2013 NFL Draft: More Thoughts on the Patriots Draft

- I almost like the Boyce pick more than the Dobson pick. I really believe Josh Boyce is going to have an impact in the NFL this year. When you watch him on film at TCU you can gain appreciate for his big play ability, most of which he sets up with smart route running and tempo. Boyce changes the speed of his routes very well and sets up the defender properly. He’s going to be deadly out of the Patriots play-action game because he does such a good job of selling the run. Boyce has great timed speed (sub 4.40) and while he doesn’t play quite that fast, his speed is visible on film. Boyce has a sturdy 5’11″ 206 lbs. build and like Dobson does a good job of winning 50-50 balls. Both receivers also have very reliable hands and can track the ball down the field. Boyce can play outside the numbers as an X receiver or in the slot.

- If both players can get on the field this year the Patriots would be looking at a top five of Amendola, Gronkowski, Hernande, Dobson and Boyce. That group certainly has more size, speed and vertical ability than last year’s group. While last’s year group looked great on paper, they were fair to one-dimensional and finesse oriented. How these two rookie WR pick up the offense and integrate themselves into the passing game is without a doubt the #1 story line heading into the summer.

- As I talked about the other night, I loved the Logan Ryan selection because I felt it was the best value at CB on the board. If they missed out on Ryan they risked not being able to land a CB that can play next year. Ryan played the same position as Devin McCourty at Rutgers and as Bill Belchick spoke about Saturday, Rutgers plays a similar style defense to the Patriots. Ryan should be familiar with responsibilities, terminology and technique. The transition period with so many Rutgers players on the roster should be quite easy.

- Unlike other cornerback draft picks of the past, Logan Ryan won’t necessarily be asked to come in and start from day one. I feel like part of the reason some of these draft picks have failed is because they have been asked to do too much too early. The addition of Ryan gives the Patriots more depth at CB than thay have had in a very long time. Looking at the depth chart right now they have a top five of 1) Aqib Talib 2) Alfonzo Dennard 3) Kyle Arrington 4) Logan Ryan 5) Marquise Cole and if Ras-I Dowling can ever get healthy throw him into the mix. Essentially, the same secondary will return to Foxboro next year with a few key additions. Lack of cohesion, familiarity and communication has killed the Patriots secondary over the last 3-4 years. That can’t be an excuse this year.

- Ryan can play both in the slot or as an outside CB. He’s a very good tackler and an aggressive run defender, totaling 94 tackles in 2012 alone. Ryan is much more comfortable in zone schemes and finds a way to the ball. He’s a legitimate NFL talent and had one of the best CB seasons in college football last season. Broke up 21 passes and intercepted another 4. I would be surprised if Ryan wasn’t one of the four active corners on game day in 2013.

- The Duron Harmon pick is still a head-scratcher, although I have learned that plenty of other NFL teams have interest in him. It seems like the rest of the NFL considered him a 5th-6th round pick with the highest possibility being the 4th round. None of that matters to Bill Belichick as he obviously saw something in Harmon that he loved. I can’t answer what that is, but I do know he appears to be a smart, instinctive and well-coached player.

- If Durmon Harmon is a reach pick in terms of value, then the Michael Buchanan pick is a steal. Buchanan was widely considered a 3rd-4th round player by most analysts and draft experts. Even Daniel Jeremiah sung his praises on NFL Network prior to the draft calling him a “3rd-4th round player”. Like Alfonzo Dennard last year, Buchanan was the best player left on the draft board (besides Da’Rick Rogers who the Patriots weren’t touching). While Jamie Collins will be asked to play a hybrid role and play off the line of scrimmage in my opinion, I believe Michael Buchanan will play on the line of scrimmage. At 6’5″ 255 lbs. he has a frame that can withstand the addition of an extra ten pounds. He will provide some more athleticism and edge rush ability from the defensive end position.

- How anyone could be upset with the Patriots adding athletic pass rushers to the defensive front seven is beyond me. As we have learned a team can never have too many pass rushers. While people are trying to figure out where Buchanan will fit, just think of him as a replacement for Trevor Scott. He has a much higher upside, with the ability to cover lots of range and does well to get his hands into passing lanes. (I still expect the Patriots to add John Abraham, as a veteran rush presence).

