NEPD Mailbag: Too Long For Twitter

Devin McCourty Patriots Broncos

One of the biggest questions on the minds of Patriots Nation is, "Where will Devin McCourty be lined up next season?"

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

Every Friday moving forward, I’m going to be answering some questions from Twitter that might take a little (or a lot) more words than 140 characters.

I know a lot of writers have done this in the past (hello Bill Simmons), but it’s a fun way to answer some of the burning questions that you guys have about the Patriots and the NFL Draft.

If you have a question about anything, tweet it to me @DougKyed, and I’ll try to include it in the column on Friday.

@ryan_mcfly asks: @DougKyed With McDaniels as OC, would the Pats target a wide receiver in the first two rounds? If so who?

I can definitely see the Patriots targeting a WR in the first two rounds, especially with McDaniels as the new offensive coordinator. A lot depends on what the Patriots can get out of free agency and whether the rumors of Brandon Lloyd coming over with McDaniels are true or overblown.

As far as who the Patriots might be looking at in the first couple rounds, I could see them going after any of the big names if they happen to fall too far: Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd, Alshon Jeffery. It’s not likely that any of those players will still be around when the Patriots are picking and I wouldn’t personally like trading up for a WR with such a deep class.

I think the most important thing in finding a WR that fits the Patriots system is getting yards after the catch, which is what makes Joe Adams so appealing. He’s one of the most dangerous open field runners coming out this year and he could add a real threat as a return specialist as well. Adams is a versatile player who’s not afraid to show his skills taking the ball out of the backfield as well.

The Patriots actually spread the ball around more before McDaniels left for Denver, I’d expect them to stock up on more targets for Brady so that he’s not just keying in on Welker (as long as he’s resigned), Gronkowski and Hernandez.

The Patriots will also definitley target a veteran wide receiver this offseason. They do it every year and it results in various degrees of lack of production (from no production at all to the peak, which was probably Chad Ochocinco. Yeah, it never works out).

@VailKillroy asks: @DougKyed is the draft strong enough where they might actually be inclined to keep both 1sts or even move up?

I could see them moving up, because there’s definitely some players at positions of need that have standout talent early. I’d put the chances of the Patriots taking two first round picks at less than 50% though.

Two players I wouldn’t mind seeing the Patriots trade up for are Michael Brockers and Courtney Upshaw. Both fill big needs early and could become elite players, which is exactly what the Patriots need on defense.

In my opinion, the talent level that should be available late in the first round/throughout the second round is very close. There’s a lot of defensive linemen and defensive backs that I have second round grades on, so if they could acquire a 2013 first and either a 2012 second or 2012 third, it makes a lot of sense to me. Would you rather draft Stephon Gilmore, or draft Casey Hayward and get a first round pick next year? Or would you rather draft Fletcher Cox, or draft Brandon Thompson and get a first round pick next year? Those will be the questions Belichick will have to answer come April.

Of course, Belichick always does the unexpected, so we should all probably just expect him to trade all of his picks into the first round and take four tight ends. And one tackle in the 7th round (hellooo John Cullen).

@JoshNorris asks: @DougKyed Honest question: What has been the biggest reason for more success in the Patriots’ drafting style in ’10/’11 compared to ’06-’09?

Notorious Patriots draft hater Josh Norris chimes in with a question. If anything, I feel like the Patriots have been far more willing to just take the best player, rather than the biggest need lately.

The Patriots have also been taking more risks lately than they were willing to take back in 06-08. Players like Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Deaderick, Brandon Spikes, Ras-I Dowling, Stevan Ridley, Ryan Mallett and Marcus Cannon had all fallen on draft boards for one reason or another whether that was drugs, speed, injuries, fumbling issues or you know, cancer. Sometimes those picks don’t pay off, but lately, whether it’s luck, research or interviewing, they have.

I’d also argue that 2009 was a pretty successful draft for the Patriots, it had its misses (Darius Butler, Brandon Tate, Tyrone McKenzie, George Bussey, Jake Ingram, Darryl Richard), but it also had some big hits (Patrick Chung, Sebastian Vollmer, Myron Pryor, Julian Edelman) and a couple players it might be too early to tell on (Rob Brace, Rich Ohrnberger). I think it’s pretty standard to hit on less than half your draft picks, there’s just going to be a whole lot more when you’re drafting twelve players.

