Patriots Draft Blog 2007

Entry for April 28, 2007

It’s a few hours before the draft and I have a few players to through at the dartboard and see what sticks. Backing the Pats into a corner on Draft is as near impossible as herding cheetahs. But here are a few players I think we might see on Day One. Here are some First Round Ideas:

Jarvis Moss DE/OLB. I think he is growing into a Pro Bowl player. He has had as tragic a start to a college career as any player has had to endure. Unknown to him he had a staph infection in his hip for almost three years. Suddenly two summers ago, it was discoverer and treated. That means he was playing college football sick and weak and unable to work out properly. He played the 2005 season still recovering from the infection, and still had 7.5 sacks. He played last season for the first time in FOUR YEARS(!!) completely healthy. By seasons end he may have been the best player in one of the most talented college defenses I’ve ever seen. Now he is finally able to train and work out properly. He gain 8 pound of muscle, and still looked skinny, from the Combine in February, to his Proday in April, and looked just as athletic. Some think he is more athletic than Jevon Kearse, whose nickname is freak because he is such an athletic freak. In two or the years of healthy growth Moss could be a 280-pound DE/OLB.

Anthony Spencer DE/OLB. Massive upper body combined with great desire and pass rushing instincts. He has a chance to be a pass rushing monster. Had an amazing 26.5 Tackles For Losses, along with 10.5 Sacks last season. I just have a feeling the Pats might take him, and I don’t know why. I’m not sure he can convert to OLB. If BB does, than I don’t think he can pass on him at 28. Plus, he went to Purdue, and we all know how much BB likes those Purdue guys. Can you guess which college BB has drafted the most players from? LSU? Fresno State? Florida? No. No. No. The answer is Purdue, 8 players.

Michael Griffin DB. To me, if BB secretly loves a player it is Griffin. He has all those intangibles and tangibles Belichick seems to crave in a player. Production 250 TKL in the past two season. Special Team mavin, blocked 6 kicks. Versatile, played Corner and was constantly switched between FS and SS. Love the game, studies the game, and is obsessively competitive. Has excellent speed and really showed well in the short shuttle. Plus, he ultra-disciplined and grew up in a military family, which I think may be the final factor for BB.

Here are some Third Round ideas:

C.J. Gaddis DB. Gets lost in name game. Gaddis has played all four positions in the backfield. Just under 6-feet tall, and just over 200 pound, and still ran a sub 4.4 at the Combine. He started all 12 games last season at FS, and garnered 100 TKL, 8 PBU, and 5 INT. Is a bigger, faster, taller Safety Corner ‘tweener like Eugene Wilson and Artrell Hawkins, plus he actually played Safety in college. Has been reported by more than one source that the Pats like him.

Brandon Jackson RB. When the Pats pick in the Third Round he could be the best RB on the board. I really don’t see the need for a RB that a lot of other Pats Fans seem to see. I would be shocked if they took a RB on day, and very surprised if they take a RB before the Sixth Round. However, if they are really worried about Maroney’s shoulders then they could look here. I like this kid and think he could develop into a Feature Back for a few years. At 5-11 and 210 pounds he ran 178 times for 893 yards and a respectable 4.5 YPC. Also caught 10 passes for 78 yards. Rushed for 4 TDs.

Daniel Bazuin DE/OLB. He is a nonstop motor player. Has good size speed ratio for conversion to OLB, 6-3, 265, 4.7 forty. Great production on the small school level, in the past two seasons he has garnered an amazing 140 TKL, 41.5 TFL, and 26.5 Sacks. Special Teams mavin, blocked two forth Quarter Field Goal attempts to save a victory against Kent State. Stepped in up against higher level competition, which I think is the most important aspect of judging the small school wunderkinds. He had an excellent game against Michigan, and was Defensive MVP of the East West Shrine game where he garnered 2.5 Sacks.
Just a few players I think will tempt the Pats tonight

Entry for April 24, 2007

I am getting tired of the whole Best Athlete Available argument, or Drafting without forethought or strategy. Nobody, and I mean nobody drafts strictly on BAA, unless they are silly simpleminded sheep.

Every team hopes that when they pick their top need equals their top rated player, but that usually doesn’t happen. As you get later and later in the draft taking the best player available makes more and more sense as the financial implications becomes less destructive. But if you have a top ten pick, and your top rated player is a player at apposition where you have a Pro Bowl player, you cannot take him. You need an impact layer in the top ten and not a back up making 5 million a year on your Cap.

I have decided to do a Mock Draft matching the pick strictly with how I rate the players currently in my 2007 Player Ratings. Here is what happened.

1. Raiders- *Calvin Johnson- 6-5, 239, 4.35

Disaster. The Raider franchise cannot progress until they get a real QB.

Most complete player/athlete in draft. Better prospect than Reggie Bush. Stepped in at the Combine, unprepared, borrowed a QB's sneakers and ran a 4.35. Just when you think he cannot be more impressive he has his Proday! Broad Jump of 11' 7", Vert 42.5! NFL.com: Johnson, whom some people think is the most talented player in the draft, had a broad jump of 11 feet 7 inches. That's the best broad jump I can ever remember an NFL prospect having. And his vertical jump was outstanding, too (42½ inches). He looked very good catching the ball while running routes and his arm was measured at 34 5/8 inches.

2. Lions- *Jamarcus Russell-  6-5.75, 256 , 4.83

This would be a great pick for the Lions. They need a QB as much as any team except the Raiders.

Has it all, including ability to step up in big games. The most impressive aspect of Russell's character was his work between the Combine and his Proday. His two biggest weaknesses at the Combine were seen as his weight and his footwork So what does he do? he hires a Quarterback coach to work specifically of his footwork  and goes on a diet. Then at his Proday he shows up 9 pounds lighter, and displays noticeably improved footwork. 

3. Browns- Joe Thomas-  6-6.5, 311, 4.92

Good pick a need position. But Browns need a QB.

Franchise LT, similar to Ogden. Combines great size, great feet, long arms, Text-book technique, and great athleticism. Stepped up at combine and really showed he was the number one guy. At nearly 6-7 he showed he was a phenomenal athlete, smooth as ice.  

4. Bucs- *Adrian Peterson- 6-1, 225, 4.4

Disaster. Best player meets least need.

Maybe top player in draft, besides Calvin Johnson, if not for injury concern. A RB who can't stay healthy is large liability, but he dominated at the Combine, showing he was the top RB Athletically. 

5. Cardinals- Brady Quinn-  6-4, 230 

Disaster. They’d be paying 5 to7 million a year for a Back up QB.

Has it all except ability to step up in big games. NFL.com: Quinn did only passing drills and had a good workout, showing good velocity and good anticipation. Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis ran the passing drills. Quinn threw to Irish tight end Marcus Freeman and receivers Rhema McKnight, Darius Walker and Matt Shelton, who finished at Notre Dame in 2005. On March 22, Quinn weighed in 233 pounds. He ran indoors on FieldTurf. He ran his 40s faster than expected (4.82 and 4.73). He also ran the short shuttle in 4.22 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.79 (with tiny cones, not tall ones). In addition, he had a 36-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-7 broad jump. 

6. Redskins- Gaines Adams -  6-4.75, 261, 4.64, 21 Reps

Great Pick. Skins need pass rushing more than anything else. Top player meets top need.

One of four DEs/OLBs who will probably go as high as their athleticism tests out at combine. He has solidified himself as the top pass rushing DE/OLB in this Draft. Was a Unanimous All-American last season. NFL.com: "Compares To: Leonard Little, St. Louis Rams … Adams is a bit taller than Little, but both are more along the lines of 'tweeners, as they lack ideal bulk you look for in a down lineman … However, both have excellent quickness coming off the edge and good change-of-direction agility … Adams is a great pass deflector who times his leaps well to knock the ball down at the line of scrimmage … He showed better maturity and less frustration on the field in 2006 than he did in the past … He lacks the sand in his pants to face up to the bigger offensive tackles, and needs to improve his size and strength for the next level … Ideally, he finds a home as an edge rusher in a Cover-2 scheme." Adams (261 pounds) notched 21 bench presses and did position drills, but stood on the rest of his Combine numbers. Campus: 4.72 in the 40-yard dash … 350-pound bench press … Bench presses 225 pounds 20 times … 465-pound squat … 345-pound power clean … 380-pound hang clean … 36-inch vertical jump … 9-foot-11 broad jump … 34 1/8-inch arm length … 9 7/8-inch hands … Left-handed … Wears contacts.

7. Vikings- Amobi Okoye- 6-2, 302, 5.0, 29 Reps

Disaster. Vikings have one of the top DT duo in the league. Vikings need to address passin game on both sides of the ball.

