Eyes on the Competition : Houston Texans

I expect a big 2015 is on the horizon for Andre Johnson with Andrew Luck.

I expect a big 2015 is on the horizon for Andre Johnson with Andrew Luck.

NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa

As time goes on, things change.  It’s one of the few true facts of life.

The Houston Texans will be experiencing some big changes going into 2015, but can they bank on beating anyone other than the Bengals in the first round to get a playoff win?

The biggest change is that the organization’s greatest player of all time, Andre Johnson, will be suiting up elsewhere in 2015 (with the rival Colts no less).  The former 2003 #3 overall pick caught over 1,000 passes, compiled over 13,500 yards and scored 64 touchdowns in his twelve year career with Houston.

All doing so with lackluster quarterback play at best.  Show me somebody who says he won’t be missed even a little bit and I’ll show you a lair.  For all of the Andre Johnson naysayers, I will say this.  If you can catch 85 passes for 936 yards with whoever on planet earth was playing quarterback for them last season (revolving door of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chase Keenum & Ryan Mallett) I think you can be productive one year later with Andrew Luck.

That may be an elementary way of looking at things, but so be it.  Colts’ Head Coach Chuck Pagano has boasted of how good Johnson looks so far in Indy and I believe him.

What about a more familiar face to most of our readers on the defensive side of the ball, Vince Wilfork.  Wilfork was the lone companion to Tom Brady from the 2004 Super Bowl championship team and will certainly be inducted into at least the Patriots’ Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done.  Wilfork, who signed a two year $9M deal, is added to the likes of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.  Hello!

AJ and Wilfork changing scenery is a big change, and will be weird for most NFL fans.

But here is something that most likely won’t change that much : quarterback play.

It has been the thorn in the Texans’ side ever since even before those darn Letterman jackets made a primetime Foxborough appearance.

Efforts are being made to improve at the position however.  Head Coach Bill O’Brien made it a priority to sign QB Brian Hoyer, and did so inking the former Browns QB to a two year $10.5M deal.  Both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett have a past Patriots history with Bill O’Brien, but I’m not expecting a huge quarterback competition here.  You don’t pay Hoyer that kind of money to sit the bench.

Unless of course, you are the Cleveland Browns.

Here is the good news: Brian Hoyer will be the best quarterback the Texans have had since the team was founded in 2002.

Here is the bad news:  Brian Hoyer will be the best quarterback the Texans have had since the team was founded in 2002.

In a division with Andrew Luck, I’m not sure Hoyer is the guy who can get it done.  Not all about the quarterback situation though, as the Texans have been Busy Bees’ this off season.

Free Agency

The Texans have been big time players in Free Agency thus far in 2015.  As previously highlighted, Andre Johnson will be playing against the Texans twice a year, a sight I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing.  The Texans helped combat the loss of Johnson though, adding two quality second tier receivers.

Cecil Shorts, the former Jacksonville Jaguars and Mount Union star signed a modest two year $6M deal.  I don’t think his stats in Jacksonville are a true representation of Shorts’ potential, as that quarterback situation has been a train wreck since David Garrard left town.  Not saying Shorts is a Pro Bowl kind of guy, but I think he could be a very productive player in Bill O’Brien’s system.

May not get as much notoriety, but I love the Nate Washington signing.  Washington highlighted my list of most underrated free agents, and signed a very reasonable one year $1M contract.  Yes, he is one year past the wrong side of 30, but as a WR3 I think Washington could be nice option for Brian Hoyer in 2015.

A trio of DeAndre Hopkins, Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts is pretty formidable in my eyes, and if you expect the Texans to add an early receiver in the draft such as myself it could be one of the more underrated positional groups in the league.

Defensively speaking, the additions of Vince Wilfork and Rahim Moore won’t break the internet the way a certain cornerback wearing #24 did when he returned to New York this season.  However, the two could prove to be key additions to an already talent rich defense.  I believe the Broncos would have loved to keep Moore around, but the “all in” philosophy last off season made guys like Moore (as well as Pot Roast Knighton WAS, Julius Thomas JAX, Orlando Franklin SD) near impossible to keep.

As for Wilfork, he is added to arguably the best defensive line in the AFC.

Don’t give me this Jadeveon Clowney is overrated nonsense.  Seriously, I don’t want to hear it.  If he can get healthy (could be a big if, granted) I expect the 22 year old to terrorize offenses the way he did his sophomore year for South Carolina.  I’ve watched a lot of SEC football in my day.  If we are talking about pure pass rushers, he is easily the most disruptive and memorable force I have been fortunate enough to watch.

Hah. I haven’t even talked about the best defensive player in the league yet, JJ Watt.

Watt is the only player in NFL history to record two 20+ sack seasons, and the former Badger is just 26 years old.  He has never played alongside a DT as talented as Wilfork, so I expect Watt to be even more dominant in the coming future.  In just four NFL seasons, Watt has recorded 57 sacks.  Just absurd considering he isn’t just a pure edge rusher flying up the field to pad those sack numbers every down.

Other key defensive free agency moves were keeping two of their own in the family.  Underrated LB Akeem Dent as well as CB Kareem Jackson were both resigned.  Jackson in particular was absolutely critical.  I believe he is worth every penny of that four year $34M contract the Texans gave him this off season.

Other players the Texans have resigned include WR Damaris Johnson, QB Ryan Mallett, OT Derek Newton and LB Jeff Tarpinian.

Some guys not previously mentioned that will not be with the team next year comprise of S Kendrick Lewis (BAL), QB Thad Lewis (CLE) and LB Brooks Reed (ATL).

C Chris Meyers, SS Danieal Manning, DT Tim Jamison, DT Ryan Pickett and DT Jerrell Powe all remained unsigned.

So with all the changing of faces, what will the Texans plan now be on draft day?

