Assessing The Jones Trade And Potential Targets For The Late Rounds

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

So much for a boring off-season. Over the past 24 hours, the Patriots have been busy. Not only did they make a blockbuster trade when they dealt Chandler Jones to Arizona for Jonathon Cooper and a 2nd round pick (#60) but they also added former top 5 draft pick Chris Long to replace the now departed Jones. What may have been lost in all this activity was that just a few days earlier, the league announced the compensatory picks for the upcoming draft, and the Patriots were awarded four, a 3rd round pick as well as three 6th round picks. This is the final year that these particular picks cannot be traded, so the Patriots will be making these picks, so I thought I would throw out some players I think fit the Patriots and have a chance to make the team.

Before I get to the players, I want to give you my thoughts on the Jones trade as well as what positions I think the Patriots still need to fill either in free agency or the draft. This trade has generated a lot of discussion since it was announced, both positive and negative. I have read everything from this is a classic Belichick move to Belichick should be fired.  We, as fans, are guilty of taking things like this very personal, but if you look at it from a business perspective, this trade makes a lot of sense. I don’t think you have to look at this trade in such black and white terms. Sure, it is tough losing a player that at times was one of the Patriots better defenders. He was the Patriots best pass rusher and showed that he could be an impact player on a consistent basis. On the other hand, the team is in the fortunate dilemma of having a lot of talented players in need of new contracts. Collins, Hightower, Butler, and Jones are all set to get huge pay increases over the next year and there is no way the team could keep all of them after some of the free agent contracts we saw last week. The Patriots drafted a couple of players last year at the Defensive End position, giving the team enough depth to make this move now. Sure the Patriots could have kept Jones for another year and let him walk for a compensatory pick, but a pick one round later and two years from now is not great value.

For the Patriots, the trade gives them flexibility. Not only in the draft, but with cap relief. Freeing up that money allows the team to start working on some of the contracts that I mentioned above. In the draft, the Patriots now have 11 picks and 4 in the top 100. Four of those picks cannot be traded, so I am assuming the Patriots will be very active with their other picks. The other part of the trade, Jonathon Cooper, is classic Belichick. Cooper was a can’t miss prospect from the 2013 draft class. Many experts had him pegged as the next great Guard in the NFL and was drafted as such. Rarely do you see Guards drafted that high in the draft, so there is some talent there. Now, Cooper’s career has been derailed somewhat by injuries. His rookie year, he broke his leg and missed the season and last year he was dealing with a knee injury. He only has 9 career starts and is the classic buy low player with high upside the Patriots love to bring in. If Cooper can get back to his college form, the Patriots could have gotten more than just a throw in player that most people believe him to be.

I have received a lot of questions on who the Patriots might target with those 3 compensatory picks in the 6th round. Since the team cannot trade them, we know they will be picking at those spots, so I thought I would give you all some players at each position that I think will be available and fit the Patriots.



QB: Brandon Allen, Arkansas-If the Patriots do decide to draft a QB, Allen is my target.  He is not the biggest or most athletic Quarterback in the draft, but he comes from a pro style offense and he plays with great intelligence and anticipation. He may never be a starter in the league, but he could be a serviceable back up who could win some games as a spot starter.

RB: Keith Marshall, Georgia– The Patriots need help at the Runningback position and if they decide to wait, Marshall might be an interesting option. Highly recruited out of high school (higher than Gurley) his career has been filled with injuries. He had a great combine and could be a late round guy who can give a team immediate production.

RB/FB: Dan Vitale, Northwestern– Called the Superback at Northwestern, Vitale was asked to do it all. He can block, he can catch, and he can run. He tested out better than I would have expected at the Combine and I could see the Patriots loving his versatility.

WR: Michael Thomas, Southern Mississippi– I personally have Thomas ranked as a 4th/5th round pick, but when you are a small school player who does not get a Combine invite, that means something.  He has excellent hands and high points the ball very well. He shows good quickness and acceleration as well as above average speed. If he lasts this long, he could be a steal.

WR: Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan– You always see the short, tough, white receiver being compared to Wes Welker or Julien Edeleman and it is unfair, but this time, it really works. Even in his body language he reminds me of Edelman. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and will do anything to get open. Another slot guy that is quicker than fast that has reliable hands. He has the look of a Patriots receiver.