Athletic freak, who played Division One Football at 16. Is still only 19, and has shown the physical and mental maturity to play in the NFL already. Showed up at Combine weighing 302 pounds, and still showed well. The scary thing is that he s still growing. NFL.com: Okoye (301 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.88. He also had a 4.44 short shuttle but stood on his numbers from the Combine for the rest.

8. Falcons- LaRon Landry- 6.6, 212, 4.34, 4.35

Good pick. Falcons get the player they want. 

Landry impressed me on the field, he came up with big play after game-changing big play. This player more then any other shows the depth of this years draft. In any other year he is a  top five player, and I think he may slip out of the top ten. NFL.com: Francis (6-0½, 212) stood on his 40 times from the Combine. He ran the short shuttle in 4.36 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.11. He also had a 38-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-6 broad jump.

9. Dolphins- *Jamaal Anderson- 6-6, 281, 4.8

Not a disaster, but not a great pick. Dolphin must address Offense, QB or OL.

Is drawing comparisons to Richard Seymour. Did not workout at Combine. His stock is dropping slightly, more to a lack of viability than anything else. Had interesting Proday, as he added 19 pounds to his playing weight of 265. NFL.com: "Compares To: Aaron Schobel -- Buffalo … It is evident that Anderson is a great speed rusher coming off the edge or when stunting. Like Schobel, he needs to demonstrate better hand usage to keep blockers off his body, but both have the lateral range, second gear and explosion to be a disruptive force in the backfield. While Anderson is taller and heavier that Schobel, both rely on their quickness for most of their success at getting to the quarterback." Anderson (284 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.75 and 4.80. He also had a 9-foot-8 long jump, 32½-inch vertical jump, 4.22 short shuttle, 6.88 three-cone drill and 22 bench presses. Campus: 4.76 in the 40-yard dash … Bench presses 225 pounds 22 times … 320-pound power clean … 34-inch vertical jump … 33 5/8-inch arm length … 9 7/8-inch hands.

10. Texans- Patrick Willis-   6-1, 242, 4.39

Disaster. Houston has three Linebacker they like already.  

Made a lot of money at Combine when he ran a 4.49. He has everything else you want in a LB. Reminds me of Ernie Sims, he leads with his head and heart. This is the player the Patriots really need. He will and not just youth and depth, but exceptional speed to Linebacking core. Had an inhuman Proday, running a 4.37 at almost 240 Pounds. NFL.com: "Willis (6-1, 237 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 and 4.38. He also had a 4.37 short shuttle and 7.10 three-cone drill. He stood on his numbers from the Combine for the rest. He had a phenomenal workout and clearly made several seven-figure increments in his rookie contract."

11. 49ers- Leon Hall-  5-11,195, 4.39

Disaster. They just spent 80 million on a Corner, and already had two good CB on their roster.

Great player, I may like more then most, but this is a draft prospective from a Patriots point of view, and DBs and Linebackers maybe over rated a little this year. NFL.com: Campus: 4.42 in the 40-yard dash … 33-inch vertical jump … 30¾-inch arm length … 8 7/8-inch hands. Combine: 4.41 in the 40-yard dash … 1.49 10-yard dash … 2.54 20-yard dash … 4.07 20-yard shuttle … 11.62 60-yard shuttle … 6.5 three-cone drill … 37½-inch vertical jump … 10-foot-5 broad jump.

12. Bills- Levi Brown- 6-5.5, 323

Disaster. Bills love OLT Jason Peters, and he will be due a big contract soon. Plus, they spent a fortune on three O-Lineman. Plus, the have to get at least one CB, LB, and RB, taking another position with one of their top three picks would be a disaster. Worst pick in entire Mock Draft, even worse than Peterson going to Tampa.

Will play Left Tackle in NFL for 10-15 years. As I predicted his stock just keeps rising.  NFL.com: Brown (6-5 ¼, 321) had arms that measured 34 3/8. He stood on his Combine numbers.

13. Rams- *Darrelle Revis- 5-11, 190, 4.38

Disaster. Any pick other than D-Line will be a disaster for this team. Forget they have two solid CB starters, they have the worst D-Line in the NFL.

Great player at Pittsburgh for three solid seasons. His only concern is speed, and he ran a 4.36 at his Proday. He is a big physical Corner, who supports the run with strength and aggressiveness. He is suck a physical player many people think he should be a safety, but he is a superior man-to-man cover guy. NFL.com: "Revis (5-11 ¼, 196) ran the 40 in 4.41 and 4.39 seconds. He also notched a 38-inch vertical, a 10-foot-5 broad jump, a 4.08 short shuttle and a 6.56 three-cone drill. Sean Gilbert, a former first-round pick and 10-year NFL player, is his uncle. This workout made him some money, solidifying his status as a mid-first round pick."

14. Panthers- Adam Carriker- 6-6, 296, 4.72, 33 Reps

Not a disaster, but not a bone. Offense needs to be addressed, and D-Line is the strongest position on the team.

Great player. Has really solidified himself into the top half of the First Round. Has great size, strength, and technique, and he can play multiple positions in multiple Defensive fronts. NFL.com: Carriker (6-6, 291) ran 4.73 and 4.72 in the 40.

15. Steelers- *Charles Johnson- 6-3, 270, 4.75, 33 Reps

Disaster. Johnson does not fit 3-4 at all. Could be a good fit in a Tampa Two, but next season would be lost to him.  

Great athlete who will soar up the charts come Combine time. Showed great strength at Combine and then showed good speed at Proday. Will be hard to pass early. NFL.com: Johnson (272 pounds) ran his 40s in 4.75 and 4.81.

16. Packers- *Jarvis Moss- 6-6, 250, 4.68

Disaster. Packers have to get a RB and WR, and already have 3 excellent D-Ends on their roster.

I thought he was great in Championship game He is very smart and appears to be able to do anything he wants on the field. And most important of all, he never stops hustling on the field. Due to playing most of his college career with a staph infection in his hip, he may have the highest upside of any DE/OLB in the draft, as he is still growing physically. NFL.com: Moss (258 pounds) ran his 40s in 4.76 and 4.78 seconds, the short shuttle in 4.41 and the three-cone drill in 7.22. Campus: 4.63 in the 40-yard dash … 265-pound bench press … 415-pound squat (from 2004) … 37-inch vertical jump … 33½-inch arm length … 9½-inch hands.

17. Jaguars- *Alan Branch-  6-5.75, 324, 5.05, 33 reps

Disaster. Jags have best duo of D-Tackles in the league.

Has really hurt himself in the off season, and it looks like he is dropping to some of the 3-4 teams. Terrible Proday. Should dominate earlier and for a long time. Has great instincts, size, and strength. May slide a little lower, but he won't last long. His lack of effort in playing hard every down is starting to worry teams, and he may be falling out of the top ten. NFL.com: Branch (6-5¾, 328) ran the short shuttle in 4.79 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.56. Kansas City defensive line coach Tim Krumrie worked Branch hard during the position drills, and the scouts there said Branch did not look like he was in very good shape.

18. Bengals- *Ted Ginn Jr.-  WR  5-11.5, 178, 4.38

Disaster. Bengals have two excellent starters at WR, and mo starters at CB, and one starting LB.

Like Reggie Bush last year, when Ginn steps on the field he is the fastest player in pads. Must learn to run routes better and with more precision. Very small and must add weight. But when he is running in the open field there is no one better. NFL.com: On April 11, Ginn -- who did not run at the Combine or OSU's Pro Day -- worked out on campus before representatives of most of the NFL teams. He ran his 40s in 4.38, 4.44 and 4.45 seconds. He ran no shuttles and did no jumps, and because of his sore foot, stopped running routes after doing about 20 of them. Three head coaches were there: Scott Linehan (Rams), Marvin Lewis (Bengals) and Cam Cameron (Dolphins). Also there were Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller and Rams vice president for player personnel Tony Softli.

19. Titans- *Reggie Nelson-  6', 195, 4.35

Disaster. Titans have four good Safeties currently on their roster, and are desperate for a WR.

Terrific Athlete who makes plays all over the field. If he makes it to 24 I can't see the Pats passing on him. Ran a 4.35 at Proday and displayed amazing athleticism. NFL.com: Nelson ran the 40 once in a time of 4.35 seconds. He had a 35-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-6 broad jump, ran 4.15 in the short shuttle and 6.70 in the three-cone drill. Nelson looked very good in the drills and might well have improved his stock. Campus: 4.37 in the 40-yard dash … 325-pound bench press … 315-pound power clean … 39-inch vertical jump … 10-foot broad jump … 3.97 20-yard shuttle … 32-inch arm length … 9½-inch hands.

