So, Who’s Excited For The NFL Draft?

sterling moore kyle arrington victor cruz super bowl giants

One of the Patriots biggest priorities this offseason? Fix the secondary. (Photo: ICON SMI)

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

What I’m about to say might sound ridiculous to some people, but thankfully, most of those people would never stumble upon this website.

Being a diehard fan of one sports team can really hurt.

There are 32 scenarios each season that make 31/32 NFL fans unhappy. The pain of a season ending then becomes even worse the further along your season progresses and again worse by how dramatic (or traumatic) the finish is.

The worst part of last night’s game was how sudden it all happened. The Pats were in the driver’s seat, four minutes left, they had the ball, they were up, all they had to do was finish. Run out the clock, score another touchdown, anything. Then once the Giants got the ball back, all they had to do was finish, stop them, break up a pass, anything. Then they just had to let the Giants score with as much time remaining as possible. Then, once again, they just had to finish, :57 seconds left, catch the ball, drive down the field.

Unfortunately, this team wasn’t ready. They were a team built off two minute drives that were only given :57 seconds. They were a team that were either too young, too inexperience or not talented enough to make defensive stands when it mattered most.

But this was not the 2009 Patriots. This was a team that got along, that always seemed to have one another’s backs. Nothing can or should be taken away from any individual player or coach on the Patriots. They fought hard all season and overachieved. The Ravens said it themselves, the better team probably did lose two Sundays ago. But what does that say about the Ravens?

This wasn’t the team destined to win a Super Bowl. Maybe next year, or maybe the year after that. Not the team with 22 year olds playing TE. Not the team with a center by committee. Not the team who’s star DE was lost for the season. Not the team with the patchwork secondary. Not the team without a third option at WR. Not the team who’s coach perhaps tried to do a little too much.

Listen Patriots fans, there’s a lot to be optimistic about. We still have the best coach and best QB of the last twenty years. We have an extremely young team who can only get better. We have two first round picks, two second round picks and plenty of cap room. We have a team that gets along and we have a cornerback sitting on injured reserve who started out his rookie year playing better CB than anything we got to see this year. This is a team that lost 5 total regular season games the last two seasons combined.

Still, there are some things the Patriots still need to fix.

HIRE A DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR OR A GM

It’s hard enough to be a head coach and general manager. It’s hard enough to be a head coach and defensive coordinator. It’s a whole other thing altogether trying to be a head coach, general manager and defensive coordinator. That’s what Bill Belichick was trying to do all season.

I’m not doubting BB’s ability to do any one of those things. I think he knows how to lead a team, I think he knows how to lead a defense and I think he can evaluate talent. But there aren’t 72 hours in a day. When you’re trying to do three things at once, something, or everything is going to slack. Right now, that seems to be defense. I understand Belichick’s hesitance to hiring a defensive coordinator. They’ll probably just be swept away from him again into a head coaching position, but I’d rather that than losing Super Bowls.

FIX THE SECONDARY

Getting Ras-I Dowling back will help, but Belichick has to determine if he has a cornerback or a safety in Devin McCourty and he has to draft accordingly. If McCourty is a safety, the Patriots have Dowling (injury prone), Arrington (perhaps playing way over his head early in the season), Sterling Moore (talented, but wildly inexperienced and unproven), Antwaun Molden (no comment), Nate Jones and Malcolm Williams (special teamers) and Julian Edelman (wide receiver).

Like I said in my intro, there’s a lot to be excited about there. If we’re playing the Peter Gammons game, IF Ras-I Dowling can stay healthy, and IF Sterling Moore can play like he did late in the season and IF Kyle Arrington was hindered by injuries in the second half of the season and IF Julian Edelman can continue to progress as a slot corner, the Patriots will be fine. But that’s a lot of ifs.

For the third year in a row, whether McCourty is playing safety or not, the Patriots will need to spend a first or second round pick on a corner. And whether McCourty is playing safety or not, the Patriots should draft a safety as well.

FIND ANOTHER CONSISTENT WR

The first decision to be made is whether Wes Welker is coming back. Let’s hope he is. Deion Branch has clearly lost a step and shouldn’t be the no. 2 WR on a Super Bowl roster. Brandon Lloyd is one option to come in. He’s said he wants to come wherever Josh McDaniels goes, so now it’s just up to whether or not Belichick will have him. He’s been a talented but troubled WR through his career, but if he can be signed for the right price, he’d be a great piece as he already knows the offense.

