NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
If you look at any mock draft, you will typically see the Patriots taking a defensive lineman in the first two rounds.
There’s good reason, it’s a big position of need for the Patriots. The difficult part is predicting which players the Patriots may be looking at.
From my case study on Tuesday, I discovered since 2000, the Patriots have taken 16 NTs, 3-techs or 5-techs. Five of those players were taken in the first two rounds (Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Marquise Hill, Vince Wilfork and Ron Brace.)
There are a few noticeable splits when looking at size/speed combo.
-The Patriots took five players under 300 pounds from 2000 to 2003. Since 2003, they’ve taken one in 2007 (Kareem Brown).
-The Patriots typically take more athletic players earlier in the draft, that includes Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork. Ron Brace from 2009 is an exception.
-The Patriots have typically taken bigger, but less athletic players from 2007 on.
-The Patriots have only taken one defensive lineman in the first two rounds since 2004 (Brace).
All of those splits seem to relate to one another. If you’re taking players later, you’re probably not going to be finding elite athletes. If you’re taking players over 300 pounds, they’re probably not going to be running 4.8 40 times.
Here are some of the main attributes I found from my case study on Tuesday and which 2012 prospects fit those criteria.
-Ten of the DL have been over 6’3” (Alecxih, Brockers, Cox, Crawford, Crick, Hamilton, Harris, Hicks, Howard, Jackson, Kuhn, Poe, Randall, Reyes, Robertson, Still, Sweezy, Winn, Wolfe)
-Lately, the Patriots have been drafting players over 300 pounds. (Brockers, Chapman, Fangupo, Forston, Hamilton, Harris, Hicks, Howard, Hughes, Martin, Poe, Powell, Robertson, Still, Ta’amu, Thompson, Tyson, Worthy)
-Arm length is typically over 33” (Alecxih, Brockers, Cox, Crawford, Forston, Guyton, Hamilton, Harris, Hicks, Howard, Hughes, Jackson, Meatoga, Randall, Reyes, Still, Sweezy, Thompson, Tyson, Wolfe, Worthy)
-The Average 40 time is around 5.0 or 5.1. (Crick, Fangupo, Forston, Guyton, Kuhn, Meatoga, Randall, Robertson, Still, Sweezy, Winn, Wolfe, Worthy)
-Ten yard splits are typically under 1.8 (Cox, Crawford, Crick, Fangupo, Forston, Guyton, Hicks, Howard, Jackson, Kuhn, Martin, Meatoga, Poe, Reyes, Still, Sweezy, Ta’amu, Winn, Wolfe, Worthy)
-Twenty yard splits are typically under 3. (Cox, Crawford, Crick, Guyton, Howard, Jackson, Kuhn, Martin, Meatoga, Poe, Randall, Reyes, Sweezy, Winn, Wolfe, Worthy)
-3 cone and 20 shuttle times have been very high in the last few years and are generally very unpredictable.
-Bench press reps are typically over 20. (Only Alecxih put up less than 20)
-Only three players have had less than 20 starts during their college careers. (Only Brockers, Crawford, Fangupo, Forston, Guyton, Hicks, Kuhn started less than 20)
-The Patriots have never taken a small school DL. (Hicks is the only small school DL)
-The Patriots typically like captains and team leaders (Daniels, Howard, Martin, Meatoga, Poe, Powell, Randall, Reyes, Robertson, Still, Sweezy, Ta’amu, Thompson, Tupou, Tyson, Wolfe were all captains)
The following players fit eight or more of the above criteria: Howard (40 time faster than typical), Meatoga (under 6’3”, under 300 lbs.), Poe (fast 40 time, arms shorter than 33”), Randall (under 300 lbs, slower 10 yard split), Reyes (fast 40 time, under 300 lbs.), Still (20 yard split not recorded), Sweezy (under 300 lbs), Winn (less than 300 lbs, arms shorter than 33”), Wolfe (under 300 lbs), Worthy (under 6’3”, not a captain).
The following players fit five or less criteria: Brockers, Chapman, Daniels, Fangupo, Hamilton, Harris, Hicks, Hughes, Powell, Tupou).
Of course, these criteria are based off small samples and like I said before there appears to be a divide pre-2007 and post-2007 and depending on which round the player was taken.
A guy like Brockers may not fit a lot of the criteria, but he has the right size, and he’s the type of player the Patriots have been looking at lately. He fits the mold of a Marquise Hill, David Nugent or Richard Seymour.
From doing a case study on the defensive backs the Patriots have drafted and the defensive linemen the Patriots have drafted, DBs had a much clearer criteria to look for. When a team takes guys like Ron Brace and Dan Klecko or Jarvis Green and Kareem Brown it makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes the prototypical Patriots defensive line prospect.
From the above research, Jaye Howard, Devon Still, J.R. Sweezy and Derek Wolfe appear to fit best from a size/speed/college career standpoint. Josh Chapman, Mike Daniels and Christian Tupou appear to fit the least.