20. Giants- *Greg Olsen- 6-5.5, 255, 4.41, 37.5 Vert

Disaster. Giants need LB, not another TE.

Showed up at Combine bigger, faster, and stronger than expected. Runs routes and catches the ball like a WR. Much better player than I thought, after watching him on TV, I am very impressed. Blocking is a concern. NFL.com: Olsen (255 pounds) had a 37½-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-11 broad jump and ran a 4.41 in the short shuttle. He will work out again March 24 at the University of Miami.

21. Broncos- *Lawrence Timmons- 6-1, 234, 4.59

Not a bad pick, could happen.

Super athletic Outside Linebacker and has great instincts and makes big plays all over the field. NFL.com: Timmons (6-0¾, 233) ran his 40s in 4.63 and 4.71 seconds, the short shuttle in 4.34 and stood on everything else he did at the NFL Scouting Combine.

22. Cowboy- Joe Staley-  6-6, 305, 4.82

Actually not a bad pick, but they just spent a lot of money on Leonard Davis.

Great athlete who is still converting from TE. I always rated LTs who started as TEs higher. Has added strength and size. Legitimate Left Tackle Prospect. If reports on Staley's Proday are correct he will not make it past KC, and may not reach KC. Ran a 4.8 at his Proday, also had a 32-inch Vert, and did 27 Reps. NFL.com: Staley (6-5 7/8, 304 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.82. He also had a 32-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-4 long jump, 4.42 short shuttle and 7.09 three-cone drill.

23. Chiefs- *Marshawn Lynch-  5-10, 220, 4.46, 10'5" Vert. 

Disaster. Almost as bad as Peterson going to Tampa.

Has been compared to Laurence Maroney. Arrest will cause him to slide, but I can't see the Giant passing on him.

24. Patriots- *Chris Houston-  5-10, 185, 4.32, 27 Reps

Works for me.

Houston is a physical Freak with superior cover skills. Has the BEST combination of strength and speed in the draft. He can bench an amazing 450 pounds, and ran a 4.32 at the Combine. He is aggressive in press Coverage, has terrific Man-on-Man instincts, and can run hip-to-hip with anyone. I don't see how the Pats could pass on him at 24. He is not just a Workout-Warrior. He can play. He is smooth in coverage and has great hips that him to turn and run as well as anyone. Is a little wild and still needs coaching and technique work. Plays his best against the best. NFL.com: Campus: 4.49 in the 40-yard dash … 525-pound squat … 321-pound power clean … 35-inch vertical jump … 4.03 20-yard shuttle … 32-inch arm length … 9-inch hands. Combine: 4.32 in the 40-yard dash … 36-inch vertical jump … 10-foot-2 broad jump … 4.12 20-yard shuttle … Bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times … Chose not to run 60-yard shuttle.

25. Jets- *Robert Meacham 6-2, 205, 4.39

Not a disaster, but not likely to happen as they really need a CB or TE.

Interesting Wide out with good size and speed. Had a great Combine and a great Proday. He appears to moving quickly up the charts, and he could be gone before Pats pick. Has great hands. Big strong hands that he uses to snag balls out of the air. Could be very tough for Patriots to pass on. NFL.com: Meachem (6-3, 217) ran 4.41 and 4.48 in the 40 and 4.19 in the short shuttle. He had a 37½-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-8 long jump. He stood on his bench press total from the Combine.

26. Eagles- Dwayne Bowe-  6-2, 220, 4.4

Not a bad pick. Could happen.

Tough, strong, great blocker, and knows how to get open. Who would be a lock for the First Round if not for inconsistent hands. 

NFL.com: Bowe (6-2, 218) ran his 40s in 4.49 and 4.40 seconds. He also had a 37½-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-5 broad jump.

27. Saints- Aaron Ross-  6-1/2, 193, 4.45

Not a bad pick. Could happen.

Great quickness and ability to cut on a dime. Can run and cover with anybody. Should be a lock in the First Round. Looks lost in off coverable sometimes, and has trouble locating the ball in a Zone. Bump-and-Run Corner who should be available for Pats at 28. NFL.com: "Ross not only excelled as a cover cornerback for the Longhorns, but was also a standout as a punt returner, scoring three times on 76 runbacks during his career. His natural hands were evident, as he also deflected 33 passes and intercepted 10 others. Despite only one full season as a starter, he also generated 205 career tackles." Campus: 4.45 in the 40-yard dash … 275-pound bench press … 425-pound squat … 272-pound power clean … 35½-inch vertical jump. Combine: 4.54 in the 40-yard dash … 1.58 10-yard dash … 2.63 20-yard dash … 4.15 20-yard shuttle … 6.67 three-cone drill … 34-inch vertical jump … 9-foot-10 broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times.  

24. Patriots- Michael Griffin- 6-0, 205, 4.40

Sounds familiar

Great size, great speed, and great hips- can turn and run with anyone. Struggled last season with shoulder injury that caused him back off contact too much, which may cause him to fall on draft day. He could be steal in Second Round. NFL.com: "Regarded by many NFL teams as the best strong safety prospect in the draft due to his hard-hitting tackling skills, Griffin's range and quickness might be a better fit for free safety at the next level. The unquestioned leader of the Longhorns defense, the two-year starter made it a family affair in the Texas secondary, starting alongside his twin brother, Marcus, who lined up at strong safety in 2006."Griffin (5-11 7/8, 201) ran the 40 in 4.40 seconds. He also had a 39½-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-8 broad jump, and stood on everything else he did at the Combine. He looked good.Combine: 4.47 in the 40-yard dash … 1.6 10-yard dash … 2.63 20-yard dash … 4.1 20-yard shuttle … 11.27 60-yard shuttle … 6.6 three-cone drill … 36-inch vertical jump … 10-foot broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 16 times.

29. Ravens- Justin Blalock- 6-4, 330, 40 Reps

Not a bad pick. Could Happen.

Will play Guard in Pro's. Many see him as a lock to step in and play for the next ten or fifteen years. Did an amazing 40 Reps at Combine. NFL.com: Blalock (6-3¼, 321) stood on all his Combine performances and did only the position drills (but looked good in those drills). He should be a busy man shortly, with early April visits scheduled with the Cowboys, Redskins, Ravens, Vikings and Rams.

30. Chargers- Paul Posluszny- 6-1, 233, 4.5  

Disaster. I have been chastised by Chargers fans for saying LB is top need.

More football player than athlete, and will probably be draft much lower then this. Some question his hips and how well he turns and runs. Played three seasons at Outside Linebacker, but moved Inside to help team. He would be a n Inside Linebacker in Patriots Defense.A player I'm not sure the Patriots can pass on. Similar to Dwayne Ruud. in that he won't test great, but will just make plays on the field. NFL.com: "Posluszny is another in a long line of standout players to compete at the "Linebacker Factory" that has become a pipeline for producing standout defenders for the NFL. Not only have opponents regarded him as the best defender they have faced, but former Penn State All-American linebacker and NFL Hall of Famer Jack Ham characterized Posluszny as 'the best linebacker ever to play at Penn State.'" Posluszny (6-1 ¼, 236) ran his 40s in 4.58 and 4.62. He looked good in all the drills. Campus: 4.67 in the 40-yard dash … 375-pound bench press … 560-pound squat … 335-pound power clean … 31-inch vertical jump.

31. Bears- Justin Harrell- 6-4, 314, 31 Reps

Not a bad pick. Could happen.

Excellent against the run. Looked like first Round lock but serious injury knocked him down. NFL.com: Harrell (6-4, 314) added 14 pounds more since the Combine, He had 31 bench presses and stood on numbers from the Combine.

32. Colts- Anthony Spencer-  6-2.5, 265, 4.73, 30 Reps

Disaster. Carbon copy of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

Another College DE who maybe switched to 3-4 Linebacker. Great first step, explosive pass rusher. Looks a little top-heavy. NFL.com: Spencer (6-2 5/8, 265) ran 4.69 and 4.71 in the 40 but stood on his other numbers from the Combine.
Well that was interesting experiment. In truth, all teams use a combination of need and player ratings. To stick strictly to either would be a disaster. But, the higher the pick the more you have to address the need. A top ten player getting top ten money must come in and have an impact. If they don’t it can set your franchise back 3 to 5 years.

Entry for April 24, 2007

Here are a few questions from the fans of my Pats Fan site.