- The Patriots wrapped up their draft with Rutgers ILB Steven Beuaharnais. I was able to interview Beauharnais, along with his teammate Khaseem Greene at the Senior Bowl and the thing that stands out with these players is their football IQ. There is no doubting their ability to diagnose, recognize and put themselves in position to make plays. The Rutgers football team seems like such a close knit community, it’s no wonder why Bill Belichick loves it.

- Beauharnais actually has a decent chance to stick in my opinion. Looking at the Patriots ILB depth chart and it’s very very thin. It’s basically Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher (recovering from ACL surgery). While people like Dane Fletcher, I tend to think people have overrated him a bit. Where Beauharnais likely fits is on special teams units. Tracy White is gone, Jeff Tarpinian adds zero value outside of special teams, so it was important to add Special Teams LB depth, that can contribute on defense if injuries occur.

- As I stated at the beginning of this I feel like the Patriots did as good as I expected them to do. I have no problems with 6 out of 7 selections. Each year fans expectations for the Patriots drafts are unreasonable. We have to remember that each year they are at a disadvantage because they pick at the end of the draft. Especially this year with limited picks and picking late in the rounds they were in a tough spot. I think they found at least 3-4 contributing players at areas of need next year and that’s all one can ask for.

- Finally, the Patriots UDFA class really stands out to me as one of the most talented UDFA classes that I can remember them bringing in. Usually they bring in a bunch of kids that have no shot at all of making the roster, but this year there is some legit talent on that list. It’s filled with combine invites, All-Conference players and speedy players. Out of all the players TJ Moe is the name that stands out. Moe was a draftable WR that has drawn comparisons to Wes Welker because of his explosive quickness and sudden change of direction. He was the top performer at the combine in both the short shuttle and 3-cone drill, as well as posting an impressive 26 reps on the bench. Moe is the type of player that is really tough to cut. Coaches and teammates tend to love him. He was Blaine Gabbert’s BFF and go to guy before he got drafted. I think Tom Brady is going to love throwing the ball to Moe and ultimately I expect him on the team.

- Other names that stand out from the UDFA list are Zach Sudfeld, TE, Nevada who could add depth behind Rob Gronkowski. Matt Stankiewitch, OC, Penn State that Patriots are light on interior OL depth. It seems every year there is one guy that sticks on the OL from the UDFA ranks and Stankiewitch could be that guy this year. Cory Grissom, DT, South Florida is a NT and “run plugger” that can back-up Vince Wilfork if he makes the roster. Quentin Hines, RB/KR, Akron is going to be used primarily as a kick returner and is an explosive athlete. Ran a sub-4.35 forty yard dash and has the speed to make an impact on returns. I am also very intrigued by the signing of Punter Ryan Allen out of Louisiana Tech. I was impressed by Allen at the Senior Bowl and he is one of the most decorated kickers in NCAA history. Zoltan Mesko has had exactly zero competition over the past two seasons and a little competition never hurt anyone.

- These are just some initial thoughts that have crossed by mind since the draft ended on Saturday, I’m sure there will be lots more to come. Stay tuned to NEPD for more off-season draft and Patriots coverage.

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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, Aaron Dobson, Jamie Collins, Patriots Draft Picks

39 Responses to “2013 NFL Draft: More Thoughts on the Patriots Draft”

  1. td says:

    Anyone else thinking that the “reset” at the WR position will bring a philosophy different than the past read-route strategy?

    It would be almost impossible to get all the newcomers in synch with Brady and the past read-route, especially the rooks.

    Gonna be interesting to see what BB and McDaniels have in store.

  2. bob says:

    What a fascinating and interesting draft by the Pats. I am still reading about it and trying to figure it out. It is great. Always interesting. It will be fun how it all turns out. And I agree even more interesting will be the UDFA’s. Always interesting in Foxboro in a good way. Can’t wait to see how this all works out and what new things the coaching staff comes up with to use the talent. Always great articles here. Could you do one on the coaching staff and give us insight into how good, innovative nad respected some of them are???