TE: Henry Krieger-Coble, Iowa– As much as it pains me to put a Hawkeye on this list, he does fill a need and is a good fit. He comes from a program that has littered the NFL with Tight Ends and he plays with good technique and tenacity. He is an average athlete who wins with toughness and work ethic. A blocker first with reliable hands to at least be a reliable target from time to time.

OT: Brandon Shell, South Carolina-Shell looks the part of a Patriots Offensive Tackle. He has a big frame and long arms with good quickness at the snap. He needs work on his technique, especially his footwork. He is heavy footed and does not play with great leverage right now, but could develop into a swing tackle with some proper coaching and time.

OG/OC: Joe Thuney, NC State– I would guess Guard will not be a position the Patriots look at, but if they do, Thuney would be a fit for their scheme. Thuney wins more with his intellegence and technique than he does with his athleticism. He has experience at all 5 Offensive Line positions and has decent lower body movement skills. Will need to get much stronger to hold up in the NFL.



DT: D.J. Reader, Clemson– Reader is big and athletic for a guy his size. He plays with good leverage and is good at stopping the run as well as giving some pass rush up the middle. He left the team for personal reasons this year so that is something that teams need to investigate more. Reader has more talent that a 6th round pick would suggest, but in a class full of Defensive Lineman, a guy like Reader might get pushed down and play well over his draft slot.

DE: Anthony Zettel, Penn St.-Last year at this time, Zettel was a name being thrown around as a future Day 1 or Day 2 pick. He plays the game like his hair is on fire, which is good and bad. He is overaggressive to the point where he takes himself out of plays, he must learn to play with more control and technique. He does have good first step quickness and has a variety of pass rush moves (crazy spin move). One of those guys that has been analyzed so much that it has gone too far to the negative, he might be a nice pickup.

LB: Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia– Former Safety turned run and chase Linebacker. He shows good quickness and agility with the ability to track down receivers and make the tackle. He is a reliable tackler in the open field and has good change of direction. Should be an asset on special teams. He will struggle when opponents get their hands on him and he relies on going around them instead of fighting through them,which can get him out of position.

LB/EDGE: Victor Ochi, Stoney Brook– Ochi lacks ideal measurables but could be a valuable pass rusher in sub packages. He has longer arms which helps compensate for his less than ideal hieght and bulk. He is a smooth mover with excellent agility to bend the edge without losing momentum. He is quick off the snap and plays bigger than his size.

CB: KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame– Russell has the talent to be picked much higher, but off field issues and a broken leg late in the season will push him down to this area of the draft. He could be looking at a red shirt year as a rookie because of the injury, but for a team like the Patriots, it may be worth the wait. Russell has the size and athleticism to be a very good corner in the league. Here is a more detailed write up I did on Russell early in the college season.

Safety: Kavon Frazier, Central Michigan– Frazier has great size and speed for the position. A former RB who will come up and hit you. Frazier is a good tackler, racking up 108 tackles in his senior season. He is very aggressive, which gets him in trouble at times. He will take bad angles and is better against the run than the pass. The athletic traits are there and he could play a role similar to Patrick Chung down the road.

Other Names To Consider:

QB: Kevin Hogan, Stanford

RB: Tre Madden, USC

WR: Alex Erickson, Wisconsin

TE: Tanner McEvoy, Wisconsin

OL: Tyler Johnston, Oregon

OL: Dominique Robertson, West Georgia

DL: Quinton Jefferson, Maryland

DL: Dean Lowry, Northwestern

CB: Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State

S: Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee

Obviously this list just scratches the surface of the players who the Patriots might pick with those 3 compensatory picks in the 6th round. I would love to hear some names that you would like to hear when the Patriots go on the clock late on Day 3.


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101 Responses to “Assessing The Jones Trade And Potential Targets For The Late Rounds”

  1. Gerry says:

    If NE trades up, imo the only reason would be to secure Jasson Spriggs OT.

    This is NE, so expect a trade back. A hypothetical trade would be one of the seconds for a low to mid 3rd and a 4th. Then trade back NE’s own 3rd for another 4th, a 5th and a future 5th. Finally, trade the two 6ths and the 7th that can be traded for a late 4th or early 5th.

    In the 4th and 5th there are some excellent options at OL, WR, and RB. I am not sure if the depth at CB presents options. These picks puts Stanford QB Hogan a WR Cajuste in play. Tajaé Sharpe, WR and Leonte Carroo, WR, may both be on the board in the 4th. Sean Davis (CB, Maryland), James Bradberry (CB/S, Samford), and Rashard Robinson (CB, LSU) are midday-3 options as DBs. Robinson could be this drafts Vontaze Burfict: maybe good value and performance but with a history of issues to be sorted out.