Pats Fan in NJ here what are the trade possibilities, and I don’t think Posluszny will be there and also his speed may be a question. Love the site. Keep it up, Dom

Greetings,

Thanks for the email, sorry I took so long to reply, but I’ve been working on the Second and Third Rounds. I have finally completed the Third and every pick the Pats have, whew!

I’m not sure the Pats will trade, as they have too many picks as it is. If they do I think they will try to acquire a pick or two in next years draft. If they don’t mind extra picks, trading down into the Second Round, will be a bone and they probably won’t be able to pass. They will pay less money for a Second Round picks and have even more versatility, as they will pick up another Second or a Third Rounder. To me, trading down makes sense. I think they need a LB. David Harris and Brandon Siler are ILB who have as much potential as Posluszny and Beason, and I have Siler falling to the Third Round. They could easily pick up one these two players anywhere in the Second Round. In the Third Round they could grab an OLB/DE Work Out Warrior. Both Brain Robison and Tim Shaw will be around late in the Third. Getting one of these four players would be worth a trade down alone. Plus, I have Safeties Brandon Merriweather and Aaron Rouse going in the Second. The pats could pick up one of these two in the Second, or Eric Weddle, John Wendling, or Sabby Piscitelli in the Third. Picking up one of these five Safeties as well would be very interesting.    

As for Posluszny, I have them passing on him in my new Mock Draft. His size, speed, and knee have to cause concern. And Chris Houston is just an athletic freak. I think Posluszny is going to be a great NFL player, but Houston has the chance to be the best CB to come out of this draft. He has the best combination of speed and strength of any body in the draft.

Thanks,

TOM

OK I like the pick of Dwayne Bowe and WR is a need but the order of need is S, WR, ILB, DB.

Shaun Phillips just got a new contract so I don't know why you have him as a FA loss he wont be leaving SD anytime soon.

Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips are our bookend OLB's; who do you think put Priest Holmes out forever (it was these two guys)

Our two starting LB's have been replace with guys already on the squad who and both of them just got starters salary so they are inked in, not penciled.

We will either get best Safety or WR on the board and whichever we don't get in the 1st we will get in the 2nd round.

Regards, D.

Greetings,

Thanks for the email, sorry I took so long to reply, but I’ve been working on the Second and Third Rounds. I have finally completed the Third and every pick the Pats have, whew!

Thanks for the info. I must have read that Shaun Phillips was a FA and assumed he jumped. UASToday.com has him signing a 6-year contract. So thank you for the correction.

I still have them needing a LB, but upon you recommendation I have you team passing on Brandon Siler (Yikes), and taking Aaron Rouse. I thnk Siler is going to be a very good LB in the NFL. But I also have Rouse being an excellent Safety in the NFL. I think the Charger will be happy if either falls to them. I still have Bowe falling to them, and I’m still not sure how;-) I think he has a chance to be a bigger Hines Ward, and what team wouldn’t want that.

Thanks,

TOM

Dear Sir,

Your "Patriots Draft Insider" is the best-written, best-reasoned mock draft that I have read this year.  For every team, it is highly educational on this year's draftable players AND each team's personnel problems that draft picks must address.

As a 49ers fan, I agree with your assessment of the team 100% and your call of Patrick Willis as the best choice, followed by Adam Carricker.  I also think that if the Patriots' free agents, especially Adalius Thomas and the wide receivers, play up to their potential, the Patriots have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl than any other team.

Also as a 49er fan, I have to protest mildly about two of your comments:  that Calvin Johnson's running around 4.34 at 239 lbs. was the most impressive Combine run since Deion Sanders' 4.19 (thanks, I never knew that), and that Miami's Greg Olsen running a 4.5 at 255 lbs. made him the best receiving tight-end prospect since Todd Heap.  Do you remember Vernon Davis of Maryland, the 49ers' tight end, running around 4.37 at 255 pounds at the Combine in 2006?  With an equally freakish vertical leap, around 40 inches, and a lineman-like bench press total?  In his rookie season, he was faster than the 49er wide receivers and turned out to be a tremendous blocker.  Speaking of nightmares of Dallas Clark running down the seam, you should have seen Vernon Davis catch a short pass and accelerate down the left sideline for the TD last year.

Thank you very much for your article.

Sincerely,

Les, in Honolulu

Greetings,

Thanks for the email, sorry I took so long to reply, but I’ve been working on the Second and Third Rounds. I have finally completed the Third and every pick the Pats have, whew!

I think San Fran will have a hard time passing on Willis, but Carriker seems to be getting more play in that spot, I think either one really helps you defense. I now have them taking Willis, then Steve Smith in the Second, and Sabby Piscitelli in the third. Looking at it now I probably would have liked a D-Lineman in their somewhere, but I think that would be a good day for them.

As for Johnson I was talking about the mythology of what he did. He wasn’t supposed work out at all. So he had to borrow a pair of sneakers from a friend and without doing anything else ran a 4.35 in borrowed shoes. Of course now he said they were his shoes that he had leant to his friend, a QB who was working out as well, but I like to pretend that isn’t true;-)

As for Greg Olsen, he is the best PURE receiving TE since Heap. He is a crappy blocker will never be as good a blocker as Davis. But Davis is not as good a Receiver as Olsen. Olsen runs better patterns and has better hands. Davis can certainly do more things physically and athletically than Olsen, but in that small aspect only Olsen is better. Nobody, except maybe John Fox (who is a family friend of Olsen’s), would take Olsen over Davis. Davis’s triangle numbers may be the best ever. But he needed a lot of work in the passing game as a rookie, same as our Work out wunderkind Ben Watson.

As for Dallas Clark, I talking tragically of the AFC Championship game when Nobody could cover Clark running down the middle of the field, ouch. He killed us, and was as responsible for that ugly comeback as any player on the Colts, ouch;-)

Okay so keep those Questions coming. Thanks, TOM

Entry for April 19, 2007

I hate Bill Belichick. No, I mean it. I mean, I know I was I joking when it came to Wes Welker, but now I really mean it. I hate Bill Belichick.

I mean, I am a Draftnic, and a Pats Fan. Once a year all the stars align, and the Universe and my two favorite hobbies are in perfect harmony. This year it will be on April 28 and 29. Some call it Draft Day. I call it my own personal Christmas, and my favorite day of the year. I like to sit back in my War Room (okay so my war room is the couch at my friend Jim’s house) and watch it all unfold with my team of Draft experts (Okay so may be Jim, Keith, Bonnie, and Sean are not draft experts, especially since Sean is only one-years-old, but we try). It’s a simple pleasure, a simple desire, so why must you ruin it BB?

Why BB? Please tell me why? I know why, because I had you pegged. I FINALLY had you pegged. I know what you where going to do in the First Round and why, and you couldn’t deal with it. It was obvious to me, and yet so many people seemed to be missing it. With Samual and Gay both still technically unsigned, the Pats had only Hobbs and Chad Scott as their only real Corners on their roster. They also have two Special Team Mavins/Corners on their roster as well: last years Seventh Round pick Willie Andrews (who almost led the team in Special Team Tackles), and the Saban special (and injured) Eddie Jackson, but you really don’t want to rely on either one having a significant role in the defense next season. The situation was quite dire. The hole in the roster was enormous. In fact, if the Jets do sign Gay to an offer sheet BB may have had to match it and forfeit the Jets Second Round pick, which would have been a disaster as Gay is all but assured to be injured again. He has missed 24 games in the past two season do to ankle and hamstring injuries (Not a torn anything). Has he ever heard of Tape?

Okay, BB had to take a Corner at 24. BB knew it, I knew it, we all knew it. They were depleted. I finally had it all figured out. But no, he had to go and sign Tory James. I just wanted one Draft Day of peace, but no he had screw it all up for me. Revis, Houston, or Ross, it didn’t matter to me. I knew they were going to pick the top Corner available. Now who do they take? There is no real hole in the roster: LB, S, RB, OL, or CB? I don’t know. Why do you do this to me BB. The only thing left to say is that I would hate to play poker with BB. I cannot read the man at all. He fools me every time, even when all the information is right before me, and in hindsight it seems so obvious.

Okay fine, so the signing of Tory James was a personal tragedy for me (Curse you BB, but I’ll be back). So how does this affect the Pats and the Pat’s Draft? Now, suddenly, they have options at CB. If Gay wants out, good, we’ll take pick number 59. I think they should sign Samuel to a long-term deal, his play in the second half of the season and Play Offs was one of the best by a Corner I’ve ever seen. But if he wants out, and they can get an early First, or two Number Ones in return, fine, I’ll miss him like I missed Deion Branch, but we can survive even the loss of Assante now.