With the 16th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select...

The Texans are in a real interesting spot here.  Dead smack right in the middle of the first round with multiple ways to attack the pick.  In order, I view the Texans biggest needs as S, WR, QB, OT.

Losing Kendrick Lewis and possibly Daniel Manning hurts.  Losing your two starting safeties with Andrew Luck in division hurts even more.  This is why the Rahim Moore signing was so clutch.  There is still a hole in the secondary however, as D.J. Swearinger still owns a starting job.

Unfortunately, I don’t really view any safety in this class worthy of the 16th pick.  Trade down options here maybe?  Have to find a willing dance partner first.

Assuming they stay home at 16, and assuming he is on the board, what about Dorial Green-Beckham here.  I encourage you to check out my DGB piece I wrote a little while back highlighting his tumultuous career.  I also encourage you to watch some DGB film or a highlight video if you like watching freak athletes doing freak athlete things.  DGB would be a really nice fit here.

Shorts is a quick speed guy.  DeAndre Hopkins is a pure athlete who showed real improvement in his second season.   You may not have noticed if he wasn’t on your fantasy team, but Hopkins caught 76 passes for over 1,200 yards and 6 touchdowns last year.

Add the big, physical presence that is DGB and I think you have three receivers who complement each other extremely well.  Another receiver I’d take a good hard look at would be DeVante Parker, I just give the slight edge between the two to DGB.

Another guy I’m looking at here is Danny Shelton.  He just dominated the Senior Bowl, and could be a great long term fit alongside the terror that is JJ Watt.  DT isn’t a pressing need but the value here would be ideal, as I view him as a top 10 caliber player.  After all, Big Vince is already 33 years old.  By the time Houston figures its quarterback situation out to be a real Super Bowl contender, Wilfork will be retired.

If they did go the safety route, I feel good about saying my #1 safety Landon Collins will be on the board here.  It’s not that I hate Collins, but he isn’t Earl Thomas or Eric Berry coming out of college which is why he is overall lower on my board.   He is a good prospect, but in a normal year I don’t think he’d be the “best safety in the class”, which is why he has been linked to some top 10 spots earlier in the off season.  He has ideal measurables with phenomenal strait line speed for his size (6′ , 225 lbs).  He would most likely be asked to play right away over D.J. Swearinger.

Mr. Everything on the offensive line, Cameron Erving from Florida State, would probably be a nice fit anywhere if we’re being honest with ourselves.  He would most likely play center for the Texans, if they went in this direction.

And I’ll leave my readers with an under the radar play here : Marcus Mariota.  He very well may go at #2 and cancel all the fun and drama for us.  But let’s paint this scenario.  Tennessee doesn’t fall in love with Mariota, and chooses the safer pick with Leonard Williams as nobody is willing to give up three 1st rounders to move up.

Say the Jets at 6 (I don’t think they would) pass on Mariota and go the Dante Folwer Jr., Randy Gregory, or Shane Ray route.  Very possible considering what their needs are and how they view their quarterback situation.  I know every fan in the world has given up on Geno Smith, but have the Jets given up on their 2013 second round pick already?  Don’t forget, yes this was a real life thing, they signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two year $7.25M deal.

If Mariota gets past pick #6 there is potential for a real slide past that position.  CHI, ATL, NYG, STL, MIN are the following picks, do they really need a QB?

Pick #12 could be the next Mariota destination : Cleveland.  Would they be gun shy though after the Manziel pick?   Here’s my point: could Houston move up a few spots if they want to try and take the developmental Mariota while learning behind the seasoned vet Brian Hoyer?  If Aaron Rodgers can slide down the board on draft day, trust me, Marcus Mariota can too.  It is an interesting situation to follow that 100% hinges on what the boys’ in Nashville are planning to do with their #2 pick.

If I’m Houston, I go the DGB route if he’s on the board at 16, and get my guy in the second round at safety.  I’m a huge Ifo Ekpre-Olomu fan and I think people are forgetting about him due to his injury.  I believe his best NFL upside resides as a safety, and he will more than likely be on the board when the Texans come around in round two.

Past the opening rounds I expect Houston to bolster the secondary a bit, add an OL or two, and most definitely bring in a developmental DT at the least for some long term plans past Vince Wilfork.

Can they contend for a Super Bowl?  In my humble opinion – no.  I see a significant gap between the Colts and Houston, let alone the Patriots, Ravens & Steelers and Houston.

However, there is no doubt Houston has a chance at a wild card.  One would assume with four games against Tennessee and Jacksonville their chances for a bid are high.  The AFC South drew the NFC South and AFC East as common opponents this year (New England will be traveling to Houston in 2015).

Overall, my pre-draft prediction will have Houston missing the playoffs, but making some quarterbacks pull their hair out in the process.  Some free fantasy football advice here – I really like Cecil Shorts as a late round sleeper, I think Bill O’Brien will get the ball in his hands a bunch, and he will be playing with the best quarterback he has ever had.

As time goes by, things change.  However even with the multitude of changing faces in the Texans locker room, I don’t see a huge change in overall result.  Better hope they draw Cincy in the first round again if they make it that far.

Up next on Eyes on the Competition – Baltimore.

Previously on Eyes on the Competition – Bills , Colts , Chargers

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88 Responses to “Eyes on the Competition : Houston Texans”

  1. Greg says:

    Quick question:
    Jalen Collins or Byron Jones and why?

    • Ken says:

      Couple areas where I think Jalen Collins is better: run support & played in a better conference. Byron Jones has a leg up in the athletic department and I believe he has a bigger upside.

      I think both are going to be good players and if the Pats took either I would be excited. I do think if you want them you are going to have to pull the trigger in the first if they are still on the board, because they wont be there at the end of the second.

      If I had to pick one I would go with Byron Jones by a hair. He has more games under his belt and is said to have a good football IQ so he gets the sleight edge.