  2. Willy says:

    I dont care about the Jones trade BUT I wanted to comment on the potential draft choices. You listed potential names for the 6th round picks But I disagree with a bunch of the names listed. Not whether to draft them or not (or sign as a free agent) But where they will be available to be drafted, IE alot of them WONT be available in the 6th round and some of the others arent worth wasting a 6th round pick on them when they could be had for a 7th or even signed as a Free Agent.

    RB- Keith Marshall- Love him, would like to get him but he’s a 5th round selection at the latest.
    RB/FB- Dan Vitale- We have a fullback, dont need another and you’d be wasting a 6th round pick on him, he’s a 7th rounder or free agent.
    WR- Michael Thomas- Same as above, he’s a 7th rounder or free agent.
    WR- Dan Braverman- Love him but we Dont need another Slot receiver And he will be long gone before the 6th round.
    T- Brandon Shell- Why would anyone chose this guy over Joe Haeg? Pass!
    DT- Why do we need more of this position again??
    LB- Nick Kwiatkoski- Another guy I love But once again he’s a 7th round pick or a free agent.
    LB- Victor Ochi- Another guy that will be long gone
    CB- Keivarae Russell- This one really made me laugh, Another player I love But he will be LONG GONE BEFORE THE 6TH ROUND. In fact he’ll be taken in the 3rd or 4th round.

    All of the rest of the list will be 7th rounders or more likely Free Agents.

    Really have to be careful with the names you list. Stick with guys who will actually be available in that round, not guys who will be free agents or chosen 2-3 rounds before hand.

  3. Russell says:

    At the end of the first round, the Patriots can make a trade move for a pick day 2 of the draft. If the prospect they are targeting is still on the board, they could send BOTH 2nr round picks to Cleveland for the first pick of the second round.
    Patriots get their targeted prospect.
    Cleveland ends up with TWO second round picks, and with the second pick in the third round, they would have 4 picks (1st round pick) in the first 65 players off the board.
    What ya think?? And who should the Patriots target?

    • Todti says:

      Well, there are certain positions we could exclude as a pick would not be an instant and/or considerable upgrade: QB, G, C, TE, S and probably DE. Apart from Elliott, I don’t think there is a RB worth trading up for, and he won’t be available anymore then, so let’s cross out that from the list. Leaves us with: WR, OT, DT, LB, CB.
      I think the draft is deep enough at DT so that you don’t necessarily need to trade up for quality players (except there is an individual prospect the Patriots’ think tank values extraordinarily, which we won’t know). Leaves us with: WR, OT, LB, CB.
      I could envision a trade-up for an über-versatile (Collins-esque) LB BB could use as a chess piece. I’m not sure there’s somebody like that. Jack and Lee won’t be available by then, I’m not sure Ragland fits that mold but he’s probably going to get drafted in round 1, too. Cravens is an interesting prospect but I guess he will be available later. Same could be true for Deion Jones. Then there’s The Curious Case of Jaylon Smith, but could you justify risking 2 valuable draft picks for a medical red flag when you need upgrades at multiple positions? If there’s one team, or coach, than it’s this one but boy that would be hard to swallow. Then again, I don’t think LB in general is such a great need for this team, especially after adding McClellin. Leaves us with: WR, OT, CB.
      You could argue for every of these positions. However, I just hope they don’t trade up and leave a huge gap to the next pick just to draft a WR and CB, considering the past success of drafting those positions. I don’t want to debate why the Patriots haven’t been able to get results at these positions compared to others, that’s just how it is.
      And the winner is… OT. It would combine need with a higher certainty of panning out. (Yeah, I know that’s usually rubbish, but for the Patriots I think it maybe holds.)

      So far my rationale. However, it’s not what BB is going to do anyway. The one thing which is observable from the past draft behaviour is that the Patriots are drafting at least one season ahead. So, which could be positions of need a year down the road? Apart from the obvious OT, which is equally a problem of the present and the future, there’s certainly LB and trading up for a more “regular” LB could indicate the Patriots might be unsure about retaining both Collins and Hightower. Also, the CB position is awfully thin in 2017 (at the moment), and Grissom and Flowers are the only DEs on the roster in 2017. Therefore, I could envision this draft being surprisingly more defense-oriented than the problems of last season would imply.

