Draftnik Bonus: Memory Lane

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Dec 6th

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Look, Your Pats Draftnik is just bored and self-serving. For the people who like these, I'm taking Maust's suggestion and posting some golden oldies. Now remember... The Draftnik is a parody persona. In browsing posts I realized just how often I re-use material, which is fine when it's because actual draftniks say the same goddam thing every year: Need more pass rush. Need 6' corner. It's less forgivable that I've been considering names to be positions for a few years, that Tolkein and aphorisms like "Low man wins" make repeated appearances, and that I actually wrote about Rod Gronkowski (and no, I did not get that from a low-budget porn parody.)

Click on the years and you can read the threads... but beware! Trotting out a joke more than once is fine with a year between them... but looks terrible all at one time!

Somehow I can't find 2016-17; it's possible I actually had a life at some point. But starting with 2015, here are a few from memory lane....

Round 4, pick 131: Shaquille Olajuwan “Shaq” Mason, C about to become a G and then get cut, Georgia Tech, 6’1”, 300.
So somebody’s parents are a little disappointed at their 6’1” kid, right? Guess he never had his growth spurt. Oh well. There’s always the NFL as a backup plan.

Don’t expect Tom Brady’s hands to smell vaguely like this guy’s taint anytime soon. Despite being named after not one but two centers, Shaq’s on the way to playing what’s-the-point guard for the Pats, at least well into the summer. Why? While 6’1” sounds like a respectable – nay, brobdignagian - height to you and your buddies playing D&D in the basement of the science department building, it’s not quite what you want in an NFL center. Although he does also have the short arms the Pats seem to covet in a center prospect, I’m thinking he’s third on the depth chart in emergency situations behind Stork and Wendell, and lower than that at the guard position, since we don’t know whether he can play it. Edit: Oh you say he came out as a Center but played guard his whole college career? I'm sorry, the confidence meter didn't peg at the top when I heard that either.

On behalf of draftniks everywhere I sent several frantic emails to Bill, c/o the general Patriots team email address, but I suspect they were screened by some no-talent hack paid to protect Coach from guys like me trying to protect him from himself. It appears he’s just grabbing anybody who’s ever put his hand in the dirt at this point, as I explained at length, but to no avail.

Upside, such as it is: tough, strong hobbit of a lineman. They say low man wins, so he’s ahead of the game on that count. Lots of power and toughness. Second consecutive Yellow Jacket this draft, this time a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket – oh, you didn’t know that’s their real name? Get used to it. Saying anything about “rambling wrecks” with Ryan still at the podium after Bills games will just get confusing.

Fourth round is a little early for camp fodder, but I’m officially declaring myself smarter than the Patriots’ brain trust, again, and nicknaming him Radio Shaq, because even at the bottom of the fourth his stock’s too high. Pats draftnik grade: F


Round 2, pick 62: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois. 6’2”, 226.
I couldn’t hear myself preemptively booing this pick over the JEST fans booing Willy McGinest. I did love that he got snarky with them, but my delight was short-lived once the pick was announced. Then I figured out why I was booing preemptively, and here it is.

Precognition is contagious. First we pick a guy who knows about the snap before the center who snapped the ball, then we got the guy who releases the ball before his arm is back. And sideways, at that. So it’s just natural that I knew this pick would suck before it was made.

Let’s start with the three-quarters delivery. Tom Brady doesn’t throw side-arm. Hell, Drew Bledsoe didn’t throw side-arm. You know who throws side-arm? Philip “Crimea” Rivers. (And if you’re sick of the name jokes just be glad we didn’t move up to pick Ha ha Clinton Dix, whose name will therefore be mercifully relegated to the political forum.) And that’s the upside.

The downside is Tim Tebow. And I didn’t like that movie the first time I saw it.

So naturally he learned to get the ball out lightning-fast, because people kept slapping it down. He got good at it, he impressed the credulous New England Patriots scouting staff (which by the way, is the worst scouting staff in the league except for everybody else’s,) he set a few records, blah blah blah. Then he lit up the Senior Bowl for 6 of 12 and 32 yards.

See, that’s because Jimmy Garoppolo, your New England Patriots quarterback of the future, played for Eastern Illinois University. So he never got to play against the only guy faster than his release, even when said guy was healthy, because that guy played for Florida. He did get to play against the Gamecocks every year. Not the marginally relevant South Carolina Gamecocks, mind you, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. He also got to battle it out with the Huskies (Northern Illinois,) the Salukis (Southern Illinois,) and both the Redhawks and the Skyhawks, and who the hell cares where they’re from. None of them were any good. It’s the Ohio Valley Conference, for the love of God.

So, he got away with a delivery that would make a Japanese pitching coach nervous. But he makes up for it with his athleticism and escapability. Feels pressure well, regardless of whether it’s there. Makes great decisions, throws receivers open, which will be great once we have some receivers again.

Overall, it looks like the Pats have seen the future… sideways. Quick release, quick reads, and feet so pretty Rex Ryan is offering the JESTs’ 2015 second rounder for a JPEG. Pats draftnik grade: B-.

