2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Florida State Defensive Tackle Timmy Jernigan

Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan proved to be an inside presence worth accounting for as a junior in 2013. The defensive tackle is viewed as a likely first-round draft pick this May because of it. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

In the coming weeks and months leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, NEPatriotsDraft.com will profile college prospects that potentially fit the needs and draft seating of the New England Patriots. In this seventh installment, we will take a closer look at the film behind Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.

Timmy Jernigan is hard to miss – not only for his 6’1”, 299-pound frame and tight-fitting untucked jersey, but for his disruptive nature at the defensive tackle position.

It’s been evident dating back to his days at Columbia High School in Lake City, Fla., where a large No. 8 amassed 77 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and one interception as a senior in 2010, also adding four touchdowns on offense.

Jernigan found himself recognized as a five-star recruit. He was ranked the fourth-best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com. He was ranked the second-best defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com. He was ranked 17th overall on the ESPNU 150. He was named All-USA first-team defense by USA Today. He was a 2011 U.S. Army All-American.

And not long after, he was a Florida State Seminole.

Jernigan enrolled in nearby Tallahassee in the fall of 2011, seeing the field as a true freshman that season. In a reserve capacity, Jernigan logged snaps in all 13 games, registering 30 tackles, six tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. He earned first-team Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America in result.

As a sophomore in 2012, Jernigan took a step forward in role and performance. He started two games while playing in 13 to notch 46 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks as Florida State finished second in total defense.

It wasn’t, however, until 2013 that it all came together for Jernigan. The junior shifted from rotational duties to full-time starter. And while the uptick left him fatigued at times, it also left him revealing flashes of dominance. Over 14 starts, Jernigan recorded 63 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. And as the Seminoles capped off the year with a top-18 run defense and a national championship, Jernigan was named first-team All-ACC and first-team All-American by ESPN.

With the skill set to fight through double-teams, occupy gaps and knife into the pocket, Jernigan forged into conversation as one of the country’s top interior defensive linemen in 2013. And on Jan. 9, the 21-year-old expanded the conversation by declaring for the 2014 NFL draft.

A strong-armed, quick-footed, flexible nose tackle, shade or three-technique prospect, Jernigan is expected to be a first-round selection this May. And while he may be undersized for those responsibilities at the next level, he may not last until pick 29 overall, either.

Jernigan’s ability to fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense should, nevertheless, draw the interest of an organization like Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. With that in mind, here is a closer look at the film behind the Seminole, courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com.

Unsteady Off Snap, But a Quick, Ripping Pass-Rusher

Jernigan is not in the mold of an NFL nose tackle; he steps on the scale around 30 pounds lighter. He can face challenges against double-teams and combo-blockers because of it.

Off the snap, Jernigan seems to take a while to get going. He is a bit of an enigma in that sense, because he is regarded as a gifted athlete. Whether it was his assignment as a nose to diagnose pass protection, whether it was his conditioning, or whether it was simply a lag in reaction remains unknown. But Jernigan was often the last one off the Seminoles line.

From there, he had a tendency to shift upright directly out of his stance, which had an adverse effect on his leverage and could send him back into linebacker territory instead of into the quarterback.

If a team is looking for the next Vince Wilfork, they won’t find it in Jernigan. That’s not his build, nor is it his game. Jernigan is scheme-diverse, though, playing in Florida State’s 4-3, 3-4 hybrid front seven.

His duty in that system was predominantly nose, yet it would be remiss to overlook his success in pass defense at the one-technique, two-technique, three-technique and even four-technique.

Although he is prone to taking wide angles on stunts and loops – which could be a byproduct of lower-body stiffness – Jernigan is nimble on his feet. He is agile through cut and side blocks, exuding impressive effort, chase and downhill closing speed in the process.

While Jernigan is smaller than the position he plays – and is less rangy than most – his strength and quickness allow him to play bigger than his size. He shows respectable lateral movement, and he compliments that with violent rip and swim moves to shoot the A-gaps.

But coexisting with those traits are Jernigan’s heavy, sudden hands. They are often seen when he knocks down a lineman’s block replacement. And most prominently, they are seen when he latches onto a lineman’s shoulder pads before swiping into the passer’s foreground.

This was illustrated on Sept. 28, as the Seminoles journeyed to Alumni Stadium to face the Boston College Eagles in Chestnut Hill.

Down 48-34 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Boston College offense dispersed in a five-wide set, sending senior quarterback Chase Rettig out in shotgun without the element of surprise.

The Eagles were going to the air, and the Seminoles knew it. The FSU front countered with a 4-2 nickel package, shipping seven into coverage and four into the pocket.

Jernigan loomed in the left A-gap, separating 6’5”, 310-pound left guard Bobby Vardaro from 6’3”, 302-pound center Andy Gallik.

Rettig took the empty-backfield snap and dropped back to assess the pivot, curl and vertical routes before him.

On the other side of the line, Jernigan stuttered his feet and extended his arms to veer into the opposite A-gap.

