Tag Archives: Kenneth Dixon

Patriots – Ravens Keys, Who Has the Razor’s Edge?

Steve Balestrieri
December 9, 2016 at 6:00 am ET

The New England Patriots finish up their brief two-game homestand by taking on the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

This week’s game will be broadcast by ESPN and can be seen locally on WCVB -TV Channel 5 in Boston. Sean McDonough will handle play-by-play duties with Jon Gruden as the color analyst. Lisa Salters will work the sidelines. The game will also be aired on the Patriots flagship radio station 98.5 The SportsHub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call, produced by Marc Cappello.

The Patriots (10-2) beat the Rams 26-10 at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady became the winningest QB in NFL history with his 201st win. The Patriots win also marked the 14th straight season that the Pats have won 10+ games.

The Ravens (7-5) blew out the Miami Dolphins 38-6 which snapped Miami’s six-game winning streak. Joe Flacco threw for 386 yards and four touchdowns and the defense shut down the Dolphins offense.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2016 to give some quick analysis on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.

Series History:
The Patriots and Ravens are meeting for the 13th time since 1996 when the Browns moved to Baltimore. The two teams have met eight times in the regular season with the Patriots holding a 7-1 advantage. The teams have met four times in the playoffs with all four in Foxboro with the teams splitting those contests with 2 wins each.

The Pats won the last contest which was the Divisional Playoff Game of 2014. The Patriots overcame two 14-point deficits to win 35-31. That was the game of the now famous double pass from Tom Brady to Julian Edelman to Danny Amendola

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.

First up is the Patriots offense:

Patriots Mock Draft 4.0, Pats Head to La. Early, Late

Steve Balestrieri
April 18, 2016 at 6:00 am ET

Team Needs Change Slightly with Release of Easley, Jones

With The Patriots making some moves in releasing three different defensive linemen and the NFL Draft less than two weeks away, it is time for our Mock Draft 4.0

There is a fascinating tool to use for doing a mock draft made possible by the guys over at Fanspeak.com that we touted last year and is more fun to use in 2016.
In their “On the Clock” simulator, you are the GM for any NFL team. You can choose how many rounds you’d like to draft for (1-7), and pick one of nine different big boards to choose from.

All of the big boards differ quite a bit and the site has a random selection process that picks for the other 31 teams based on the best player available and team needs that are constantly updated. For this fourth mock draft (conducted 4-16), I used the big board of CBS Sports.

With the continued moves the Patriots are conducting in free agency, they still have needs at OT, RB, CB and now at DT with the releases of Dominique Easley, Chris Jones, and Ishmaa’ily Kitchen. It looks like the team is building towards bigger tackles to handle run stopping duties since the team spends most of their time in sub-packages. But they can still use a disrupting penetrator…or two.  The team could still use depth at WR and LB… Read on.

Here is our Patriots Mock Draft 4.0 – CBS Sports Big Board Edition:

Round 2, Pick #1 RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech:
Dixon from La. Tech. would be a perfect fit for the Patriots offense and is a true dual-threat running back that can be equally effective running the ball as he is catching it out of the backfield.

Dixon is not the biggest back at 5’10, 215 but he’s not afraid to and is effective running between the tackles. In his four years at La. Tech he had a combined 87 touchdowns, (72 rushing and 15 receiving) and is very effective after first contact. He averaged 3.3 yards after contact.

Dixon rushed for 1070 yards averaging 5.4 yds per carry and caught 34 passes for 26 combined TDs (19 rushing, 7 receiving) in 2015. Read our draft profile here:

Round 2, Pick #2 CB Artie Burns, Miami: 

Burns is a corner with the size, (6’0, 190 lbs), that teams are looking for. Heis a playmaker who led the ACC with six interceptions in 2015. He’s still raw with his technique at times but with his long arms, he very effective at jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. He has experience at corner as well as free safety.

