NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
Where’s the best value for a safety? Could the Patriots change their prototype for a linebacker? What would it take to make a perfect mock draft?
Those are some of the questions I’ll be answering in my weekly “Too Long For Twitter” Friday mailbag where I take questions from Twitter that warrant, deserve or need answers longer than 140 characters
If you have a question about anything, tweet it to me @DougKyedNEPD, and I’ll try to include it in the column on Friday. If you aren’t on Twitter, feel free to throw in a question in the comments section.
I love the idea. I think the Patriots need more athleticism in their front seven in general and a great cover linebacker either in the middle or outside would be great. Brandon Spikes is a great player against the run, but he was also arguably the best cover linebacker the Patriots had last year. It’s a really bad sign when your best cover linebacker is slower than your left tackle…
This draft is full of athletic linebackers that can cover: Davis, David, Zach Brown, Mychal Kendricks, Terrell Manning, Sean Spence, even bigger guys like Josh Kaddu or Sammy Brown. They may not fit the Patriots prototypical linebacker size, but they’d be incredible assets in the hybrid defense.
It’s especially important to have those guys with the way that third down backs and tight ends are being used lately. The more those guys are used as receivers, the more fast, big, athletic bodies you need on the field. Lavonte David is the perfect answer to those types of players.
No, I don’t believe anyone has. I figure I might as well be the first this year.
I’ve heard some rumors of certain draft analysts that like to pose in suits changing their mocks as the draft is happening to make themselves look better. I suppose that’s the best way to nail a perfect mock draft.
With the Pats, the best thing to do is to expect the unexpected. This year, I suppose the most unexpected thing to do would be to either keep them, or trade up. The Patriots already have a seriously deep roster, so it might be best to just acquire the best players possible. With players like Whitney Mercilus, Chandler Jones, Derek Wolfe and more supposedly going in the first round, it may leave some great targets for the Patriots to fall like Devon Still, Nick Perry, etc.
Some of my favorite players in this draft are targets in the late first or early second round, the more the chips fall, the more likely it looks that the Patriots will be in good shape when it comes time to pick. Of course, like I said, expect the unexpected, we could see one value pick like Janoris Jenkins and one reach like Derek Wolfe or Trumaine Johnson.
If the Patriots trade up, I expect them to target a defensive lineman. If they stay put, they’re going to take their best players available, and if they think they can get that guy later, they’ll move back. The Patriots draft very smart when it comes to their board, but they also generally have a smaller big board than other teams. They key in on certain guys.
Harrison Smith. I like Barron as a player, I have him as a borderline first rounder, but he’s not a perfect fit for the Patriots. Harrison Smith is a nice fit, but could be overdrafted. I don’t see Smith as a first rounder, he’s a borderline 2nd/3rd for me actually. He can play both safety spots, but he also doesn’t excel at one particular thing. He’s an extremely smart player, and he’s a natural team leader, but he’s not the most skilled player in the draft.
Barron has too many of the same traits as Patrick Chung in my opinion. He plays best in the box, he’s best in man coverage on RBs and TEs. We saw Chung excel early last season in that exact role vs. the Dolphins.
My favorite FS prospect is actually Trumaine Johnson, the corner out of Montana. He and Casey Hayward from Vanderbilt have a lot of traits that I like as possible conversions. Neither has elite speed, both are best in zone coverages, have great ball skills, nice instincts and the length to close. If you put either one of those guys back with Patrick Chung, you’d have a much improved secondary.