      • Russell says:

        Great break down, Todti, I agree with the thought of OT that’s what I think has well. I think Vollmer will retire after this year with his contract ending at age 32.
        Jason Spriggs was the first guy I thought of, but I think he will be gone in the 1st round.
        I was watching some tape of Cody Whitehair and he looked quick playing OT. reports all list him as an OG, where he has played as well.
        I feel Whitehair will still be on the board, and along with Max Turek, and both are quick enough to play ROT.
        Marus Canonn is just to big/slow at the edge to slow down edge rushers.
        Patriots need a guy with quick feet, good size 6’4′ 290+ …..
        So my thought was Cody Whitehair.

        • Todti says:

          I haven’t read anything about Whitehair so far because he’s projected as a Guard, as you say. His measurables look solid apart from his arm length, but apparently he’s got strong hands which partially compensates for that. He also had the 3rd-best three cone time and the 6th-best broad jump of all linemen at the combine.

      • EdgeX says:

        See this is the problem…I can envision the Pats moving up…but the Pats won’t move up based on only a NEED…there has to be TALENT worth of moving up.

        And I don’t see the OLine talent there to deem worthy of moving up to draft in the 40’s let alone the 30’s.

        Let’s see the other positions…

        Let’s rule out a couple of positions: QB,TE, and Safety – this is a weak tight end class and the Pat’s don’t need to move up for a QB – and the Pat’s have about a dozen safeties on the roster.

        Running backs…nope we all know how much the Patriots value running backs – Say hello Jonas Gray!

        Defensive Tackle….way too much depth here and what’s the difference between a early 2nd rounder vs a late 2nd rounder DT pick? I’m not seeing the upside or reason to push the issue

        LB…I could see it if Reggie Ragland, Leonard Floyd, Darren Lee were available but they all probably won’t be

        DE…see Defensive Tackle

        So that’ leaves two positions WR and CB.

        Based on past history I’m having a hard time seeing the Pats move up for a WR but you all know Bill likes to zag when everyone thinks he should zig. Michael Thomas, Josh Doctson, and Tyler Boyd I’m looking at you!

        What if Butler goes down next year? Or Logan Ryan? Who back fills the position?

        Ya, this is the most likely position I can see the Pat’s moving up for if still available…

        Names such as Kendall Fuller, Eli Apple, William Jackson, Xavien Howard, Mackensie Alexander

        Still…we will just have to wait and see.

      • Willy says:

        I think you are spot on. I believe they will center their draft around T, DE, CB (upper rounds), with RB, WR…in the lower rounds for Depth.

    • td says:

      I don’t know; that end of 2nd and 3rd is where they like to take RB’s and DB’s and they need at least one of each.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      If the Patriots pulled that off, here are some options they could go with IMO.

      1. Trade the pick themselves: Move back a little bit to pick up future picks or picks to fill in the gaps they have in this draft. It would not surprise me for them to do something like that.

      2. William Jackson III- CB is one of the biggest needs on this team IMO. Butler looks like a borderline #1 and could continue to develop into that. Ryan played well last year, but a more reliable #2 is needed. To me, Jackson has #1 corner potential. I love his size and the way he plays the game.

      3. DT that slides- The DT position is so stacked that one of these guys is going to fall out of the first despite having first round talent. It may not be the biggest position of need, but it could provide great value and give the Pats a young core along the defensive line.

      4. Ezekial Elliot-Okay, this is probably a pipe dream, but RB is a position that is not valued and maybe by some miracle he slipped through to the 2nd round.

      • steve earle says:

        Well Mike, no way DT Brown was going to slide down to us last year, remember? But he did so maybe Elliot will too. Just have to cross your fingers, anything can happen.

      • Todti says:

        1) I think trading down would be a top option every year except for this one. I just don’t see enough contested spots on this roster to fill in all the picks.
        2) Reasonable choice, nothing to argue there. Personally, I just don’t like to see them drafting CBs early.
        3) My personal favorite. Improve the D-Line, potentially making a position of strength even better. It could also have a trickle-down effect on the secondary.
        4) That would push the offseason into outer space, especially considering how well he caught the ball at his pro day. Firstly, get a potential upgrade at Guard. Secondly, add a combination TE to improve the running game out of 1-2 personnel. Thirdly, plug in the incredible all-around RB. My oh my.

