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MORSE: Patriots Mock Draft #3, Jones, McMillan, Ferentz re-signings

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
March 14, 2023 at 9:54 am ET

MORSE: Patriots Mock Draft #3, Jones, McMillan, Ferentz re-signings(PHOTO: Jan 1, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the field for warm ups before the start of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 5 minutes

The Draft is beginning to take shape as we have the results in from the combine while we await Free Agency and the Pro Day workouts.  It’s time for Mock Draft #3.  We now have the compensation selections awarded by the league.  Everyone thought we were getting 3 compensation picks but only got two.  Then Bill Belichick unloaded Jonnu Smith to ATL for a 7th-round pick (#245).

We are using PFF Mock Simulator today and making no trades.  This will be what I call the Relative Athletic Score Draft.  This is a cumulative rating of all their stats.  Matt Groh and the staff seem to lean toward players with high RAS scores.

As predicted in my Free Agency article the Patriots have signed their own Free Agent Jonathan Jones.  I want them to move him to FS replacing Devin McCourty.  That leaves the void at LCB.

1st Round #14 – Joey Porter CB Penn State

Porter had a 9.63 Relative Athletic Score (RAS).  He is a shut-down CB.  He is the only CB that meets or exceeds all measurement criteria of the Patriots.  His size (6’2”) Weight (198 Lbs), wingspan (81” 2nd only to Julius Brents), and Hand Size (10”) speed (4.46) are excellent.  He didn’t run the 3-cone drill is my only blemish.  One of the top 4 CBs coming out this year.  Patriots pass on WR.

2nd Round #46 Luke Musgrave TE Oregon State 6’6” 251 lbs 4.61    9.95 RAS (2nd only to Kuntz 10.0)   Huge wingspan (79 7/8”) mismatch on LBs.  Needs work as a blocker.  Catches the ball well.  Don’t be surprised if the Patriots deal this pick to get a veteran WR.

3rd Round #76 Blake Freeland OT BYU Athletic RAS 9.82 6’7” 302 lbs  No one questioned Freeland’s athleticism coming into the combine and he confirmed it with the #1 testing scores for OT.  However, can he withstand the NFL Grind at only 302 lbs?  Will he be able to run block?

4th Round #107  Nate “Tank” Dell WR Houston  5’8” 165 lbs 4.49 40, 108 receptions on 154 targets, for 1300 yards receiving and 17 TDs.  Overall for his career 234 catches on 347 targets and 34 TDs.  Has small hands with a tendency to drop the ball.  Strictly a slot receiver.  Did not perform the 3-cone drill at Combine.

4th Round # 117 Luke Schoonmaker TE Michigan Double down on TEs.  RAS (9.75)   Great size and speed. He can also block.  No negatives in what the Patriots look for.

6th Round #135 Takorian Bennett CB Maryland   RAS (9.58) his blistering 4.3 40 made the scouts go back and re-look at the game videos.  The 5’10” 188 lb cornerback also had a 40” vertical jump.

6th Round #183 Jalen Redmond DT Oklahoma RAS (9.63) He stands 6’2” 291 lbs and ran a 4.81 40.  His RAS was tops for IDL. On the Bench Press he had 27 reps at 225#.  He also has large hands that measure 101/8”.  He had good pass-rush numbers but not a lot of tackles.  Maybe just a situational pass rusher.

6th #186 Eric Gray RB Oklahoma RAS ( ???) didn’t run 40 or 3-cone.  Had a 37.5” Vertical leap (4th among RBs). Compiled 1,366 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns on 213 attempts, while he also caught 33 passes for 229 yards in his only year as a starter.  Transfer from Tennessee.

6th #191 Michael Turk P Oklahoma RAS (8.70)  Turk may be the best athlete to ever punt in the NFL.  He stands 6’ 223 Lbs and looks like an LB.  He also ran a 4.83 40 and lifted 25 reps at 225#s.  That’s more than nearly all the players at the combine.  Oh yeah, and he can punt!  Turk averaged 46 yards a kick last year.  Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaches had Turk on their East/West Shrine game American team.  They saw 1st hand his consistently good hang time and ball placement.  He had a 67-yard punt with 4.9 second hang time.  Turk also received individual coaching from Bill Belichick.

