Tag Archives: Ryan Anderson

Mock Draft 2.0 – Patriots Go Heavier on the Defense

Steve Balestrieri
April 14, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

After the initial mock draft we conducted, we’re back for another crack at the big board. There were big changes in this draft as the big board had changed, as we’ve mention in the past. The Patriots still have some holes to fill although they still have the flexibility in the salary cap to do just that.

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, even more, fun to use in 2017.
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.

The big boards for each site differ 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 until it is your time to pick.

For this second mock draft (4-13), I used the big board of Matt Miller, Bleacher Report

Right now, the Patriots don’t pick until Round 3, #72 due to some of the trades that they’ve swung for Brandin Cooks and Kony Ealy. While they may still swing a deal to move up into the first two rounds, right now we’re going with what they have. In this mock, we’re going under the assumption that Malcolm Butler will sign his tender and play in NE for at least the 2017 season, so that changes our outlook considerably.

Here is our Patriots Mock Draft 2.0 – Patriots Get Defensive:

Round 3, Pick #72 Linebacker/Edge Ryan Anderson, Alabama:
No change from Mock 1.0, Anderson will be a Day 1 starter at the SAM linebacker position next to Dont’a Hightower. Coming from a championship football program at Alabama with Bill Belichick’s buddy Nick Saban and playing in a similar system means his learning curve will be an easy one.

He’s consistently as good setting the edge against the run as he is against the pass in coverage. He’s also a good pass rusher and can blitz off the edge with good pass rush moves and a power bull rush. He’s also a very good STs player something Belichick loves in his linebackers. Day 1 starter.

To see our draft profile on him click here:

Round 3, Pick #96 Edge Joe Mathis, Washington:
The Patriots get a possible steal at defensive end with Mathis who was coming into his own when he injured his foot that required surgery after just six games for the Huskies in the 2016 season. In those six games, Mathis garnered 25 tackles, five sacks and a pass defensed in his final season.

He’s very good at setting the edge in the running game and has the hands, strength, and quickness to come off the edge and put pressure on the quarterback. Limited tape due to his injury will push him down the board…and right to New England.

Round 4, Pick #141 RB James Conner, Pittsburgh:
Conner is another steal for the Patriots as he’s had to battle back from a torn ACL and cancer specifically Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2015. He returned in 2016 and gained more than 1000 yards with a 5.1-yard average and 16 touchdowns.

He’s got tremendous size at 6’1, 233-pounds and will move the pile in short yardage and on the goal line. He’s a punishing runner that runs low, hard and gets yards after contact.

Conner’s draft profile from us can be seen here:

Round 5, Pick #163 TE Jonnu Smith, Florida International:
Smith is a move TE at 6’3, 248-pounds but has shown the willingness and strength to block in the running game. Smith has the ability to work all three levels of the field. He has the speed to run right by linebackers in coverage. Had 42 catches for 506 yards and four touchdowns in 2016.

He good with the ball in his hands and can make plenty of YAC (yards after the catch). He has loose hips and possesses good lateral movement but has to work on his hands. He’s had 10 drops the least two seasons.

Round 5, Pick #183 WR Fred Ross, Mississippi State:
Ross nicknamed “the Boss” was a favorite target of Dak Prescott before he moved on to the Cowboys last season. Ross has been heavily scouted by the Patriots and although he missed Prescott still put up good numbers in 2016, 72 catches, 917 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Bulldogs.

He doesn’t possess great top-end speed and has far too many drops (8 in 2016), but he uses his body well to block out defenders. He’ll fight for position when the ball is in the air and offers good punt return capability, something that may earn him a roster spot. With the WR position stacked in New England, that may be just what he needs to stick.

Round 6, Pick #200 S Nathan Gerry, Nebraska:
Gerry is an in-the-box safety that is very solidly built at 6’2, 218-pounds. He was named third team All-Big Ten with 68 tackles, 5.5 for loss, four interceptions and eight pass breakups. He has very good instincts with both the run and the pass.

He’s limited athletically however and despite having decent straight-line speed with 4.58 in the 40 Yard Dash, he doesn’t have the agility to be a deep cover safety. He’d be placed in the role that Pat Chung has excelled in as a box safety, patrolling close to the line of scrimmage.

Round 7, Pick #231 DL Stevie Tui’kolovatu, USC:
Tui’kolovatu is an overaged prospect (26), due to a two-year commitment with his church in the Philippines. He played at Utah for a couple of years but left for USC and more playing time in his final season.

He’s a nose guard at 6’1, 331-pounds and can eat double teams in the running game which allow the linebackers to stay to unblocked to make plays. He’s got a wide stance and is very difficult to move off his spot. On a two-down player but he can be the long-term answer to Alan Branch. He’d be a nice addition to the rotation inside

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts 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.

