Pats Address Depth but in Typical Fashion …Against the Grain
The Patriots finally got to make some picks in the 2016 NFL Draft and the results were a mix of personnel. They filled their depth needs at CB, OL, DL and for a third QB but like every year some of their moves were surprises. The best moment of the night was having Kevin Faulk coming out to introduce Pick #78 wearing a Tom Brady jersey. And he said, “The Patriots and Tom Brady…” Curiously, ESPN didn’t show that. Here’s who they selected with their Day 2 picks.
Round 2, Pick #60 Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama:
Jones was pretty much a consensus pick to New England all along. A converted WR turned cornerback, Jones has gotten better every year and will definitely upgrade the Pats secondary. He’s not the biggest guy at 5’10, 196, but he’s a guy who plays bigger than he is. His time in the 3-Cone Drill at 6.71 was third best among cornerbacks and shows his change of direction skill and speed.
He is a physical, feisty corner who plays aggressively and doesn’t lack for confidence. He’s also an outstanding punt returner who returned four punts for touchdowns in 2015. Jones can play outside or inside in the slot. You can read our draft profile on him here:
At the #61st pick the Patriots traded with the Saints and received the 78th and 112th pick which gave them three third rounder selections and now one in the fourth.
Round 3,Pick #78 Joe Thuney, OL, NC State:
Thuney was a bit of a surprise because most scouts had him moving inside to the guard position, which wasn’t considered a position of need. He said in a conference call that Dante Scarnecchia went to his Pro Day and worked him out. Thuney is very versatile and has played center, left guard, right tackle and left tackle while at NC State. He further stated that the Patriots and Scarnecchia worked him out as a center.
He’s big at 6’5, 305 pounds and is very athletic with quick feet for a tackle but is a bit on the lean side. He’ll need to build up his core strength at the next level and work on some of his game with Coach Scar. But as a three-year starter with his versatility, he should find a niche for himself. The only question is where? The Patriots need help at tackle, Thuney told the media he sees himself as an interior OL.
One would have to assume that they envision him as a player that they could plug in anywhere or else his value strictly as an interior OL would not be worth such a high pick.
Round 3, Pick #91 Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State:
Brissett fulfills a need at QB with Tom Brady facing a 4-game suspension to start the season but was a bit of a reach in the third round. He has prototypical size at 6’4, 235 pounds and is a big, strong athletic quarterback. He’s also a strong leader and is a fiery competitor.
Originally played two years at Florida but transferred to NC State. He can move around the pocket and has a strong arm. Brissett suffers from accuracy issues in the short and deep game. And he tends to stare down receivers. While the Patriots needed to add a quarterback, most expectations had them going for one in the 6th or 7th rounds. But Nick Caserio stated to the media after the days’events that the team’s board had the players that were targeting right where they hoped them to be.
Brissett will need time to develop which will be tough in New England as Brady tends to try to play as many snaps as possible….even in practice.
Round 3, Pick #96 Vincent Valentine, DL, Nebraska:
Valentine is a very big man at 6’4, 325 pounds who struggled with a myriad of nagging injuries in 2015 but was a very effective run-stuffer in 2014. He can eat up double teams and is tough to move in the middle of the line in the running game.
His work ethic, as well as his overall fitness and conditioning, were question marks in Lincoln, but his injuries could have contributed to that. He has the thick, tree-trunk body type that space eaters need at the NFL level but will probably be the fourth man in the rotation behind Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, and Terrance Knighton. Valentine fills out the depth that they were looking for as he’ll be signed for 2017 and beyond as Branch, and Knighton both have contracts that run only thru the 2016 season.
Valentine was again, a bit of a reach at #96, however, the Patriots always scout and draft for fits in their program and Valentine signals that the team is going bigger at the interior DL position in 2016. They’re bringing in huge space eaters inside while keeping their more athletic defensive ends on the edge.
Looking at Day 2 selections has to be considered a mixed bag. Did they improve their depth with their picks? Yes, but other than Jones they picked up no impact players. There were plenty of offensive weapons, (running backs and wide receivers) that were still available. And neither of those positions have been addressed yet. They have eight picks remaining and can still address RB, WR, and LB. If they use all eight picks today, that would put the roster at 88 which is only two below the league mandated 90 that they are allowed to have at this time of year. Knowing that they usually like to bring in several UDFAs, this will bear watching.
Posted Under: Patriots 2016 NFL Draft
Tags: 2016 NFL Draft 2016 Patriots Draft Bill Belichick Cyrus Jones Jacoby Brissett Joe Thuney New England Patriots NFL Patriots Tom Brady Vincent Valentine