Pats Third Round Review.
The Third Round started off a little rocky, they were set to select at 69, and suddenly the Chargers called and made an offer they couldn't refuse, "We started off the day with the three picks in the third round. [We] had [Shawn] Crable on the line and we were actually going to take him in that first pick and San Diego kind of swooped in there and made the trade, and we picked up a second-round pick next year and ended up trading back, or losing that pick, and then we slid back and took Crable on the first of our third-round picks." I always say, it someone offers you a pick a Round early in next years Draft for a pick this year, you have to do it. To get a Fifth in this years Draft, and still get the kid you were about to take is an absolute steal.
O'Connell is an excellent prospect who brings a lot of physical tools to the field. "[Kevin] O’Connell is a big, strong athletic quarterback, [who] runs well, very athletic, played on a passing team in a passing league," Belichick said. "In all honestly not behind a real good line, so he was kind of on the run a little bit, but I thought he held in there and did a pretty good job of being productive and making good decisions. A lot of times he was under a lot of pressure, as well, so we’re looking forward to working with him, obviously." He will take sometime, but in two or three years he could be something, just when Brady should be starting to wine down..
Shawn Crable played out of position, or more accurately without a position, at Michigan. "They did a lot of that (switching from 4-3 to 3-4). It’s just that in college, like in the bowl game against Florida and games like that, they got spread out a lot." Belichick said about Crable's Passrushing. "Then a 3-4 team that became a 4-3 team or a 4-man line team I should say, in passing situations, then that’s what the outside line does is drop down. He rushed a lot. He did a lot of work in practice rushing a lot against [Jake] Long and a lot of other great tackles." He was primarily a D-End, like Mike Vrabel, but he be-bopped all around the defense like a Mexican jumping bean. When Vrabel came out of Ohio State he was the all time leader in Sacks, Crable just graduated as Michigan's all time leader in TFL. He is tall, long limbed and lanky, and has to make the switch to Outside Linebacker in a 3-4, just like Vrabel, and something Belichick is confident he can do. "We’ve been on him and kind of watched him for a long time, with the whole Michigan connection from Pierre [Woods] and the coaching staff up there that we’ve got a pretty good relationship with," Belichick said. "I think there are probably a lot of similarities between Shawn and Pierre: they’re both tall guys, very rangy, fast, good special team players. I think that that’s, like I said, a guy that we’ve been on, really, for quite some time and followed with some interest." I also believe that Crable will play on the right side, and back up Vrabel.
He is not the best passrusher. "I think any player coming into the NFL, that’s an area that he can certainly improve on, his pass rush ability," Belichick explains. "Every college player can but [Shawn] has got the tools to work with. He’s got a good first step and he’s got long arms and a long body. He’s got enough length to make those tackles." However, he makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage. He has that unique knack for burst into the backfield and causing chaos, as 43 career Tackle For Losses will attest he ran track in high school, and that's where he learned to come out of his stance so fast. He played in 9 games as a true Freshman, and garnered 7 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 TFL and 2 PBU. Played primarily on the Strong Side as a Sophomore, and garnered 14 Tackles, 3 Sack, 3 TFL and 3 PBU. He started 8 games as a Junior, but, for some reason, came off the field during most Passing Downs, and still garnered 37 Tackles, 4.5 Sack, 10.5 TFL and 3 PBU. He moved up and down and all around as a Senior. Playing primarily the Sam on most downs, but putting his hand down in Passing Situations. And he was kinetic energy all over the field. He garnered a a dominating 90 Tackles, 7.5 Sack, and an astonishing 28.5 TFL. He is thin and will need to bilk up, but he will be spending the couple of years learning behind Vrabel as his career wines down. He is tall and thin, and has very long arms, they measured out at 34.5". When I saw him play he was playing with his hand down a lot, but he looked like a Linebacker. "When you go through the 3-4 outside linebackers, some of them fall that way and then other players with similar size and measurables fall the other way as defensive ends," Belichick explains about the Transition to a 3-4 OLB.. "There are not many there that can toe the line and do both at a good competitive level. There is probably a little bit more of one or the other. In Shawn’s case, he is more a linebacker than a defensive end. For a linebacker, I think he is good. He’s got good range. He’s tall like Pierre [Woods], with a tall thin frame, but he’s got exceptional strength. He plays a lot stronger than he looks. He sits kind of like a basketball player, but he plays strong and he is strong. He has good upper body strength and plays with good leverage, but he kind of has a thin lower body." He is a little undisciplined and hyper, and he sometimes runs around the field like a maniac. Showed terrific onfield speed and hustle. Working on and off the field will never be his problem. Played D-End in passing situations and has a natural burst to get around Left Tackles.