The Patriots also need to draft a WR. It’s something that hasn’t gone so well for the Patriots in the past, but this is also an undeniably deep WR class from top to bottom. Hey, take a couple WRs for I care. They need to hit on one or two at some point.

SHORE UP THE FRONT SEVEN

I wouldn’t call any part of the front seven a weakness, but it’s also not a strength at this point, despite having talented players. I can’t point at Brandon Deaderick or Kyle Love or Rob Ninkovich as reasons why the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl, but there’s little depth there and that’s what needs to be fixed. With four picks in the first two rounds of this year’s draft, it’s time for Belichick to NOT trade into next year’s draft. I know it works, I know it keeps getting them more picks. I don’t care if we trade down, but it needs to be for picks THIS year.

 

Other than those few areas of weakness, this is a good Patriots team that’s going to be good for as long as Tom Brady can stay in his peak as a player. I desperately want another ring for Brady and Belichick. I wanted it this year, but sometimes being a fan sucks. I don’t want to wait another year, or another two years, but that’s what we’re looking at.

There’s a lot of positives to be taken away from this season. Let’s not only think of the negatives right now.

33 Responses to “So, Who’s Excited For The NFL Draft?”

  1. PatsFan says:

    What do you guys think of this draft for the Patriots?

    1/27: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB
    Can contribute in both 3/4 or 4/3
    1/31: Traded for a 1st rounder next year and a 2nd this year
    2/12: Andre Branch, OLB
    Can rush the passer and can develop into Willie Mcginest type player
    2/17: Juron Criner, WR
    Can be a big play threat
    2/31: Traded for 2nd rounder next year and 4th
    3/31: George Iloka, FS
    Can play immediately and has size (6’4) to cover TE
    4/13: Traded along with Ninkovich for Asante Samuel and 5th rounder
    4/31: Marvin Jones, WR
    Can be another threat at WR.. good hands
    5/15: Casey Hayward, CB
    More CB depth
    6/11: Received for Cunningham… Jaye Howard, DT/DE
    Can penetrate from 4/3 DT spot

  2. Anthony DiCenso says:

    I am interested in Asa Jackson, CB with 4.4 speed out of Cal Poly. both his parents are doctors and although he played at a small school he was awesome. If we can acquire a 5th round pick for Hoyer or by trading down in the draft, we could take Jackson as a depth guy.

  3. Joe Blake says:

    In the Corporate State we live in, did you think the Pats had a chance against a team from NYC? We are kept numb by Corporations control of media through advertising etc. Big bucks are made by Corporations when NYC teams win. The safety call set the stage, a smart Corporate move that went under the radar. Enjoy sports, but know how the deck is stacked.

  4. Lundahl says:

    We need to draft another OT early. You just never have enough offensive linemen and protecting your quarterback is crucial. You need your offensive line to be perfect.

    • Ken W says:

      We have 3 starting Tackles on the team already.
      Light
      Vollmer
      Solder
      You want the pats to use another early pick so that they can sit on the bench for an insurance policy, so that “if” not one but 2 tackles go down we will be ok. Im sorry but drafting any other position besides qb would make more sense.

      Give me a defensive player any day of the week to help the weakest part of the team, over an OT.

      • Kdub says:

        That’s what I’m saying… OL is solid don’t waste early round picks maybe go for one in 3rd-5th round

        • Ken W says:

          yah in the 3rd to 5th if they like an OL then sure go for it, but first 2 rounds should be used on bigger needs.

