Open Thread: Pass Rushers

Robert Quinn

Does Robert Quinn make our list of top pass-rushers for the Patriots?

If there is one thing that is clear going into a draft over months away, it’s that Patriots fans want a defender that can rush the passer. We’d like to hear which DE’s and OLB’s have tripped your trigger over the 2010 NCAA season and during the bowls.

Give us your top three pass-rushers, and of course, why you think the Patriots will draft them. As always, we’ll get things started…

Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina

Quinn is the type of freak athlete that only comes around every so often. His trouble with the NCAA notwithstanding, Quinn projects as a perfect 3-4 OLB in the Patriots system. He has the height/weight/speed combination that Coach Belichick looks for, coming in at 6-5/260 and will run somewhere in the 4.5’s.

He is strong enough against the run to stay on the field for three downs, but will make his impact in passing situations. Our only concern with Quinn is on-field discipline – he needs to be able to stick to his assignment before going all-out to the quarterback.

If the Patriots are lucky enough to have a chance to draft Quinn, and they’ll have to be lucky sitting in the mid-teens, they would be well-served in picking this Tar-heel.

Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue

Kerrigan is a very different player than Quinn. He is able to stay true to the run while getting after the quarterback, which, while being good for the Patriots system, limits his overall explosiveness. We also have some minor concerns with his ability to play in coverage.

That said, we believe that this Boilermaker is good for 9-10 sacks a year based on motor and effort alone. He has a great set of rush moves and will play to the echo of the whistle.

He is also truly a “Patriots Player.” His work-ethic is incredible and has exhibited strong leadership qualities while at Purdue.

If the Patriots want a productive football player with a knack for making a clutch play, forget about his limited upside and draft Ryan Kerrigan.

Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri

Smith is a one-trick pony at this point of his young career – he would strictly be a pass-rusher at the next level. Unlike Von Miller of Texas A&M, however, we think Smith has the physical tools to become a 3-down OLB in the Patriots system.

This Missouri Tiger is incredibly long and fast, prompting him to overuse his excellent swim-move to beat college tackles. It’s a very effective technique, but he’ll need to diversify on Sundays.

If the price is right, say late 1st or beyond, Smith is a guy that could pay dividends in sub packages right away, while learning how to play in rush situations as well.

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35 Responses to “Open Thread: Pass Rushers”

  1. CC says:

    All this talk of trading down for multiple lower level pick’s and/or for next year is making me naucious.
    We need a bad a** DE now, a cut throat CB now, a quick and hard hitting OLB now and an OG & OT now.
    5 spot’s……with 6 pick’s (just in the 1st three round’s) and we also have both lower level guy’s who are not cutting it for us to trade with & including the lower level pick’s 2 work with……
    NO EXCUSES!
    If these five specific spot’s are not filled with clear impact now talent with longevity and worth then it’s all for not.
    Nevermid who we can pull from free agency…….
    You want too watch another 16 game season go ahead, you want too keep hearing about how the Patriot’s are so Bad A** they put up all these number’s & blow out other team’s with 35 point’s + average per game and can hang small banner’s, send multiple ppl too the pro-bowl and win mvp’s fine.
    But what we haven’t been able 2 do is………………… finish!
    Keep adding nothing but sub par level player’s and plug-in’s & your literally giving another Super bowl ring away 2 payton manning’s little sister because the team is depleted and filled with 1/2 way’s….. because we give up impact players for 3 and 4 sub par guy’s and project’s?????

    I’m over it!

    Next Year is a “big” slide downward waiting too happen……..
    No more More’s and Cohen’s or Mike Wright’s…..Ron Brace DL had his neck sqaushed in chicago-who know’s what’s up with that? Gerald Warren DL is on the way out plus he’s 10 year’s in anyway…..Cunningham DE and Deadrick DL are non-impact rookies thus far, WTF?
    We’ve been paying what to Sammy morris and fred taylor???? For what?
    Torry Holt $$$$ also a waste. WTF?
    ***Move up and give me a better pick within the first round a handfull of pick’s above our # 17 and then still keep our # 17 first rounder, but GET ER’ DONE!
    Instead of Trading down trade up, but just not for a top 5 since it’ll cost a whole bunch more….
    I want and we need a better #1 pick since no body expected the Raider’s to play like they did and it devalued it!
    So use all thes compensatory pick’s, lower level pick’s, and trade player’s as well with it for a better/another first round pick, or another early second round pick!
    get rid of project’s, injuries, and lower level pick’s and get thing’s moving with an extra pick for the likes of a Von Miller, Stephan Paea, or Anthony Castonzo……….but jump up get er done!!

  2. TD says:

    Merriweather has played very well lately, it’s just when he makes a mistake it’s 6 pts. I don’t think BB would trade him like Seymour. Seymour was at high dollars, older, injury prone and always holding out. The holding out does not sit well with BB.
    It looks like they have a flock of Safteys now with Page, Brown and others in the wings. The secondary looks to be a stregth instead of a liability like last year.

    • Steve says:

      I’d say they are fine at safety, yet weak at corner. If McCourty didn’t turn out like he did they would have been in huge trouble. Bodden should be back, but who knows how well he’ll be. My guess he’s back and starting, but they need another corner. Arrington & Butler can NOT cover, and I’m pulling for them both.
      They will be thrown at often in the playoffs…that’s the big weakness on this team; so they’ll need help with some game planning etc…different coverages.

      • TD says:

        Saw an article with BB saying that with the zones his CB’s have to play, you don’t need to pay a lot for those kinds of players. That’s why he let Law & Samuel kill someone elses salary caps.

  3. ability says:

    thank you mike. well said

  4. mike says:

    Ugh, for all those meriweather haters. My answer for you is , go home. The guys hot talent. We got the best safety rotation in the league, sometimes we play with 3 safeties. It happens for a reason. So wtf? How is meriweather a trade chip unless carolina us willing to give their 1 st rounder this or next year. Otherwise thats just stupid .
    I think bill will address the needs while gaining more picks. It’ll be just fine. Again, if someone of good value falls, expect belichick to pick them instead of trading down all about value.

    • Steve says:

      If you think Meriweather is worth a 1st round pick, or the #1 overall, you are not understanding the player nor the game. He’s doing an “ok” job, but he takes bad angles, misses assignments etc…He’s a decent player, not a pro bowler.
      That being said, there aren’t a lot of guys out there that can do that job these days. I would say his value would be a third round pick, but I’m not thinking they are trading him, but you never know???
      I think he’ll be back next year…finish out his contract, which I’m guessing has one more year on it from his rookie deal. After that all bets are off. Maybe he’ll play better…grow up and learn, but he does seem a bit thick, yet when he hits he hits pretty hard, and that still counts for a lot even if it leads to the occassional penalty.

  5. TD says:

    I think if we keep all the 1’s, we will get the best available athlete. While all the other teams panic and reach for OT’s, OLB’s, DE & DT’s we will likely get a very talented player falling to us like another top notch CB, S or RB or some team trades with us and we get more value picks to stockpile or use as trade chips.

    • Steve says:

      I was just thinking of this topic…having all these early picks, and more to come in other rounds. I feel that when you have all the picks you have such flexibility to be able to move around; meaning, you’re not desperate because you know you have another pick coming shortly, and more to follow. Most teams have the 1 pick in each round, if they’re lucky, and their teams suck, while they have much bigger needs. They are forced to make moves that help save their jobs, literally.
      BB is operating from an almost unfair, yet earned, position of strength he is able to make moves and it just keeps snowballing for him. He can do what he pleases, his job is secure, his team is strong, he has a QB (MVP), and he’ll look at each offer and judge if it’s good or not…and it’s usually obvious. Meaning, he can still get a guy he wants and gain a pick, or move up a round next year etc…

      It makes it fun to watch…I love the moving around, never see it as a negative at all.

  6. TD says:

    If the salary structure of rookies remains unchanged, I think you will see BB jettison 1 or both 1st rounders for seconds or something next year. 2nd round picks, especially #33 come much cheaper than 1st rounders.

    He sees more value in making moves and getting more bang for the buck with multiple lower rounders than 1 first rounder and judging by last years haul I would agree, only if the 2011 draft class is as good as last years.

  7. brian says:

    Love Quinn, but he is a project at the 3-4 OLB and a risk at the Oakland (#17) spot. To be honest, I could see them trading down 10 spots and getting an extra 2nd this year and next year. I would love to see them solve this OLB spot by signing Matt Roth away from the Browns.

    A more likely scenario – since there is risk at trying to fill this 3-4 OLB role – is grabbing a guy later, in case he does not develop (think Crable).

    What about Brooks Reid in RD3, or even Mark Herzlich in RD3?

    I think they have found something in Eric Moore, and maybe even try him a little at OLB next year if they get a down lineman for the 3-4 DE / 5-technique role. If they stay at #17 it would be because there is a top DE guy there, or a CB. Either one of those makes it easier to develop a 3-4 OLB.

    If they do go after a 3-4 OLB in RD1/RD2, I say Kerrigan at #17 or Beal at #33.

    But my choice would be trade down in all spots – so you wind up with a 25-27 pick, a 35-38 pick, a 35-45 pick, and extra 2’s and 3’s for this year & next year. Then it’s (1)Brandon Harris, (2)JJ Watt, Beal, Daniel Thomas, Sands, (3)Herzlich, Chris Hairston/William Rackley.