With the left guard uncovered and pass protection widening, Jernigan bent his knees. He gripped Gallik’s right shoulder with one hand, knocking down a chest plate punch with the other.

And as the center’s waist began to slant forward, the one-tech made his move. Gallik was caught flat-footed as Jernigan dipped underneath through the right A-gap.

From there, he picked up speed and forced the senior signal-caller’s hand.

Rettig shuffled outside the hashes to buy time and room to throw, but options were growing limited.

As Jernigan depleted the inside, right defensive end Desmond Hollin hung in the arc long enough to jump the scramble, sacking the 6’3”, 206-pound QB for a 10-yard loss.

Jernigan’s inside pressure and pursuit served as a catalyst.

In many ways, Jernigan isn’t the prototypical pocket-pusher. He can be halted by offensive linemen that beat him to the punch. He can also get overextended and pulled to the ground. So when it comes to how his game will translate against bigger, faster, stronger and more technical NFL competition, there are underlying areas of concern.

Yet for all intents and purposes, Jernigan brings a wrestling dynamic to passing situations. He knows how to utilize his hands, and he knows how to put himself in a position to impact. And while he has only been a three-down player for one year, Jernigan’s has created opportunities for his teammates over the last three years.

He will use hands to dislodge. He will use his 1.72 10-yard split speed to flush quarterbacks from the pocket. He will use his converted power to finish plays. And for defensive tackle who’s not stationed to a single technique, those qualities show signs of promise.

Showing those qualities consistently is where there’s room to grow for him as a pass-rusher.

An Undersized But Energized, Block-Shedding Run-Stuffer

Jernigan benched 27 reps of 225 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, but his functional strength is what prevails in run defense. He likely wouldn’t align his head over the center otherwise.

Now Jernigan remains susceptible to larger, mauling blockers. Though he can pancake with a road-grading bull rush, there are times when he can disappear from the game. There are times when he can be consumed or out-leveraged.

Much of that traces back to his get-off and perhaps his stamina. But when you watch Jernigan versus run, the most prominent attribute he brings to the table is also showcased versus the pass.

He stacks and shreds.

Jernigan is adept at keeping the play in front of him. He stays parallel to the line of scrimmage to maintain gap integrity. He is anticipatory in reading the blocker’s intentions. He squares to his assignment. And he is sure to leave himself an escape route as he locates the ball.

At that juncture, it is up to timing and power. He employs his short but stout 31 5/8-inch arms to bench and shed the block, carving into the backfield. Yet if the situation calls for it, he can also sit back in his block and wait to disengage before pouncing on ball-carriers.

The former was evidenced at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Sept. 3.

Down 21 with a minute left in the third quarter, the Panthers assembled in “21” personnel for a fake jet sweep, inside-zone run. In this design, QB Tom Savage was set to exchange with 6’2”, 230-pound halfback James Conner, on a a potential cutback run through the right side of the line.

But with it being a zone run, three of Pittsburgh’s offensive linemen were readying to combo-block into the second level of Florida State’s 3-4 defense.

That put Jernigan right in the teeth of two blocks. He crouched in the nose.

As Savage handled the snap and stepped back for the handoff, the Panthers blockers went on their way. 6’2”, 305-pound center Artie Rowell brushed into Jernigan’s left shoulder on his way to the left outside linebacker; 6’5”, 310-pound left guard Ryan Schlieper brushed into Jernigan’s right shoulder on his way to the linebackers as well.

Despite that, Jernigan was in good position to deflect them. He dug in and established first contact, contracting his elbows to eventually expand space.

Jernigan did expand the space, just as the tailback received the football.

He thrust his arms outward, while the center thrust into the zone of linebackers. By working succinctly, he was able to capitalize, slicing between the transition point of the two blocks.

Jernigan then proceeded to shove the redshirt senior in the back, propelling him towards the rusher.

That responsiveness and physicality thinned the play’s matchups. What was once 11-on-11 became one-on-one.

It was the accelerating Jernigan and the true freshman, Conner.

Jernigan evened his hips and wrapped Conner high, halting the ball-carrier in his tracks.

The two met two yards behind the line. Yet by the time forward progress was a certainty, the two were nine yards deep.

He was still holding onto the tackle.

Jernigan is explosive when he drops his pad level. When he gets heading up, down or through the line, he does so with a purpose. And, when he’s at his best, he can make tackles behind the line or 20 yards down the field.

His run defense is currently ahead of his pass rush, which is often the case for interior defensive lineman. But in time, the gap between the two could start to dwindle due to his innate tools.

If you watch the right sequence of plays, you’re led to believe it already is.

Outlook

When you think about adding an edge to a defense, you think about a prospect like Timmy Jernigan. At the end of the day, he is not built to be an ideal 3-4 NFL nose tackle; he is built to be a strong, forceful run-clogger who can also impede the passing game.

Jernigan plays with an aggressive nature, charging through open space to jump on piles and deliver deciding hits. He plays fast through the point of attack, even if he often starts slow off the snap. And he plays hard, triumphing through a fever leading up to the BCS title game, and overcoming sickness to anchor the Seminoles defense during it.

