A Scout’s Take: 15 Potential Patriots

Michael Brockers Patriots Draft

Michael Brockers would make a lot of sense for the Patriots

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The start of the 2012 NFL Draft is 11 days away. The draft process is nearing an end and with speculation constantly running high, we are all anxious to see how it plays out.

In today’s 15 thoughts, I take a look at 15 players whose names may be called by the New England Patriots on draft day and how they would fit in with the Patriots.

1) Michael Brockers, DE/DT, LSU
I really believe that Michael Brockers is the apple of Bill Belichick’s eye. Brockers potential combined with his measurements would make him the perfect Patriots defensive end. Brockers has all the talent in the world, but needs some time and coaching to develop. He has put on a lot of weight over the last three years and needs to learn how to play with it. He is just scratching the surface of his talent.

Brockers’ best tool is his length and size, which makes him an ideal fit for 3-4 defensive end. He’s not a player who was overly productive at LSU and was used on a rotational basis a lot. But let’s not forget that Richard Seymour was knocked coming out of college because he was unproductive and didn’t generate much of a pass rush, similar to the way Brockers has been knocked.

I am not comparing Brockers to Seymour, but giving the time and coaching Brockers could adequately fill the void that Seymour left when traded in 2009. Brockers played inside at LSU, but when I look at Brockers I see a 3-4 DE. There certainly figures to be a number of suitors for Brockers which limits the chances he makes it to pick #27. However, I believe Brockers will fall a little bit further than some project, just because he is raw and doesn’t offer much pass rush. If Bill Belichick decides to trade up I believe Brockers is one of the few players they would move up to get.

2) Nick Perry, DE, USC
News broke this week that USC DE Nick Perry visited the Patriots. I have been way ahead of the curve on this one suggesting that Perry would be of interest to the Patriots, since he is quite similar to former Trojan DE and current Minnesota Viking Everson Griffen.

The Patriots were close to drafting Griffen in the third round in 2010 before trading the pick. Perry would be a big addition to the Patriots front seven. Perry would be the edge rusher that so many Patriot fans have been begging for since Bill Belichick took over the drafts for the Patriots. Perry is a great athlete and put on a show at the combine finishing in the top 3-4 of every agility and speed drill.

A question that has been raised is why did Perry only have one year of production at USC, despite having such great metrics. He appears to me to be a little bit tight when pass rushing and needs to develop a secondary move. He does know how to use his upper body and his hands to free himself from blockers.

There has also been some talk of Perry standing up and playing OLB, which would make Nick Perry all the more attractive to the team. Perry’s draft stock is very fluid, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was off the board as high as #12 to the Seattle Seahawks. It also wouldn’t surprise me if he was on the board for the Patriots first selection at #27. If he does make it to the Patriots, I am positive he will be in the discussion for the pick.

3) Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
Shea McClellin’s name has come up the most over the last two weeks, when projecting the Patriots picks in the first round. McClellin is a smart, versatile, edge rusher who reminds some of a Mike Vrabel type player. Our own James Christensen has called him “a rich man’s Rob Ninkovich right now”, and I think that is a fair comparison.

I will say that McClellin brings a more athletic player and someone who has better natural pass rushing skills. McClellin was used in a variety of ways in the Boise defense, DE, OLB, MLB, sp Bill Belichick would be able to get creative with McClellin. He was called one of the most coachable players at the Senior Bowl, when he was asked to play MLB instead of his more familiar edge positions.

His stock has risen since then to the point where it would actually be a surprise if he didn’t go in the first round. There are so many teams starting with the Jets at 16 and the Chargers at 18 that will be looking to address the pass rush. I think it’s likely that McClellin is on the board with the first selection at 27 and he may tempt the Patriots there. I have been told that McClellin isn’t likely the first option on their board but, if the other guys are off the board he may be the guy.

4) Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse
Jones is someone whose name is starting to gain momentum with the Patriots in round one. I started off the draft process kind of on the fence with Chandler Jones. However, I have spent the last week or so watching a lot more film of him, including four full Syracuse games from this prior year. I came away much more impressed with Jones that I initially thought.

Jones is a big man standing 6’5″ 266 lbs and has those long JPP arms which he uses to knock down a lot of passes. He also uses his long arms well when pass rushing. He is able to get them into the OT pads and create separation and knock the tackle off balance. Jones isn’t the speed rusher that a Shea McClellin or Nick Perry is, but what Jones does is beats you with power and effort. I also saw Chandler Jones make a lot of plays in run support, he does a very good job of coming flat down the line of scrimmage when unblocked to make plays. He is pretty disciplined with pass rushing and is able to sniff out draws and screens. He has made a lot of tackles on screens, swing passes and tackles down field due to his motor and ability to chase down plays.

If the Patriots were to take Jones, he would most likely play a hybrid “elephant” type of roll, where he stands up on some plays, drops on some plays and puts his hand on the ground on others. That’s not to say I don’t have my concerns with Jones I do. But, Jones like Brockers is a player who I believe is just scratching the surface of his potential. Jones has also shot up draft boards rather quickly, but I think there is a good probability that Jones is there at #27 or #31 for the Patriots to make a decision on.

5) Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
Notice a trend beginning to develop? Mercilus is yet another edge rusher who has been linked to the Patriots. The Patriots went to his pro day in Champaign, Illinois and worked him out. Mercilus like Perry had only one year of production at Illinois. In that one year however, Mercilus was able to lead the nation in sacks with 16 total, which is a huge number for a player in his first year as a starter. Posting 16 sacks in one season turned a lot of heads and rocketed Mercilus’ stock up into the first round mix.

What really intrigues me about Mercilus is the possibility of standing him up and playing him at OLB. At 6’3″ 261 pounds, he certainly has the size that Bill Belichick likes his outside linebackers to have. Mercilus has a very good first step and can get off the ball quickly. He needs to get better against the run and play a more physical brand of football. Mercilus like many of the players mentioned here are far from a finished product, so he will be picked for his long term potential.

As a rookie Mercilus would likely be able to add some situational pass rush, while he develops the other areas of his game. I feel pretty confident that Mercilus will be there when the Patriots pick in the first round and he might even be a player the team could trade down a little bit and still get at the beginning of the second round.

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26 Responses to “A Scout’s Take: 15 Potential Patriots”

  1. John M says:

    The Pats lost Marc Anderson to the Bills and Andre Carter is a big question mark. That’s 20 sacks that are probably gone. I think that the defensive linemen class is at least good this year so it’s a no-brainer, right? The Pats 27th pick will be the best defensive linemen available or they might move up 3-5 spots to pick the one they want. I don’t see them reaching for the 2nd best safety or 2nd best running back at that spot. I’m not smart enough to predict who they’ll take. All of us have been wrong the last 2 years with the pats first pick.

    • Jim R says:

      And we will be wrong again this year, Unless somebody drops in thier laps I think they will deal both first round picks. I think the talent you can get from 22-100 is all about the same. I think BB would like to operate in this range and pick up stuff for next year too.

  2. Ty says:

    Also with savy D subbing it could be a hybrid 2-5-4/2-4-5 with chung playing fs and adams at hybrid fs/ss and either barron, smith or my fav Iloka at ss in the draft.

  3. Ty says:

    Holy HOly HOLY crap, this led me to a whole new defensive scheme!!! the 2-5-4, 2 3-4 NT’s then 2 3/4 OLB’s/4/3 DE’s with 1 true ILB with 2 flex ILB/OLB’s and 2 CB’s and 1 true FS and 1 true SS. Holy crap i invented something!!!!

  4. Ty says:

    Terrible Article! Hey why don’t we jumble up a list of who could be drafted early and late and say those will be the pats big board????? Ok lets says the draft goes awry and Kirkpatrick is availible at 27, is he not on the pats big board???? How about Poe, what if in a crazy world he falls to 27 and the Pats decide to stay with the 4-3, and Poe is next to Wilfork??? Why would we even realisticly need 2 DE’s next to 2 guys who demand double teams? I know this article is called “15 potential Patriots”, However this years draft is so incredibly deep its statistcly impossible to predict what any team will do, espeshally the Pats who, with 2 first and 2 second round picks, will likely vulture whomever is availible. I would absolutely love to have S. Mclellin on the pats!!!! Is he a first round pick?? NOOO!!! Look at patriot draft history, how many of their first through third round picks in the last 10 years are still NFL players???? I counted, and they drafted 396 CB’s in the last 4 drafts alone!!!! Yes the Patriots definetly win some of those outragious picks. Brady was a 7th round pick, Hernandez in the 4th, and Belickech was Undrafted and lured by a unlimited supply of hoodies! OK i’m bunny trailing. Long story short, I wanna see a realistic mock for the Pats. Here is the hard part, you gotta not only predict whos falling and who’s raising but also predict other teams draft habbits vs. team needs. The Pats are kinda Screwed with both of their first round picks in this matter as denver, the lions, and the texans have a few similar needs with the pats before the first pick and greenbay and baltimore and sanfran will pick whomever then next 2-3 guys on the pats board before their next pick. More details to come in the more realistic article about this years draft called “Who falls to the Patriots in the first 2 rounds”

    • Ty says:

      However, I do love falling players in the draft. They say Poe is falling because of game tapes. They say Jenkins is falling because of boarderline poligamy(wait that can’t be right?) What happened to Chase Minniefield, earlier this year he was a first round prospect, then he has a great season and a bad combine and falls to the 3rd??? How about Burfict? Ok i’m just as ready to drop him as a head case as the next guy BUT , WHAT IF HIS PROBLEMS WITH THE COACHING STAFF is JUSTIFIABLE????? Burfict is a freakin animal and the Pats need some toughness! Geeze what about all those people who said ocho and the pats would be a hilarious disaster. Remeber when ocho used to ride bulls and get into knife fights with strippers, NO MORE! They even seemed to humble him in the process. Here’s the fact of the matter: The Pats reined him in and he wasn’t smart enough to learn the complicated offence(who could with no training camp and so little time). Watch out for the patriots because even when they strike out on 4 of 6 picks they willl still kick some butt.

