NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
No one wants a remote control sized hole in their new HDTV.
That’s what I’m trying to prevent with this column. I have players who I consider worst case scenarios. I’m going to highlight the reasons why I don’t want them in the first round, but I’m also going to throw in a silver lining. That way, when these are the picks, I can read this column over and over again to make myself feel better.
Trade Up For Michael Brockers (Scouting Report)
My Rank: 27
What I don’t like: I don’t think its worth the waste of extra picks to take a player who will only contribute against the run early in his career. I love the pick at 27, I don’t love it if it means losing the extra first round pick.
Silver lining: Brockers has elite length and is a prototypical 5-tech end. He’s the exact kind of player Belichick typically looks for in a defensive lineman and will be an improvement over Brandon Deaderick.
Trade Up For Mark Barron (Scouting Report)
My Rank: 29
What I don’t like: Barron is the best safety in the class, but that’s not saying much for a safety class with almost zero top shelf talent. His game is far too reminiscent of current Patriots SS Patrick Chung and they can’t both play inside the box covering RBs and TEs in man. The Patriots should be targeting a centerfield-type free safety. There’s no way Barron falls to 27 at this point, so to me it’s not worth the wasted pick.
Silver lining: He might be better than Patrick Chung, so if we’re going completely based off roster improvement, its a good pick. He or Chung would also likely be a better FS than anyone on the roster currently.
Whitney Mercilus (Scouting Report)
My Rank: 36
What I don’t like: Despite contrary opinions, I don’t see Mercilus as a stand up pass rusher. His lack of fluidity/change of direction makes him strictly a 7-tech who can rush with his hand on the ground situationally. In the Patriots hybrid defense, I don’t see that garnering enough snaps to warrant the first round pick.
Silver lining: He has a ton of upside and racked up 16 sacks despite his raw talent. Getting that many sacks no matter how it was accomplished is impressive. He’s also better than anyone that Patriots currently would have rushing the passer standing up or with their hand on the ground.
Chandler Jones (Scouting Report)
My Rank: 48
What I don’t like: I’m not sure if he can contribute right away. His upright play, stiffness and overall awkward athleticism scares me in many ways. If you’re expecting a stand up pass rusher or even a double digit sack guy with his hand down, you’ll be disappointed.
Silver lining: He has tremendous length and is only really starting to learn how to use it. He could be a very good strong side DE and is an underrated run defender. He won’t get the same pass rush production as Andre Carter, but in the Pats defense, if you bulk him up 20-30 pounds he could play the “big” DE role in a 4-3 or he could eventually be a 5-tech. It could take years, but I see eventual Richard Seymour upside in Jones. Chandler’s brother Arthur is a 300 lb. DT for the Ravens.
Mike Adams (Scouting Report)
My Rank: 51
What I don’t like: Doesn’t have the killer mentality that you like to see out of an offensive lineman, he also lacks strength despite having elite size at 6-8 320. The fact that he failed his drug test at the combine, knowing the test was coming, is scary as well. Tackle is also not a major need for the Patriots despite Matt Light’s reported retirement.
Silver lining: If anyone can coach up a tackle, its OL-guru Dante Scarnecchia. He has tremendous upside if he can build more strength in his upper and lower body.