A team could find value in those features anywhere from pick 14 to 32. Because, if nothing else, Jernigan’s playing style should carry over against NFL offensive linemen.

It should, whether he’s an undersized nose tackle or not.

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Draft Close-Up, Film Breakdown, Florida State, Timmy Jernigan

56 Responses to “2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Florida State Defensive Tackle Timmy Jernigan”

  1. Marc says:

    Here is my Pats offseason FWIW.
    FREE AGENTS: Shaun Phillips-DE……Kenny Britt-WR….Charles Woodson-S….Ryan Firzpatrick-QB…..REALEASE: Adrian Wilson…..,Vince Wilfork….Dan Conolly…..TRADES: Ryan Mallett-HOU- Round 3-PICK#65……..PICK#29-MIN-PICKS-Round2-PICK#40,Round4-PICK#104,Round5-PICK#136……RESIGN: LaGarrett Blount,Will Svitek for depth purposes

    DRAFT:

    ROUND-2-PICK#40:-Kony Ealy-DE-Missouri
    ROUND-2-PICK#62:-Austin Serifin-Jenkins-TE-Washington
    ROUND-3-PICK#65:-Telvin Smith-LB-Florida State
    ROUND-3-PICK#93:-Weston Richburg-C-Colorado State
    ROUND-4-PICK#104:-Will Sutton-DT-Arizona State
    ROUND-4-PICK#126:-Jerick McKinnon-RB-Georgia Southern
    ROUND-5-PICK#136:-Chris Watt-G-Notre Dame
    ROUND-6-6PICK#182:-Connor Shaw-QB-South Carolina
    ROUND-6-PICK#190:-Spencer Long-G/C-Nebraska
    ROUND-6-COMP(Pat Chung):-Nickoe Whitley-S-Mississippi State
    ROUND-7-PICK#221:-Tyler Starr-LB-South Dakota
    ROUND-7-COMP(Danny Woodhead):-Colt Lyera-TE-Oregon

    Thoughts???……figure they address their holes they currently have and the multiple G picks are for future as Mankins is getting older and his cap hit will become something to look at in the next year or 2

  2. Brad Austin says:

    Oliver Thomas, great analysis of a player. You are the first person I’ve heard break down the many cons of Jernigan’s game exactly how I did after much film study. It was reported Dallas (my team) was strongly considering him at Pick 16 if Aaron Donald was off the board. Luckily we just signed Henry Melton as our new 3-technique which will all but steer us away from the Jernigan mistake.

    You are absolutely right, he is painfully slow off the snap, and that was from whichever alignment he was in, be it wide or over the nose. He’s hot a very poor stance which is up and down and heavily weighted on his hips. This stance forces him to be slow, stand-up with higher pad level and often get wiped out at the line by powerful linemen. Both single and double-teams took him out again and again. He also does not shed blockers well at all in the run game.

    All that being said, then out of the blue, Jernigan blasts off the ball, violently tosses a guy aside, and pummels the RB or QB. Which means the guy has the force, explosion, and skills to dominate. What he must be doing is taking several plays off just to hold up his end for a few plays. Then all of the sudden, blast all his energy at one play. I also noticed it is 3rd down often, which means he could be giving one massive effort to get off the field and get a break. Either way, I can’t recommend more strongly that Jernigan is not a type player you want.

    He may make a few spectacular plays a game, but there will also be more times the o-line wipes him off the line and the opposition gashes the run right at him. Guys that take that many plays off don’t change. They are only looking to do what they have to do to stay somewhat effective. Guys like Aaron Donald are looking to pound their opposition all day long and change the game any way they can. Huge difference in mentality. I would have been sick if we wasted a 16 on Jernigan, and I’d be a little peeved if I saw him give that half-ass effort in a proud Patriots uniform. You guys deserve better.

  3. Darkstar says:

    This would be my dream scenario as far as accumulating picks for the 2014 draft. It may seem far fetched, but one can always dream.

    Trade our 2014/29th, 2015/1st, along with Mallett and Ridely for Cleveland’s 2014 1st round/4th overall pick.

    Based on the draft trade value chart, for Cleveland’s 2015/1st/4th overall, worth (1800 points), we would need to trade Ridely who is worth at least a low 2nd (300 points), Mallett at his original 3rd round draft value (220 points), our 2014 1st/29th (640), and our 2015th 1st (640 points) which equals (1800 points).

    Cleveland would receive a potential starting quarterback, a starting running back, plus an additional two 1st round picks.

    This scenario puts the Patriots in a position of strength in the 2014 draft giving them multiple options.

    With 2014 1st round/4th pick, either draft Clowney, trade back from #4 and take Watkins plus an extra 2014/3rd, or trade the pick outright for multiple picks.

    Since this is an extremely deep draft, the value is in the 2nd to the 4th. I would actually prefer the Patriots trade that 1st/4th overall pick for a (2014/1st, 2014/2nd, 2014/3rd, and a 2015/1st or 2nd, depending on the draft trade value chart). Otherwise, your giving up an awful lot for Clowney or Watkins.