He’s a very physical corner well-suited to play man coverage. He was a track star with outstanding athleticism and had experience as a kick returner while at the “U”. Burns is also a mature young man who is the kind of guy the coaches here would love. Read our draft profile here:

Artie Burns

Round 3, Pick #3 DT Sheldon Day, Notre Dame:
Day is a slightly undersized DT at 6’1, 293 pounds but plays with a relentless motor. Like the player he’d replace, Dominique Easley, Day has an explosive first step and is the first to fire off the ball and disrupt plays in the backfield. Also like Easley however, he does come with some injury concerns.

His quick feet allow him to slip by would-be blockers while his lateral quickness and good, aggressive hand movements make him a natural at rushing the quarterback. Played 3-technique and 5-technique at Notre Dame.

With the preponderance of big-bodied run stuffers at the Patriots defensive line, Day fulfills a need for a penetrating pass rusher in the interior.

Round 3, Pick #4 WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers:
Carroo comes from the Rutgers player pipeline and possesses good size at 6’0, 212 pounds with a solid, muscular build while displaying very good athleticism despite not having breakaway speed.

He’s quick to catch the ball and turn north-south, averaging over 20 yards per catch in 2015. He runs crisp, effective routes and possesses excellent hands. He’s a very smart player and is adept at working the middle of the field with the occasional double move to go deep. The Patriots already conducted a visit with him.

He has great leaping ability and adjusts well to the ball in the air. Does come with some off-field issues as well. Read our draft profile here:

carroo

Round 6, Pick #5 OT John Theus, Georgia:
Theus kept sliding down in this mock draft and we gambled that he’d still be here. We were looking for Kyle Murphy or Le’Raven Clark in Round 2 but both were gone.

Theus has very good size for the tackle position at 6’6, 313 pounds. While he started at RT as a freshman, he really didn’t start to get his game together until 2014. He moved to the left side and really improved as both a run blocker and pass protector.

He needs to build up his strength but played against top echelon competition in the SEC. He’d be the RT of the future with some work by Dante Scarnecchia.

Round 6, Pick #6 DE Matt Judon, Grand Valley State:
Judon is an intriguing player with a nice blend of size, speed, and athleticism to garner a long look during the NFL Draft. At 6’3, 275 pounds he has the prototypical build for a DE but showcases a really nice bend on the edge that keeps tackles from engaging him effectively.

Was a truly dominant player albeit against lesser competition at D-II with 20 sacks in 2015. Posted good times in the 40-Yard Dash with 4.65 with a 7.67 time in the 3-Cone Drill. Also did a 35-inch vertical and 30 reps on the bench press.

His Pro-Day was attended by scouts from 26 NFL teams. Diamond in the rough.

Round 6, Pick #7 RB Keith Marshall Georgia:
Marshall is another intriguing prospect, at 5’11, 219 pounds he has good size but is an absolute burner, running a blistering 4.31 in the 40. He added 25 reps in the bench press. Stuck behind Todd Gurley, Marshall lost most of two seasons to injury.

He was used as a receiver a little bit as a freshman, something the Bulldogs didn’t do much of with him after that. As an open field runner, he doesn’t possess great moves but with his speed, he can literally run by anyone. Worth a Day 3 look? Sure thing.

Round 6, Pick #8 DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech:
Maddy is a second DT who is slightly undersized at 6’1, 295 pounds.  Like Day, he’s best suited to playing in a four-man front as a sub-package interior pass rusher.

He has got a quick first step and explodes into the backfield making plays behind the line of scrimmage. He’s at rushing the QB and a player that improved each year against the run. He too, should add some strength in the NFL.

Round 6, Pick #9 OLB Tyler Matakevich, Temple:
Too small, too slow and not athletic enough is what is commonly heard about the Owls’ linebacker. But all he does is make plays and is very productive.

A football film junkie, Matakevich is always very well prepared and plays with great instincts which counteract his lack of speed. He’s very physical and shows good timing on his blitzes. Non-stop motor and a madman mentality make him a natural STs player, a sure-fire way to earn a roster spot.