Tory James is an above average Corner with a knack for making the big play. I’m not sure you say more than that. But, he did play in one Pro Bowl, which is than you can say for any Corner on the roster, with all do respect to Samuel who was the best Corner in the league over the second half of the season (I am not a Homer). James is also an athletic freak. 6-2 guys are not supposed to play Corner. Corner have to be the quickest guys on the field, and guys who are 6-2 are not suppose to be able to stop on a dime and then run full speed in a different direction with a cutting WR. He has lost a little speed since his 2004 Pro Bowl, but has grabbed an amazing 4 or more interceptions in six straight seasons. He signed a One Year Contact and appears to be a short-term solution to our Free Agent Corner situation. He has shown exceptional durability over his 11-year career. Has the ability to play Free Safety. Has vast experience in the primary role the Pats need, Nickel Corner or Slot Corner, and you know I consider the Nickel Corner to be the twelfth starter. He was not a starter for 7 of his first 11 seasons, which means he was a Nickel and Dime Corner for almost twice as many seasons as he was a starter. The Slot Corner is imperative to a defense. Most Corners say it is harder to play the Slot than outside, because the receiver has more options in the middle of the field, because the sideline isn’t there to protect the CB. James is an athletic and versatile freak who can play the slot, start at Corner, or Free Safety at 6-2 and 190 pounds, which is unheard of in this day and age. Plus, since he has had moved into the starting role four years ago, he has had 21 Interceptions. This is another brilliant BB move.    
Okay, so where does that leave us in the Draft. I don’t think it really changes much. If Staley slips to them at 24 now they can definitely take him, otherwise if Revis or Houston slips to them, they will still take one of them. But if Posluszny or Griffin slips to them they can take them at 24 if BB thinks they are best for the team. Because it looks like all three teams between 24 and 28 are looking for Corners, and Houston and Ross will not fall to 28. If BB wants a Corner he will have to take one at 24, but now he can take the best athlete available at 24, and maybe Marcus McCauley at 28? 

Entry for April 17, 2007

I received this email this weekend:

Nice job on your mock. You offer a lot of info on each team. Two things to consider: (1) As a Pats fan also I see them in need at 4 positions--CB, ILB, S, and RB. Your mock addressed the first three but not RB. Without Dillion, and if Maroney gets hurt again, the running game is doomed. How / when do you see them addressing the RB need? Without a 2nd round pick (which kills me) they will have to wait for round 3. Who's left then? --- maybe Henry, Walker, or possibly Booker? The Globe reported that Henry was in twice to visit so maybe the Pats are looking to target him.
(2) Trades-- In the past the Pats have been very adept at trading choices. Do you think the Pats might trade down their 28th pick in the first round  to 1 of the 4 teams which has 2nd round picks? Or, do you think a team like the Bears or Chargers might swap 1st round picks with the Pats whereby the Pats pick up maybe an additional 3rd round pick.

I'd like to get your thoughts on these two situations. Thanks again for your great mock draft work. Bob.

Well Bob, thanks for the email. Your question (1) caused me to think more than I usually care to. And I think I turned your simple question into a long complicated mess, as is my way;-) I see the RB situation as similar to the Safety situation, because 1-4 there is not a great need for a RB. But, there are some concerns here that need to be addressed.

First, there is Sammy Morris, who I think is being underrated by a lot of Pats Fans. Morris is a player who has gotten better each season. When he came out of Texas Tech as a rookie, he was a numbers guy, or a Combine guy. He had excellent Triangle numbers but not a lot else, similar to Chris Henry. He was a FB/RB ‘tweener, with amazing speed and athleticism. Over the past three seasons he has averaged over 4 Yards Per Carry (240 carries for 981 yards). Last season he averaged 4.3 YPC on 92 Carries for 400 yards, and he had 21 receptions for 162 yards. He is an excellent blocker, and has played FB in college and in the NFL. His best seasons came when he has started games. When Brown went down last season he stepped in and played very well. He will be very valuable asset next season. But, he has never started more than 8 games in a season. He has consistently shown he cannot be the main man, but he has excelled as the primary back up and spot starter. 

Kevin Faulk is a super dynamic Third Down Back. He is one of the most productive player who every played college football. He averaged almost 5 YPC last season (25 carries for 123 yards). He had 356 yards on 43 Receptions, and is an excellent blocker on passing downs. He is a Special Teams mavin. His problem comes when he touches the ball over 15 times in a game, he is all but assured of fumbling the ball. If he is limited to 10-12 touches, including Special Teams, he is a dynamic change of pace back. He is not a starter as he will start fumbling the ball in that role.

Heath Evans is the Pat’s only real FB, and he still plays more like a RB. He actually averaged 4.3 YPC last season (27 carries for 117 yards). He also blocked significantly better than I remember him blocking in the past. He has shown he can start for a game or two, but that is probably it. His lack of speed is exploited by the defense when he is a primary back. He is a complementary FB who allows the Pats to change formations upon occasion into a power I-Formation, as they are primarily a One-Back Two-TE set.

Laurence Maroney is the solution and the problem. He is now the man, and has the size, speed, and skill to be a great one. If he is healthy he will be an All-Pro RB. The problem is his off season shoulder surgery. When a RB has shoulder surgery, I cringe. A RB needs to use his shoulders almost as much as a QB does. The only real and immediate need for a RB is Maroney’s shoulder.

So the question is, how serious is the shoulder problem? The more serious the more the need. The scary news is that the doctor who performed the surgery said the damage was far more serious than expected. But, we will not know the true seriousness of the injury until Draft Day, because the Pats won’t talk about Maroney’s (or any player’s) injuries. So the earlier the Pats draft a RB, the more serious the injury is to Maroney’s shoulder. So I hope they don’t draft a RB at all. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.

So when do they draft a RB? I don’t think they will draft a RB on the First Day. There are so many options later in the Second Day. I think they will be tempted by Lorenzo Booker in the Third Round, but I don’t think he makes it out of the Second. A more realistic Back in the Third or Forth Round is Tony Hunt. I think Hunt is NFL ready, but he ran 4.7 Forty and will slip lower than he should. I think they wait until the Sixth Round where they have 4 picks. There should be several interesting backs waiting in the Sixth Round, like: Chris Henry, Michael Bush, Darius Walker, and Dwayne Wright.

Chris Henry (6’, 228, 4.36) to me, is a cross between Sammy Morris and Corey Dillon. He looks like Dillion when running, in that he looks oversized for a RB but runs with excellent speed. He runs sub-4.4s at 230 pounds, and has the Triangle Numbers to be a great one. Why he will be in the Sixth Round- He, like Dillon has attitude Problems. He is a selfish player who left college because he wasn’t getting the ball enough. Has been accused of not playing hard all the time, and of being a very undisciplined back; these red flags are scouting lingo for “watch out”. Boom or bust player, could be a Cory Dillon type starter, or a pain in the ass who is quickly cut. Was never a full time starter. Lacks discipline and experience.

Michael Bush (6-2, 253, 4.5) is one of the most exciting Backs to come along in college football in a while. He has an amazing blend of size, speed, quickness, and running skill. Was averaging 7.5 YPC last season before he tragically fractured his right leg. Why he will be available in the Sixth Round- What you probably know is that he had season ending surgery to insert a screw into his shattered leg bone (I don’t know if it was the right tibia or fibia). What you probably don’t know is that he recently (early April) had a second surgery to insert a titanium rod into his leg bone. He will not be able to work out for months and will not be able to play next season. Might not get drafted. May never be the player he was before he broke his leg.

Darius Walker (5-10, 210, 4.6) is not real big or real fast, but is real productive. He is a smart and an amazingly durable runner who knows how to set-up and follow blockers. He is excellent in the passing game, and looks NFL ready for a Faulk-type role (That’s Kevin not Marshall). Has obvious connection to Belichick and lot of experience in Pats Offense. Nobody sees him as a great back, but he just keeps producing like a great back. Why he will be in the Sixth Round- He is small and slow and has none of the measurables you want in a NFL Back. Was considered the forgotten option by defenses because of all the other great Offensive players on Notre Dame team, and gained a lot of yards on Draws, Screens, and Misdirections. Is considered a selfish, me-first player. Is probably more valuable to Pats than any other team, and has a very good chance to still be around in the Sixth Round. 

Dwayne Wright (5-11, 225, 4.7) has everything you want in a RB, except speed. He ran a 4.7 at the Combine and, in my opinion, dropped himself into the Sixth Round. He is big and strong, and runs with good power and body lean. He has surprising quickness and agility. Is good in the open field as he is not DB’s favorite player to tackle. Has obvious connection to Belichick. Why he will be in the Sixth Round- Speed, speed, speed. Has good size, but is not a Fullback. Only two years of production. Not nifty and does not make people miss. Takes a beating and durability has to be a concern (Torn patellar tendon in 2004). He is 24 years old and probably not getting any better.