    Then if it were at all possible, I would try and trade the newly acquired 2014/1st for a 2014/2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Trading all these picks would give the Patriots a 2014 draft that looked like this.

    (3) 2nd round picks
    (3) 3rd round picks
    (2) 4th round picks
    (2) 6th round picks
    (2) 7th round picks (1 Comp)

    This may seem like a round about way of loading up in the 2014 draft, but it is just the sort of thing Belichick could pull off.

    Of course the trade with Cleveland would have to be completed before the draft, giving the Patriots ample time to field offers for the 2014 1st round/4th pick.

    Anyways, it is always fun to dream:)

    • Pete H. says:

      One of the problems with this is that future picks don’t have the same value as a current pick – that’s why you see teams trade a future 3rd for a current 4th, or other similar deals. If you want more picks this year, just hold onto the first from next year and try to pull off as close as you can get to the Vikings deal from last year – you’ll still snag a plethora of picks and keep a high pick next year. Your overall plan is basically the same as trading A) this years 1st for a 2, 3, and 4 and B) next year’s 1st for a 2 and 3. Just my opinion, but part B of the plan is really worth it. You don’t need that many developing players on the roster anyways.

      • Darkstar says:

        Pete,

        The whole reason for my scenario is that I don’t think it will be as easy to do the same trade as last years Vikings one, due to the depth and value of this draft. This years 1st round extends well into the 2nd. I am not sure if there is as much top level talent as much as there is depth. Because of this, I think teams will be more cautious about making that same type of trade. Hopefully they won’t.

        However, I believe teams are much more willing to sacrifice more for top 5 picks, due to the perception that this range represents the cream of the crop, even if it really doesn’t.

        My main reason for this type of trade was not necessarily to use all those 2nd and 3rd round picks, but to be able to use those picks as leverage to move all over the draft from a position of strength. The Pats could easily move some of those picks into 2015 or package a couple to move up back up into the 1st. With so many picks it gives you tremendous flexibility and a multitude of options.

        I know this scenario seems strange. Why would anyone trade into the top 4, just to trade back out? Normally, I wouldn’t do something like this, but if I could get into a valuable spot in a draft, such as the top 4 for mainly just two late 1sts, I would do it in a heartbeat. Simply because I know I can get more from this position then I can from either of the two late firsts. Also, this scenario gives the Pats the option of going after a top tier player and still picking up an extra pick. The Pats could even make multiple trades as they slowly backed their way back out of the 1st, picking up picks along the way.

        I come from the perspective where the more picks you have, the more control you have over the draft. You are able to manipulate the draft better, which is what Bill loves to do. I think if you asked Bill what his preference would be in any draft and he would probably want more 2nds and 3rds than anything.

        I know it seems strange, but I just see so many incredible options from such a position of strength.

        Anyways, thanks for the commentary.

        • Looks like a fire drill at clown collage with all due respect. When Pete offers a simpler scenaro to achieve like results you dismiss it as to difficult. Forgive me maybe my thinking is wrong but no deal like these are easy so the simpler the better. On the positive side I am very impressed with the work you did with the trade value chart to come out to your 1800:1800.

  4. Pete H. says:

    How about Quentin Mikell at safety? I think the Pats are probably looking for mostly bargains at this point in free agency, and Mikell’s age should keep his price down, despite a very productive season with the Panthers. Should be able to tag team with Harmon at strong safety if a replacement isn’t found in the draft this season.

    I also like Travelle Wharton at guard on a 1-2 year deal – could be a Brian Waters type stop-gap, except this time hopefully someone is drafted to replace him in a year or two!

    I’m keeping my eyes on Anthony Spencer at defensive end – he could use a year to re-establish his value, so why not do it Michael Bennett style and play for a team with a studly secondary and Superbowl aspirations?

  5. Anyone know what D-Jax’s cap numbers are? Could he fit under our current cap? What do you guys think about trying to get him and what would it cost us? I’d sure like him on our side.

  6. J H TARBORO says:

    Could 3 potential trades be in the works? Mallett,Wilfolk, and Amendola? Chip Kelly of the Eagles has a personality conflict with his WR DeSean Jackson and there are many trade rumors swirling around him. Big question, could Amendola be swapped for Jackson? BB and Kelly are close friends.

    • acm says:

      neither trading nor cutting DA would make any sense, cap-room-wise, at this point. Even if they were to trade him for a draft pick, while incurring an additional cap-hit, in a WR class this deep that pick would be a late one, at best, again making such a trade nonsensical.

      http://bostonherald.com/sports/patriots_nfl/the_blitz/2014/03/patriots_wouldnt_save_2014_cap_space_by_trading_danny_amendola

      • J H TARBORO says:

        ACM, look at time of this post, i put 2 and 2 together, and now go to patriots. com. this was a feeling based on what i read on NFL. com and then the article just popped up on Patriots.com

        • acm says:

          not sure what your thought process is or what you are talking about, for that matter. You asked if an Amendola trade, of any kind, would make sense and I replied.