      • Russell says:

        I agree with Todti on this one trading back looks unlikely, there is not room on the roster for to many draft picks. I look for ALL of the 6th-7th round picks on the P-squad or cut before the season starts.
        So with two 2nds and two 3ds its tight to see all four on the roster. Canonn , Fleming, Wendell are question marks, Dobson can’t stat healthy.
        So I think Bill trades up and may get a later (4th-5th) in the deal.

      • Russell says:

        I like CB JacksonIII a lot as well, but I really think he goes in the first round (Pitt. or K.C.) I can’t see him falling into the second round.

      • EdgeX says:

        IF William Jackson or Eli Apple are available in the mid 30’s these are two guys I really would like to see the Pats move up for.

      • Willy says:

        William Jackson the 3rd would be an excellent selection But Unfortunately he will be LONG GONE by the time the Pats pick unless they are able to trade up, way up to get him, he wont be available at pick 60

    • acm says:

      Barring a Malcom Brown-type slide of one of the players projected to go in top 15-18 picks, I don’t think it would make sense to make a move like that, at least not this year, not in a draft where there is little variance in the talent projected to go in the 25-75 pick range.

      This being said, in a scenario where Jaylon Smith’s medicals are bad enough to make him slide to top 2nd round, but still good enough to not threaten his career beyond 2016, I’d seriously consider making that trade for him.
      Just not much talent to get excited about this year, might as well take some risk with a special talent as opposed to average depth players at the end of the 2nd.

    • Todti says:

      A mock draft regarding that possibility:
      Assumption #1 – Amendola’s contract gets extended with a lower average salary.
      Assumption #2 – Using Chase Stuart’s draft value chart, a sensible trade would be the Browns’ 32 & 141 for the Patriots’ 60, 91, 196, 243, and 250. That way the Browns new brain trust continues to assemble draft picks (they are currently projected to get 3 4th and 1 5th round compensatory picks in 2017 because they let all their FAs leave). And the Patriots get rid of some lower picks which likely wouldn’t make the roster anyway.
      Assumption #3 – The Patriots trade their 204 and the Browns’ 141 to the Jets for their 118. There is still some compensation needed, something like a low 6th round pick, but that should be fairly easy to sort out. The Jets only have 6 picks with a huge gap between 157 and 241 and their salary cap situation is pretty tight so they could welcome cheap depth options.

      2-32 => OT Taylor Decker
      The Patriots’ future right tackle. This also enables them to get rid of Cannon, with Waddle and Decker behind Vollmer and Solder as well as Fleming on the PS, which saves about $3.7m. Which flows straight into the pockets of Hightower and Collins.
      2-61 => DT Sheldon Day
      He’s a quick DT with great hands and good effort. Yes, he seems undersized and without a true position, but that’s what was said about Aaron Donald as well (not a comparison regarding skills!). He had a really good combine where he also participated in the drop-back drills (sic!).
      3-96 => RB Jordan Howard
      Well, Mike said it all in his report a couple weeks ago.
      4-118 => CB D.J. White
      Team captain, makes up for average agility and size with instincts and cover skills. I just like to see the Patriots get their CBs in mid-to-later rounds.
      6-208 => WR Daniel Braverman
      The depth option in the slot Foxborough needs and deserves.
      6-214 => Superback Dan Vitale
      Über-versatile option out of the backfield. Let’s see whether some of his skills are good enough at NFL level. At least, he’s a good special teamer.
      6-221 => QB Joel Stave
      Solid, intelligent QB prospect for the PS.

      • Todti says:

        Roster projection considering this mock draft:
        QB – Brady, Jimmy G.
        RB – Lewis, White, Bolden, Howard
        FB – Develin
        TE – Gronkowski, Bennett, Williams
        WR – Edelman, Amendola, Hogan, Martin
        OL – Solder, Vollmer, Waddle, Decker; Kline, Mason, Jackson, Cooper; Stork, Andrews (That’s 10 line men, so one of the G/C group is going to be the odd man out.)
        DT – Brown, Branch, Easley, Jones, Day
        DE – Ninkovich, Sheard, Flowers, Grissom, Long
        LB – Hightower, Collins, Freeny, Bostic, McClellin
        S – McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Richards, Ebner
        CB – Butler, Ryan, Coleman, Roberts, White
        ST – Gostkowski, Allen, Cardona, Slater, King

        PS – Stave, Gaffney (if eligible), Derby, Braverman, Fleming, G/C which doesn’t make the final roster, Johnson, Vitale, Vereen, ?