He needs a disciplined environment to help his transition to the NFL. He lost his parents when he was young, I don't know what happened but he was essentially orphaned and grew up in the Foster Care System. One of the main reasons I like this pick is the Pierre Woods connection. The biggest problem these players face is there transition to the NFL, both on and off the field. Having a friendly face around is always a huge help. When Crable came to Michigan, he was quite literally on his own, as once you turn 18 you are orphaned by the Foster Care System. He ended up moving into Pierre Wood's mother house, and lived with her for a full year, and he still calls here Mom. So Crable is already situated in Foxboro with one of his life's greatest allies. "We’ve been on him and kind of watched him for a long time, with the whole Michigan connection from Pierre [Woods] and the coaching staff up there that we’ve got a pretty good relationship with," Belichick explains. "I think there are probably a lot of similarities between Shawn and Pierre: they’re both tall guys, very rangy, fast, good special team players. I think that that’s, like I said, a guy that we’ve been on, really, for quite some time and followed with some interest." Learning to play the Pro game from Pierre is not the worst thing in the world. One of the reasons we love Brady so much is that he wins one of the coveted parking spots each year, there parking spots are given annually to the 5 players who work out the most in the Pats Off Season Work Out Program. Pierre Woods won one of those spots along with Brady last year. You could do a lot worse then getting mentored by those two guys. Crable already has a leg up on all other players in this Draft, as he can live and learn some more with his best friend in Foxboro Pierre Woods.
Crable's Conference call, Patriots.com:
Q: Do you have any experience playing in a 3-4 defense and how do you see yourself fitting in?
SC: No, not really. But I played a lot of outside linebacker at Michigan. I’m hoping I can just get with the coaches, watch a couple of the veterans and learn from them.
Q: Do you know [Patriots linebacker] Pierre Woods at all?
SC: Yes, we are close friends.
Q: Did he brief you? What has he told you about the Patriots?
SC: No we haven’t talked yet, but I have talked to him in the past and he told me it was a nice program that takes a lot of discipline. They ask you to do what you do and do it well. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him today, but I’m sure he will give me a call. I plan on talking to him within the next hour or so.
Q: How much experience do you have playing with your hand down as opposed to standing up, and which do you think you are more comfortable with at this point?
SC: I have been learning both since I was in high school, so I have never just focused on one of them. Where I am more comfortable, I don’t know. I have been doing both for a while. I will just wait until I get to the coaches and see what they want me to do.
Q: How did an Ohio kid end up at Michigan?
SC: I think I just thought it was a better fit for me. I think it was a great academic school with great football. Also, I’m in love with the color blue so I just think it was a great fit for me.
Q: How excited are you to join Jerod Mayo, two young linebackers on a team that’s adding you to that position?
SC: I’m excited. I talked to him at the combine. He’s a funny guy. I think we will get together, learn together and try to watch people. We will sit back and watch how things flow as we learn. I think we will be very competitive with each other.
Q: How much interest did the Patriots show in you from when your season ended up until this point?
SC: I had a workout with them and came to the facility. I met with the coaches, I don’t know how much interest there was but they got me.
Q: Could you talk about your foster Mom and what she means to you?
SC: She means the world to me. She is an angel. She got me on track. I was a little rough around the edges before I got with her. She took the time, nurtured me and got me on track to where I thought I could do something in college. She’s the one who got me into sports.
Q: Do you owe what has just happened to you to your foster Mom?
SC: Yes, I owe a lot of it to her. I say my prayers every night and pray the best for her.