          And this Jackson thing, forget about it – the guy signed a big-money deal a year or so ago and now the Eagles are having a buyers’ remorse. It’s called due diligence, that’s all.

          As for putting 2 and 2 together, I’ve always believed it gives 5-1. ;)

      • Trading Amendola for D-Jax might do nothing for our cap room but it would sure be another major upgrade for our team imo.

        • acm says:

          and what about the 10+ mil cap hit, iirc, DJax carries this year? Who do you think would have to absorb that?

      • I think JH was asking if a stright trade, 1 for 1, Amandola fpr Jackson was possable between Pat’s and Eagles.
        Amendola’s cap hit this year is 4.575 mil and Jackson counts for over 12 mil this year for Phili.meaning Pat’s would be taking on another very large bit to their cap to aquire Jackson even 1:1 trade. But what an upgrade!

        • acm says:

          not worth it. Pats’s inquiry, if there was one at all and if it was about DJax at all, must have been simply due diligence … or they have lost their minds. DJax is a not a team but an I player and seems like a bad fit for the Pats locker room. On top of that, the reason why these speculations started was that he asked for an improved contract over the one he currently has (the ~50 mil one) and that supposedly didn’t go well with the Eagles’ FO.

          Cap-room wise, a trade like that would be nothing short of a disaster – trading DA would not only not save cap room to go towards covering DJax’ trade but would actually incur an extra cap hit of .25 mil, iirc. That is, that trade would be equivalent to taking on DJax with a cap hit of 13 mil when the cap room they currently have is 6 mil. Even if Wilfork is released, saving 7.6 mil would barely take care of DJax. With all sorts of wheeling and dealing in extending and reworking contracts, maybe, just maybe the Pats can free up enough room for the next rookie class … forget about a improving pass-rush, RB, OL, DL, LB, etc in free agency.

        • @ acm, I know, but it tickles the imagination anyway.

  7. Very smart Patriot fans on this web site.
    Patriot possible free agents.
    Brian De LaPunta C Saints
    Maurice Jones Drew RB Jaguars
    Corey Wooten DE Bears
    Ryan Pickett NT Green Bay

    Draft
    1 Dee Ford DE Auburn
    2 Chris Borland ILB Wisconsin
    3 Brandon Thomas G Clemson
    4 Arthur Lynch TE Georgia
    6 Jake Murphy TE Utah
    6 Justin Ellis NT Louisiana Tech
    7 Matt Patchan OT BC

    Big Vince great years here make yourself happy and move on to new team. Good Luck.

    • acm says:

      Not too crazy about this one, to be perfectly honest. Not a fan of the free agent acquisitions either.
      Not a big fan of any of the players drafted, especially going with an undersized pass-rusher in the 1st with Dee Ford, one of the most overhyped players this year. And that double dip at TE in the middle and late rounds in hope one of them pans out, makes it even less appealing to me.

    • Ryan says:

      Don’t understand the pick of an inside linebacker so early when we have three good ones and tend to play three linebackers. Also, tight end is not a deep position in this draft, to the point where if we don’t get one in the third round then I can’t see anything more than a shot in the dark in the waning rounds. There are much deeper positions to pick from in the middle rounds.

      • Agree completely!!! I’v been trying to say the same thing for weeks now you did much better then I well said. I think some fans just fall in love with a player and want that player when it makes no sense as to fit or draft strategy.

  8. Daniel R. Martin says:

    Steve, ACM, and every other contributing member of this site, I would love to gather your opinions concerning this article entitled “Patriots Improved, but Broncos Still Better.”

    It can be found here:

    http://www.boston.com/blogs/sports/columnists/kaufman/2014/03/patriots_have_improved_but_broncos_still_superior.html

    There are many good points here that encapsulate many of my concerns. The author begs the question “how much better is Reevis than a healthy Talib, really?” I disagree with his assertion that Emmanuel Sanders was a better acquisition for Denver than Brandon Lafell was for us.

    • Bill Vermont says:

      No championships have been won in April, so we will see how the year turns out. I think if the health and injury had been more balanced, the game last year would have been a lot closer. Gronk, Wilfork, and particularly Mayo were huge losses the patriots could not overcome.

      This year even if you call Revis /Talib a wash ( which you can’t, just ask Talib), its hard to get excited about Ware when Dallas cut him because he missed so many games last 3 years.

      Patriots receiveing will be much better this year tan last. The question isn’t “is Emmanual better than Lafell”, its is Emmanual better than Decker”, and I’d say no.

      Next January is a long way off, but Brady is still as good as Mannning, and the rest of the team is better than Broncos

    • acm says:

      Pats need more work to be the finished article, mostly thru the draft but some more acquisitions in FA wouldn’t hurt too. DL, OL, LB and TE need some shoring up.

      This being said, the Broncos are a team of mental midgets, coached by a mental midget and QBed by one too. Hardly matters who they bring in. If the Pats hadn’t lost Talib last AFC game, that hobbled Pats team may well have even won that game. I think BB knows well enough that with injured players returning, Pats would be well poised to beat even this improved Broncos team. The real reason for this so called “armsrace” is not to keep up with them but rather the Seahawks and the 49ers, imo. After what happened in the 2013 season SB, I think BB may have realized that just being able to beat the Broncos wouldn’t cut it to win the big game.