Round 6, Pick #197, "Nasty" Nate Ebner, DB, THE Ohio State University; 6'0", 205 lbs.
Quoted as saying "Did I think I'd be in a position to get drafted? No way." In fact, he didn't actually know the positions in football a couple of years ago. For the curious, here he is in action for Ohio State Sevens: Nate Ebner Ohio State 7's - YouTube

Don't talk to this kid about conditioning. He played rugby. You know what rugby is? It's football, without pads, and every play is the kickoff. Or you could say it's soccer for people who like to hit, and sometimes bite and maybe stomp, and also catch the ball with their hands.

Want more? Hilliard Davidson High School - yeah, that close to "Harley" -- but more Hilliard intrigue to come (see below). MVP, Rugby World Cup, '07 and '08, but I'm pretty sure that's the kiddie division. Still, impressive. 2009 Big 10 All Academic team, but you have to think about schools in the Big 10, other than Michigan. Prefers weights to social interaction, and majored in -- I am not making this up -- Exercise Science. He just made Department Chair Dr. Richard Simmons a very proud man.

You have to think with this pedigree, he'll claw his way onto the special teams roster. Only downside, given where he was drafted: He can't rush the quarterback. Pats Draftnik Grade: B

Rd 2, pick 33 - Ras-I Dowling. CB, UVA.
What, I was supposed to say "Virginia?" Lemme tellya something. Nobody down here calls UVA "Virginia." Wah Hoo Wah. In any event, we now have a high-name-character guy, which should help me get over the Pats not picking Prince Amoosemenorah yesterday. It might have been great to have the bona fide source of the nigerian deposed royalty e-mail scam playing on the team, but who can argue with a guy that can call himself "Me, Myself, and -I"?

Ras-I seems to be a somewhat updated version of Ty Law, a corner who can hit. Unfortunately, other guys can hit too. Also, the ground can hit, and in Ras-I's case, some particularly driving rainstorms can hit. Ras-I seems a tad on the injury-prone side, which scared other teams away enough for him to drop to the bottom of the second round. Unfortunately, we picked him at the top of the second instead. But not to worry - it's not like this pick had much trade value.

On the other hand, if you send a DB to New England, you pretty much know he's going to get hurt, so we might as well draft an injured one as a labor-saver. Pats Draftnik Grade: D

Rd. 2, Pick 42. Rod Gronkowski, TE, Arizona.
The sun rises in the East,say “No,” and Bill Belichick drafts a TE. This time, he drafts one high, packaging the 44 pick and some other crap to pick a guy who definitely looks like he should be called Gronk. Everybody wants a playmaker. Everybody says he’s a playmaker. News flash: in NE, Gronk will be lucky to catch a cold. He’s going to beat people up on edge rushes and screens and catch 30 balls a year. But 6’6, 264 pounds is a good size to pop safeties, cornerbacks, and linebackers that get in the way of a weak I power toss. Of course every other team in the league passed him up, some of them twice, so I detest this pick. Grade = D.

Rd 3 Pick 58: Sebastian Vollmer, OL, Houston.
Houston, we have your problem. Look you can look at the Pats' O-Line one of two ways: It's either not good enough or it is good enough. Now work with me here. If it's not good enough that means they can't evaluate these guys to save their lives, and rely on the Scarnecchia school of O-Linemen to turn a continuing stream of fat boys and rodeo clowns into NFL linemen, until such time as they do their best turnstile impressions... in the freaking super bowl. If they are good enough, we're back to pick 40: why would you ever draft someone at a position when you're already strong enough, instead of drafting in a desperate plea to the football gods that you can fix something that's going wrong? Throw in that I memorized at least 50 names of guys I've heard of from college ball and this wasn't one of them. Plus I have never met a guy named Sebastian who didn't need his a s s kicked, Janikowski included. Now granted, I'd rather go toe to toe with a kicker than a 6'7 307 pound O-lineman, but I'd say that about Tommy Chong's little brother Eugene too, and look how he turned out. Anyway don't we already have that other failed genetics experiment guy from a couple years ago that looked like Brady with a missing chromosome somewhere? What the hell happened to that project?
Nevertheless I'm intrigued. B+.


Round 4: Frodo Baggins, CB, Auburn. Or as some call him, "Jonathan Wilhite." Just like Bilbo (see above) but without the metal plates in his wrist. At least he has "hite" in his name. Scott and Bill, did you read my e-mails? Huh? Why do you still believe that a guy less than 6' can be a cover corner? I have declared it deeply desireable to hire someone at or above 6'. Speed, jumping ability, backpeddling, swiveling hips into a break, ball skills, and other attributes are often talked about, but can not really be considered as important as the number "6". It is only coincidental that I once stretched a tape measure halfway to my anus in search of that same elusive digit.
So there you have it, faithful reader.... the Patsfans Draftnik Re-Draft Thread. To coin a phrase, I love me some me!


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Mason was actually very highly regarded by the draftniks in 2015.
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