Q: How long were you in foster care and how did you end up there?
SC: Since I was five I was in foster care. There was a situation with my Mom and that’s how I ended up in foster care. I moved to a couple homes but nothing too major.
Q: Can you talk about your visit here. Jerod [Mayo] yesterday talked about how they quizzed him on how to draw up some plays. What did you talk about in your visit here? Did they test your football IQ?
SC: It was along the same lines. They put stats on the board and I watched them figure out what I have done at Michigan. They drew some plays on the board to see if I could remember them. They wanted to test to see what kind of football IQ I had. Things that you need to decide, what you were supposed to do on the field. They picked my brain about where I was from and things like that. I think most of it was that I met a lot of people and talked to a lot of people in different areas from secretaries to media. A lot of people had a lot of different things to say about what it would be like to be in the organization. It was a great learning experience, also with them picking my brain and seeing what I need.
Q: What do you think of the fact that your offensive coordinator is a McKinley High School graduate?
SC: Hopefully we will win when we play them. When Washington plays McKinley, hopefully we
Table from NFL.COM:
Interview before the Draft, from NFL.COM:
Growing up, who was your favorite NFL player and why?
Ray Lewis. Energy.
What TV-show marathon will keep you on the couch all day?
What are the five most-played songs in your iPod? What's the one song you hope nobody ever finds out is in your iPod?
What celebrity would play you in the movie version of your life and why?
What is one thing your teammates don't know about you?
My right foot is bigger than the left.
What reality TV show would you like to be on and why?
What's your proudest moment in football? Proudest moment off the field?
Beating Florida; Becoming a father.
When you play Madden, what team do you use? Do you put yourself on the team?
Who has been the biggest influence on your football career and how?
He is big kid, who surprises people with his athleticism, like Roethlisberger. He throws well on the run, and can put the ball down and run with surprising speed, like Roethlisberger. At 6-5 and 225 pounds he his well built and has a strong arm, like Roethlisberger. "It’s one of the factors, no doubt," Belichick dais abut Josh McDaniels working out with O'Connell and coming away very impressed. "Anytime we visit with a player, whether it’s us going to him or him coming to us or whatever, that’s part of it. I think the more important part most of the time is what the player does out on the field over a number of games or years or his career and of course the feedback that we get form the coaches that he played or sometimes players that we know who are familiar with him. So it can come from a lot of different places, but our scouts have been out there all year watching him play and Josh’s visit out there was certainly valuable information. I think Josh got a good feel for what he’s done schematically and what his reads were and things like that and obviously Josh had some good things to say about him as part of our evaluation." By all account he is exceptionally smart and learn quickly. One of those QBs who can go to the chalk board and diagnose or create anything you want.
You can say what you want about O'Connell, but when he is in rhythm he throws the ball as well as anybody in this Draft. When he takes a 3-step drop, and goes one-two-three steps, hops forward and throws, it is a sight to see; the ball comes out quick and reaches the receiver with accuracy in a hurry. His O-Line wasn't the best in college, and he had to produce on the run a lot. "I thought he (O'Connell) was a good player in a good program, Belichick said. "Like I said, he played sometimes in adverse conditions and I thought he showed a lot of poise and a lot of ability." He has the ability to step up in the pocket and throw it all over the field with good peed and accuracy, but when the pocket collapses in front of him, and he can't step up, he looses his accuracy real quick. That is why he runs so much, he led his team in rushing last season, and I believe in 2 of the last 3 seasons. When he is flushed to the outside, or on Roll-Outs or Waggles, he can throw with good timing and accuracy. Not a great practice player and will look better in games. Is good in play action, and will turn his back to the defense for a good second or so. Played great at Hula Bowl. Two QBs started in front of him and could produce a scoring drive, and the West Offense looked overwhelmed. O'Connell came in, in the Second Half down 24 to nothing, and threw for two TDs.
I won't bore you with his stats, as he played at a lower level of competition, and had inflated numbers, other then to say he throw for 7,689 yards. and 46 TDs. In the end, what he did in college is irrelevant. What will matter is what he does with the team over the next 2 or 3 years.
Table from NFL.COM: