2011 Patriots Draft Picks Review – Part 2

Ryan Mallett Patriots

Mallett and Mesko: Teammates again - do we think Mallett will fit in New England, or will he be a distraction?

You can read about our thoughts on New England’s first two rounds in Part 1 of our 2011 NFL Draft Review.

Here is what we liked, and didn’t like, from the third round on.

Stevan Ridley, RB, LSU
Why we liked it: The Patriots now have four complementary running backs – tons of youth and depth. Ridley is a strong inside-runner that can provide injury and future insurance for Green-Ellis.

Why we didn’t: We thought this pick was a bit of a reach, but we don’t know what other teams were targeting Ridley. Unless Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor are both being released (which we think will happen), we also don’t see the need for this pick.

Preliminary Grade: C

Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
Why we liked it: Mallett was the best player on the board – by far. By selecting him, the Patriots have taken a big step to securing their future at the most important position in the NFL. Mallett also seems to be a football guy that has been a great teammate in the past – we think he’ll do just fine in the Patriot locker room.

Why we didn’t: The long-term approach doesn’t help the team now. Belichick must think that he has the defensive pieces to win a Superbowl. We also don’t think the Patriots would have spent a Top 100 pick on a guy that they feel would be a distraction off-the-field.

Preliminary Grade: A-

Trade 3rd and 4th Picks for Oakland’s 2nd in 2012
Why we liked it: We stated during the draft that Bill Belichick punted on the middle round of the draft. He obviously sees more value in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Why we didn’t:Again, there were some decent DE/OLB prospects taken in this area: Sam Acho and KJ Wright come to mind.

Preliminary Grade: B-

Marcus Cannon, OL, TCU
Why we liked it: With a mere 5th round pick, the Patriots picked up a Top-50 talent in Cannon. He is a spectacular run-blocker that will kick inside and play guard for the Patriots. After his treatments for non-hodgkins lymphoma, he is expected to be near 100% by training camp starts

Why we didn’t: Nothing to dislike here – great risk/reward.

Preliminary Grade: A

Lee Smith, TE, Marshall

Why we liked it: Smith is an incredible blocker that has the ability to be a decent red-zone threat as well. He will eventually be Alge Crumpler’s replacement.

Why we didn’t: If Alge Crumpler sticks around for another year, we’re not sure Smith will make the roster.

Preliminary Grade: B

Markell Carter, OLB, Central Arkansas
Why we liked it: The Patriots needed a pass-rusher and that is exactly what Carter brings to the table. Small-school guru Matthew Elder told us that he is a great speed-rusher with a bit of power in him as well.

Why we didn’t: We have not scouted Carter, so we really can’t pick on his game.

Preliminary Grade: B

Malcolm Williams, CB, Marshall
Why we liked it:We didn’t. The only way we’d get on board with this pick is if the Patriots feel he can unseat Matthew Slater as the special-teams star.

Why we didn’t:There were a lot of players still available that we felt could make the Patriots roster – Greg Romeus, Mark Herzlich, Jeremy Beal, and many more. Here is a list of our top Undrafted Free Agents out there.

Preliminary Grade: D-

The Patriots upgraded many positions on their team – which is exactly what the NFL Draft is for. Even if the Patriots didn’t address some areas of perceived need, their team is better today than it was a week ago.

Overall Draft Preliminary Grade: A-

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48 Responses to “2011 Patriots Draft Picks Review – Part 2”

  1. Dan says:

    Lee Smith can also Long Snap, which adds a lot of value, considering he can take Alge’s spot and free up another roster spot for addressing another need like the pass rush.

  2. Andrew says:

    I hope they sign Herzlich and Toliver as soon as there is a new labor agreement. If we do sign them, I and they actually contribute, they will be some of the biggest mistakes teams made in the draft not picking them.

  3. Joe Black says:

    Does anyone have enough data to compare the existing roster to the 2004 (super bowl) roster in terms of where the players came from..i.e. trade, draft, free agency etc? I know I am a draftnik, but I think it would be revealing to verify (my assumption) that the Pats brass is placing too much emphasis on ‘the system” and too little on “the player”. I’m wondering how many player on the 2004 roster were inherited by BB. Also, if the Pats were to pick up a receiver, DL and OLB in free agency (or say 2 of the 3 positions), then this draft makes more sense to me. Rice, Babin etc. ps: keeping Mankins is a necessity.