    I could see Merriweather, Edelman and Bodden being possible trade chips, not that they need picks, but to open up spots and maybe even free some cap space (not that they need it, they have good cap space, too). If they draft a WR early, I cannot see where he’d play and Edelman could bring a good pick – same with BM if they grab a safety early.

    • TD says:

      Herzlich is a good story and can make plays all over the field, but he does not have the size (pounds) that BB likes in OLB’s. Nink is 250 and Cunningham is near 260. Pittsburgh also likes the stout OLB’s.

      I don’t think there is a real urgent need for a “rush” OLB, we seem to be going toward pressuring the middle of the formation on passes with Wright, Wilfork, Pryor, etc. BB’s system on def requires size and requires guys that really compete on all downs.

  8. kevin says:

    if we somehow get robert quinn i would probably cry on draft day lol, in all honestly the two positions they need to address are olb and de, if they could hit a homerun at one of those positions in the draft this defense would be scary for the future

  9. mike says:

    Oh man, watch his games. Kerrigan is absolutely reentless. He’ll be chasing runners down.

    • Steve says:

      I’m more worried about him trying to cover a RB or TE in the flats than his ability to make a play in the backfield. It takes unique athleticism to do all this, but maybe he can do it.

  10. patriotsfootballplace says:

    Forgot to mention I like Kerrigan as well but like you wonder about his ability to play in space at this time.

    • Steve says:

      Kerrigan is growing on me, but his running (style) is a concern…seems unathletic, which I’ve mentioned too many times already.
      I wouldn’t mind if they take him though over other average guys…I think he’ll work his ass off; and, not enough is ever said about the progress needed to make it at the next level. I think the experts, and us, tend to see guys as finished products when the reality is they are far from it more often than not. Guys like McCourty are exceptions to the rule.

      It will be interesting….that’s for sure…with all these picks and so many desperate teams. I love the amount of QB’s in this draft…marginal QB’s, other than Luck. They tend to really mess up the draft…wildcards.

      • Liam says:

        Kerrigan is probably too slow to play OLB in this league. He’s projected as 4.8X guy, and would probably have trouble making plays in space. I know we’ve gotten good results from another ‘slow’ LB this year (Spikes) but the OLB in this system needs to be able to get to the edge, and occasionally make plays on recievers in the flats. Need speed for that.

  11. patriotsfootballplace says:

    Not a huge fan of Robert Quinn. Freak athlete? Yes. Consistent in game performer? Nope. Looks the part? Yes. Plays to his athletic ability? Nope.

    Quinn was stoned in one-on-one battle with Anthony Costanzo. You might say well Costanzo is one of the top rated tackles this year. To that I say what do you think he is going to face in the NFL?

    Worse yet, he was also stoned by Ed Wang of VT last season and Ed Wang was not a top tackle. If I recall correctly it took him like 6 or 7 or more attempts to complete his broad jump because his balance was so bad.

    Sometimes he’s like watching Aaron Maybin play and we all know that Maybin has not been able to get on the field in the pros yet.

    I also think his 11 sacks were deceiving last year. A bit like TBC’s sack total was last year for the Pats.

    I am also a bit philosophically opposed to using the Oakland pick on that big of a projection (DE/OLB). It’s been a need for a some time and remains but its a total guess to project.

    I’d agree with the others here that you would hope for a 3 down(minimum) player and not a specialist. Especially if its a higher pick.

    I also have not thought much of the Akeem Ayers highlights I have seen compared to the hype on him. On it’s own merit the film seems ok but not for a mid 1st pick that some sites have him listed at. Seems more average.

    I do like the Justin Houston kid from Georgia however and it’s nice to be able to see him actually playing OLB in a 3-4 instead of just projecting.

  12. prioris says:

    One trick only pony should not be taken. Any OLB taken needs to be able to set the edge.

  13. mike says:

    Wilkerson is not going to be drafted firsr round . So if we take him that early , reallynot exactly a bargain. If we can take him second round it would sound good. Besides wrecking his garbage conference really is much different from pac 10 or SEC, especially SEC.
    And bruschi up there is right. If. IF by some odd chance pats took an o lineman. Pouncy or wisnieski is the only early picks that makes sense. The o lineman pick is looking incredibly unlikely after seeing the backups in action in that dolphins game.

    • Steve says:

      I really think that the O-line picks come from Dante…they try to get him what he requires. I’m not worried about it…that’s the way I approach the Pat’s O-line now…he’s magic and seems to always put it together. They’ll identify their guy and bring him in…like Mankins, Vollmer etc…

      I disagree on Wilkerson, if that dude shows power and athleticism at the combine he’ll be snagged by one of the many 3-4 teams. There just aren’t many people like him, nevermind football players. He’ll shoot up the boards and will be a very safe pick, and that’s part of it…money well spent. The competition is less important…if you’re that big and that strong and can move you can hold up some blockers at the next level also. Sure, you have to raise your game and improve, but it’s not like receiver or other high risk positions with big failure rates. He could move into the teens or higher…

  14. Liam says:

    Would love Quinn to fall to us. looks lights out as a pass rusher. Don’t think it would be a BB move to trade up for a conversion project though. Outside posibility he could fall due to suspension etc. If there’s one thing we learned from last years draft it’s that there are a lot of stupid teams out there.