Round 7, Pick #10 OT Caleb Benenoch, UCLA:
Benenock was a three-year starter at RT for the Bruins and has the size at 6’5. 305 pounds. He’s athletic with good footwork in pass protection, with good knee bend. Plays at times with a nasty streak which is a positive.

He needs to build up his strength at the next level, especially with his lower body. But has good potential and worth the late round flyer as he fell throughout the draft.

Round 7, Pick #11 QB Jeff Driskell, Louisiana Tech:
Driskell has the pro-typical size of an NFL QB at 6’4, 230 pounds. He shows good scrambling ability and pocket awareness. He’s a tough kid and a competitor who makes good decisions under pressure. He passed for 4033 yards with 27 TDs and only 8 INTs in 2015.

Arm strength and velocity are only so-so. His release needs to speed up at the NFL level. Driskell is a good prospect to garner some reps in TC and to backup Jimmy Garappolo just in case Tom Brady’s suspension is put back into place.

Mock Draft 4.0 2016

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Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Possible Patriots Target in the 2016 NFL Draft, RB Kenneth Dixon

Steve Balestrieri
March 19, 2016 at 9:59 am ET

As the 2016 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar that we feel would be a great fit.

The Patriots may still target a running back in the 2016 NFL Draft. Even though they have signed former Colt and Charger Donald Brown, they don’t really have a reliable three-down back at least until Dion Lewis is fully healthy from his ACL tear. Brown has had some degree of success in the passing game, as had Lewis and James White but the Pats need a consistent ground gainer between the tackles. Brandon Bolden is mainly a special teams’ maven and Tyler Gaffney is still looking to get on the field in Year 3.

The Patriots haven’t drafted many running backs in the Belichick era (8 to be exact), but with the apparent need, especially late in the season with the injuries piling up, this may be a time to strike earlier in the draft.

Kenneth Dixon from La. Tech. would be a perfect fit for the Patriots offense and a great possible target in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft. Dixon is a true dual-threat running back that can be equally effective running the ball as he is catching it out of the backfield.

Dixon is not the biggest back at 5’10, 215 but he’s not afraid to and is effective running between the tackles. In his four years at La. Tech he had a combined 87 touchdowns, (72 rushing and 15 receiving) and is very effective after first contact. He averaged 3.3 yards after contact despite only averaging 1.7 before contact due to his being keyed on.

He’s elusive at the second level and can make people miss but is a very aggressive north-south type runner who always tries to squeeze out every bit of yardage. Dixon ran a 4.58 in the 40 at the NFL Combine and a 6.97 in the all-important 3-Cone Drill.

Pros:

– Decisive runner who can get up to top speed instantly. Finishes violently north-south

– Great hands and vision for catching the ball out of the backfield

–  Versatile can be a three-down back

– Very productive, a touchdown machine and a reliable target

Cons

– Has good but not breakaway speed, can be caught from behind

– Pass protection needs a lot of work

– Ball security also needs to be addressed.

What his Role Will Be:
His role in the New England offense would be like Dion Lewis as a three-down back. He should be able to run the ball effectively as well as catch it out of the backfield. Especially with Lewis still rehabbing from a torn ACL, he may see more work early in the season if he’s selected.

Will his Role Change from Year 1-2?
Yes, with improved ball security and pass protection skills, he should see the field more in late-game or clutch situations.

How Many Downs Can He Play?
Three

What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?
Dixon could replace free agent LeGarrette Blount as the lead running back in the ground game.

What is his ST Value?
Minimal

Conclusion:
Dixon would be a nice upgrade for the running back position. He fulfills a need for a back that can not only run the ball effectively between the tackles but catch it out of the backfield as well. He’s a very determined runner with an eye for the end zone that would quickly find a comfort level with Tom Brady in the passing game.

He definitely needs work on his pass blocking where he could be as aggressive as his running and his ball security skills. His style of play and his aggressiveness in finishing his runs may point to injury concerns at the next level.

With the qualities of being a three-down back and coupled with the Patriots pass-first system, Dixon can be a Starter on Day 1.

Dixson’s highlight film can be found here, courtesy of In My Prime Productions:

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.