        As both Mason and Cooper have experience at C I could see the Patriots trade either Stork or Andrews during summer.

      • Russell says:

        I like your Mock/trade ideas!! I like DT Austin Johnson in stead of Sheldon Day. Would be nice for OT Decker to drop into the second, I seem to doubt it, but again maybe.
        If I’m Cleveland I want extra picks, not sure the later ones are that interesting however. Hmmmm……

  4. td says:

    Check out an article on front page of that details how/why Pat’s traded Jones, their strategy on OL’s and DL’s and what to expect in future drafts. It does a good job of detailing their past history on how they view value of players based on their cap charges.

    I remember BB saying a few years ago that he looked for CB’s that play zone because the good press/cover guys cost too much. But that has changed and his D’s now play press coverage.

  5. Russell says:

    Patriots salary cap space about gone when LB McCellin, and DE Long are subtracted, depending how they are set up.
    Amendola must restructure.
    Draft choice cap costs;
    #60 = $716K
    #61= $710K
    #91= $612K
    #97= $604K
    6th round picks #5, $475-485K, each
    7th round picks #2, $460K , each
    I’m projecting Coach Belichick trades a 2nd and 3d to move up in second round. target prospect ? LB Joshua Perry, DT Vernon Butler, DE Jonathan Bullard, OG Cody Whitehair, ????

    • Russell says:

      McCellis deal was 3 years $12 mil., Chris Long deal was $2 mil., 1 year, Brown deal was $965 K , 1 year.

    • Russell says:

      Danny Amendola cap hit is $6.8 mil.
      Marcus Cannon cap hit $4.7 mil.

    • steve earle says:

      Whitehair was looking good at the combine but he’s an OG and Bill added two OGs in last years draft and Cooper in the Jones trade so how likely is it he moves up to add another OG? The others I agree are viable and I would suggest that Sterling Shepard must be added to your short list because that would allow Amendola to be traded or released outright if it comes to that. Besides Sheperd has the upside to become a major impact player, better then Amendola.

      • Russell says:

        Good point Steve WR Shephard should be on the list. Whitehair played OT most of his senior year, with good quickness on the edge, maybe RT for the Patriots if Vollmer retires?
        Have heard some talk of QB Garappolo going to Cleveland for their 2nd pick. (#32) Not sure it’s a good idea, unless the Patriots draft a QB early.

        • steve earle says:

          Agree trading Grappolo trade doesn’t sound like the best idea to me either. Then, as you point out, we have to draft a QB early so I ask, what’s the point? I sware lots of fans have the grass is always greener syndrom. From what I’ve seen and been led to believe this years QB class isn’t very strong. About Whitehair, he could project to RT I think but so could half dozen others playing LT in “15”. So I guess my question would be is Whitehair that much better then guys who could be 3rd rd RT’s to justify trading Grappolo to get him?

    • acm says:

      Why gone? With Long and McClellin included, Pats whould have about 9 mil of cap-room left. 3 or so mil should be enough to sign the rookie class (no all of the picks will make the roster, and that’s not counting the possibility for trading up).
      Opening more cap-room will be more than welcome with extensions in mind but Pats are in a good place as is.

      • tes says:

        while on the surface it appears that the pats will have about 8-9M in cap space after the Long and McClellin contracts become official, you need to keep in mind other expenses that the team will incur throughout the year that is not yet included on the cap–
        (1) practice squad — takes up about $1.5M
        (2) offseason workout pay — about $560k will be charged to each team’s cap for standard player offseason workout pay
        (3) IR – Most of this comes from placing players on IR before the season starts and having to pay that player’s entire year’s salary. For example, last year the pats paid about $5M over the year to players placed on IR/PUP before the season started (guys like gibson, develin, tyms, darryl roberts, aj derby, gaffney, chris jones, dane fletcher). Then more players get hurt during the year and we have to pay for their replacements. So you need to set aside at least $5M of current cap space towards inevitable injuries.
        (4) current cap is based on 51 men, but eventually (week 1) it will change to 53 men, AKA we have to account for two more players’ salaries on the cap. This will be about $1M.

        So if you add up those four main items, there goes about $8M in current cap space. There are some other items too but they are less important.

        Signing draft picks this year actually won’t take up much cap space (way less than $1M actually) but I won’t get into that other than to say that really only the pro-rated signing bonus for each pick will take up cap space when the player signs, not the salary.