  4. Jared says:

    Solder….key backup or starter.
    Vereen….in the starting mix
    Ridley….3rd or 4th running back/FB/specials
    Mallett….3rd QB/cli[pboard holder
    Cannon….heard multiple medical theories, I feel he will not be on the pup list until after week 6.
    Lee Smith….practice squad or 3rd TE, depends on his play early, and Alge Crumpler.
    Markell Carter….practice squad
    Malcolm Williams….don’t see him making the team, ranked like 12,000th on NFL scouts prospect board.

    • Jared says:

      Solder starting depends on Matt Light I think, obviously.
      And Dowling, when I say starter, I mean when there is 3 corners on the field, he will be one of them.

  5. CC says:

    One must wonder already…. just how many pick’s will remain in NE.

  6. CC says:

    Clearly Wild Bill Belicheck has sneaky hand’s in the free agency pool, because he sure as hell bypassed the “pass rush”!

    It’s also gonna be a little sad watching Castonzo protect Eli Manning, Carimi protect In Chicago and see Pouncey’s work along side Jake long in Miami.

  7. Bill S says:

    All in all a pretty good draft. Pats have a lot of big DT types for this year. Not drafting Wilkerson says they must believe in Brace, Love, and Dederick somewhat. I’d have liked another guard if Cannon can’t play this year ( wasn’t he a great pick). I guess Mallett was a good value pick, but it seems a little too cute. I like the Steeelers way, drafting the best guy that comes to them. Using a 3rd on Mallett so you can get a 1st or second in 2014 is just a little too cerebral for me.

    • Chris says:

      this guy wasnt a pick to get another #1 in a few years this is a guy they believe could be the QB of the future, they will trade him if he isnt that guy for them but they figured with his talent and skill set it was worth taking that risk and worst case scenario they will get back what they invested in him at a later time

  8. Sean says:

    I’m not as down on the Ridley pick as most because it it obvious the Pats got the guy they wanted and knew they weren’t picking for a while because the Oakland trade took over 6 hrs to consumate.

    In a supposedly weak RB class 31 RB/FB’s were taken this weekend. The most since 2008. Last year only 15 were drafted.

    Ridley decided to come out early because he had gotten a 3rd round grade from the National Advisory Committee. It was draftniks and media who had him in the 5th-6th round because they also thought this was a weak RB class.

    If he’s even just as good as Sammie Morris it was worth the 3rd round pick.

  9. Chris says:

    Can someone please tell me how the hell DeAndre McDaniel the saftey out of clemson went undrafted? He was projected as a early second round pick and arguably was a coin flip for the top saftey in the whole draft…

    • Steve says:

      Good question…there were a few guys that were supposed to go in early rounds that didn’t go at all. I would say that the obvious answer is they failed drug tests, are injured….bad medicals, or just aren’ that good…low character guys, or a mix of the above.
      The proof is right in front of you: 32 teams over 7 rounds passed on them…what does that tell you? There is a reason.
      And, they could end up being free agents, make a team and become a star…we have several, as do many teams.
      Wounds heal, kids grow up, guys do roids and get stronger, players go to teams that fit their skills and they catch a break.

    • TD says:

      Lesson learned? Don’t believe everything you hear or read unless it comes from BB or another NFL head coach. If the source is named Kiper take it with a big grain of salt.

  10. prioris says:

    >Mallett and Mesko: Teammates again

    is that Darius Butler in the middle of picture 🙂

    • Ryan Buske says:

      I will say this, and I hope the it comes to bite me in the “butt.” I think the last pick SUCKED. There is NO other way to put it. You draft some guy out of some where, who does something. When you have Dain taylor, Mark Herzlich, Romeous, Beal, plus two GOOD C’s on the board. Since, we need one! I will forever compare this guy to EVERYONE one of those guys.

      Here is what I would done. Why not give someone a 5th and get their 2/3 7ths just so you don’t have to worry about EVERY team cheating on UDFA’s. You know its happening, Rex is getting FJ’s and calling every UDFA out there telling them to come to Jets training camp when football starts. I bet its happening. Unless Bill took care of that before the draft (he is crafty). But I think there is a Dane Fletcher out there and we need him. ASAP.

      • Steve says:

        This is what you are worried about??? Are you serious?

        • Ryan says:

          Think about how much of our team is consumed with UDFA’s and also think about Bill’s history with UDFA’s. I believe the Patriots have the highest roster count with UDFA’s. We still need a center to be groomed, which there are still two decent one’s remaining. Not only that a couple good LB prospects out there. So yes, I have to say I am a little worried about it.