      • Kdub says:

        This draft should be almost all defense except for a quick deep threat reciever… At least that’s what my hope would be anyway.. I just hope they don’t pull what they did last year by drafting a QB and RB when our major needs are on defense!! With 4 picks in the first 2 rounds we should at least get 2 CB’s, a DE and a speedy WR or maybe a CB, a S, a DE and a speedy WR not necessarily in that order but that should be the focus.. After that’s said and done then look at filling the backup roles.. I trust BB to draft CB and S cuz he always does but hopefully they are near the top of the draft and not the middle cuz it’s a major priority

  5. Kdub says:

    I wish they had resigned Asante samuel back then.. He’s still play great football.. I also wish they had resigned Richard Seymour also.. All the problems we are having on defense could have been resolved and we would have still been able to pick up some young guys to work underneath them and learn a few things.. But it’s not a perfect world.. But I’d like to see them get a couple good corners one first rounder and one second rounder or search the free agent market a bit for a younger corner and I’d like to see them get a high DE cuz I think we are pretty much set at LB for now (maybe pick up one in the later rounds).. I’d like them to boot Ochoa cuz he’s not effective at all and I’d like them to more branch to no.3 receiver and draft a deep threat receiver to put in the no.2 spot.. I think the OL is top notch and they should maybe draft some depth in the later rounds although I’m not keen on the idea of drafting alot of offensive players (if it’s not broke don’t fix it) although a deep threat is a must.. We need a deep presence randy moss style, my biggest concern is shoring up the porous defense, I miss the early days of Brady when our defense was a top 5 force to be reckoned with and if they are ever able to get back to that kind of defense the patriots would be nearly unstoppable

  6. Noah says:

    One of the names to watch in the draft this year will be Ryan Miller of Colorado. He played G/T. He’s a high character guy projected in the 3rd to 4th round. With the production we’ve seen from solder this year it wouldn’t surprise me if BBp went back to Colorado and took this kid.

  7. bryan says:

    What would be your thought on the pats drafting Vontaze burfict and pairing him in the middle with spikes in certain packages? I just think both spikes and burfict togeather in the middle would bring some serious attitude and toughness to the D.

  8. Lundahl says:

    I just want them to be back in the SuperBowl.

  9. Andrew says:

    I say just give the title of GM to Casserio already! The man seems ready, and was trying to be woo’ed away by the Colts. Whether you find a coordinator off of the street or get him from within, WORK WITH HIM. But most importantly, PLEASE find a new coaching set for the DB’s. Those two and their assistants were clearly not up to the job! As for the draft, we’ve all been crying for it for years now, but its probably going to be another one of those typical years. I rest my case.

  10. Pete says:

    Anybody else think we would be in a much different place if we signed Asante Samuel way back when? A half dozen draft picks and a dozen free agents later and we are still not even set at one corner let alone two.

    On a positive note, Sterling Moore can play. He is a late bloomer and he was a difference maker the last two games. I was at the game and a lot of irate Giants fans were looking for pass interference when it was nothing else but perfect timing. He is part of the package in 2012.

  11. Way to pick it up after a tough loss…great season….make the picks and invest in WR’s, Safety, Corners and D Line.

  12. Zrowl1 says:

    I’m not that worried about OC….. I think Scarr can work develop the guys we have, weather it’s Connolly, Wendell, or McDonald.

    I think we will see this year with wide receivers what we saw last year with running backs. Multiple picks in the middle rounds. I like Joe Adams myself.

  13. TomB says:

    so who would u guys get jenkins or kirkpatrick? for the rookie cb

  14. Ryan says:

    Doug –
    Great job as always, BB hasn’t been calling Defensive plays for sometime. It explains a lot of the aggressiveness. Patricia is doing a good job, and I think he needs more to work with.

    Here is what needs to happen:
    1. WR – if Sanu is there I think we take him.
    2. OC – our center was so bad that it made Mankins have a bad year. Got to have a better Center, and it will dramatically help the running game.
    3. Safety take Illoka, late to early second.
    4. DE – Need depth, Deadrick is good and Love was a steal. But Ellis didn’t help much and neither did Brace. (Markell Carter somehwere in there too)
    5. LB’s need some depth. Nink had a great year. So did so did Spikes and Mayo, but we need OLB maybe Carter maybe Cunningham.
    6. CB – We need a couple of them. Sterling Moore played well despite what many say. If we had Dowling, McCourty, Moore, Arrington, and Mannfield or Jenkins that would be great.

    To me this draft is deep at CB, WR and DE. OC isn’t deep but we if we can snag a top 3 player it will help. I’m not giving up on McCourty, he needed a training camp in my mind and need an off-season. I think he will be better next year especially with help over the top.

    • Jon says:

      I agree on Sanu. I think he’s got the right characteristics in terms of work ethic, talent and character.