      • acm says:

        Agree on virtually all points. Jones over Collins for me too – and not by just a hair – for the better intangibles and bigger upside down the road. Only drawback on Jones, at this point, is the level of competition.

  2. ReneKicker says:

    My updated mock using ontheclock :
    101 CB ERIC ROWE
    131 RB T.J. YELDON
    219: OLB ALANI FUA

  3. Roxy Bob says:

    Any thoughts on my mock #6: 1. Jordan Phillips DT 2. Eric Rowe CB 3a A.J. Cann G 3b.David Johnson RB 4a. Charles Davis Tull ILB 4b. Xavier Williams DL 6. Mark Glowinski OL 7a. Stephone Diggs WR 7b. Benard Blake CB

    • Thomas says:

      Aj Cann is a mid 2nd rounder

    • steve earle says:

      I like the top half of your mock but have some reservations about if Phillips and Cann will be where you place them. Phillips perhaps but Cann no. I really think Rowe is being over hyped but another maybe, who knows what some GM will do. As for Johnson RB, he would be a luxury pick when we need 2 each o-line, d-line, CB’s as well as some depth. Your waiting until the 6th rd for o-line is very short sighted. A comment on WR Diggs starting with why? He is another slot WR and already we have Edelman, Amendola and Boyce. Plus Diggs has a rep of being inconsistent, easily redirected due to lack of core body strength and disinterested in downfield blocking. Not on my board at all.

      • Roxy Bob says:

        I believe a compensatory pick is a luxury and when used wisely, a good investment. Offensively, the biggest weapon that is missing is Shane Vereen coming out of the backfield to bail Brady of trouble. Johnson is the best pass-catching back in the draft (former WR). At 6’1″ and 230 lbs he also could be a 3 down guy ala Leveon Bell. Belechick almost never takes 2OL in the first 4 rds. I still believe BB may let Amendola go to save money for during the season or pre season players he like to pick up. I think because of the lack of quality CBs in this draft, teams may overreach in the first rd just to get one of the better ones causing a Phillips or Goldman to fall to us at 32. Cann is wishful thinking but I could live with Marpet.

  4. Roxy Bob says:

    Mock #6: 1. Eddie Goldman DT 2. Eric Rowe CB 3a. Ali Marpet OL 3b. Tre’ McBride WR 4a. Davis Tull ILB 4b. Xavier Williams DL 6. Mark Glowinski OL 7a. Bernard Blake CB

  5. Bill Vermont says:

    here’s my 2c worth on a mock:
    #32 Eddie Goldman DT
    #64 Ron Darby CB
    #96 Daryl Williams OG/OT
    #97 Kwon Alexander OLB
    #101 Zadarius Smith DE
    #131 Kenny Bell WR
    #177 Mark Glowinski OG
    #219 Bobby McCain CB
    #253 Brandon Bridge QB

  6. Matt says:

    My mock draft:
    1. CB Marcus Peters – (Starter) drops b/c of off field concerns
    2. LB/SS Shaq Thompson – (Hybrid LB/SS that probably is starting mid way through year)
    3. DT Michael Bennett – (Rotating DT with Siglia, Branch, Easly & Jones)
    3. DE Trey Flowers (Compensatory) – (Depth with high upside as pass rushing DE)
    4. G Ali Marpet (Via TB) – (Steps in as probable starter @ LG if Connolly not resigned)
    4. WR Stephon Diggs – (WR depth signing with high upside and probably takes over for Amendola next year If he can stay healthy)
    6. G Josue Matias (Via TB) – (Depth signing and eventual replacement @ RG for Wendell)
    7. ILB Trey Depreist (Via Tenn) – (ILB run stuffing depth and core special teams player)
    7. TE Blake Bell/WR Chris Conley (Compensatory)- Both players provide potential upside for future at WR and TE position.

    All players are slotted to be picked right around PATS draft positioning with possible exception of SHAQ THOMPSON who might go mid 2nd round.

    However If they could pull off a draft like this It would be a dream come true IMO. Your coming away with 4 potential starters next year in our main areas of need…CB,LB/SS,DT,G. You also pick up valuable depth and special core special teamers with the future in mind.

    I think we all can agree that players like Tavon Wilson,Nate Ebner, jake baquette, Chris White, Jordan Devey, Jonathan Krause, Chris Barker, Josh Boyce are replaceable and most likely will not be around past next year.

    • jim r says:

      good looking mock

    • Jeff says:

      I think most Pats fans would be thrilled if they wound up with this group of players, but I think few will be around where you’re projecting. Here’s hoping!

    • Thomas says:

      Shaq Thompson is a mid 1st rounder and Chris Conley is a 4/5th rounder. Your mock is very optimistic

    • steve earle says:

      Not sure where Thompson starts, as you think. Given needs this is another luxury pick in the 2nd. As for Diggs WR I don’t like the pick at all because I disagree about an upside. See my comments on him to Roxy Bob above.

  7. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft.
    1 Hau oli Kikaha LB Washington
    2 Duke Johnson RB Miami (Fla)
    3 Xavier Cooper DT Washington St.
    3 Damarious Randall S Arizona St.
    4 Devin Funchess WR Michigan
    4 Ladarius Gunter CB Miami (Fla)
    6 Cam Thomas CB Western Kentucky
    7 Takoby Cofield OT Duke
    7 Al Bond G Memphis

  8. Ken says:

    32- Byron Jones (CB)
    64- Laken Tomlinson (G)
    96- Grady Jarrett (DT) might have to trade up to get him
    97- Lorenzo Mauldin (OLB)
    101- Eric Rowe (CB/S)
    131- Kenny Bell (WR)

  9. Brian says:

    My mock draft.