  5. qwerty says:

    Brocker – no productive game film, potential, needs development

    another one …

    Poe – no productive game film, potential, needs development

    First round – No thanks even if they do become great players.

    First rounders should ideally be 3-4 down players and have game film and hopefully be more than one year wonders.

    Then there is the perceived risk and real risk. The smart scouting teams will identify the latter better.

    Patriots should not move up to take such players. Patriots having late first round picks may be in better position to gamble if they do fall but that is a grey area for me. I’d ere on the side of caution so rather just find those solid players. For the teams that have two first round picks, it could be justified rolling the dice.

    • Ken W says:

      Rolling the dice isn’t what BB does. He goes for the safe pick and someone that he knows will help the team when picking in the 1st round.

      Thats why 5/11 of his first round picks have been players in the trenches, OL and DL. Easier to project to the nfl then other positions. Zero OLB or rush DE have been selected in the first round.

      I think the only way McClellin or Upshaw become Pats is if they trade back into the early second and if they are still there, they take them.

      I think its more likely they go CB, S, a DE that falls or they really like, or even a OL in the 1st round. I don’t see them going OLB in the 1st. Not BB’s style.

      • qwerty says:

        I think you hit all the nails on the head. There are OLB’s BB would take but the cost for them are just too high and they are few. Patriots were going to take Robert Quinn if he was still available.

        • Ken W says:

          yah it seems the price the Pats are willing to pay is just a little bit lower then most of the other teams out there so they don’t end up with those pass rushers at the end of the day because a team a little bit ahead of them is willing to do it.

        • Wassup! says:

          Convo for dummmies?

  6. Wassup! says:


  7. Wassup! says:

    Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas is the only one I’d pass on. I actually Jareius Wright more and think he catches the ball better. As well as potentially playing slot & outside. Just one man’s view.

  8. John M says:

    I’m surprised you don’t have Harrison Smith as a possibility in the late second round.

  9. BILL says:

    Thats pretty good analysis. if Perry is being compared to Ev Griffin, does that mean that He’s really a 3rd rd pick in a better draft.

    Its interesting that people who like Chandler Jones think he’s ultimately a 3-4 DE who will play at 285 #, but until he bulks up, we can teach him an new position at OLB. And Reyes is really undersized playing @ 285#. Its all who you like.

    I’m surprised there is no mention of Devon Still, who will probably be there for Pats @ 27 and 31. He was POY in Big 10 wasn’t he?

    I really like McClellin and Trumaine Johnson, and think a draft with

    27-McClellin / 31-Jones / 48-Johnson / 62- OLB (Wagner, Lavonte, Irvin, or Kendricks) / 93-RB or WR

    would be a screaming success

    • Wassup! says:

      Your draft breaks wind @ #31 & 62. Change it. If they pick McClellin why pick Jones @ 31?

  10. Blackluck says:

    Some draft pundits have Upshaw dropping to the end of the first round or even the second. Seems after his pro day his stock really dropped. Is he still a mid round first pick despite that?

    • Nuf Ced says:

      I personally agree w/ Jonathan Bales on Upshaw (http://thedctimes.com/2012/01/dallas-cowboys-potential-2012-draft-pick-courtney-upshaw-deolb-alabama/)

      Personally I am not enamored with any of the Alabama defenders in this draft, the secondary players are one dimensional and the front 7 players have flaws that will be exposed at the NFL level. Out of all them when looking at where these guys will get drafted vs what I believe they will produce at I prefer Josh Chapman.

      Actually I looooooooove me some Nick Gentry late or UFA

      • Billy C says:

        Agree. Chapman will be the best pro on that defense. He’s not getting the love because of his injury and he plays the nose tackle position, but I’d be real happy to have him at the 45th pick.

        • Wassup! says:

          Billy C. & Nuf Ced please cut your fingers off. You both should be tar, feathered then stoned.

  11. Tom says:

    Akiem Hicks

  12. Steve says:

    Good stuff Mike. Do you think that Wilson’s fumbling issues could scare the Pats away? Seems that Doug Martin might be a better fit. Either way, I can definitely see them using another pick on a RB this year.

  13. MJP says:

    How many times do I need to mention Malik Jackson before he gets any attention?

    Why draft Brockers who has some “iffy” tape when you can get Jackson in round-2 who gave LSU and Bama fits playing out of position at DT and even NT.

    No Mychal Kendricks, Devon Wylie or Robert Golden….how about Casey Hayward or Harrison Smith…this list needs to be expanded.

  14. AM says:

    A lot of great options on this list, starting with McClellin and Brockers. Mercilus is a risk, but he could pay off huge. Johnson, Robinson, and Wilson could all be great additions, as could Adams, Taylor, and Irvin. If every pick came out of that group, it would make for some very happy fans.

  15. Mark says:

    I’d like to see them get both Brockers and Shea but only if they spend the 3rd or 4th picks and/or future later rounders for short hops up; or maybe pick 62 only.

    • Mark says:

      That is in addition to any of their three tops picks. Don’t want to see them trade up that hard.

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