Okay so I went a little crazy here, but it all comes down to where and why the Pats take a Back. If they trade down into the Second Round to take a RB, or take Booker or Hunt in the Third, then they are very concerned about Maroney’s shoulder. I think they wait until the Sixth Round and grab Walker or Wright, and maybe Henry or Bush, but both Henry and Bush come with some serious red flags. 

As for your second question, I hate to project trades. But I would take a Third from the Chargers or Chicago to move down a few spots right now, only those are more draft day moves. But, if Staley (Chicago), or Bowe (Chargers) are on the board at 28, you maybe able to wheeze more than that out of those teams. I think the problem is that the Pats have ten picks, and ten rookies are not going to make this team next season. They need to get rid of picks more than acquire more picks. If they could trade down into the Second Round and get a First next year they would do that, but it is very difficult to fleece a team like that again. I think the Depth in this draft extends down to about 55-60. So going below there would cause them to miss McCauley, Woodley, Siler, Leonard, Grubbs, or Harris. But if you could trade down into the Second Round and get a First or Second in next years draft, and still get McCauley, Woodley, or Harris, that would be a steal.

This is what I would do. I would trade our two Sixes for a Fifth. Then I would trade our two Fifths for a Fourth. Then I would trade our two Fourths for a Third. Then I would trade our two Thirds for a Second. Whew, but that would be a lot of work, and  then I would have to take a nap;-)


Thanks for the questions Bob, but I’m not sure if this helped or hurt;-)

Entry for April 17, 2007

I received this email this weekend:

Nice job on your mock. You offer a lot of info on each team. Two things to consider: (1) As a Pats fan also I see them in need at 4 positions--CB, ILB, S, and RB. Your mock addressed the first three but not RB. Without Dillion, and if Maroney gets hurt again, the running game is doomed. How / when do you see them addressing the RB need? Without a 2nd round pick (which kills me) they will have to wait for round 3. Who's left then? --- maybe Henry, Walker, or possibly Booker? The Globe reported that Henry was in twice to visit so maybe the Pats are looking to target him. 

(2) Trades-- In the past the Pats have been very adept at trading choices. Do you think the Pats might trade down their 28th pick in the first round  to 1 of the 4 teams which has 2nd round picks? Or, do you think a team like the Bears or Chargers might swap 1st round picks with the Pats whereby the Pats pick up maybe an additional 3rd round pick.

I'd like to get your thoughts on these two situations. Thanks again for your great mock draft work. Bob.

Well Bob, thanks for the email. Your question (1) caused me to think more than I usually care to. And I think I turned your simple question into a long complicated mess, as is my way;-) I see the RB situation as similar to the Safety situation, because 1-4 there is not a great need for a RB. But, there are some concerns here that need to be addressed.

First, there is Sammy Morris, who I think is being underrated by a lot of Pats Fans. Morris is a player who has gotten better each season. When he came out of Texas Tech as a rookie, he was a numbers guy, or a Combine guy. He had excellent Triangle numbers but not a lot else, similar to Chris Henry. He was a FB/RB ‘tweener, with amazing speed and athleticism. Over the past three seasons he has averaged over 4 Yards Per Carry (240 carries for 981 yards). Last season he averaged 4.3 YPC on 92 Carries for 400 yards, and he had 21 receptions for 162 yards. He is an excellent blocker, and has played FB in college and in the NFL. His best seasons came when he has started games. When Brown went down last season he stepped in and played very well. He will be very valuable asset next season. But, he has never started more than 8 games in a season. He has consistently shown he cannot be the main man, but he has excelled as the primary back up and spot starter. 

Kevin Faulk is a super dynamic Third Down Back. He is one of the most productive player who every played college football. He averaged almost 5 YPC last season (25 carries for 123 yards). He had 356 yards on 43 Receptions, and is an excellent blocker on passing downs. He is a Special Teams mavin. His problem comes when he touches the ball over 15 times in a game, he is all but assured of fumbling the ball. If he is limited to 10-12 touches, including Special Teams, he is a dynamic change of pace back. He is not a starter as he will start fumbling the ball in that role.

Heath Evans is the Pat’s only real FB, and he still plays more like a RB. He actually averaged 4.3 YPC last season (27 carries for 117 yards). He also blocked significantly better than I remember him blocking in the past. He has shown he can start for a game or two, but that is probably it. His lack of speed is exploited by the defense when he is a primary back. He is a complementary FB who allows the Pats to change formations upon occasion into a power I-Formation, as they are primarily a One-Back Two-TE set.

Laurence Maroney is the solution and the problem. He is now the man, and has the size, speed, and skill to be a great one. If he is healthy he will be an All-Pro RB. The problem is his off season shoulder surgery. When a RB has shoulder surgery, I cringe. A RB needs to use his shoulders almost as much as a QB does. The only real and immediate need for a RB is Maroney’s shoulder.

So the question is, how serious is the shoulder problem? The more serious the more the need. The scary news is that the doctor who performed the surgery said the damage was far more serious than expected. But, we will not know the true seriousness of the injury until Draft Day, because the Pats won’t talk about Maroney’s (or any player’s) injuries. So the earlier the Pats draft a RB, the more serious the injury is to Maroney’s shoulder. So I hope they don’t draft a RB at all. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.

So when do they draft a RB? I don’t think they will draft a RB on the First Day. There are so many options later in the Second Day. I think they will be tempted by Lorenzo Booker in the Third Round, but I don’t think he makes it out of the Second. A more realistic Back in the Third or Forth Round is Tony Hunt. I think Hunt is NFL ready, but he ran 4.7 Forty and will slip lower than he should. I think they wait until the Sixth Round where they have 4 picks. There should be several interesting backs waiting in the Sixth Round, like: Chris Henry, Michael Bush, Darius Walker, and Dwayne Wright.

Chris Henry (6’, 228, 4.36) to me, is a cross between Sammy Morris and Corey Dillon. He looks like Dillion when running, in that he looks oversized for a RB but runs with excellent speed. He runs sub-4.4s at 230 pounds, and has the Triangle Numbers to be a great one. Why he will be in the Sixth Round- He, like Dillon has attitude Problems. He is a selfish player who left college because he wasn’t getting the ball enough. Has been accused of not playing hard all the time, and of being a very undisciplined back; these red flags are scouting lingo for “watch out”. Boom or bust player, could be a Cory Dillon type starter, or a pain in the ass who is quickly cut. Was never a full time starter. Lacks discipline and experience.

Michael Bush (6-2, 253, 4.5) is one of the most exciting Backs to come along in college football in a while. He has an amazing blend of size, speed, quickness, and running skill. Was averaging 7.5 YPC last season before he tragically fractured his right leg. Why he will be available in the Sixth Round- What you probably know is that he had season ending surgery to insert a screw into his shattered leg bone (I don’t know if it was the right tibia or fibia). What you probably don’t know is that he recently (early April) had a second surgery to insert a titanium rod into his leg bone. He will not be able to work out for months and will not be able to play next season. Might not get drafted. May never be the player he was before he broke his leg.

Darius Walker (5-10, 210, 4.6) is not real big or real fast, but is real productive. He is a smart and an amazingly durable runner who knows how to set-up and follow blockers. He is excellent in the passing game, and looks NFL ready for a Faulk-type role (That’s Kevin not Marshall). Has obvious connection to Belichick and lot of experience in Pats Offense. Nobody sees him as a great back, but he just keeps producing like a great back. Why he will be in the Sixth Round- He is small and slow and has none of the measurables you want in a NFL Back. Was considered the forgotten option by defenses because of all the other great Offensive players on Notre Dame team, and gained a lot of yards on Draws, Screens, and Misdirections. Is considered a selfish, me-first player. Is probably more valuable to Pats than any other team, and has a very good chance to still be around in the Sixth Round. 

Dwayne Wright (5-11, 225, 4.7) has everything you want in a RB, except speed. He ran a 4.7 at the Combine and, in my opinion, dropped himself into the Sixth Round. He is big and strong, and runs with good power and body lean. He has surprising quickness and agility. Is good in the open field as he is not DB’s favorite player to tackle. Has obvious connection to Belichick. Why he will be in the Sixth Round- Speed, speed, speed. Has good size, but is not a Fullback. Only two years of production. Not nifty and does not make people miss. Takes a beating and durability has to be a concern (Torn patellar tendon in 2004). He is 24 years old and probably not getting any better.