  3. David L says:

    If Pats had drafted more to how players were rated by many draft gurus, how about his draft?

    #52 Cornerback Jamar Taylor
    #59 Defensive end Damontre Moore (or Guard Larry Warford)
    #82 wide receiver Stedman Bailey
    #91 wide receiver Quinton Patton
    #102 Center Barret Jones (defensive end Alex Okafor if Warford taken at 59)

    All players were taken after Patriots choice, Jamar Taylor at 54 for example.

    • Liam says:

      I like our actual draft better. Fun game to play though.

      • David L says:

        There was a television show a couple years ago that had a crowd of 100 in the audience and a genius from Jeopardy. The contestant could get help on a question from the crowd or the genius.

        The crowd was right more often. The Pats coach is not smarter than the crowd of experts who rate players.

        Ryan and Harmon likely cover kicks and a couple years from now still sitting on the bench. The third round is to try and pick future stars. This draft was a fail in that regard.

        • Ben says:

          Couldn’t disagree more. Mainly because you seem to sit there and think BB only does the research etc by himself. Then ignores everyone else around him and picks. Please someone correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t he have a team to coach the rest of the year? Therefore he couldn’t possibly scout ALL these players by himself. He has a TEAM of scouts, talent evaluators and Nick. And yes, I trust BB and his team above the opinion of armchair fans (no offense to the fans, love being one myself!)

  4. J H TARBORO says:

    WR Jeremy Ebert released by Pats

    • Stephen S says:

      Yes I was rooting for him when he came out last year I wish him well

    • cc says:

      …….yeah, I was looking forward 2 seeing him play. Would working a trade for WR J.Ebert-putting him alongside say: Mallet & Cunningham wouldn’t have been smart?
      What no takers?……….
      Sounds too me like Ol’ BB has alot of work 2do before the trade deadline!
      How many picks will last this year OR still prove to be usless years later………..
      Like Mallet, Cunningham and Ebert?

  5. Yesares says:

    Another interesting under the radar move is signing UDFA punter Ryan Allen, as Loyko points out is a very good punter. We may take in account that Mesko will be also a FA next year and that he has a cap hit above 1 million dollars.

    In accordancce whith http://www.patscap.com/, if Mesko is released this year, Patriots will save above 900.000 dollars, so, watch out, Zoltan!!!

  6. joe says:

    I was a draft basher during the draft but after doing some research it was actually a pretty good draft I would say B but I still think the Harmon pick was a throw away no need. Take a gamble in the 7th but I can’t wait to see olb Collins and the wr. Collins could be the steal BB was not the only one looking at him he is fast he set records at combine Collins and Jones could be the best 1, 2 punch for years to come people are complaining we need a pass rush now we have it. Sorry BB for complaining I’ll wait to next year to start complaining if it doesn’t work out

  7. Stephen S says:

    Who does Josh Boyce compare to is he an Anquan Boldin type of receiver?

    How many udfa make the roster make the practice squad and get cut
    im guessing 5 stick around 2 roster 3 ps

  8. cc says:

    Tim Tebow has been released by the NY Jets.
    Belichick would be a fool not to snag him ASAP and begin using him all around as a TE, FB, RB & WR.
    Turn Tebow into T. Brown 2013.

    • Larry says:

      They don’t need any more tight ends ………..running backs……….wideouts…….there is no place for him to play…………If Tebow could play safety or cornerback on defence i’d take a shot…………..

    • Ryan B says:

      CC: I always love to hear your opinion. But I hope there is no way Tebow comes here. Not sure he could add much to our team.

    • STEVEN says:

      NOOOOO TEBOE!!

  9. Yesares says:

    Next year Ninkovich and Spikes will become FA, and I would bet that the one gone will be Spikes an Patriots resign or extend this season Ninkovich.

    I can see Higtower as new MLB for Patriots, if he grows as player this year.

    For undrafted crew, Elvis Fisher (Mizzou, LT) could be a very interesting option for left guard if healthy (he has a long record of injuries), in the same path that Logan Mankins, that vas a LT in Fresno St.

    Another interesting player could be the other CB from Rutgers, Brandon Jones, also if healthy, is not speedy, but has had good times in 3-cone and 20-shuttle, could be a practice squadder.