      I like the idea of drafting a couple WR’s (or getting some UDFA’s). Try to bring in a few players and see who Tom connects with.

  15. rubens says:

    If only Dowling wasn’t injury prone so that leaves worries there for next season also, and we should draft a pass rusher as well as a tall fast receiver who can stretch the field and this draft have plenty of fast receiver’s like Sanu or Jones. i don’t know about the Ochocinco part on what to do with him but we should move matt slater into special teams and edelman to a db bring back anderson and carter and draft a ss/cb in the first round

  16. TD says:

    You all have to realize that BB is not going to add guys to the roster based just on talent. They have to live, eat, breath football, have high character in order to fit in the locker room.

    A guy like Jenkins would really have to convince him that his problems are behind him.

  17. Jon says:

    I really agree with everything.

    1) I think the team needs to invest in a GM. BB and his staff did a great job defensively with what little BB the GM left them with. I don’t think BB would respond well to a total upheaval, but there needs to be a strong presence in this organization who can say with some level of authority: “Bill, I think you should/shouldn’t do this.”

    2) When it comes to the secondary I feel like it needs a steadying veteran presence. I don’t want to keep drafting high round rookies at the expense of other positions. Get some veterans in here and give the young guys a little bit more of a chance to grow on the job.

    3) I have two thoughts when it comes to receivers.

    a) Sign/draft another TE. Right now the double TE set is very effective. I think having another player in the rotation would be beneficial in keeping Gronk and Hernandez fresh. And given their injuries it’d be a good insurance policy.

    b) When it comes to wideouts dump Ocho, bring back Branch as No.3, seriously consider moving Edelman to DB, and bring back Slater but only for special teams.

    After that kick the tires on guys like Meachem, Garcon, and the like. Someone young but experienced. I’d then cast the net out and bring in multiple rookies (drafted and undrafted) and try to hit with at least one.

    4) Re-sign Carter and Anderson if possible. Acquiring a stud d-lineman and linebacker would be wise moves.

    5) Bill, make the damn picks. I know you won’t, but seriously consider it.

    • MattBoss says:

      Yes, I really think this is the year to make picks, not trade for future picks. We need to build this team now. I can understand if he trades one of the 1sts for a 2nd and another 3rd though.

  18. MattBoss says:

    I think McCourty should stay at CB. Draft Mark Barron with the Saints pick and another CB with 31 or one of the second rounders (Jenkins? Dennard? Gilmore? Minnefield?) Make the secondary a strength. Then focus on a 3-4 DE or 3-4 OLB. A WR who can burn should be a target in rounds 2-3. Finally OL depth (C, G).

    CB – McCourty
    CB – Dowling
    CB – Arrington/Moore/one of the CB i mentioned above.
    SS – Barron
    FS – Chung

    The secondary must improve at all costs.

    • Doug Kyed says:

      The nice thing about McCourty as a potential safety is that we know he can play FS. Chung struggles as a FS and the same might hold true for Barron.

  19. bryan says:

    I can’t wait for the draft! And the pat have somewhere around 30 mil in cap space according to patscap.com so maybe we can bring in a few impact FA’s

  20. soxfann1980 says:

    u guys are the scouts, so you tell us…is McCourty a better safety or corner?? Do you think that question will be answered by BB with whoever falls in the draft?? If Jenoris Jenkins falls in the draft to them then that makes the choice easier to move McCourty to safety or vice versa if Barron falls that makes them move McCourty to corner?

    • Doug Kyed says:

      It depends on the scheme Belichick wants to move forward with. If it’s zone, McCourty can play CB, if it’s man, he’s a safety. I don’t think it’ll be as simple as “McCourty is a __” next season. I have a feeling he’s going to be switching back and forth again.

  21. TD says:

    The reality of the current state of the NFL requires teams to have at least 3 good CB’s and 2 good cover Safties. The old days of having 2 lockdown/knockdown CB’s is long gone.

    I expect BB to always be looking for good cover DB’s, as he was in sub packages (nickel & dime) for a large percentage of the year. That would also point to the need of pure pass rushers.

    • Doug Kyed says:

      If the Pats can bring back either Anderson or Carter, I’m not too worried about the edge rush. Drafting DE/DT will help get a push from someone other than Wilfork up the middle though.






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