There’s little reasons every year that you can go back to for why the Patriots picks didn’t work out, for instance, in ‘07, they took Meriweather in the first round, then didn’t have another pick until the fourth round. It’s harder to hit on those late round guys than it is to hit on second or third rounders.

One thing that’s pretty interesting is that the Patriots have been more successful in the draft since Scott Pioli left and since he’s pretty much taken full control of player personnel (with the help of Nick Caserio). Belichick has a knack for finding undrafted or discarded talent, if he can keep finding more elite talent in the draft, the Patriots should, umm, keep being good?

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Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Josh McDaniels, Patriots Secondary, Wide Receivers

19 Responses to “NEPD Mailbag: Too Long For Twitter”

  1. Satch says:

    Tremendous analysis, thanks.

  2. qwerty says:

    the great thing about Alabama players such as Barron – BB will get inside scoop on those players given that him and Saban are close. Whether he takes Barrons or any other Alabama player I leave up to BB.

  3. Nick says:

    The only question on offense is the receiver. I see Ocho will ultimately be cut, but Branch will be back next year. He might have lost a few steps, but his chemistry with Brady rare and will keep him on the roster. Brandon Lloyds name has been tossed around recently and i think would compliment the offense greatly. With McDaniels running the offense again, he will find a way to make the offense even better than last year.
    Defensively i dont think drafting another younger defensive back is the answer. A veteran safety or corner will do wonders for the team. Laron Landry would be my ideal target. He ay be injury prone but is a superb talent. The only free agent corner that i think would make a significant difference is Brandon Carr. He played for ex-defensive coordinator Romeo Cornnel last year and is a very well rounded player. He is a great tackler, and strong in coverage. Mario Williams is also interesting, i think its very similar to the Julius Peppers situation a couple year ago. Also a smaller name player is Red Bryant. He played for Seattle last year and was a stud. He reminds me of a Ty Warren type player. If the Pats coul land one or combination of those players the defense would have a new identity.
    In the draft either Brockers or Cox would be excellent additions next to Wilfork. Linebacker around the Pats pick is Hightower who i think could play almost anywhere with BB as his coach. Jenkins is a Asante Samuel esque player, and Chase Minnifield is another great player from Virginia.

  4. jim r says:

    Trade 27 or 31 to some unwilling participant for a 3 this year and something next year. (you know he will)
    27 or 31 Vinny Curry DE/OLB Hybrid
    48-Harrison Smith-Safety
    63-Joe Adams-WR
    69 (lets say they trade with Tampa) Lenoard Johnson-Corner
    94 Josh Kaddu – OLB
    If they pick up Brandon LLoyd They will be in very good shape.

  5. Dan says:

    The solution at free safety is the biggest mystery this team has. McCourty is only a part of the puzzle, but we should know so much more once free agency opens up shortly. If they jump on a FS spending money then we’ll have most of our answer to this question.
    I wonder if Barron can play FS in our system, knowing he’s a strong safety, but something tells me he’s a lot better than what we have back there and would be a nice player to move up a few spots to grab.
    Kirkpatrick is another interesting player; many have him highly rated, but some have him a bit too stiff to play great corner in the NFL as a starter. He also has some recent issues off the field that may make him slip a bit.
    So, if he’s slips to us do we grab him and would he make a nice FS with his size, speed & strength…from that level of competition and system etc…??? Does he have that position flexibility or potential?

    Barron to me seems like a player that solves so much for this team…steps right in and makes the defense backfield much better, maybe playing strong safety? But, either way he’s tough and talented and would make our defense much better. Worth moving up a few to make sure we get him. Grab a free agent corner, to join Dowling, Moore, Arrington, and McCourty. Grab a free agent receiver and a few other smaller moves and we’re done.

    They are going to make some big moves…can’t wait.

    • Tom says:

      Continuity is what I worry about the most this offseason. There are so many free agents on the Patriots roster that the 2012 opening day roster could look VERY different than the Super Bowl roster from Sunday, and not all the changes could be good. We saw how changing a roster could destroy the locker room and a season with the Jets, but we also saw in Houston how letting some players go and then bringing in the right players (and coach) could make a tremendous difference. The problem with being a winning team is that other teams covet your players and are willing to overpay them to have them on their rosters. I just hope that in two months, a speedy, sure handed wide receiver and some talented secondary players are what the Pats still need the most.