    Finally, Cincinnatti WR, Kenbrell Thompkins, is Antonio Brown`s cousin, has a great story of uphill battle against a flawed past (drug dealer, criminal rap sheet) and seems now a mature kid with a strong willingnes to reach succes in NFL. Another good candidate to P-squad

    • Jim R says:

      You know that a couple of the UDFA’s will make the roster.

    • td says:

      i wouldn’t be so sure on Spikes. The guy really brings the lumber and makes our D real physical like no one else, except maybe now Adrian Wilson.

  10. Winston says:

    The Patriots have had a consistent problem over the Belichick era in getting good value out of the middle rounds of the draft, especially the third round. Except for 2011 – they took Ridley and Mallett – and 2005 (Kaszur and Hobbs), pretty much every other year has been a complete bust. We’ll have to wait and see on Ryan, ie whether or not there were better CB choices available at that slot, but Harmon was a huge overreach. I don’t understand the point in trading down based on “value” and then drafting players like Harmon 2-3 rounds ahead of where anyone else would likely take them. If you like the guy, then go ahead and trade down and take him later in the 4-6 rounds, and get another pick to boot. Same thing last year with Tavon Wilson, they could have taken him two rounds later and made better use of that pick.

    • Trevor M. says:

      Winston, you need to think back to Day 2 of the draft or re-watch it on youtube.

      When the Patriots turn came to pick and they chose Harmon, they used the entire clock. They were on the phones. They were looking to trade back, obviously.

      In the end, no one wanted to give up anything for that pick and Belichick made the pick based on his board. Harmon may have been a reach but with no one willing to trade with the Patriots they made their choice.

      It takes two to tango.

      • Alex says:

        This!
        And the Tavon Wilson ‘reach’ from last year, doesn’t look so bad in hindsight. While he hasn’t been a stud, and I’d have taken Kendall Reyes, he has been better than all the safeties taken after him, and improved as the season went on. If he can further improve during camp, and from Adrian Wilson’s tuition, then he could become a good starting option.

        • Michael says:

          If you can land a NFL starting caliber safety in the 2nd round, it’s a good pick even if it’s considered a reach

      • Winston says:

        I guess the point is that it’s hard to believe that Harmon was the highest rated player left on their board at that point.

      • munchkin says:

        My thought was that the Pats were trying to trade back also. However, according to the good folks over at PFW, the Pats had the pick in but the NFL was looking for info/tape on Harmon to show on the screen. The clock was run down by the broadcast group and the NFL.

  11. PatsDJ says:

    After BB traded #29 the Pats were left with 4 picks in rounds 2 & 3. Why we did not trade any of these picks is beyond me. This draft was set up to wheel and deal, but we stood PAT. Clearly, there was mixed opinions on the draft grades on players. I was shocked that BB did not move up and down the draft board.
    All that being said I like the draft. Next years draft is much better than this years, and as of now we have all our picks. If I had to give this draft a grade it would be a solid ” B “. With the chance to go higher!!!!

  12. Alex says:

    I think BB was thinking about FA in 2014 for a few of the picks. Jamie Collins will probably replace Ninkovich, who might not be resigned (I think another team will offer him more money than the Patriots). Beauharnais is the same for Spikes. Since they didn’t draft a C or NT, BB is probably more confident about retaining Wendell and Love, or he just doesn’t value them as much.
    With Buchanan drafted, Cunningham won’t make the roster this year. Gregory might get released as well.
    It was a pretty good draft overall, especially since WR was the only place where a starter was needed (and WR are overvalued and not as important as most people think anyway). The Patriots now have better depth on defence and a few versatile players who could develop into starters. With the players now on the roster, the Patriots could line up in almost any 4-3 or 3-4 front or defence, which BB likes a lot.

  13. Jim R says:

    All the talk leading up to the draft centered around the Pats double dipping (corner or WR) and depth on defense. We all knew he would go off the reservation to make a pick he did. Trading back was most likely. Everything happened.
    All in all pretty solid. If Dobson and Boyce can contribute this year, they will be tough to slow down on offense.



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