      All in all, they have more work to do.

    • Perhaps Kaufman is just pumping the brakes on runaway excitement after we signed Revis and Browner or he may believe the last FA(s) have been signed by Bill and the draft is irrelevant. I don’t know. What I do know is our Def backfield will be among the best this year and one of the top 3 if we get a decent SS. There are still some pretty decent FA’s still unsigned at positions of need for us, and the Draft looks really deep so some help from that department could make itself known around mid November. And keep in mind when final cut downs come in late August there will be chances to pick up a couple more depth guys there. I think Kaufman had some space to fill with a deadline coming so don’t read to much into his piece it’s way to early.

    • GM-In-Training says:

      I think Denver has more upside at rushing the passer as things stand. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware could help each other out. I’d like to see the Pats add another 12+ sacks a season guy who can hurry up the QB.

      I agree the Niners and Seahawks are probably the more important benchmarks.
      How do you throw against big press corners? Where is the Pat’s answer for that so far?

      • I agree but remember all pocket passers have problems when pressure comes up the middle and history has shown Manning is no exception. So if Bill gets guys who can collaps the pocket actual sacks become less important overall then pressure. Sure would like both though.

  9. Russell says:

    Would you trade DT Wilfork to Cleveland for OC Mack ???

    • acm says:

      yep! If he is still bend of getting his release, then it’s a no brainer really. Just don’t see why Cleveland would go for it.

      • Jim R says:

        Worth a shot, It appears that the decision makers over there are as sharp as a cue-ball

        • acm says:

          that is not an untrue statement by any means. Problem is they were rumored to be considering cutting Rubin due to his cap charge being something like 7-8 mil this year. As of right now, he is still on the roster. Trading for Wilfork would basically mean they get much older at the NT position, incur a cap charge close to 50% higher than Rubin’s and all that for a player who is unlikely to ever be the same and may have even played one of his last games in the NFL.
          There is stupid and there is trading for Wilfork stupid, hence my doubts.

  10. Ryan says:

    So far in free agency, the Patriots have put an exclamation mark on the corner position and solidified the WR crop. Given that, here is my idea of a mock draft given two 6th round compensatories and a 6th and 7th traded for a 5th:

    Round 1: DT Ra’Shede Hageman. Given Aaron Donald’s recent rise it is very possible that Timmy Jernigan, Louis Nix III and Donald will all be gone by the 29th pick. If not, then Belicheck will have a tough decision on his hands because the defensive line is clearly the largest need at this point.

    Round 2: DE Scott Crichton. The defensive line needs a clear remodel and Crichton would be a solid addition to the roster. If Crichton is not here then a guy like Kareem Martin could be picked instead.

    Round 3: TE C.J. Fiedorowicz. Tight end depth is needed because of Gronk’s injury history, but Ebron and Amaro will be gone quickly, and Niklas and Sefarian-Jenkins both abstained from some combine drills due to injury. Using a 2nd-round pick on a player with a current injury for injury depth does not sound appealing to me, so I like this pick.

    Round 4: S Ahmad Dixon. A safety is still a good idea for this team because of Adrian Wilson’s injury last year. Dixon looks like a steal to me at the end of the 4th round.

    Round 5: C/OG Russell Bodine. Some offensive line depth would help and Bodine has interior line experience. With Wendell garnering interest from the Giants another option here could come in handy.

    Round 6: ILB Jeremiah George. With Dane Fletcher departing another linebacker is needed to fill the void.

    Round 6: WR John Brown. The only receiver type that I see missing from the Patriots is a deep threat, and Brown’s 4.34 40 could provide that.

    • Nice Mock Draft Ryan picks 2 and 4 very good. Somehow I hope the Pats
      get Fiedorowicz as he can do a lot more than he showed in college.
      Enjoy the remainder of free agency an draft.

    • acm says:

      pretty good mock; only player I don’t like is Hageman in the 1st. He is an athlete, a combine freak but not a football player. He doesn’t understand leverage, average motor at best and is eliminated from the game by average to decent OL-men. I’d much rather have Tuitt over Hageman.
      Also, with Kelly and Armstead expected to be back while Wilfork being the one likely to be gone, it’s stopping the run type of DL-man the Pats should worry about, not one of Hageman’s type and certainly not in the 1st.
      I can easily see BB get Hageman in the first on athleticism alone, just hope he doesn’t.

      • Ryan says:

        I agree that Hageman is far from polished and I would rather have Nix III, Donald, or Jernigan. I’m not sure if I would rather have Tuitt though. Regardless, of one these five should be chosen in the first round.

