The Foxborough chapter of the Leonard Davis Fan Club may be thinning down just a bit.
Thanks to a bunch of chaps named Panos and Compton, the Patriot offensive line doesn’t seem to be such a flaming need anymore. While it remains the bane of the team’s existence (east of the Hudson River, that is), and while it will never remind anyone of any blocks of granite, the line looks far less destitute now than it did a few months ago.
Less destitute enough to not spend the six pick on a behemoth tackle?
All along, this column has sung the praises of Davis, the huge tackle from Texas who may not last until six. Plan B would then be Kenyatta Walker of Florida, and even he might go with Davis in the top six as well. The thinking was that one of these men would inherit Bruce Armstrong’s job, and keep Drew Bledsoe’s backside protected for perhaps the rest of his career.
But the thinking has changed thanks to the free agent signings of Joe Panos and Mike Compton. These two men should push the generally inadequate Joe Andruzzi and Sale Isaia out of the starting lineup; some have even suggested that Compton should push Damien Woody off center and onto guard.
Meanwhile, you let Adrian Klemm grow into the left guard position, and bet the farm that Greg Robinson-Randall was no rookie fluke at right tackle. And voila — you have your offensive line. Panos and Compton provide decent, albeit K-Mart-esque upgrades, and the tackles are set for the foreseeable future without spending the six on Davis or Walker.
So now what do you spend the six on?
Popular opinion right now favors a second wideout to compliment Terry Glenn and to allow Troy Brown to go back to the slot position. Bill Belichick is perhaps leaning towards filling the gaping hole left by the departure of Chad Eaton. Now, it has come down to either David Terrell of Michigan or Richard Seymour of Georgia as the odds-on-favorite to be the six pick.
And if neither man is available, there is North Carolina State’s Koren Robinson and either Florida’s Gerard Warren, Missouri’s Justin Smith or California’s Andre Carter. It is believed that Warren and Smith might not be available at six, so Carter is the likely choice if somehow Seymour is also scooped up.
Guessing who will be there at six is why everyone loves to enter mock draft contests. It’s also a fool’s game, because so much can happen that doesn’t involve a team actually drafting someone. Like, for example, trading the pick.
If trades happen before the six pick, it can cause a chain reaction that can throw off any reasoned strategy Belichick might concoct. Belichick should have a broad view of who he’ll draft, and perhaps take the best of his faves who’s still out there at six rather than worry about one man and keep his fingers crossed for the first 90 minutes of the draft.
Then there’s always the chance that the Patriots can trade the pick themselves. If that be the case, lots of contestants just lost their shirts. But we won’t even bother to speculate. We’ll operate under the assumption that Belichick keeps the six.
Some experts think that the Patriots might go for running back. Both LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU and Deuce McAllister of Ole Miss paid visits to Foxborough recently that were a bit more than just some insight as to what a skeleton of a stadium looks like. With Robert Edwards on the mend, Belichick has to think about this one real carefully.
Mock drafts are fun to read, but are more amusing than they are useful. For instance, Joel Buchsbaum has the Patriots taking Walker at six, with Warren, Tomlinson, Davis and Smith gone. He has Seattle taking Terrell at seven. Patriots Football Weekly has the Pats going for Seymour, with Terrell gone at three to Cleveland. Ourlads has the Pats taking Walker, but two through five read Seymour, Terrell, Smith and Purdue QB Drew Brees.
That said, here is who the Patriots should take, and why.
Ron Borges of the Globe, who can be both biting and low-key at the same time, screamed at the Pats to “take the wide receiver!!!” in capital letters in a recent column. This atypical immature plea from Borges seems to be echoed by lots of people, who are now convinced that Terrell should be Belichick’s man. All other logical reasons aside, sending Brown back to the slot is the best reason of all to take Terrell.
If Terrell is available at six, okay. Take him. Only he won’t be there.
The guess here is that Cleveland will snatch Terrell at three to pair him with Tim Couch. They might envision the Couch-Terrell pitch-catch duo to be the next great such hookup in the NFL. Paired with Kevin Johnson, it should provide Butch Davis with a lot of pleasant dreams this offseason. Terrell may be too good for the Browns to pass on.
So, if Terrell is gone, then who should the Pats take? Robinson?
This writer says nay. Robinson is cut from a similar jib as Randy Moss, in more ways than one. Buchsbaum calls him a “Torry Holt minus his dedication and work ethic”. Moss was considered a head case coming out of Marshall, and in three years has won nary a Super Bowl. When last we heard, he dissed his team as one who most likely will never win a Vince. Many Pats fans cringed when Bobby Grier passed on Moss in 1998; they may have to cringe again in 2001. Belichick should also pass on Robinson.
The Patriots should keep their six pick and select the best available from Warren, Carter, Smith and Seymour. The guess here is that two of these men should be out there at six. Michael Vick of Virginia Tech will go to San Diego at one, Arizona will probably take Warren at two, Cleveland goes for Terrell at three, Cincinnati opts for either Davis or Walker at four, and Atlanta grabs either Carter or Smith at five.
The reasoning is simple. Even though Brandon Mitchell will be coming back after all, and negotiations with Henry Thomas to come back at a reduced salary continue, Eaton’s departure leaves the Patriots with a gaping hole at nose guard. You have Bobby Hamilton and Willie McGinest at the ends, and you also have aging Anthony Pleasant in the mix. Greg Spires is situational, as is Mike Vrabel.
What Belichick needs right now is a moose to stop the run and plug the middle. Seymour is the number two defensive tackle behind Warren, according to Buchsbaum. At 6-6 and 300 pounds, he is sort of a “tweener” in a 3-4 defensive set, in that he can play both tackle and end but is a little light for a tackle and slow for an end. Buchsbaum likens Seymour to Green Bay’s Vonnie Holliday, who himself could have been a Patriot a few years back.
Belichick would probably love to draft the huge (325 pounds) Warren. He may not get to draft Smith either. Carter may not be real attractive in that he is a small end. All things considered, Seymour may be the classic “best athlete available” for Belichick. Or, to put it more succinctly, the “best person for him to draft available” at six.
Maybe Belichick will make a priority list. If he does, here’s who he should put on it, in order: David Terrell, Gerard Warren, Justin Smith, Richard Seymour, Leonard Davis, Kenyatta Walker. Two of these men will be out there at six. Grab the highest remaining one on this list. Simple.
Four days to go. The most important day in the life of head coach Bill Belichick. One man, one very important pick. The franchise and one man’s head coaching career hang in the balance.
It’s not fair. Fans have fun with this pick guessing, and Belichick can’t sleep because of it. Bill Parcells said you have to have a sick mind to be an NFL head coach.
Just as long as Belichick’s mind isn’t sick Saturday morning, no prob.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2001 Patriots Draft Adrian Klemm Bill Belichick Bruce Armstrong David Terrell Greg Robinson-Randall Joe Andruzzi Joe Panos Kenyatta Walker Mike Compton New England Patriots Richard Seymour Sale Isaia