        So while Russell is not correct that signing draft picks will take up a ton of cap space, he is correct that the patriots are running low on cap space knowing that the cap charges I listed above will eventually come. So monitoring the contract status of amendola/cannon/hightower/collins etc will be interesting moving forward.

        • acm says:

          But this is why Pats usually leave 4-5 mil of room on the cap, entering the season. Now they have virtually double that, depending on what the exact numbers for Long and McClellin are.
          Without a doubt they will be opening more cap room with restructures/cuts (Amendola, Cannon, etc) but they already have cap-room to work with, as is, which was my point.

  6. Russell says:

    New up-dated Patriots Mock at

    • Russell says:

      Made some changes in my latest Mock, and also gave Mike Gerken and this site some “air time’ at

  7. J H TARBORO says:

    Michigan pro day: Eastern Michigann RB Darius Jackson 6’1 220 4.35, 4.38 40yds. 41″ vert. and 11’1″broad jump. Patriots personnel and scouts in attendance.

    • acm says:

      3-cone time or it didn’t happen.

    • Ryan says:

      Impossible to argue with those numbers. He had a good senior year for a team that passed for only 2670 yards, meaning teams were probably keying in on the run. Some stat lines:
      @LSU : 19 for 66 3.5ypc long of 12 1 TD
      @Toledo: 18 for 113 6.3ypc long of 30 2 TD
      He didn’t face much competition but his team went 1-11, so he should be excited to join a winning team. Looks like a sixth-round or undrafted target.

  8. Jeff says:

    What would folks think of Chris Lewis-Harris as a free agent corner brought in to compete for a CB role in training camp. He’s been stuck behind some good corners on the Bengals for a few years and has looked okay when he gets a chance.

  9. Jeff says:

    Question: Does Shea McClellin’s contract count against the Patriots for next year’s compensatory draft selections? So far, Hicks and Wilson have been picked up by other clubs, but I’m wondering if one of those contracts will be cancelled out by McClellin’s deal or not.

    • Russell says:

      Yes McCellin was a free agent, who could have been signed to a 5th year option which the bears failed to do. So yes his deal WILL count against any compensatory consideration.

      • Jeff says:

        Too bad – not looking like another 4-pick haul next year in compensatory selections. The following year though could be big with a huge group of free agents, including quality players, set to hit the market.

        • steve earle says:

          Not to worry Jeff, McCellin figures to be better then most comp draft picks we might get in that range next year anyway I’m thinking. Could be wrong but!

  10. Russell says:

    The Patriots Nick Caserio had a personal work-out with QB Jason Vander Laan from Ferris State. He worked out at QG and the TE position. Vander Laan is 6’3″ 240 lbs. runs a 4.76 40 yd.
    I find this interesting as I think the Patriots will carry 3 QB’s this year on the roster, or possibly on the P-Squad. Coach Belichick likes having 3 QB’s at training camp/pre-season. Could be a 6th round pick??

    • GM-in-Training says:

      A.J. Derby is a former QB, isn’t he?

    • steve earle says:

      If Bill caries a 3rd QB I expect him to be on the P-squad. I’ve mentioned Vernon Adams a few time in my previous posts. Can you tell me what you think of him Russell?

      • Russell says:

        Well, Steve….. Adams is interesting, but at 5’10″+ not great size. Watch some tape but not a big fan. I think there are better prospects available in the 6th round.

        • steve earle says:

          I don’t know? There are certenly bigger QBs but are they really better? Adams was very productive at Ore in spite of his small size. Reminds me a bit of Doug Flutie who I’m not certain was given any kind of fair shot in the NFL. Plus if Bill has to draft a QB in the 6th or 7th what are the chances any of them stick?

      • J H TARBORO says:

        It could possibly be Navy’s QB/RB Keenan Reynolds, Bill loves the naval athletes.

  11. steve earle says:

    I’m just wondering if Bob Kraft has seen or read the report by Mike Hurley revealing the lies he says Troy Vincent/ Roger Goodell and the NFL at large has told about “deflategate” and the constant back tracking, coverup Goodell and the NFL has engaged in?
    Hurley exposes the blantent fraud committed by the league which seems to me to have extorted a million dollars from Kraft, slandered Brady, damaged the reputations of everyone in the Patriots organization so why is this not an actionable legal issue?