    1st round- Eddie Goldman DT FSU
    2nd round- Quentin Rollins CB Miami (Ohio)
    3rd round- Donovan Smith OT/OG Penn State
    3rd comp- Justin Hardy WR East Carolina
    4th(Tampa- Mark Glowinski OG West Virginia
    4th round- Mike Davis RB South Carolina
    6th round- Leterrius Walton DT Central Michigan
    7th round- David Andrews C Georgia
    7th comp- Axel Ofori CB U of Maine

    My other draft predictions are:
    *Randy Gregory goes in the mid teens, possibly to San diego.
    *PJ Williams goes undrafted due to maturity concerns.
    *BB drafts someone we have never heard of in the 3rd round, *We move into the 2nd round from 32 when a QB needy team trades back in to select Bryce Petty

    • Thomas says:

      No linebackers? We need depth at this position

      • Ryan says:

        Yeah I think replacing Andrews with a linebacker would be smart as Stork seems to have a strong grasp on the center spot.

        • Brian says:

          I was tempted to either jake Ryan from Michigan or Taiwan jones from msu in the middle rounds. However I could see BB going after a couple of vets before training camp.
          As for David Andrews, he has the measurables that we seem go for in a guard and we have had rumoured interest in him from meetings at the combine. Although that could have been looking into gurley.

  10. Jeff says:

    1: DT – Jordan Phillips
    2: DE – Danielle Hunter
    3 (boosted by Jets tampering): G – Ali Marpet
    3 (comp): CB – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
    4: G – Josue Matias
    4: LB – Ben Heeney
    6: C – Shaq Mason
    7: RB – Trey Williams
    7 (comp): TE – CJ Uzomah

    I’m assuming the Pats will have to still sign a veteran guard, as I wasn’t able to fit in guards until the 3rd round, but this sets up the Pats to draft a CB and G high next year by solidifying the D-Line. I also wanted a middle LB higher, but with a dearth of talent in this draft, I think they’re better off waiting a year.

    • Thomas says:

      A second rounder for a position who we already spent 5m in this free agency with all the gaps we have to fill is too much for me and Ekpre Olomu is undersized and injury prone.

      • Brian says:

        I am as big a Danielle hunter fan as there is, but do realize he is a bit of a luxury pick. However if BB thinks that chandler Jones is going to ask for too much money in a year, or that his injuries are starting to add up. Then I could see us drafting Hunter and making it a developmental year for him while he adds weight. As well if we are switching to a more pressure focused defence, then I can see the value in drafting Hunter and having a rotation at DE which keeps everyone fresher and more active as the game wears on.
        This selection will ultimately depend on what we think Ninkovich has left in the tank, and what steps Zach Moore has taken this year.
        Another option would be to take Marcus Rush out of MSU in one of the later rounds for a sub rusher with chandler kicking inside.

        • Jeff says:

          Yes, I see Hunter as a guy that will need a year of development, but even if Jones is resigned, Nink and Sheard will be heading into walk years, and I think guys with Hunter’s upside are hard to find. If he lasts until the end of round 2, I think you pounce because you may save yourself from using a first rounder in the next couple of years to get a DE. I agree, however, that you won’t get much immediate impact from him.

        • Brian says:

          Agreed Jeff. I think in other years he goes at the end of the 1st round, but because of his role in the defence, lack of sack production and depth of edge rushers this year. We could have a chance at him

        • steve earle says:

          My 2c, I like Marcus Golden better then Hunter. Hunter is taller, his only advantage, and I believe Golden plays earlier both at DE and then later at OLB rotating in as needed.

  11. J H TARBORO says:

    Patriots pick #32 has numerical value of 590 on the NFL Trade chart and looking at teams that could trade partners. Seattle for example has mutiple mid round picks and no 1st round pick, their 1st pick is at #63. Here are their picks and their values.
    1) none
    2) 63 ( 276 )
    3) 95 ( 120 )
    4) 112 ( 70 )
    4) 130 ( 42 )
    4) 134 ( 39 )
    5) 167 ( 24.6 )
    5) 170 ( 23.4 )
    6) 181 ( 19 )
    6) 209 ( 7.8 )
    6) 214 ( 5.8 )
    7) 248 ( no value listed )
    Seattle likes to wheel and deal, i know they won’t give up their whole draft. I would propose our 1st rounder for their 2,3,4,4,4 which has a value of 547 or 2,3,4,4= 509 + undisclosed pick in ’16

    • Daniel R. Martin says:

      IF Seattle were to be stupid enough to make either of those trades, I’d sure be happy if BB took it! But that is a huge if. lol

    • Russell says:

      I would check out Kanas City as a trade partner for the Patriots 1st pick. I like #32 and #177 for #49 and 2nd in 2016.

  12. Greg says:

    Patriots mock draft:
    1st round: Cornerback: Jalen Collins
    2nd round: Defensive Tackle: Carl Davis
    3rd round: Tall Wide Receiver: Sammie Coates
    3rd round: Guard: AJ Cann
    4th round: Strong Safety: Jaquiski Tartt
    4th round: Linebacker: Kwon Alexander
    6th round: Guard: Jeremiah Poutasi
    7th round: Middle Linebacker: Amarlo Herrera
    7th round: traded for a 6th round choice in 2016

    • Tom says:

      Best mock draft so far

    • Ryan says:

      Good overall mock that hits on all of our wants/needs but a bit unrealistic in the third round. CBS Sports (aka NFL Draft Scout) has Coates at 39 and Cann at 43. It’s not too unrealistic for them to fall to the top of third round, but I seriously doubt that they will make it to picks 96 and 97. That said, we could trade up for them within the third round but I don’t see any indication of that in your mock.

      • Greg says:

        What about Chris Conley instead Sammie Coates?

