2013 Patriots Mid-season Draft and Rookie Review

3rd Round (83): Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers

Draft Day Analysis: Ryan was an early entry into the draft coming off a season in which he was one of the most productive cornerbacks in college football. Known for his physical play and his tackling ability in the run game. Ryan ran a little slower than NFL teams liked at the combine(4.53) and that less than stellar 40 time probably dropped him 20-30 picks. At the time he was drafted Ryan was the last in my “second tier” of cornerbacks available, so I considered him very good value where they got him.

Midseason Review: The early returns on Logan Ryan are very promising. Like Alfonzo Dennard last season, it took Ryan a little while to work his way into the rotation, but once he’s in the game it’s tough to take him out. Aqib Talib’s injury has forced Ryan to play major snaps in 4 straight games and he has not disappointed. His physicality at corner has been evident, leading to a pick six vs. the Jets when David Nelson couldn’t get off his jam at the line. As expected, Ryan has shown an ability to set the edge vs. the run and is a sound tackler in the open field.

Bill Belichick has not been afraid to use him as a blitzer off the edge in big situations. This isn’t to say he hasn’t been beaten, because he certainly has. But, when you consider how tough it is to play corner in the NFL as a rookie, his early play bodes well. His playing time may decrease a little bit when Talib comes back from his hip injury, but Ryan has played well enough to be trusted in coverage. He gives the Patriots four very talented cornerbacks atop the depth chart.

Long Term Impact: Bill Belichick takes a beating for all his misses in the secondary, but it sure looks like he hit on his last two cornerback selections (Dennard and Ryan). Ryan certainly has starting potential and his role going forward will likely be dictated by what the Patriots choose to do with Aqib Talib after the season. Either way, Ryan is likely to be a key contributor going forward because in today’s NFL you can never have enough good cornerbacks.

3rd Round(91): Duron Harmon, SAF, Rutgers

Draft Day Analysis: My analysis of the Harmon pick has received a lot of attention via Twitter. This pick was a major shock at the time and considered by everyone in the NFL as a big time reach. Harmon himself even admitted that he didn’t imagine getting drafted this high. While Harmon had a productive All-Big East worthy career at Rutgers, he flew under the radar and was considered by most as a fringe NFL talent. Coming on the heels of the 2nd Round Tavon Wilson reach in 2012, this pick as a major head-scratcher.

While Harmon has played better than expected, I still can’t justify selecting a player that would have been available at least two rounds later.

Midseason Review: Compared to Tavon Wilson, Duron Harmon looks like Ed Reed circa 2007. Harmon quickly surpassed Wilson on the depth chart and has actually played some meaningful minutes on defense in recent weeks. Harmon has two interceptions on the season, but both were gimmees. He has played better than I expected, but still has a number of break downs. His missed tackle on 3rd and close to 30 in the Pittsburgh game still resonates.

Starting Safety Steve Gregory is likely to miss at least a game with a broken thumb, which means we will get a much better look at what Harmon can bring to the table. Even before the Gregory injury, his snaps were on the rise, which in itself has to be considered a successful rookie campaign.

Long Term Impact: It’s still too early to tell what the future holds for Harmon. The Patriots could really use a long term complement to Devin McCourty, who is playing at an All-Pro level. Can Duron Harmon be that guy or will he be just another special teams safety? At least Harmon looks like he can be a reliable rotational player, which is a lot more than can be said for Tavon Wilson. Harmon’s smarts and ability to pick up the defensive scheme quickly probably bodes well for his future.

4th Round(102): Josh Boyce, WR, TCU

Draft Day Analysis: Boyce was selected coming off a combine performance in which he ran a 4.40 flat with a broken foot. Boyce was a big play receiver at TCU and had experience playing in the slot and on the outside. At the time of the draft I thought his polish as a route runner along with his size/speed combo made him a perfect fit in the New England offense.

Midseason Review: There is no doubt that this pick has been something of a disappointment to this point. Josh Boyce has failed to even suit up for recent games, meaning the coaching staff doesn’t think he is ready for prime time. On the season Boyce has 1 catch for 24 yards, which came against the Falcons in week 4. Since then he’s done nothing, so suffice to say more was expected.

Boyce missed almost all of the off-season with his foot injury, but I thought he looked good in training camp practices. Once Austin Collie was signed, Boyce became a game day inactive, does that change now that Collie is gone? Can he pass Kenbrell Thompkins and become that #4 WR before the season is over?