Okay so I went a little crazy here, but it all comes down to where and why the Pats take a Back. If they trade down into the Second Round to take a RB, or take Booker or Hunt in the Third, then they are very concerned about Maroney’s shoulder. I think they wait until the Sixth Round and grab Walker or Wright, and maybe Henry or Bush, but both Henry and Bush come with some serious red flags. 

As for your second question, I hate to project trades. But I would take a Third from the Chargers or Chicago to move down a few spots right now, only those are more draft day moves. But, if Staley (Chicago), or Bowe (Chargers) are on the board at 28, you maybe able to wheeze more than that out of those teams. I think the problem is that the Pats have ten picks, and ten rookies are not going to make this team next season. They need to get rid of picks more than acquire more picks. If they could trade down into the Second Round and get a First next year they would do that, but it is very difficult to fleece a team like that again. I think the Depth in this draft extends down to about 55-60. So going below there would cause them to miss McCauley, Woodley, Siler, Leonard, Grubbs, or Harris. But if you could trade down into the Second Round and get a First or Second in next years draft, and still get McCauley, Woodley, or Harris, that would be a steal.

This is what I would do. I would trade our two Sixes for a Fifth. Then I would trade our two Fifths for a Fourth. Then I would trade our two Fourths for a Third. Then I would trade our two Thirds for a Second. Whew, but that would be a lot of work, and  then I would have to take a nap;-)

Thanks for the questions Bob, but I’m not sure if this helped or hurt;-)

Entry for April 12, 2007

April 6, 2007

I Hate Wes Welker.

I hate Wes Welker. I mean it. I hate Wes Welker. For the past three seasons he has tortured the Pats with big play after big play. First as a Special Teams freak. Then on offense. And finally as Miami’s best Offensive Player.

I first saw him three years ago during the 2004 Season. It was the first half. We were forced to punt. It seemed innocent enough, every body was running down the field in coverage and blocking assignments. Suddenly, there was this little white guy running in the opposite direction as everybody else, which is always as sign of disaster for the punting team. I promptly diagnosed the play for everybody present by proudly proclaiming, “Who the hell is that guy?” Then before we could figure out who this guy was, he was kicking a Field Goal? He made a few more nice returns, and kicked an Extra Point as well. He quickly became Mr. Whosethatguy, as he kept flashing across the screen on Special Teams. In the final game of that Season, I was learning that I really didn’t like this little guy. He helped lead the Dolphins to an impossible win against the invincible Patriots, who would go no to win there third Super Bowl in four years.

Two years ago he flashed across the team on Special Teams and became known simply as Oh yeah, Thatguy. Again he was a flash of speed on the screen. He was dominate on Special Teams. He even stepped in on Offense and had some nice receptions as well. By the second game I was really learning to hate him, as he became Oh no, not Thatguy again.

Last season, he was again Miami’s best Special Teams player, but he also their best Offensive player, at least against the Pats. He all over the field. Punt Returns, Kick Returns, Catching the ball, and I think he ran a reverse or two (but that may just have been a resentment hallucination). He had a career high 9 receptions and I swear 8 recepions in the other (But that might have been a resentment hallucination as well). Okay, so he only had one catch in the second game, but he was double and tripled team all game and he was the reason all the other receivers were open, and why Joey Harrington looked so good. He kept taking three step drops and throwing to his right, because the Pats DBs where all sifting to his left to cover Welker. After that loss I grew to hate him, almost as much as I hate Jason Taylor (who single handedly destroys the Pats Passing rhythm) and Zack Thomas (who just keeps making tackle after tackle each year). He had attained near legendary status as one of my top three MHPs (Most-Hated-Players), on my most hated team, the ugly Dolphins.

So what does all this blathering mean, do I like the trade or hate the trade? Well, I love the trade. Anytime you can acquire on of my MHPs for a Second Round pick, that is a steal. To steal him from my most hated Miami Dolphin’s, that is as sweat as it gets. Here are last season stats as stolen from Patriots.com:

Last season with the Dolphins, Welker played in all 16 games with two starts and totaled a team-high 67 receptions while finishing second on the club with 687 receiving yards. Additionally, Welker paced the Dolphins with 41 punt returns for 378 yards (9.2 avg.) and also led the club with 48 kickoff returns for 1,064 yards (22.2 avg.). Welker totaled 156 touches in 2006 (67 receptions, 41 punt returns and 48 kickoff returns), a mark that led all NFL wide receivers or specialists (Dante Hall, 109).

So if we get what he did last season, that is 2,128 All Purpose Yards. Is that not worth a Second Round Pick. Plus, he is now a flash of speed missing in Miami. Now we can sit back, relax, and watch as Dolphin fans learn to hate Welker as much as I used to

Entry for April 2, 2007

April 2nd

One of the positions the Patriots might be considering in this Draft is Outside Linebacker, which is not an easy position of fill in the 3-4. In fact it may be the most difficult position to fill on any defense. The best 3-4 Outside Linebackers are always converted D-Ends. Anybody who follows the Draft knows it is difficult enough to project how successful a college prospect will be when they are projected to play the same position. When you need to project them to a different position then they played in college it is far more complicated, especially if they change levels as well. So it is easy to understand why Belichick has stayed away from Drafting Linebackers in his tenure here in New England.

But things change, they always change. The Pats are very old at Linebacker, and the late round recruits they have been developing have not been setting the league on fire. Bruschi will be the oldest at 34 starting next season. Vrabel is next at 32. Thomas will be 30 in August, and Colvin will both be 30 in September. Alexander showed good promise in the first half against the Colts, but was really exposed in the second half. Pierre Woods and Corey Mays showed well in the preseason and on Special Teams, but have contributed nothing else.        

I see a small possibility the Patriots could take an Outside Linebacker with one of their First Round picks. There are 2 players who I think they have an interest in. Both were college Defensive Ends. Belichick has drafted College D-linemen in 3 of the 7 drafts he has run: Richard Seymour 2001, Ty Warren 2003, and Vince Wilfork in 2004. He has not taken a D-Linemen in the past two draft, so the time maybe right. If Jarvis Moss drops to them at 24, I’m not sure they can pass on him. Second, LaMarr Woodley is a player they can trade down into the Second Round and still acquire. 

Right now I have Jarvis Moss dropping to them at 24. He has been slotted in most Mock Drafts to the Broncos at 21. The reason I had them passing on Moss is because they usually like more complete D-Linemen who can stand up against the run and rush the passer, a player like Adam Carriker. Moss is a pure pass rusher who does not have the bulk to hold the point of attack as a D-Linemen. The Broncos signed Antwan Peek, who in my opinion is a pure passing D-End, like Moss. So do they double-up on a pass rushing specialist at D-End? I don’t think they will. That leaves only the Cowboys and the Chiefs between the Patriots and Moss, and I don’t think either will grab him. Moss is 6-6 and tests as a very good athlete at his Proday, from NFL.com, “Moss (258 pounds) ran his 40s in 4.76 and 4.78 seconds, the short shuttle in 4.41 and the three-cone drill in 7.22.” Maybe the most interesting aspect of why he could develop into a better player than expected, is that he got a Staph infection in his hip as a Senior in High School, which was not diagnosed until the summer of 2005. In 2005 while still recovering, he did not start a game, but still had: 25 TKL, 9 TKL, and 7.5 Sacks. In 2006, he started all 13 games and produced 56 TKL, 11 TFL, and 7.5 Sacks, again. Has a reputation as not being strong and being injured a lot. However, since the bacteria infection has been cured (which festered in his hip for over two years) he has consistently gotten bigger, stronger, and faster.  Played at 250 last season, and added 8 pounds of muscle at Florida’s Proday. He is exceptionally smooth and fluid, and a natural pass rusher who uses his height, speed and multiple moves to get to the QB. The problem his that his height and speed do not come in as handy while defending the run. He gets pushed around consistently against the run. One of the problems is that his body is still growing (as he is fully healthy for the first time since he was in High School), and in two years he maybe a 280-pound D-Lineman or a 260-pound Linebacker. Some think he is a better athlete then Jevon Kearse. I think that is pushing it, but it is a good comparison. Would you like to add a young Jevon Kearse to our Linebacking corp.