        • Ryan says:

          Conley’s a great option as a high-upside big guy. Other big guys likely to be there are Tony Lippett, Vince Mayle, and Dezmin Lewis. My personal favorite is Mayle because of his high production and definite untapped potential, but they all have their flaws. Conley is a fine choice.

    • acm says:

      Good mock but I can make a solid case for each one of your first 4 selections – especially Davis, Coates and Cann – being unrealistic. Even Tartt and Alexander sound a bit optimistic there in the 4th, imo.

    • Greg says:

      Patriots mock draft (more realistic, lol)
      1st round: Cornerback: Jalen Collins
      2nd round: Defensive Tackle: Carl Davis
      3rd round: Strong Safety: Jaquiski Tartt
      3rd round: Guard: Laken Tomlinson
      4th round: Linebacker: Kwon Alexander
      4th round: Tall Wide Receiver: Chris Conley
      6th round: Guard: Jeremiah Poutasi
      7th round: Middle Linebacker: Amarlo Herrera
      7th round: traded for a 2016 6th rounder

      • acm says:

        That’s a bit more realistic indeed but I still think you are striking it a bit too rich with Davis and Tomlinson in late 2n and late 3rd, respectively.
        CB Collins could well be available at 32 as evals on him seem to varying but IMO he is a top 3 CB selected with PJ Williams and Marcus Peters likely falling some (or more) due to off-field issues.

        • Thomas says:

          Matt Miller from Bleacher report chooses Laken Tomlison for Pats at this same position. In fact, I think his choices are pretty acceptable, only with Carl Davis we should have a lot of luck. I really liked Conley at 4th round.

        • acm says:

          I am sure he does and I am sure he is not the only one who thinks Tomlinson could be available there. I just have a hard time seeing it happen for what is probably the #2 pure OG in the draft (after AJ Cann) to fall so deep in a draft class that is not exactly the most talented. Not saying it’s impossible, just that I find it unlikely bar any injuries from now till the draft.\
          As for Conley, I can definitely see him interest the Pats as he fits their WR prospect profile to the T – high character, great intangibles, a great athlete, little handle on the intricacies of the WR position i.e. someone who’s set up to fail in the Pats system from the get go like so many others before him.

        • Russell says:

          I agree with acm, little chance Tomlinson is on the board after #64, late 3d round is not going to happen

      • Jeff says:

        I think the second 7th rounder is a compensation pick, so it cannot be traded.

  13. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft.
    1 Grady Jarrett DT Clemson
    2 Josh Shaw CB USC
    3 Paul Dawson ILB TCU
    3 Sean Hickey OT Syracuse
    4 Matt Jones RB Florida
    4 Tyler Lockett WR Kansas St.
    6 Antwan Goodley WR Baylor
    7 Brian Mihalik DE Boston College
    7 Dean Marlowe S James Madison

    Happy Easter and Play Ball. Good Luck to Red Sox after a tough winter great to have baseball

  14. Paul43 says:

    With P.J. Williams dropping few rounds, it could be a perfect chance to select two quality CB’s. In the 1st or 2nd round one and with the compensatory pick in the 3rd round Williams. Let’s say 1st round – Eddie Goldman, 2nd round a CB, 3rd round G, 3rd comp – P.J. Williams.
    Any thoughts?

    • Ryan says:

      I definitely agree with you here, Paul. I’m thinking best player available on the offensive or defensive line in round 1, a cornerback like D’Joun Smith or Alex Carter in round 2, and then P.J. Williams and offensive line or defensive line at the end of the third.

      If we Attack the draft this way we should end up with quality players at key positions.

    • td says:

      If a player really is good, it takes more than some weed to drop him completely out one or two rounds like Gregory and Williams. It was more than weed that dropped Hernandez

  15. J H TARBORO says:

    Patriots at Maryland pro day worked out Stephon Diggs, Diggs reminds me of Emanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. I really believe the Patriots are trying replace Amendola, and looking at complete roster, there will be competition at every position and very few will be safe. I

  16. Kevan says:

    Would really like to see the pats sign Wisniewski C from Oakland. I think he’s better than Conolly or Wendall and at 26 is at a good age. This would allow the patriots to really key in on DTs and CBs with first 2 picks. Patriots could turn around and still draft a starting quality Guard in the 3rd rd, to better revamp the interior and really turn the whole Oline crew into a pretty formidable crew. I think after DT,CB,G the secondary draft needs could be LB,S,WR,RB and I have a hunch a late round pick on a long snapper will go down. The pats are tight with about only 6 mil in cap space. To get some more breathing room an extension for K Gostowski is in order. Arringtons contract could be re-worked as well, and depending on how the Pats feel about Solder long term they could get a chunk of money back by extending his deal. Finally once Mayo is healthy his deal has to be restuctured, these moves could net NE atleast another 10 mil possibly more. really excited for the draft, pats are in a good spot with their first 5 picks and can move around if need be. I’m feeling confident this draft will yield 2-3 starters.

  17. Daniel R. Martin says:

    I want to ask for a little help from the community.

    The position of many before the mass exodus from our team during free agency was that BB would only find room on the team for about 4 players from the draft. The reasoning being that as defending SB Champs, we had very few holes. I realize that may no longer be the case with the losses of Reevis, Browner, Wilfork, Ayers, Vereen, Ridley, et al.

    However, assuming that the team remains solid at most positions, I would like to construct a mock where all of the many picks held by BB are consolidated into a handful of picks through the first 3-4 rounds. Can you guys help me flesh out a scenario for this? A scenario where BB continuously moves up on the draft boards by sacrificing the many picks he would otherwise spend on players unlikely to see the field. Maybe a trade out of the first and into the second and third rounds, followed by numerous trades from the fourth through seventh rounds into the second and third rounds.

    Ideally each of these picks would be allocated to Cornerbacks, Offensive linemen, an interior defensive linemen specializing in collapsing pockets and generating pressure, and edge rushers / OLB’ers.