  11. prioris says:

    I think Mallet may have that very rare talent potential that could supplant a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning,

  12. prioris says:

    Well articulated assessment and pretty much spot on.

  13. TD says:

    I think BB anticipated the run on RB’s in middle rounds and took the guys he wanted before they were gone. There were what, 31 RB’s drafted.

  14. john says:

    If they had Ridley rated as “our guy”, go get him. It’s not like this was a top 5 pick.

    Don’t be too cute it’s ignorant. Just look at edward0383 as a geat example.

  15. Jared says:

    The Mallett pick I like…I’d say the trade hime in 2 years, or even next year….for a 1st round pick.
    The Ridley pick, I hate, biggest reach I can think of for Bill in a long time. Hopefully he saw something that no-one else did. Because taking a RB with a sixth round grade….14 picks after you took another RB…..with MULTIPLE needs to fill still on the table….not a good pick as of now.
    The Cannon pick I love, anyone you can get in the 5th round that could be a starter…looks like a great pick.
    Smith, the TE….can argue with any pick in these lower rounds, anyone they think can play, they should draft.

    • Steve says:

      Why get hung up on where people are drafted…they obviously didn’t think a passrusher was there in the 3rd, so they drafted the player they wanted, and obviously really like, or they wouldn’t have taken him…even if they took another back a round earlier. They are not going to say, “well we took Vareen, and we do need another RB, and we love Ridley…think he is a potential star and if he came out next year he may have gone in the 2nd or higher, but we should pass because we don’t want to have our poor fans dealing with 2 running backs being taken so close together”

      Can you hear the conversation?!!!! They take players they like, they take players that they need and want. It’s not rocket science and there is no conspiracy.

      • Jared says:

        Ouch, ya…its not rocket science, I must be stupid. I don’t know how you can question me….on the fact that I dont like them taking a RB, 16 picks after another…..about 100 picks before they could have got him. I don’t mind picking a guy that you like higher than people think he”ll go,
        But there is NO WAY they couldn’t of traded back and taken him a round or two later….taking someone else and/or trading for more picks. We’re talking about the 9th pick of the 3rd round, and they had picks back to back- so you cant tell me they couldnt of traded down.
        You cant just preach “value” every year when you cheap out on your 1st round picks…thats why a pick like this makes no sense on more levels than just drafting 2 RB’s back to back. Terrible Value.
        From pick 75 to pick 125…your BB….you dont see anyone in those 50 picks that you could use??
        Allen Bailey-DE/OLB
        Kenrick Ellis-DE
        Sam Acho-LB
        Edmond Gates-WR
        Those are just a few names…who knows who will pan out, but reaching 2 rounds on a player…your saying that there is no-one that you would like to pick out of like 50-75 players, no-one..that cant be right. We wont get to find out who they missed on by making Steven Ridley the reach of day 2 for a couple years…. but we will eventually.

        • Phil says:

          Ridley would have been gone in the 4th if we didn’t take him…that being said he looks a lot like a young Corey Dillon to me…quicker than fast, 6 ft (give or take an inch), and both weigh in at 225 lbs. And Ridley hasn’t hit an NFL weight room yet. Throw in the fact that he was a Captain as a Junior and the kid is going to be a stud. He was, and is, and will be BB’s “guy” because he will pickup up the hard yards. We now have 2 ground-pound guys and 2 guys who can catch the ball out of the backfield…the key being the 2 newbies can do more than just pound or catch…so it won’t be so easy to know what’s coming unlike last season when teams knew what they were getting from Woody…a draw or a flare pass…i don’t recall seeing Benny catch a lot out of the back field. Ridley can catch and run and block…as can Vereen but with a smaller, quicker body. Hold on to your muskets boys! it’s going to be a fun ride…when they get the damn CBA done!

  16. Cam says:

    I heard someone bring up a HUGE point: the lockout. The OLB’s in Bill Belichick’s system will take years to learn the nuances of the position, especially if they are switching from DE. With the lockout, players will have even less time to learn the position in the offseason and their play will suffer. Belichick took players that either have future potential (Cannon) or players who do not require a ton of work to learn the system (Dowling, Vereen)

    • bledsoes_ghost says:

      Agreed. Great point.

