2013 NFL Draft: More Thoughts on the Patriots Draft

Aaron Dobson NFL Draft

Will Aaron Dobson or Josh Boyce have a bigger impact this year? (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The 2013 NFL Draft is in the books and the totality of the New England Patriots draft class is finally known. It’s now time to analyze the results, breakdown how the Patriots fared and project the players into spots on the roster.

Over the last 24 hours I’ve had a ton of thoughts running through my head and I try to fit some of those in this article. Did the Patriots fill their holes? What can we expect from these players in year one?

These are some of my final thoughts on the Patriots draft now that it’s all said and done.

- Now that it has all sunk in and the results are known, I think the Patriots and Bill Belichick did almost as good as could have been expected. We have to remember that they entered that draft with only five selections and a massive gap in picks between the end of the 3rd round to the middle of the 7th. They were essentially handcuffed in the first round and had to hope a team would be willing to trade back into the first round in order for them to get more picks. With no teams willing or needing to move back into the first to get a QB this year, the trading partners were limited for the Patriots. Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio really did well to flush out a deal with the Minnesota Vikings. The ability to acquire four picks, when no other teams were trying to get the selection and at the same time the Vikings knowing the Patriots were desperate to trade back was impressive. It was imperative that at least one more mid-round selection prior to day two was added and they were able to do that.

- After making some calls today and touching base with a few people, I am under the impression that Jamie Collins was the selection all along. If the Patriots were unable to move down from pick #29 they likely would have chose the Southern Mississippi pass rusher there. I was told by one source today that one team high in the first round, attempted to trade down into the mid-late 20s with Jamie Collins in mind. His value across the league was right in-line with where the Patriots drafted him.

- Collins is an interesting pick in a lot of ways. For one, he’s someone that almost no one connected with the Patriots. He’s not a player that would traditionally be associated with Bill Belichick. But, we are starting to see a bit of a trend develop. With Chandler Jones last year and Jamie Collins this year, it looks like a concerted effort is being made to get more athletic on the edge with players who can both stand-up and rush with their hand in the dirt. The traditional measurables that we use to project Patriots DL/LB draft picks look to be useless now.

- It will be interesting to see where Collins plays, but I am under the belief that his best position in the first year is a an “elephant” or hybrid rusher. With his athleticism and speed it would be smart to see him stand up and be able to threaten the edge opposite Chandler Jones. Collins will be better right now playing in space and off the line while he develops more functional rush strength. The presence on Collins will allow the Patriots to be more creative with their fronts and the way their disguise their alignments.

- Many Patriot fans including myself have been clamoring for the Patriots to add more speed and athleticism to the LB ranks over the last two seasons. This pick addresses that need. Collins, at least in the short area, can line up over the TE and get a jam on them. He can cover in the short zone and close zone holes that have been exploited even by poor QBs over the past two seasons. Collins should also help the ability to cover RB out of the backfield. It’s clear opposing teams have gone to great lengths to get their backs singled up with Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes, because of their inability to run with them. Collins at the very least can buzz the flat and take away the short zone.

- As a pass rusher, Collins will be much more effective early on if they are able to get him one on one with an opposing lineman. It could be possible the Patriots plan to use him in a similar fashion to how the 49ers use Aldon Smith. Create some packages for him and run a bunch on twists and stunts where he can use his speed to exploit holes in the line or slower offensive guards. The knock on Collins right now is that he lacks strength to over-power blockers, so it will be important they let him use his speed and explosive lower half.

- The Patriots now have 4-5 young LB, all of whom can play different roles. The addition of an athletic outside backer will allow Bill Belchick to play with endless combinations of backers from Collins (WLB) – Hightower (MLB) – Mayo (SLB), to Collins – Hightower – Spikes – Mayo or even with Collins on the strong side. Collins’ usage will be one of the things I look for closely in training camp.

- The success of failure of this draft will come down to one thing; If Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce emerge as impact receivers this draft will be looked at as a success. If they fail to see the field and end up like Taylor Price and the others before him this draft will be considered a failure.

- This is 3 out of 4 years that the Patriots have doubled up at an offensive position of needs. In 2010 it was tight end with Gronkowski and Hernandez. In 2011 it was RB with Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. Now this year it’s WR with Marshall’s Aaron Dobson and TCU’s Josh Boyce. We can only hope that the combination is as successful as they other pairs of offensive play-makers.

- Heading into the draft it was clear as day that the Patriots needed to get bigger, faster and more physical at the outside receiver position. On paper the Patriots were able to do that. Aaron Dobson stands 6’3″ tall and ran a 4.37 at his pro day. He has freakish ability to make tough catches and gives the Patriots a type of receiver that they just haven’t had for a long time. Dobson has the ability to beat man to man coverage and wins the battle for 50-50 balls. He will give the Patriots another big bodied threat in the red zone. I really hope the Patriots put Dobson in a position to succeed initially by letting him use his best attributes. If the Patriots use him in a similar fashion to what the Ravens have done with Torrey Smith and let him use his vertical speed he can make an impact. Dobson’s threat of speed and size over the top should open up things for the tight ends in the middle of the field. The inability of this team to find a viable downfield WR since Randy Moss has left has crippled it’s ability to adjust in the biggest games. If Dobson can grasp the offense, he can spread the field.

- Bill Belichick was effusive in his praise of Dobson’s smarts and intelligence. It’s absolutely crucial for a receiver to be smart when coming into the Patriots offense because they throw so much information at them. Take Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for example, while neither seems to be the most book smart, they are both football smart and grasped the Patriots passing system in no time. Both Dobson and Boyce’s success will hinge on their ability to pick up the playbook because their physical ability is undisputed.

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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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