  6. Bill says:

    With Ras-I Dowling essentially a rookie, I can’t see us drafting 2 DB’s. A FS to go with Dowling, McCourty, and Chung, would be OK to go in to 2012 with. Pats need to put more pressure om QB and control LOS better. Nobody can defend a WR for 8 seconds. DE’s and LB with speed. Way too many little passes over the middle went for 15+ yards because LB’s couldn’t stay with TE/RB and couldn’t tackle. We can wait for #63 for a WR with all this depth

    • qwerty says:

      >Nobody can defend a WR for 8 seconds.

      they do it all the time.

      you ever notice how often brady, eli manning and brees will opt to throw the ball away even though they get great blocking and nobody even close to them. it happens quite often wgen opposing teams have good game plan and talent.

  7. Doug Kyed says:

    Nice questions here guys. If you don’t have a twitter account, feel free to keep leaving questions here.

    • tim kavic says:

      what do you guys think about this ( somewhat out of left field)?
      trade up to get Michael Brockers -use both first rounders if necessary- in the 2nd round, get Coby Fleener and Joe Adams. My thinking is that no one in the NFL has seen a 3 TE receiving package ( not that they would do this on every down)- plus Welker and/or Adams- Adams giving you the deep speed and explosiveness we don’t have, as well as being a potential electrci punt return man. If you have 5 receivers out who will cover Fleener since he is 6’6″ with great speed and experience working with Andrew Luck at Stanford? Of course we need other help- I am thinking Brent Grimes (CB) and LaRon Landry(safety) out of Free Agency- we can use our 3rd and 4th rounders for center and line help. All this is an ideal case, i know, but i believe that Brockers truly will be a superb 5 technique lineman and he is only 21 and will get better- you have your new Seymour in place. Also adding a veteran WR like Reggie Wayne (letting go of Branch and Ocho) makes sense to me. The Giants have 3 great WR- why can’t the Pats have 3 great TEs that give the same , if not more production ( not even counting Welker and maybe a Joe Adams and Reggie Wayne). Let me know what you think….Tim

    • Pats Fan says:

      What do you think of recently released corner-backs Stanford Routt and Bryant McFadden? Do you think they would be good pickups for the Patriots?

  8. MJP says:

    Ironically enough, it will likely be DE/OLB or maybe DE/DT.

    Could be looking at Mercilus and Branch or Worthy and Cox, I’d throw the ILB’s who can play OLB in there as well, Hightower and Burfict.

    • Tom says:

      That might be the case. It looks like there are a lot of WRs and OL that might go in the first round and a couple teams might reach on QBs again, allowing some of these defensive players to fall.

    • jim r says:

      If they get two of them in the first round they will be in very good shape. My preference would be Cox and Burfict. Put Burfict and Spikes in the middle of the field and Flex out Mayo. They will phuck chit up!!!!!

  9. Tom says:

    I do not have a twitter account so I will leave my question here. With their first pick, the Pats seem to take the first or second best player at a particular position, e.g Nate Solder was the 2nd tackle last year, McCourty the second CB in 2010, rather than try and fill a position of need. What position do you think will still have the top players available at the bottom of round 1?

  10. MJP says:

    Got a question for you, actually two;

    1. Janzen Jackson, former Vol FS and arguably the best FS in the country, he entered the Draft after transferring to McNeese St where he played CB…..if his issues were only Pot related where do you think would be an ideal spot for him to be taken, say if the Pats wanted a talented FS with some baggage, sorta like Aaron at TE or Mallett at QB.

    2. Doesn’t Ocho count against the cap much more significantly in 2012??? I think he was only a 2.8 hit this year and is a 4.5-5.5 hit this year.

    • MJP says:

      I stand corrected; Ocho signed a 3 year deal at ~15million with 4.5million guaranteed, he has a 3million base salary over the next two years so by cutting him the Pats will only pay out 500K.

      Even though it looks like it should be $0 dollars by saving the 3mill in 2012 base salary and paying the lump sum of his remaining bonus which is also 3million…… there seems to be a 500K penalty for cutting or trading a player….hence they would pay 500K to free up a roster spot for someone who can learn the playbook.



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