    • Steve says:

      Yes, but every team has this same issue…I highly doubt it would enter into the actual player drafted. Now, the position drafted is different…teams were forced to take QBs, for example, because they don’t have one yet and free agency has been held up etc…

  17. JMC says:

    I like having Oaklands second for next year, but I think I would have rather had John Moffitt (next pick after Ridley & Mallett) and or Cliff Boling (with the traded 28th pick in the third round- he went early fourth to the Bengals) in a Patriots uniform.

    That’s my real big beef.

  18. Jeff V says:

    I love the Mallet pick..I am SHOCKED a team like Buffalo didnt take a chance on him in the 3rd round. 1st round talent on the field. I loved the trade with our friend Al Davis..this should be a high pick in the second rd next year.

    At the end of the day the Pats addressed OL concerns for the FUTURE. I doubt Solder or Cannon will help out this season. But they do have talent.

    The down side of this draft is obviious to everyone…not addressing the pass rush.

    Looking to next year I see a need at DE..Warren is getting up there in age/injuries. Brace doesnt seem to have what it takes to be a starter in the NFL. This will be a position to watch in the college ranks next year to see who the top DEs are.

    • prioris says:

      Dowling is partly addressing pass rush

      • Jeff V says:

        I didnt know he rushed the passer…

        • John T says:

          What he means about Dowling partly addressing the pass rush is keeping the receivers covered up for a second longer which gives the pass rushers more time to get to the QB.

    • prioris says:

      I was shocked that Buffalo didn’t take Mallet either. I was expecting them to take him too. There will probably be an espn pre draft special some tears down the road called “Mallet Six – WTF were so many teams thinking”.

  19. bledsoes_ghost says:

    I think this years draft shouldn’t necessarily worry Patriots fan for a couple of reasons.

    1. Last year’s draft was an absolute A+ from top to bottom, addressing the needs and getting the pieces together for the future. McCourty (top ten DB), Gronkowski (Beast on and off the field), Spikes (Him and Mayo will be a tandem to come for many years) Cunnigham (has got all the potential in the world, he was close on so many sacks last year) Hernandez (basically another receiver with a winning mentality embedded) Taylor Price (TBD, still hopeful), Mesko (cause he booms punts), Deaderick (Saw a lot of playing time) and then going out and getting undrafted guys like Love and Fletcher just add to the awesomeness of last years draft.

    2. I think when you consider the future of this organization, they made a considerable amount of additions that may pose questions but you can’t knock the value. Mallett has got the strongest arm and why not have him learn under Brady/Hoyer, both of these guys know the system up and down. Cannon… guy is a monster, and i think he’s going to be a legit guard. Markell Carter has got something to prove, being a somebody in D2 and nothing in the eyes of any other teams has got to serve as motivation. I watched the clips of him moving off the edge and if your looking for a motor, he’s got the mechanics. Don’t really no much about Malcom Williams but whatever, round 7 is round 7. I was really hoping they would get Greg Romeus but i think the risk outweighed the cost for them. Odds are Romeus was going to be on the PUP list for 2012 season and maybe they viewed him as Crable-esk. All and all i was scratching my head, but did the same when McCourty was taken off the board last year, round one… glad i ate my words and i’ll be happy to write more about this when guys like Solder, Dowling, and Vereen are making moves to elevate this team.

    Much Respect

    • edward0383 says:

      I Sony decide i top scratched my head with the Mccourty pico
      last year, but after that all the picks they made were
      right on the money with talented players. Not the same in
      This draft. I think everyone would have feel more enthusiastic with the Solder pick had they address the need a OLB. I don’t think a DE
      at this point is a bigger need than OLB.

  20. cash says:

    I think when they looked at Ridley, they saw a guy who came out a year early and saw his potential. If he stayed in school and came out next year he would of probably went much higher.

  21. john m. says:

    I’m still analyzing the Patriots draft and I’m still wondering about the Stevan Ridley pick. There is absolutely no reason I can think of for taking him that high. I’m thinking that he would’ve still been there in the 5th round. Mallet and Cannon were great value (risk/reward) picks. Where’s the value in taking Ridley early in the 3rd round? This guy must be the hidden gem of the draft because other than the Patriots, NOBODY had this guy going this high. He could still end up being a good player but why pick him so high? Mikel LeShoure would have been the perfect pick at#60 but as we all know, he was taken at #57. I also didn’t like the Jets taking Wilkerson at #30 , but if the Pats really liked him, they would have grabbed him at #28. So much for the perfect-fit 5 technique defensive lineman that Todd McShay had going at #15 in the mock draft. Actions speak more than words and according to the Patriots, Wilkerson is a “bust”. I would love to see the NY Jets have another 1st round “bust” pick.