        • acm says:

          mantioned Tuitt more as player of similar type to what Hageman is. Neither of them are run stuffing Dts, though. As for Tuitt, at least the guy can use his hernia as an excuse for the dip in production in 2013. If he’s healed, he’d be a player to warrant a 29th pick. Hageman, on the other hand …

        • Ryan says:

          …has only three full seasons at DT (used to be a TE) under his belt and is a physical monster. Not saying that this guarantees he will drastically improve in the coming years, but you would think that he can definitely take some steps forward in his first few years in the NFL. Now considering the Patriots’ window for success, he may not be the best option, but I still think he could contribute strongly.

    • Jim R says:

      That would work, no RB or QB. UDFA for those positions. Nice job

  11. Happy St.Patricks Day to all.
    Free Agents For Patriots.
    Andrew Gardner OT Texans
    Mike Gibson C Cardinals
    Pat Sims DT Raiders
    Paris Lenon LB Denver
    Kellen Davis TE Seattle

    Draft
    1 C.J. Mosely LB Alabama
    2 C.J. Fiedorowicz TE Iowa
    3 Trent Murphy DE Stanford
    4 De Anthony Thomas RB Baylor
    6 Prince Shembo LB ND
    6 Max Bullough LB Michigan State
    7 Trai Turner G LSU

    • Brian Benzio says:

      I like your 2-4 picks however I do not like the three linebackers you selected. While all three are talented we have Beauharnius as a backup with Collins, Hightower and Mayo starting. I would not be surprised if we draft another LB but not three and especially not in the first round.

      I expect New England to sign a veteran LB and a pick up a few UDFA Linebackers for training camp but they are not going to waste three picks on a position they only need depth in.

      • Injures happen so much in football also those late round linebackers would be good on special
        teams. Glad you liked 2-4. I am quite happy with the Patriots very aggressive approach.

        • acm says:

          Injuries can happen to any type of player at any time, does that mean your draft should consist of 3-4 players per role?
          not much to dislike about Mosley in the 1st, except that he is highly unlikely to be there, I guess. But Shembo and Bullough are redundant after that, one of them would be fine, not both. As mentioned, there is a ton of FA and UDFA out there who’d make good special teamers and emergency back-ups.

          Deanthony Thomas is a late round pick – guy is way too weak at this point even for a change of pace RB in the NFL and isn’t much of a burner either for a guy his size. Likely a 7th round pick, I reckon.

    • So this is what , your 4th mock in 3 days? Gives a new meaning to throwing pasta against the wall to see if it sticks. My question is do you have any convictions about who, what and when? This is just silly.

      • cc says:

        LMMfAO!!! steve earl. ha-ha.
        * Personally, Da’ Bear’s would be an interesting stop for Big V if he was too be traded. It kill’s of a big need for them actually. Agree on the swing OT. & as far as the 0-line goes….. They better get a badd ass (C) in there quick, because Wendell Suck’s!!
        Aquiring more draft picks…………….Hmmmm, I’d say get rid of Mr. Injury Hype GRONK along with Wendell and save on ones salary and two wastes of time.
        * and yes……..Jump up for Mosley In Many Opinions. *Spikes gone(good) = # Mosley!!!!
        with what’s been done thus far…………..
        Mosley in & Gronk out = AWSOME DRAFT BABY!!!!!!! the rest is a trust in BB thang.

        • Just for your info I only speak english. Have no idea what lmmfao is or means. Note! you may think they should drop Gronk but not gonna happen. not this year anyway. Agree need serious upgrade at OC = Travis Swanson or Westen Richberg. Need a SS & TE too.

  12. Pete H. says:

    For anyone interested in the Browner contract, the details are on the 4-letter network Patriots blog. Looks like the Patriots did a really nice job of protecting themselves in the deal with very little guaranteed money and most of the pay based on incentives. I now really like that signing.

  13. Sal T says:

    Jernigan doesn’t fit the mold of nose tackle that Mr B likes. If the league continues being more pass than run then he might fit in as a situational pass rusher. Otherwise, Ra’shede Hageman or Louis Nix would be batter fit.

  14. YodasLlama says:

    Patriots Seven Round Mock Draft (Free Agency)

    This is my mock draft that is up to date after the Lafell free agency signing. Let me know what you think! I am giving the Patriots a 6th round Compensatory pick for Patrick Chung and a 7th for Danny Woodhead.

    1. Ra’shede Hageman DT Minnesota
    I hope Vince Wilfork restructures his contract and stays but I am not holding out hope since he and his wife are pretty insane when it comes to money.
    Even if Wilfork stays they need a big body DT to replace him and I feel that Hageman is one of the most talented players in this draft.

    2. Jimmie Ward FS/SS Northern Illinois
    I know. I know. The Patriots just signed Browner and have a plethora of talent in the secondary but I do not think both Wilsons will make the team which would leave a hole
    at safety backing up both McCourty and Harmon/Browner. McCourty may not even stay next season and finding a potential heir now would be better, especially when a talented playerlike Ward falls to them at the bottom of the second. Talented depth in the secondary is never a bad thing.