Mock Draft 1.0 – Post Early Free Agency Edition

Steve Balestrieri
April 8, 2017 at 8:57 am ET

Where will the Patriots look to first in 2017?

With Free Agency now over a few weeks old, it is time take an early crack at looking at the draft from a Patriots perspective. There are still moves that can be and will be made in free agency and possibly on the trade front that may affect the way the team looks at the draft. But with the initial free agency period winding down it is time to move to the draft.

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, even more, fun to use in 2017.
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.

The big boards for each site differ 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 until it is your time to pick.

For this opening mock draft (4-8), I used the big board of Fanspeak.

Right now, the Patriots don’t pick until Round 3, #72 due to some of the trades that they’ve swung for Brandin Cooks and Kony Ealy. While they may still swing a deal to move up into the first two rounds, right now we’re going with what they have.

Here is our Patriots Mock Draft 1.0 – Post Early Free Agency Edition:

Round 3, Pick #72 Edge Ryan Anderson, Alabama:
Anderson comes from a championship football program at Alabama with Bill Belichick buddy Nick Saban. He’ll pick up the Patriots system in no time and will be matched up next to fellow Tide alum Dont’a Hightower as the SAM linebacker.

He’s consistently as good setting the edge against the run as he is against the pass in coverage. He’s also a good pass rusher and can blitz off the edge with good pass rush moves and a power bull rush. He’s also a very good STs player something Belichick loves in his linebackers. Day 1 starter.

To see our draft profile on him click here:

Round 3, Pick #96 CB Sidney Jones, Washington:
The Patriots pick up a steal in Round 3 as Jones falls on draft boards due to his Achilles injury suffered on his Pro Day that will require extensive rehab. But with the depth of the Patriots roster, they can be patient and let Jones rehab and get healthy.

The third CB named Jones on the Pats is bound to make things interesting. He’s 6’0, 186-pounds, and despite being slender is a physical corner who contests every ball thrown his way. Had nine career interceptions and got his hands on over 21 percent of passes thrown his way.

Round 4, Pick #141 TE Jake Butt, Michigan:
Butt is steal #2 for the Pats as he falls down draft boards due to his ACL injury suffered in the Orange Bowl. Again, with Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, Matt Lengel, and Michael Williams already on the roster. There is no reason to rush his rehab any faster.

Butt is a versatile productive tight end that line up split wide, inline or in the slot. He has good quickness off the line, runs good routes and has very sticky hands. His catch radius is excellent and has the ability to make YAC (yards after the catch).

He has good size at 6’5, 246-pounds and is a decent blocker in the running game. He’s tough, competitive and will get separation coming out of his cuts.

Butt’s draft profile from us can be seen here:

Round 5, Pick #163 RB Jamaal Williams, BYU:
Williams checks the block on the team getting a power running back to run between the tackles. They can stand to get younger at the position and Williams can step right into the rotation. But he has the stamina to be a bell-cow when the need presents itself especially when it is time to close out games.

He rushed 234 times in 2016, amassing 1,375 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns, even though he missed three games with an ankle injury. He finished fifth in the country with 137.5 yards per game. He’s got the size, power and ball security that the Patriots need.

Williams draft profile by us can be seen here:

Round 5, Pick #183 OT Erik Magnuson, Michigan:
Magnuson is a 37-game starter for the Wolverines and is a solid run blocker who can get to the second level, has very good pass protection skills. He uses his hands well and can mirror pass rushers. He’s strong, physical and tough with good athleticism at the position.

He’s 6’4, 303-pounds, he’s never played left tackle but right tackle and guard while at Michigan. He’s a versatile kid with upside but like Joe Thuney before him, the Patriots may decide to kick him inside at center.

Round 6, Pick #200 LB Matt Milano, Boston College:
Boston College has been churning out very good linebackers from their program from Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly and Milano stepped up big for the Eagles the past two seasons. He turned in a very solid 2016 season with 58 tackles, 11 for a loss, 6.5 sacks, one interception, and a blocked punt.

The undersized (6’0, 233-pounds) Milano plays “like a heat-seeking missile” on the defensive side of the ball, flying around the field looking for contact. He played 94 percent of the Eagles snaps in 2016 and has speed toughness with very good instincts in pass coverage as a converted safety.

Special teams’ standout in Chestnut Hill with three blocked punts and 24 STs tackles.

Round 7, Pick #231 S Delano Hill, Michigan:
Hill has good size at 6’1, 216-pounds at the safety position and runs well, he turned in a 4.47 time in the 40 Yard Dash at the NFL Combine. Like the current Pats SS Pat Chung, he’s better in the box than in space.

He plays well in the box as a strong safety, can shed blocks, provide good man coverage in the slot although he has shown some hip stiffness which could be a detriment in coverage. He’s not a tremendous athlete and doesn’t possess the quick change of direction skills, but as a box safety, providing good coverage down low and run support, he’s a nice addition.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts 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.