NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
We are so close now. Just two days away from real football that matters. We are rewarded for our long wait with a couple of really good games on Thursday and then I am sure you will all be tuning in on Saturday to watch the Iowa State vs. UNI game like I will be. One of these years, the Cyclones are gonna sneak up on everyone and win the big 12, maybe this is the year. No, I have not been drinking, but I am drunk on optimism just like every other fan. Today, I cover the prospects that have caught my attention in the secondary. This is a position that could be very interesting to Patriots fans depending on how the rebuild works out this year. I know it will be one position I will be very interested in watching throughout the season. With no further adieu, here are the prospects I will be paying extra attention to.
Much has been made about the overhaul of the Patriots secondary throughout the off season. Last year, the team had arguably the best secondary it has had in over a decade and the result was a Super Bowl victory. Almost the entire group of corners has been replaced and we are left with a ton of unknowns going into the season. The Super Bowl hero, Malcolm Butler is slated to be a starter on one side. On the other side, we have a bunch of new faces vying for the other starting position. Terell Brown, Bradley Fletcher, and Robert McClain all have question marks, but the team will be counting on them to play significant snaps. Hopefully one of them can seize the role and lock down the other starting job. Logan Ryan has struggled this preseason and rookie Darryl Roberts looked good early but is hurt and may be headed to IR. Needless to say, this is a position that lacks stability right now and might be the teams achilles heal.
#2 Will Redmond, Mississippi State 6’0″, 185 Lbs.
#10 Fabian Moreau, UCLA 6’0″, 195 Lbs.
#23 Taveze Calhoun, Mississippi State 6’1″, 184 Lbs.
#31 Eric Murray, Minnesota 6’0″, 194 Lbs.
#3 William Jackson, Houston 6’2″, 175 Lbs.
#3 Jonathan Jones, Auburn 5’10” 181 Lbs.
#8 Lloyd Carrington, Arizona State 5’11”, 189 Lbs.
#1 Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida 5’11”, 192 Lbs.
#11 Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech 5’11”, 195 Lbs.
#23 Cameron Sutton, Tennessee 6’1″, 190 Lbs.
#16 TreDavious White, LSU 5’11”, 191 Lbs.
#6 KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame 5’11”, 190 Lbs.
#31 Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech 6’2″, 191 Lbs.
#26 Zach Sanchez, Oklahoma 5’11”, 175 Lbs.
The real talent in this class will come from the underclassman who declare. There is some real potential for some play makers if all the underclassman do decide to enter this draft class. It will be interesting to watch these guys to see who emerges as the best of the class. Unfortunately for the Patriots, talent at this position does not fall too far and many of these guys may be off the board before the Patriots make their first pick. It is also a position that the Patriots have struggled to draft recently so I won’t hold my breath that the team will be able to draft a top end talent.
No other position has created as much controversy with the Patriots than the Safety position. Three years in a row, the team has drafted a player high in the draft that most draft “experts” have considered a reach, and that is putting it nicely. To be fair to the “experts” they look more right than the Patriots do so far. Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon have yet to live up to their draft status. Rookie Jordan Richards will look to buck that trend and has shown a few flashes this preseason. Devin McCourty is the one player that seems like a reliable piece, but even he has seen time at Cornerback this summer and could potential make a move there if the coaching staff thinks that is best for the team. Patrick Chung had a resurgences last year but will not have the luxury of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner helping him out. As many draft picks as the team has thrown at the position, it still has big question marks and I wouldn’t be surprised if the team drafted another one.
#4 Darian Thompson, Boise State 6’2″, 210 Lbs.
#8 Karl Joseph, West Virginia 5’10”, 200 Lbs.
#28 Jalen Mills, LSU 6’1″, 189 Lbs.
#16 Jeremy Cash, Duke 6’2″, 205 Lbs.
#20 Kevin Byard, Mid Tennessee 5’11”, 207 Lbs.
#1 A.J. Stamp, Kentucky 6’0″, 205 Lbs.
#34 Brian Poole, Florida 5’10”, 210 Lbs.
#2 Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss 5’1″, 205 Lbs.
#22 Elijah Shumate, Notre Dame 6’0″, 213 Lbs.
#8 Jalen Ramsey, Florida State 6’1″, 205 Lbs.
#29 Nate Andrews, Florida State 5’11”, 210 Lbs.
#11 Vonn Bell, Ohio State 5’11”, 205 Lbs.
#28 Orion Stewart, Baylor 6’2″, 200 Lbs.
#20 Jayron Kearse, Clemson 6’4″, 205 Lbs.
I will be honest, besides the big names, this is a class I do not know a lot about. I have been watching some of last years tape to get a better idea on some of these guys, but this will be a class I learn about as the season progresses. Like I said above, this is a position that the Patriots seem to look at every year, so even though they have addressed it the last three years, it is a position that needs to be studied.
This is your last chance (just kidding) to get in the prospects I may have missed that you feel strongly about. Let me know and I will add them to my list.
As always, you can find me on twitter @midwestpatsfan