    Thanks to everyone who might offer an opinion.

    • Russell says:

      OK Daniel he’s my thoughts on the subject. BB always talks about what’s best of the team, and like a chess player, always is looking far ahead. BB knows next year he will likely see a 3d and 6th compensatory picks for the loss of Revis and Vereen. (Browner and Sheard canel out each other.)
      BB could consider tradeing to add more choices next year.Like #32 and #177 to K.C. for their #49 and next years 2nd pick.
      BB could consider moving up in a round, to get a prospect he could want. like #96 and #131 to San Diego for #83. (Moving up 14 picks)
      BB could trade up… #32 and #96 to move up to #25 Carolina. (moving up 7 picks in the 1st round,…Costly) to get a prospect they value/want.
      This year adding a 5th round pick early could be valuable, #177 and #219 to New Orleans for # 148 (5th round) (moving up 29 picks)
      Of Course it’s all about a trading partner who can “Profit” from the move, often getting more picks, better positional picks, or a pick to get prospects they want.

      • Daniel R. Martin says:

        Right Russell, but here is another way of rephrasing my question. We are only 2 Corners, 1 DT, and one pass-catching RB less than we were when we won the SB. So, if we could consolidate all of of this years available picks for higher picks in this draft, BB could conceivable replace all of those positions of loss, and simultaneously strengthen the interior of the offensive line. Not to suggest that a player anywhere near the talent level of Reevis and Wilfork is in this draft. In deed I do not think there is. However, to replace those players and strengthen the O-Line, all with rookie minimum salary deals, is certainly one way to prepare for the future while remaining highly competitive in the present.

        I’d like to see our 1st traded for a mid 2 and mid 4 this year, and all remaining picks consolidated in the second and third rounds. As you said, BB shouldn’t be short of draft ammo next year, provided he isn’t stripped of picks behind the media created psi inflation issue.

        • Ryan says:

          What exactly is the point of trading down from the end of the 1st to the middle of the 2nd if we only get a 4th-rounder in return? We already have three picks from 96-101 so why do we want another 4th-rounder? It seems like you are trading for depth at that point because our best pick decreases in value and we add a pick on Day 3. I love the idea of focusing on rounds 2 and 3 this year but this trade proposal doesn’t seem to revolve around that mantra.

        • Daniel R. Martin says:

          Right you are Ryan. Would we be able to get a second and third rounder for our first? I’d say no because a 32nd is all but a second anyway. So, since it seems like we are on the same page, what would you propose as a mock draft with the overall strategy of cashing in all of our coppers for silvers, so to speak?

          On the one hand depth builds a solid, championship team. A team capable of weathering an injury storm and still vying for a title. On the other, after 15 years of such a draft policy, I’d say we have built an incredible amount of depth at most positions. For example, we have many depth players in our secondary. However, with the departure of Reevis and Browner, we no longer have starting caliber players there. So, why not concentrate all of our later picks into just a handful of earlier ones? It is unlikely that there will ever be another GOAT / HOF player drafted at 199 overall. Yet, there will still be players such as Gronk (who may well be on his way to redefining the TE position as Tony Gonzalez once did) drafted in the second round. Furthermore, most fifth, sixth and seventh round draftees seldom stick on a 53 man roster.

          If you had your druthers, what trades would you make to concentrate every asset available in the prime rounds of this draft? A draft devoid of superstars, but rife with role players we don’t need and couldn’t find room for.

        • Ryan says:

          To me, the ideal scenario is 3 picks in the first two rounds. That way, we would have great options at cornerback, guard, and defensive tackle available when we pick. However, to do this we will probably need to give up a pick in next year’s draft. We do have two picks, #96 and #101, that we could easily give away, but it is doubtful that they would be enough to grab pick #50 or anything close to it. In this scenario, we would likely have to give up next year’s 2nd-rounder as well as pick #96 or #101. I would accept that move if it netted us a starter but it would still be a big hit to our 2016 draft.

          If we don’t secure another pick in the first 2 rounds, then I would like to see the Patriots hold onto picks #96, #101, #131, and #177 at first and then use them to move up a few spots and grab a talented player who might not fall to them otherwise. That seems like the best use of these picks, because they will otherwise be depth players who may or not add be useful to the Pats. Think Logan Ryan, Bryan Stork, Jake Bequette and Stevan Ridley: mostly good players who might not see the field very often due to the Patriots level of talent across the board.

    • Joe Blake says:

      My thinking is that we stold one last season. Which is fine and makes up for the David Tyree helmet catch that troubled me until Butler made “it” even. So, I’m OK with a competitive non SB year coming up. Its true we have young players, but we have some serious injuries and a ton of holes to fill. That said, move up by consolidating draft picks such that we walk away with 4 players contributing markedly next season. Say 4 picks in the top 75. A DT, CB, Olineman and Lb…

      • Daniel R. Martin says:

        That’s what I’m talking about Joe! Get four or five starters or at least competent fill ins instead of four extra players that won’t even make it half way through the preseason, like last year.

        But, I’m not okay with doing anything less than going all in for another title in the next couple seasons because Brady may be on his last contract. And Feb. 1st, 2015 should have been Brady’s fifth, possibly sixth SB Championship, not his fourth. Horrible luck cost him the 1st game against the Giants. Bad luck with injuries kept Gronk from contributing in the second game against the Giants. BB making an uncharacteristically bad coaching decision cost them an AFC Conf. title against the Colts, and another chance to compete in a SB.

        Go all in for another Ring before the GOAT QB retires, I say.