Long Term Impact: I firmly believe that Boyce will have a big impact before it’s all said and done. I am a believer in his route running ability and his speed out of the slot. Before people jump to conclusions and immediately lable him a bust, remember that Shane Vereen was essentially “red-shirted” after getting injured during training camp of his rookie season. Like it does with most players, Boyce’s ability to learn and adapt to the system will determine how successful he can be in New England, natural ability isn’t the question. For now this one is too early to call, but disappointing as of right now.

7th Round (226): Michael Buchanan, DE/OLB, Illinois

Draft Day Analysis: Buchanan was widely considered a mid-round selection and was one of the best players on the board at the time of the pick. Buchanan has really good size and length for a 4-3 end and flashed pass rush potential in college. For much of his career his ability didn’t match the product he put on film and his pass rush impact tailed off in his final season in college. I viewed this pick as an example of taking the best player on the board and hoping they strike gold (similar to what they did with Alfonzo Dennard in 2012).

Midseason Review: Buchanan got a chance early in the season to play meaningful minutes in the defensive end rotation. Buchanan beat out a number of veteran players to make the roster out of camp and it didn’t take him long to leapfrog Jake Bequette on the depth chart. Buchanan has flashed a few times getting to the QB and recorded a couple sacks, however it doesn’t look like he’s ready to play in big spots.

Buchanan has been a big liability against the run and has failed to contain the QB a number of times, leading to big plays. He has yet to develop a go to power rush move and instead relies on beating the OT by running the loop. With Andre Carter now in the mix it’s unlikely Michael Buchanan will see much playing time during the stretch run.

Long Term Impact: From what I have seen I don’t envision Buchanan being a long term impact player. He has some natural pass rush ability, but is not physical or strong enough to hold up against top flight OT. Buchanan will be given a chance to improve in the off-season, but will likely have to fight for a roster spot next season.

7th Round(235): Steve Beauharnais, ILB, Rutgers

Draft Day Analysis: Beauharnais was the 3rd Rutgers player to be drafted and unlike the Harmon selection, I approved of this pick. I had a chance to speak at length with Beauharnais during the Senior Bowl and his leadership qualities were evident. I believed Beauharnais could be a core special teams player and a depth linebacker on the 53 man roster.

Midseason Review: Beauharnais has made close to zero impact on the football field. He was able to beat out a handful of other linebackers during the summer for a 53 man roster spot, but hasn’t found his way onto the field yet. It’s a little bit disconcerting that Beauharnais hasn’t found a way to crack at least the special teams rotation and the team felt the need to sign LB Chris White after roster cut downs. Like many 7th round picks, this one has failed to pay any dividends.

Long Term Impact: Much like Buchanan, I now have questions about Beauharnais long term ability to stick on the roster, although he does have a chance to stick on a special teams unit. Beauharnais will be fighting for a roster spot next summer with an uphill battle unless something changes.

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10 Responses to “2013 Patriots Mid-season Draft and Rookie Review”

  1. Barry says:

    This article is spot on. BB has an abysmal drafting record in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Not just last year but really since 2006. Anyone forget that Ras-I Dowling was the 33rd player taken in 2011. BB throws caution to the wind and dumps high draft picks like they are loaded with arsenic. You want to really get sick? Take a look at who the Pats passed up to take stiffs like Dowling, Wilson and Harmon. Go back even further and you will find that they chose Shawn Crable over Navarro Bowman! To be sure BB has excelled in 1st round picks in the past five years and in the late rounds and with UFA. There is absolutely no justification for the Dowling, Wilson and Harmon picks other than BB’s unquenchable thirst to always be the “smartest guy in the room”

  2. Jackbenimble999 says:

    I still remain frustrated by the Wilson pick. Since the Pats had a lot of high picks that year, I was following the draft fairly closely. When Wilson was selected, the fact that I hadn’t even heard of him told me that this player could’ve been had much later. Not *all* the draftniks are idiots, Bill. It was later claimed that he visited a few teams, but who cares? They could’ve gotten him as 7th or a free agent. Pretty much the same can be said for Harmon, but at least he’s showing signs of being a reasonable player.

    I’m pretty concerned about Collins. Certainly, I would take Spikes over him – he can stuff the run like anything. Fletcher is beating out Collins for the coverage LB role if I’m understanding the situation correctly, and that doesn’t bode well, although I do like Fletcher a lot.

    Otoh, you have to love how Dobson is progressing. It was cool that when he broke free for the long TD catch against Pittburgh, that when he turned back for the ball, he looked *up*, not back at Brady. He knew that if the ball was coming his way, Brady would already have thrown it. That’s a sure sign he’s getting on the same wavelength as Brady.

