lean heavily on the defensive side of the ball in this year's draft, hopefully stockpiling a few LB's to help ease the loss of a few veterans in the coming seasons. No matter how hard you try to figure out what Beoli will ,I give up and ultimately place my trust in these guys. No matter what, I believe they are the best in the league at what they do. Placing value, evaluating talent and putting the team in the best position for the present and the future. Man! I love this sh%t!!
     
  20. shakadave

    shakadave In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Messages:
    2,236
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0

    Whoah, you just blew me away with this brilliant post! I believe you've put your finger on a main reason we haven't drafted LBs. Let's keep this post secret from the rest of the league if we can....
     

Share This Page

unset ($sidebar_block_show); ?>