  18. steve earle says:

    Seeing where JP Williams just shot himself in the foot again ( just an expression) looks like I should modify my last mock. I’d move JP down to my 4th #131 as a 3rd option at that spot but not as far down as a 6th or 7th as some are putting him. Just think his talent will not allow him to go that far but if he should go to 6th then fine but I’d risk the 131 on him.
    As my 2nd option at #32 pencil in Alex Carter CB Stan. Yea he too may not be there but otherwise I’d have to move beyond a CB at that spot. Would break up the summitry of my mock.
    Whole thing could go south if BB trades up or down but that’s to be determined.

    • Ryan says:

      Here are the CBs I have rated ahead of Carter:
      Trae Waynes
      Marcus Peters
      Kevin Johnson
      Byron Jones
      Jalen Collins
      and possibly Quinten Rollins.

      If these 5 or 6 guys are gone by our 32nd pick there should be some falling talent at DT, DE, OLB, or OL. I would grab the best player available in that scenario rather than reach for a guy like Carter who I have a definite 2nd round grade on.

      • Russell says:

        CB Eric Rowe ???

        • Ryan says:

          Rowe seems like a case of overvaluation to me. I would not draft him in the first round because he seems to struggle with man coverage and we need a guy who can man up on the outside. I would consider drafting him at the end of the second because of his immense physical traits. I may end up completely wrong here but I will not consider selecting him at #32.

      • steve earle says:

        Agree these are also possible at CB but having to pick just one is always an arguable choice. I believe Carter will still be on the board those others are a ???????. So as an alternate choice after Peters he fits. Agree Rowe is being over hyped even so who knows what some GM’s will do? I’d still keep him at low 3rd on my board and if someone wants him higher so be it.

  19. Jose Marques says:

    my mock draft:

    1.Byron Jones, CB, UCONN
    2.Preston Smith, DE, Mississipi State
    3.John Miller, OG, Louisville
    3.Hayes Pullard, ILB, USC
    4.Gabe Wright, DT, Auburn
    4.Tyrus Thompson, OT, Oklahoma
    6.Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
    7.P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State

    • steve earle says:

      I liked your previous mock better and though you started with JP Williams at #32 there are a couple other CB’s who you can put in there and get the same results I think. I believe JP will slide down perhaps as far as the low 4th but not to a 7th

      • Jose Marques says:

        yes, perhaps the PJ not so down so many positions in the table. it may be not such a bad news as they can always get the PC to a higher round. And maybe the first round can be enhanced with other position as the Dline.

    • Russell says:

      Like your mock, not a fan of WR Diggs, loud personality, not a great fit. CB P.J. Williams is right on in the 7th, red flags too many.

      • Jose Marques says:

        I think the patriots in terms of WR is well served. But it is advisable always add more quality to the WR group, this draft may risk a higher round. Another player I like is the Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke, is a small player, but has capabilities can always make a contribution on special teams

  20. Russell says:

    P.J.Williams just arested for DWI. IMO he goes from 2nd round to 6th-7th round. I don’t have him on my Patriot draft board anyways, but at #219 maybe BB takes a” Dennard “type chance.

    • Ryan says:

      6th round? Seems a bit low for how good of a player he is. I do see Williams falling to the end of the third now, though, so he could be a steal at spot 96, 97 or 101. Despite his citation for DWI, I don’t see him making it to our pick at the end of the 4th round.

      • MM-II says:

        Williams also had a traffic accident in the wee hours of October 5th, 2014. The vehicle he was driving veered into oncoming traffic and struck another vehicle, totaling both. Williams and his passengers, including teammate Ronald Darby, then fled the scene on foot.

        So, a subsequent DUI – especially at a time when it’s critical for him to keep his nose clean – may well bury his draft stock under red flags.

    • Paul43 says:

      long time reader, first time writer from Germany/Hungary.
      It was a big surprise to read, Williams was not on your draft list for the Patriots. I’m not a big scouter, but what I saw from him was quite impressive. He is agressive, physical, has no fear from the contacts.
      Personally I love physical players, for me he was one of the secret favourites for the 2nd round.
      Could you please write why you are not so high on him?

      • steve earle says:

        Welcome Paul. I’m not sure which Williams your talking about, there are several in this draft?

      • acm says:

        Not Russel but I also didn’t have PJW on my Pats draft board. Here are my reasons, in no particular order:
        1. History of off-field problems (that was even before the latest DUI arrest)

        2. Don’t think he has the intangible Pats tend to value and sometimes even over-value in “their-type” of prospect e.g. being a film-junky and focus on constant improvement. I have my doubts he fits the bill in the regard.

        3. He is not scheme-multiple, that is, plays press man well but lacks scheme versatility i.e. suspect ability to play other coverages and Pats tend to value that a lot. Plus he exhibits Browner-like tendencies and grabs and pulls on WRs when he gets beet (these are the two main reasons why they let Browner go, imo)

        4. His measurements – 40 dash, 3-cone, SS, etc – at the combine came out more like those for players suited to play SAF in the NFL than CB, at least from Pats’ perspective for what a 1st rounder CB should test like. Now, PJW did improve on his 40 at his pro-day (not sure if it’s the official score though) but one has to wonder why there was such a discrepancy in his 40 times. This is not all that uncommon (sometimes players are less than 100% health-wise at the one event and that affects their results) but it does raise questions when it happens to a player who is not well known for his dedication to improvement (which getting multiple DUIs is another testament for).

        The above was enough for me to take him off my board of prospects I’d expect to be considered by the Pats in the early round(s). That assessment , however, took into account PJW being projected to go early – if not in the first round, then early 2nd i.e. Patriots would have had to take him with the 32nd pick. I didn’t think the value would be there in picking PJW that early.