    Also remember, we are in sub packages just as much as the base 3-4 these days. Therefore “3-down” player means a different thing to this team than to other teams.

    • TD says:

      If Ty Warren and Seymour were still here this year, they would be playing 3-downs. They have so many sub packages this year because of injury, talent, experience/youth. BB would jump at a player like McCourty that can play “4 downs” on the DLine. But he also says it’s very hard to find 330 pound athletic d-lineman

      • Liam says:

        They would indeed be playing 3 downs, but as interior pass rushers in a sub package, at least some of the time. The scheming and game planning that BB has run this year is a large part of our success, and proves the genious of the BB scheme. He dissects each opponents strengths and weaknesses and exploits them. Thus a versatile lineman like Ty (or vince, coz he’s a freak) is more important than a blocker eating hippo if we want to get 3 downs out of them.

  15. Bruschi54 says:

    Kerrigan and Quinn are no brainers, but like Graham last year will be tough to acquire without moving up a few slots if they test well at combine. Dareus could make us forget losing Seymour, and Allen Bailey would be interesting in round 2 if BB could get him to play on every down. Jah Reid from UCF would be great selection in round 2 along with Ayers from UCLA if still on the board. One thing we have learned is to trust BB, Pouncey would not surprise me in round 1 with the Florida connection and his versatility. I think he will be a much better pro than Wisnewski.

    • Steve says:

      I agree on Pouncey…especially seeing the success his brother is having, although I’m well aware they are separate people, yet twins. He played really well the other day. Like you said, his versatility is huge…can fill in at guard (a need regardless of Mankins), then be moved to center in a couple of years.
      He may simply be the best value at 17 regardless of any need.

      I don’t like Ayers one bit…seems way over-rated to me…lots of running around and arm tackling. NIce athlete, but I don’t want to see a LB who dips his shoulder to tackle the way he does…like he’s a frail cornerback…it’s tough to watch. I don’t get the hype on him at all.

  16. TD says:

    A 3 down DE/DL is more important than a “rush” OLB in this defense. Warren is a FA, Brace can’t stay on the field, Wright is a situational player as are almost all the rest. I like JJ Watt or Dareus.

    • Steve says:

      JJ Watt looks like a stiff…but, I could be wrong…just looks like someone who will be dominated at the next level. I see him get blown around way too often in college, yet he has the motor and keeps trying and gets results. I just don’t see the results coming when he’s playing against top players in the NFL. I don’t even see him being better than Mike Wright now, or ever.
      Dareus is in a different league…he’s a beast, but he won’t be there at 17.
      There don’t seem to be many DT’s for our system this year…not top end guys.
      We may be hoping both Warrens come back, Brace comes back (which I would bet he does), and guys like Deadrick, Pryor, Love, Moore etc…keep improving and making plays alongside Wilfork.

      That’s not a bad crew of players…they’re getting it done.

  17. mike says:

    Yep , kerrigan will take pats to the next level. Beal is also a good deal just for his overall abilities.

    I dislike the pick for ben, pats will take intelligent linemen over athletic one anyday of the week. Wisniaski is a much better fit . I have strong doubts about wilkerson who play with lesser competition.

    • Patriots Draft Guru says:

      Have you seen Wilkerson play? He’s going to be good.

      • Steve says:

        I have to agree on Wilkerson…he looks like the ideal Pat’s DT/DE, however you want to label the position…big, strong, and athletic.

        I’ve made it clear who I like to play OLB: Quinn is way at the top, then Aldon Smith (with the upside!), then Beal, then Kerrigan.

        I”m sure there are others I’m missing on…

    • Coach Bill says:

      What makes Ijalana un-intelligent? I haven’t heard that before.

      • Steve says:

        I didn’t make the unintelligent comment, but I just don’t think he’s a fit because of his size…not mobile enough for blitz pick up etc…This line was built for that because of the Steelers…now the Ravens & Jets. The O-lineman have to be quick, and that comes at a cost…a bit smaller, if 300 lbs is small??? They never have drafter the “road-grader” types here…don’t fit the system.
        But, intelligence is a factor on this team, now more than ever (seeing the results more lately)p; especially on the O-line.

        Not sure of Ben’s brains at all…

  18. Patriots Draft Guru says:

    I’ll take Quinn and Kerrigan for the same reasons. My third guy is Jeremy Beal from Oklahoma. He is another balanced conversion guy that is good against the run as well.

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