6th Round #209 Stetson Bennett QB Georgia  RAS (7.76) Bennett’s height and weight are his big drawback.  However, Bennett is a winner, intelligent, and a very good athlete.  On deep ball drills, he was hitting the receivers in stride.  Dropping dimes in their on passes that were 60 yards in the air.  His throws were better than all other QBs at the combine.  At this point in the draft, it was worth taking him.  We need a third QB and it would be like taking a QB at pick #199!

7th Round #244 (Acquired from ATL for Jonnu Smith)  Daniel Scott FS California  RAS (9.83) Scott the 6’1” 208 lbs FS ran a 4.45 40, the 2nd fastest safeties at the combine.  He also added a 6.75 3-cone drill and a 391/2“ vertical leap. Scott did the Broad Jump at 10’ 8” and 4.17 Short Shuttle   He lifted 22 times at 225# (very strong for a DB) and was a two-year starter at Cal. Some writers feel that Scott may have boosted his stock into a possible Day two selection.  If he is still on the board at this point it will be a no-brainer to take Scott.

Devin McCourty Retires

I am happy for McCourty.  This was a tough decision but I think he is doing the right thing.  He will always be a Patriot and I think we will see him around the ballclub.  I expected this decision and suggested when the season ended that the Patriots re-sign Jonathan Jones and move him into McCourty’s spot.  Great news that the Patriots re-signed Jones.

“It is a rare group of players who win games at a historic rate, exude team culture, leads, win awards, and win championships, and then there is Devin McCourty. Devin did all of those things as a player and more. But, what I think of first when I think of Devin is the type of man he is, his character, his values, and how high he raised the bar for spreading goodness and justice in the community.”  Bill Belichick

Last season, the Patriots were in single-high coverages at the third-highest rate in the NFL at 64.9 percent, trailing only Belichick disciple Josh Boyer in Miami (66.7%) and the Los Angeles Rams (65.3%), per NextGen Stats.

Jonnu Smith Trade

I can’t believe the Patriots got some team to take Smith’s contract.  This is a salary cap dump and that’s why we only got a 7th-round pick.  The Patriot will see a $3.668M savings against the cap in 2023 and $18.450M in 2024 per Miguel Benzan at PatsCap.  That savings will cover the Jonathan Jones signing bonus in 2023 and the way the contract is structured they only have Jones on the books for $1.25M.

Smith ended up as one of the worst Free Agent signings in Patriots history.  I was thrilled when the Patriots signed the up-and-coming Smith in 2021.  He just never fit in.  This is a great year for TEs in the draft and I would expect the Pats to sign a veteran in Free Agency for camp as well.

Roster Moves

Raekwon McMillan re-signed as a depth move.  The Patriots have to do better than what Raekwon McMillan provided last season.  Right now it’s a cheap move that provides camp depth.

Jake Bailey released – His goose was cooked as soon as he filed the grievance with the Players Association over his suspension at the end of last year.  He was statistically the worst punter in the league.  Granted he was playing hurt.  I have never seen a player spiral down as fast as he did.

James Ferentz re-signed Why? Did the 33 soon-to-be 34-year-old OC has an offer from another team?  I doubt it.  He is an undersized (6’2” barely 300 lbs) lineman that adds depth and knows the system.  However, he was a street-free agent several years ago and nobody wanted him.  I just don’t know why they had to sign him now.  His 1-year contract is for a vet minimum of $1.25M.  We need to get better players than James Ferentz.   Oh yeah, James’ dad is Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz one of Bill Belichicks close friends.

Carl Davis Re-signed … that is the report.  Nothing can be official until Wednesday afternoon at 4.

Patriots Free Agent Jakobi Meyers Agrees to Deal With Raiders

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.

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