        Now that his stock has likely plummeted, however, that changes things imo as PJW could well represent a value pick for the Pats if he’s there in say the 4th round or later. In that range of the draft, they would no linger have to pay the high price of a 1st pick for him. That is as long as they’d still be comfortable picking him after his second DUI. My guess is, in an attempt to maximize value, Pats may well seriously consider him in the later rounds, just like they didn’t shy away from Dennard 3 years ago. I doubt PJW falls to 7th like Dennard did, though, as he is considered a better prospect in general and also the timing and nature of PJW’s offense would work more in his favor than in Dennard’s case.

        • Paul43 says:

          Thank you acm for your answer.
          I didn’t see him so often like you guys, so I believe if you say he has not that big upside. I saw few videos about him and for me he was – as you wrote too – the Browner type player, who is agressive (sometimes too agressive) and physical.
          Personally I would take the risk with the comp pick to see him, what does he do in the professional team, under BB, who can handle that kind of flags.
          I had another thought in this direction. P.J. Williams with the comp pick and then Olomu (Oregon) with the 4th rounder. Yes I know both players have red flags (injury, personality) but so we could have two quality players for the future for less money and with the first three rounds we could fill the needs of G, DL, LB.

        • acm says:

          Paul, I’d be lying if I said I hate the idea of the Pats ending up with PJW and IEO out of those 3-4th round picks. Olomu is undersized but reminds me a lot of TCU’s Jason Verrett, who had an excellent rookie year with the Chargers. Not quite as rangy and highly touted but pretty close and at the very least could give the Pats a great slot CB for years to come (assuming he fully recovers from that ACL injury).
          This being said, I would probably still prefer see them take someone like Byron Jones in the first, if he’s still there (and then potentially one of Olomu or Williams later on). Taking Jones at 32 would still mean over-drafting him a bit but given his ceiling, I’d take that risk. Also, in this years draft I don’t think there are as many “can’t miss” “special kind of talent” players projected to fall to 32 anyway, so that only makes the case to take Jones there even stronger.

    • steve earle says:

      Agree with Ryan about JP Williams, no way he goes to 7th, to many GM’s will take a chance at a value pick earlier. Now for haven’s sake I know you like Davis Till and he had a great combine but a 3rd, really? I think your reaching far to much Russell. His value, it seems to me, would be a 5th rd at best. The rest of your mock looks pretty good though, something I could live with.

      • Russell says:

        acm had Tull as a 3d round, as does CBS draft board. We are talking #96 or #97 here. He’s a tarriffic prospect,…he will be long gone by the 5th round.

        • steve earle says:

          I know you and acm are higher on Tull then I am. Possibly I’m a little jaded after seeing him play at UNH this past fall. He did not stand out one bit and though UNH is a good team none of their o-linemen are going to the NFL. Yes he had a very good showing at the combine but how often have we seen some prospect do that and because of that get over drafted? I love the kids story, his work ethic and everything, and hope he does live up to your hopes, I’m just not satisfied that he couldn’t be gotten later or another prospect just as good.

      • acm says:

        yeah, I also think Tull is a late 3rd/early 4th round prospect from Pats’ perspective. He ha sa rare combo of natural athleticism, good size and football smarts and only reason why i think he may even be available there is level of competition and the low-profile of UTC.
        What I mean by “good size” is that it allows him to be scheme-flexible – he’s big enough to play a situational pass-rusher (e.g. Ayers), while at the same time athletic enough to play off-the-line LB. Davis Tull reminds me of Collins in more ways than one, tbh.

  21. Russell says:

    My up-dated Mock;

    #32- CB/S Eric Rowe
    OL Cameron Erving, and LB Eli Harold are my first choices but I think they are off the board. Rowe seems to be getting the “McCourty” treatment, so the interest must be high for him. The Philly website is VERY high on Rowe as well.
    #64- OG Laken Tomlinson
    Tomlinson and Erving are my highest rated prospects on my draft Patriots draft board.
    #96- OLB Charles Davis Tull
    A great prospect, who starts day one on spiecal teams, and works his way into a rotational role at OLB.
    #97- DT Xaiver Williams
    Another great prospect, from a smaller program.
    #101- CB/S Adrian Amos
    A great looking prospect, with size and speed, who has experince at CB and S, and played alot of games.
    #131- WR Kenny Bell
    Nice size and speed, outstanding blocker, BIG up grade over WR Dobson.
    #177- DT Kristjan Sokoli
    A prospect with a good looking future.
    #219- CB Benard Blake
    Good size at 6’+ , played with a smaller program, but a great looking prospect.
    #253- OL Brey Cook
    Cook may go undrafted, but has played ever position on the OL, has size 6’6″ 315lbs, and a smart player who works hard to help the team anywhere on the OL the coach wanted him.

  22. Roxy Bob says:

    In my estimation, Byron Jones’ off season workout propelled him into the mid first round. Today’s passing game demands players with his potential skillset. He’s this year’s player that some desperate team will over value and draft by the 20th pick. I still would draft him at #32 because I think BB can do wonders with his kind of talent. Maybe if someone over reaches one of the DTs fall to us(Malcolm Brown, Eddie Goldman, or Jordan Phillips).

  23. Matt says:

    1. CB Marcus Peters
    2. LB/SS Shaq Thompson
    3. DT Michael Bennett
    3. DE Trey Flowers (Compensatory)
    4. G Ali Marpet (Via TB)
    4. WR Stephon Diggs
    6. G Josue Matias (Via TB)
    7. ILB Trey Depreist (Via Tenn)
    7. TE Blake Bell/WR Chris Conley (Compensatory)

    • jim r says:

      that would be quite a haul imo. It looks like all the needs were addressed. A very good mock

  24. Stephen J says:

    My latest fanspeak mock draft
    I made choices from Pats connections from reports I heard from earlier in the process to current as well as perceived needs where I didn’t see a connection
    32: R1P32
    64: R2P32
    96: R3P32
    97: R3P33
    101: R4P2
    131: R4P32
    178: R6P2
    219: R7P2
    253: R7P36

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