The second is LaMarr Woodley. If you had told me before the Senior Bowl and Combine that Woodley would have been available at 28 I would have been ecstatic. I am Combine guy, I think the Combine is the most important aspect of this process for a hundred different reasons: accurate height and weight measurements, accurate Forty times, strength tests, athletic tests, Medical tests, interviews, etc, and it may be the first and only time the coaches and GMs meet and watch these players live. However, for all those who love to say “Just Watch the tape”, what happened to Woodley? On tape, he is as good as any D-End in this Draft. Great college player. As a Senior he dominated. Last season he not only forced 4 fumbles he recovered 4 as well, and he had 36 TKL (177 career), 16.5 TFL (52.5 career), and 12 sacks (24 career). The most interesting aspect of Woodley’s game is that he has a lot of experience as a LB. Played Outside Linebacker in 3-4 in 2004, and in 2005 he swung between D-End and Linebacker in a 4-3. In 2006, he bulked up and was strictly a D-End in a 4-3, and was used primarily to take advantage of his great Pass Rushing skills. So we know he has the athleticism to play Outside Linebacker in a 3-4. He is not a pure pass rusher like Moss he is excellent against the run. He is a great form tackler who almost never misses a tackle. He plays with strength and leverage against the run. In fact, his biggest strength may be his functional football strength. He is an emotion leader who is fierce, relentless, and super-aggressive on the field. Never stops. He is constant motion type player, with nonstop motor. Not as smooth and fluid as Moss, and will struggles going backwards. Will need time to get accustomed to Patriots defense. The player he may compare to is Adalias Thomas. At 6-2 270 pounds he has the experience to play Linebacker and D-End in a 3-4 and 4-3. As for Combine numbers here are his Proday number from NFL.com, “Woodley (265 pounds) was invited to the Combine but did not run in Indy. He ran two 40s in 4.74 and 4.84 seconds and the short shuttle in 4.42. Claiming to have a tight hamstring, he skipped the three-cone drill. He also had a 38½-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-9 broad jump and 29 bench presses.” The short shuttle numbers are exceptional for a Linebacker. All those are excellent numbers for a D-End, and exceptional strength and explosion numbers for a Linebacker. Latest Developments, Patriots sent Dean Pees to personally work him out

 patsfanmock12@yahoo.com

Entry for April 2, 2007
Thursday  April 25, 2007- First there are two.

Marcus McCauley- had a tough first day. He looked a little stiff, and cried for a call in a non-contact drill. But he rebound very well the next day. He physically manhandled McKnight, who he thought gave him a cheap shot the day before, then leaped and knocked down the pass. It was important he showed the toughness to recover after his fit yesterday. Many thought he would be a high First Round Pick at the beginning of the season, but he did not play as well his Senior year as he did his Junior year. He should be available for the Pats at 24, and if they pass on him he may still be available at 28, and if they sign Assante, they should not pass on him at 28.

Paul Posluszky- has played well in both practices. He has played both Inside and Outside Linebacker. He appears to be much more comfortable Outside, but he would have to step Inside in Pats 3-4.

Dwayne Bowe- Wow, great physical specimen. 6’2 220, and said to run in the 4.5 range. Bigger, faster David Givens, and believe it or not, appears to be a better blocker then Givens. Easily beat South CBs all week. Easily top Senior WR, however, hands have come into question. Had more then a few drops during practices. I lowered him in my rates because of hands.

Patrick Willis- will be very hard to pass on at 24. Tough, smart, aggressive, and productive. I believe he could step in at Inside Linebacker for the Pats next season.

Quentin Moses- was considered top D-End coming into the season. But had a mediocre Senior Season. Has atheletic ability to play OLB in 3-4. Undersized D-End who could be an interesting pick at 28. He is 6’5 249 pounds, and had 11.5 sacks as a Junior, and 5.5 sacks as a Senior.
Levi Brown- stock should rise as we get closer and closer to draft day. He has a wonderfully uncommon combination of size and intelligence, and he is exceedingly impressive when conversing in person. As GMs and Coaches meet him in person and interview him, his stock will soar. Look for him to crack the top 15, and I have problems seeing The Bills pass on him at 12.

patsfanmock12@yahoo.com

Entry for April 2, 2007
Tuesday  April 23, 2007- First there are two.

Well, with the death of the Pats at Indy, and the beginning of the Senior Bowl Practices, the draft season has begun. The first practice was a delicious wetting of the appetite for the second season. First, I will be focusing mostly on Defensive Backs (DBs) and Linebackers (LBs). I will also be focusing on Belichick friendly schools the most obvious being Fresno State and Florida, and both of those two schools have a number of interesting prospects.

The first of which is Reggie Nelson a super athletic safety who appears to have the ability to step out and play Cornerback, something he is apparently trying to do. He went to the Hula Bowl and practiced very well at the Corner. He has the size to be an excellent FS, but his size as a CB would be interesting indeed. He is an excellent athlete with speed and experience in big games. He looks, physically, like he can develop into a special player. My only questions are his ball skills. He sometimes is in great position and can’t locate or make a play on the ball. This can be a huge problem, remember Antonio Langham who let interception after intercept flow through his hands. It Nelson can learn to turn and make a play on the ball when it is in the air he could be a great one.

Now for the Senior practices themselves, LaMarr Woodley looked impressive to me in pass rush drills, I know big surprise. But it appeared to me he was practicing at LBer. I may have been mistaken, but if the Pioli thinks He can play Linebacker, I think he could be the pick at 24.

I have been a bog Leon Hall fan. I think in a couple of years he could be a great one. He still has some technique work he needs to refine, he still stands a little high when breaking on the ball like he demonstrated in practice. But my ideas of him dropping to the Pats at 24 are apparently delusional. He appears to be solidifying himself as a top ten pick

Another easy to envision scenario is Fresno State Cornerback Marcus McCauley being taken by the Pats with one of their two First Round Picks. He struggled a little his senior year, but most people agree he is a better prospect then Richard Marshall, who went in the second round last year and had a terrific rookie season. However, his first day of practice at the Senior Bowl was not pretty. In the bizarre play of the day, in a simple one-on-one passing drill, McKnight a WR from Notre Dame smashed right into him on a comeback route, and McCauley jumped up, quit, and complained like he was looking for a flag from the referee. A dislike for contact by a Defensive player looks to be a serious red flag. In his defense, It was a non-contact drill, and that was the only contact during the whole drill. So he was probably warned not to drill the WRs, and got pissed when a WR drilled him. However, he now looks like a Second Round Pick, and a player the Pats may have been warned against.

The star of the day was 19 year old Amobi Okoye, a DT from Louisville. He showed the size, quickness, and strength to be a legitimate player in the NFL, and he is ONLY 19! His upside, as they say, is eye-popping. I just can see him slipping out of the top ten. While Alan Branch is clearly the top DT, you have to ask yourself how good will Okoye be after three years of NFL experience and coaching, and he will still be only 22, the age of the average rookie coming into the league.
Another interesting prospect that is on the rise is Levi Brown. As we get closer and closer the draft day his stock should get higher and higher. He has the uncommon combination of size, intelligence, and is exceedingly impressive when conversing in person. As GMs and Coaches meet him in person and interview him his stock will soar. Look for him to crack the top fifteen. He is 6-5.5 322 pounds with excellent feet, and he more then held his own at Left Tackle at Penn State.

Entry for April 2, 2007
Wednesday January 24, 2007- Draft news/speculation.

I know this early, way early, okay, way too early, but it’s starting to look like the draft is coming into focus for me (I will deny all knowledge of this statement in April). There are needs and holes in every team, and while I don’t have a feel for any other teams holes as yet, I feel I have the feel for the Pats holes. In my opinion there top three needs as DB, DB, LB, LB. Asante Samuel is an Unrestricted Free Agent. Eugene Wilson is an Unrestricted Free Agent (Although I may be wrong about this. Tully Banta Cain is an Unrestricted Free Agent. Junior Seau is an Unrestricted Free Agent, and there is talk, granted weak and unsubstantiated rumors, that Ted Bruschi is contemplating retirement. If everything goes right those five players are with us next season, if all goes wrong? None. The top four needs, right now (Yes, I know Free Agency will change everything), are two Defensive Backs and Two Linebackers). Plus, I don’t think you could argue that they needed a Linebacker and a Defensive Back in last years draft, and the need may be as desperate as 3 or 4 new players at both positions. As it stands now Corey Mays, Eric Alexander, and Pierre Woods, as well as Willie Andrews, Rashad Baker, and Tebucky Jones will all need to be significant contributors,.

So where does this leave us? With picks 24 and 28, actually in pretty good shape. This a good year for Defensive Backs. It looks right now like as many as 7 to 10 DBs could be taken in the First Round, starting with Corner Back Leon Hall and Safety LeRon Landry, both of whom should crack the top ten. Then you have the next group of Defensive Backs who will be drafted in order of how they perform at the Senior Bowl and Combine.