    • edward0383 says:

      Don’t be so hard on BB he knows how to pick
      RBs. He picked Lawrence Maroney. Have u forgotten?

      • Chris says:

        Laurence maroney wasnt picked in the 3rd round if ridley is a bomb then who cores those were the 2 guys they wanted and they went for it before they were forced to “settle” vereen is a stud maybe they reached a bit but like i said they wanted to make sure they had the 2 they wanted as there first choice, and look at all the hype that surrounded reggie bush and hes been rushing sub 1000 yard seasons since he came in the league, these backs have lower expectations where they were drafted then someone like ingram at 28 solets just see what they can do 🙂

    • JMC says:

      John Moffit (OG Wisconsin) would have been good at the Ridley pick-

      I can see the need for a power, short yardage back-but I think your right when you say Ridley was a reach and he probably would have been there in the fifth round.

      • Ryan Buske says:

        I have to say this again and again, HE HAD TO GET PICKED. A trade was in place which took us out of that round and the next round. The fourth round was fullof RB’s. It was then or never. Plus Bill got HIS guys, he got the guys he wanted, before he EVERYONE else. I mean at least he can say his guy went to another team, he can say I drafted the guys I wanted.

        Lets all remember, that Bill can and often will grade players differently than McShay & Kiper. Everyone is saying he would have been there in the 5th. And what is that based on? McShay and Kiper. Give me a break. First of all you DON”T know that. Look at how many picks slipped, or were picked early.

        Rather have Cannon than Moffit. Moffit I think looked good because he was next to Carimi. I call it the Bj Raji affect, (Note. Ron Brace).

        • JMC says:

          Most everyone had Ridley as a 6th round grade.
          Some disagree (with you) about Moffit but Boiling was left on the table too.

          We’ll see how it goes- I hope it works out for the Patriots.
          I hope Cannon became an all pro but one report I saw questioned his ‘love for the game’.

        • JMC says:

          Have to wonder if Rodney Hudson was not picked by the Chiefs at #55, would the Patriots have picked Hudson at #56 then not made the trade with the Texans for #60 and picked Verrene who probably would have been there.

          Maybe not as the Patriots really seemed to target Verrene, but Hudson would be a definite starter.

          Overall, I think the Chiefs had a good draft.

        • Ryan says:

          Chiefs had a great draft, except for Baldwin. But watch out he is probably the next Larry Fitz.

          I will agree with the Hudson pick, I wish we could have gotten a center, to be groomed. But that may too high of a pick for a Center to be groomed. We also have a few guys in the wings. I think Dan Conolly may play center. But there are still two decent Centers out there. Only time will tell. RB’s are probably one of the hardest posessions to draft, so only time will tell. Atleast we got O line help.

  22. Jeff says:

    The more I learn about Markell Carter, the more I’m excited about his potential. He has the size to play OLB for the Patriots and with some practice squad time might develop into a player they can use. Truth is the odds are against it, but it is a good gamble in that spot in the draft.

    • Jeff says:

      When I saw the pick I was furious because I knew nothing about the kid.
      Let me say since then, I’m not upset at all…this kid can be a gamer!
      Watching him he reminds me so much of Jabaal Sheard but faster.
      He’s strong, physical and get’s to the QB.
      He also has good instincts and from what I’ve seen doesn’t get sucked in by PA, and has excellent pursuit to the ball. I can see him and JC being a strong tandem in the future.
      I’m pulling for us signing Herzlich though too.
      JC, Carter, Moore, Herzlich and we can keep Ninko for his ST’s play and depth.
      Go get Herzlich and put him on IR for the year until he’s back to health.

  23. Steve says:

    the Mallett pick is brilliant, he’s a young guy, and I never met a young guy who doesn’t have some “issues”, and perhaps he has some attitude concerns, but he can easily settle in to his profession now and leave that behind him, it certainly will be demanded of him and that should be enough. He has the amazing arm, he knows the game, has had top-level success; and, most importanly, he can develop the way all QB’s should develop: by sitting back and learning, practice snaps, film room, weight room…preparing and growing into. Not being thrown to wolves and being ruined like 7 out of 10 QB’s that come into this league. He’s low risk, but he’s got an extremely high ceiling seeing he plays the most important position in all of sports. Great move…

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