    3. Weston Richburg C Colorado State
    I am holding out hope that New England somehow signs Alex Mack to a decent contract and would allow them to grab a different interior offensive lineman.
    However until that happens Richburg would be my choice in the third round. He would have Mankins and Cannon next to him which would make his job easier than most centersand he would be an upgrade over Wendell(whom I believe they will eventually sign for vet minimum)

    4. C.J. Fiedeorowicz TE Iowa
    A slower Gronkowski clone. He is talented but would be better served as a backup in the long run. He would gain valuable playing time with Gronk out to start the season and would give Brady another tall, physical TE to throw too at all times.

    6(Eagles). Billy Turner OT North Dakota State
    This is a guy that will probably not be here on draft day. Most people are projecting him to be as low as late 5th round and as high as late 3rd. I think he could fall to the top
    of the 6th. He could be a steal this late and possibly win the starting RG position if Cannon does not step up.

    6. T.J. Jones WR Notre Dame
    I expect New England to draft a few Notre Dame players this season and TJ Jones would fit the mold of the slot receiver the Patriots like so much. Well respected in the locker
    room and a high character guy. Not a burner but is quicker than people give him credit for. Could surprise.

    6(COMP). AC Leonard TE Tennessee State
    This is where New England starts to pick supreme value instead of need. Leonard was a troubled player at the University of Florida and is insistent that he is a different person
    than the man who was kicked off the Gators team. Leonard is fast and would fit the Patriots offense perfectly.

    7. Bennett Jackson CB Notre Dame
    Bill likes DBs. Its going to happen and yeah I know I mocked Ward in the second round but Jackson is another Notre Dame guy who is tall (6’0″) and plays physically. Revis may be a one year rental and while I think Logan Ryan will end up being a star drafting for the future and providing even more valuable depth in the secondary would be beneficial to New England.

    7(COMP). Caleb Lavey ILB Oklahoma State
    A sleeper at LB who could make an impact as a 7th round pick. Beauharnius did not show up last year and may not make the team unless Fletcher signs somewhere else. Lavey could be a valuablespecial teams player at start and could carve a role in the defense.

    Projected Patriots Depth Chart with current signings

    * Denotes Rookie
    # Denotes Free Agent Signing

    QB: Brady, Mallet
    RB: Ridley, Bolden, Vereen
    3RB: Vereen

    WR1: Dobson, Boyce
    WR2: Thompkins, Boyce
    WR3: Amendola, Jones*

    TE1: Gronkowski, Fiedeorowicz*, Hoomanwanui#
    TE2: Leonard*

    LT: Solder
    LG: Mankins, Turner*
    C: Richburg*
    RG: Cannon, Turner*
    RT: Vollmer

    LE: Ninkovich, Buchannon
    NT: Wilfork, Hageman*, Silga
    DT: Armstead, Jones
    RE: C Jones, Buchannon

    LOLB: Collins, Lavey
    ILB: Hightower, Beauharnis
    ROLB: Mayo

    CB1: Revis#, Dennard
    CB2: Browner#, Ryan, Green, Jackson*
    CB3: Arington, Green

    FS: McCourty, Ward*
    SS: Harmon, Ward*, Browner#

    • Pete H. says:

      That draft certainly fills a lot of holes. In terms of the projected roster, I didn’t see LaFell or Edelman on there, and I have a hard time believing the Patriots only carry 6 o-lineman on the roster – they typically dress 7 and keep up to 3 extra bodies on the roster as well. Also, I think Tavon Wilson probably makes the roster at least as a special teamer, perhaps at the expense of Green or Jackson on your roster. Kelley also has a better shot of making the roster now that he’s restructured. 3 DEs is a little light at that position, especially with no guarantees of Buchanon’s development – 4 or 5 seems to be Bill’s preference. Finally, 3 RBs and no fullback may be a bit light at that position as well – they carried 4 RBs and a FB this year. Of course, I’d expect a few more low-cost free agent signings to help fill some of these holes, and since they haven’t happened yet, they are hard to project on the roster. Just my opinion.

      • YodasLlama says:

        Forgot to add Edelman and Lafell. And I think New England will get more OL I just cant predict who they will sign in free agency.

        • Guess this somewhat answers my question about swing OT. Looking at linemen FA’s left not much better then our current backups except Mack from Cleve and he’s tagged I believe so he would cost some good money and a draft pick. Still what’s your thoughts on Wolfolk?

        • Russell says:

          Steve; Would you trade Wilfork to Cleveland, for Mack ??

        • @ Russell, sure I’d trade Wolfolk to Cleve for Mack but we risk being charger with grand theft imo. Speaking of Mack, am I correct that he was tagged with something by Cleve? I thought I read that somewhere some time.

    • Hey, really like this mock draft. Well thought out and addresses many needs with value picks. Nice job!!! About your depth chart apparently you missed the signings of LaFell and Edelman, it can happen. I’m guessing your thinking Wolfolk will relent and take a restructured deal, could be he hasn’t many options. Two questions, no swing OT given Vollmers back problem history? I count 46, 48 if you add LaFell and Edelman, on your roster is that because you expect more FA signings or more draft picks to be aquired?

  15. Pete H. says:

    Won’t see me complain if Jernigan goes at number 29! Hard to see that happening though…






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