    Btw, did anyone see there was recently an article on coldhardfootballfacts.com called “Wes Welker: The Biggest Impact Pass Catcher in NFL History”. Now that BB’s not busting his balls, he’s not dropping passes any more either, I suppose. I think it was Manning, but maybe Brady, who said he (Welker) thinks like a quarterback. Why would you let a guy like that go? He gave the Pats a chance to resign him, too, even after the Broncos mad their offer – they could’ve had both him and Amendola, why not. Anyway, I just had to vent about that.

  3. prioris says:

    Thompson seems to have been under more pressure by the opposing teams being doubled covered at times. As games went on, the switched that pressure to Edelson. Thompson has shown that he can be a play maker also. He has done a decent job. There is talent ahead of him.

  4. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    The intangables, are always a part of Bill’s drafting a player. I know Bill went to the Maryland Campus and sat down and watched tape, and talked with Joe Vellano, yet Bill did not draft him? He grabbed him as a free agent, but why not pick him in the 7th round?
    Nate Ebner had great intangables, but had limited time in the Ohio State Football program, yet he was drafted 5th or 6th I believe. Surely he would have been available as a free agent.
    Travon Wilson was a 2nd round pick, after TWO great 1st round picks. There must have been MANY players on the Patriots draft board, by only the second round, so this one is the hardeast to understand.
    Not all of your drafted players work out, thats for sure, and I know Bill puts alot of stock in a players intangables, and I agree to a point, your team is a family group, but there are other opitions. I don;t see, Beauharnais,(7th) Travon Wilson, (2nd) or Bequette (4th) being on next years 53 man roster.
    Look at the quality of undrafted guys on IR from last year; OT Elvis Fisher, DT Cory Grisson, WR Mark Harrison, WR T.J. Moe. Then there is the P-squad; S Kanorris Davis, OG Josh Kline, C Braxston Cave, DT A.J.Francis, and CB Justin Green. Thats a good group of Talent, and not everbody can be drafted, yet, EVERY team in the NFL has some UDFA talent on thier team.
    I think every draft pick is valued in differant ways by differant teams, and some scouts see more or less in prospects than others. There have been many busts in the NFL draft in past years, and there have been some great players picked, so its not a science for sure.

  5. steve earle says:

    Really good article with realistic brakedowns on each player. The bust of the rookie class was TE Sudfield. In camp he looked like Gronk jr but when the regular season began he fell off the face of football. What the heck happened?

  6. tonn says:

    seriously, stop rationalising the harmon pick. just like t.wilson a year back, the pick cannot be considered anything other than stupid seeing what other players were available at that junction. the hoodie thought he saw something that others didn`t and took a flyer on some no-name player. how has that worked out so far? it didn`t. two consecutive top 100 picks for backup safeties? no thanks.

    • Henry Carmen says:

      I dont know about you, but I would rather have Harmon back there over Wilson. And in this injury situation, It would have been Tavon Wilson who got the call. And that means Nate Ebner is a step closer to being anything other than a special teams player. Makes me gag thinking about it. Was not a great pick, but besides that 1 3rd and 30 play he has done everything you could expect. You never know how a player is gonna develop in a certain teams system, so looking back at the draft and wishing we took certain players is a dangerous practice. If Aaron Rodgers was drafted by the Browns, and didn’t get the coaching and time develop that he got in Green Bay, do you think he would be the same Rodgers we see today?

      • tonn says:

        i see your point, but we`re talking odds here. yes the odds that rodgers would have stunk it up would have been higher in cleveland, but you gotta figure talent and work ethic would afford a player good odds to play at a pretty high level, no matter where they play.

        back to the pats. i never said that wilson and harmon suck beyond words. they played acceptably when called upon, but i was refering to the fact that NE missed out on some good players by picking them, especially picking so soon in the draft. when i`m thinking top 100 pick, i`m thinking impact – and let`s face it, those two haven`t made big waves yet. they will be given every chance to do so and i pray they do, but in light of the fact that players drafted later in the same class as them have already begun paying dividends to their respective teams, it`s kinda hard to say the picks were judiciously used. but…you know..hindsight, 20/20, yadda yadda..

        • @itstrevorbaby says:

          I understand the frustrating. I feel it too especially with Tavon Wilson.

          However, I have read reports that the Patriots tried to trade some of those picks where they took Wilson and Harmon but no one was biting. I think someone better then Wilson could have been picked in the 2nd but that’s the draft.

          Belichick continues to put this team in very good position to succeed and win it all. I just hope in 2014 he drafts 1 of the top 3 DTs (Hageman, Nix III, or that other guy lol).

  7. @itstrevorbaby says:

    Good stuff, Mike. Always providing excellent analysis and insight on the Patriots.

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