NEPD Mailbag: Too Long For Twitter

Lavonte David NFL Draft Patriots

Could this undersized linebacker fit in the Patriots hybrid defense?

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.

@animedpet
@DougKyedNEPD Pats need athleticism at OLB. What are your thoughts on players like Demario Davis and Lavonte David in our evolving defense?

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.

@JFossick
@DougKyedNEPD has anyone ever nailed a mock draft? Kinda like nailing a bracket, I imagine is nearly impossible..

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.

@UrMaineChoice_
@DougKyedNEPD what do you think the Pats will do with both 1st round picks ?

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.

@JRPhillips27
@DougKyedNEPD What would you rather the Patriots do trade up and get Barron or wait and get Harrison Smith in the 2nd? Better value?

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.

Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Demario Davis, Harrison Smith, Lavonte David, Mark Barron

10 Responses to “NEPD Mailbag: Too Long For Twitter”

  1. Kemicol says:

    Why hasn’t anyone been talking about Trent Robinson fs from msu solid player good leader 3rd rounder for sure but someone we could plug in many different ways to help this team. Not to mention the fact he was a key player on a top 10 defense last year

  2. BILL says:

    Why don’t we hear more about Markelle Martin? With his speed and athletic ability he could be coached up to be a very good FS. I know they say he hits hard but doesn’t tackle well, but thats just technique.

  3. qwerty says:

    Worst situation for a team is to go into a draft having to draft on need.

    Patriots have some moderate needs but have luxury of not drafting on need. Their area of needs just happen to fit this draft well. If there is run on secondary players then patriots can take aim at the front 7. Patriots had good offseason signing players.

  4. Jim R says:

    Wat to hit em Doug. Barron and Smith in round 1 way too high.

    • Wassup! says:

      He’s wrong & so are you on Barron. Smith is overrated, however.

      • Jim R says:

        We very well could be. The chances are getting slimmer and slimmer that he will be around for the Patriots to make a mistake on him.

    • Wassup! says:

      You’re wrong and so is Doug.

      • Wassup! says:

        Besides we’re gonna select Brandon Hardin, anyhow. BANK IT!

        • Waldoon says:

          That would be an awesome move! If he’d played this year he’d have been a 2nd Round talent. Now we’ll get him in the 4th or 5th. I actually saw one live mock that had him going in the 7th.

  5. Ken W says:

    I just watched some clips on Lavonte David and I like what I saw. Very solid tackler. Seems to have good timing and speed to get by blocks and shoot the gap the RB is going for. Also looks good in coverage. Only concern is size (6’1″ 235 lbs) I wouldn’t mind the pats drafting him late 2nd early 3rd.



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