NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
It’s Friday, so you know what that means, it’s time for my weekly “Too Long For Twitter” mailbag, where I take questions from Twitter that warrant, deserve or need answers longer than 140 characters.
If you have a question about anything, tweet it to me @DougKyed, and I’ll try to include it in the column on Friday. If you aren’t on Twitter, feel free to throw in a question in the comments section.
Cornerback and wide receiver are extremely deep in the 2012 NFL Draft. There’s a pretty clear top three at each position (CB: Morris Claiborne, Dre Kirkpatrick, Janoris Jenkins; WR: Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd), but at each position, very good players will extend into the second and third rounds. I could see Joe Adams, Mohamed Sanu, T.Y. Hilton, Rueben Randle, Alshon Jeffery, Marvin McNutt, Marvin Jones, Dwight Jones, Chris Givens and more taken in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd rounds at WR.
At CB, I could see Stephon Gilmore, Brandon Boykin, Alfonzo Dennard, Chase Minniefield, Leonard Johnson, Jamell Fleming, Casey Hayward, Jayron Hosley, Ryan Steed, Trumaine Johnson and Asa Jackson all taken in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd rounds.
The interior lines on both sides of the ball are also very deep. This draft in general is pretty solid the more you dive into it.
Some of the shallower positions this year are safety, quarterback and tackle. Mark Barron is the only player I can see being taken in the first round, and that was before his double hernia surgery. After than, George Iloka, Harrison Smith and Markelle Martin are the only real 2nd or 3rd round prospects.
At QB, the talent level really drops off after the top four QBs, Andrew Luck, RGIII, Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill. Some prospect will have to step up at the combine to show he’s worth more than a 3rd or 4th round pick to me.
At tackle, there’s a strong top five in Matt Kalil, Riley Reiff, Jonathan Martin, Cordy Glenn and Mike Adams, but then it takes a nose dive until guys like Mitchell Schwartz, Matt McCants, , Jeff Allen, Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders.
I think Kirkpatrick is a talented player, but CB is so deep this year, I’d rather them not trade up for one even as good as Kirkpatrick. He may be a step above guys like Boykin, Minniefield, Johnson, etc. but it’s not enough to give up the picks.
A lot of that depends on what the Patriots are planning to do with Devin McCourty, but I feel that both are huge needs. Honestly though, I’d rather the Pats take a defensive end or linebacker in the first round. If they take a safety, it will be a reach, and like I said in the last answer, there’s enough depth at cornerback to likely be able to hit on a couple of those guys second or third round guys.
Ras-I Dowling likely could have played in the playoffs if he hadn’t been placed on injured reserve earlier. He’ll be fine to start the season, but it’s staying healthy that’s been the problem for him throughout his career back to high school.