    • td says:

      Probably a combination of legal wording in every owner’s franchisee agreement and lack of support from other 31 owners. In most franchise agreements, conflicts with corporate can only be resolved through arbitration that is costly and skewed heavily in the favor of corporate.

      In the end, these billionaire owners are most interested in money and winning. The Patriots stand in the way of most of them on the latter and love a little help from NFL front office in making it harder on the Pat’s.

      • steve earle says:

        Yea but that’s an excuse for not trying I think. Would it be worth it to the NFL owners to fight it in court with all the other bad press they are receiving, given the evidence of their misconduct that would surly come out. How much bad PR are they willing to endure to give the Pat’s a hard time?

  12. J H TARBORO says:

    Terran Beckham is one of the freakiest athletes who’s cousin to WR Odell Beckham, who wants to play RB in the NFL. You can be the judge, I think the Pats should take a look at this kid. Seriously!!!! Take a look.

    • steve earle says:

      Very impressive guy J H. I would wonder how many GM’s would risk a draft pick on him? Bill might he has a back ground of doing the unusual ie Ebner the rugby player then though where would you see him being taken?

      • J H TARBORO says:


        • steve earle says:

          About what I thought. We might have a decent chance of signing him given that our backfield is somewhat unsettled. On the other hand his couson could exert some infulence on his choice.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      High upside developmental prospect. Skills?

  13. J H TARBORO says:

    We’ve all watched the draft before, and some of us know Belichick doesn’t like holes on his draft board, 4 picks in the top 100, 1 3rd. comp pick that you can’t trade and no picks in the 4th and 5th round. I believe he will trade pick 61or 92 for more picks and fill in the holes in later rounds but who knows, I’m just speculating, the thought comes from years of crazy Patriots drafts.

    • Russell says:

      Coach Belichick will most likely Trade 61 and 91 and move up in the second round (New Orleans?) ….or Trade 91 for a 3d and 4th in the middle of the rounds. Just a guess but I think he trades up this year to get a guy he wants in the middle of the second round.
      He could trade Both 2nds , and draft any where in the second, IF he can find a trade partner. (VERY unlikely Coach takes this approach)

  14. Todti says:

    RE: Amendola – I get that his cap hit, especially considering the overall volume of his contract, and his production are not exactly in balance. However, he’s the only reliable option apart from Edelman and Gronk. Dion Lewis is coming back from a serious injury which might impact his quickness, the overwhelming trait he displayed last season, and although the Hogan and Bennett deals appear compelling on paper – so did the acquisiton of Scott Chandler last season. You just never know whether a deal, especially deals involving receivers, pans out. Therefore I think it would be negligient to cut or trade him.

    • Russell says:

      I agree with Todti here, but Amendola must restructure his deal. I think he will to stay in New England, with a cap friendly deal.
      McCellin was an interesting signing, a 3 year deal, which must be $10-12 mil. A solid LB that coach Belichick must have done a lot of scouting on.
      Chris Long again a great deal 1 yr $2 mil.
      If Cooper improves that will be a great pick-up as well. If coach Scar likes him maybe they get a deal done to extend him, because $11 mil. 5th yr option will not happen.
      TE Bennett looks good on paper, but he’s not your Patriot type player, but hopefully he works out, his cost is high at $5.5 mil. for one yr.
      RB Brown is a head scratcher, not sure why on that one.

    • EdgeX says:

      Here here!

      I think that the “rumors” of a cut are the last option at this point. I think the Pats very well could approach Amendola to restructure and we will see what happens from there.

  15. GM-in-Training says:

    What do you think of the Pats trading 6th rounders for 2017 5th rounders? I think it still benefits them in 2016 because they’ll probably do some trading in September and could use the chips.

  16. GM-in-Training says:

    I love what the Pats are doing in free agency. They’ve brought in 4 former-1st-rounders which just ups the average talent level, even if some of them are rotational. Bennett will have the biggest impact.

    As much as I like Amendola, unless he takes a pay cut, I think they have to move him. Best case is they get a 4th rounder for him. That will offset Bennett’s cap hit, and help the running game and bolster the line.

    The line(s)…both lines still need help. We need a good rotational guy to backfill from Hicks, and we need a high-upside developmental Tackle. There are some fast-footed, long-armed 320# Tackle prospects in the draft, and the Pats plan a year ahead so this is definitely the year to take one. That probably means moving up in the 2nd, and I think some of those 6th and 7th round tradeable picks could help there, but maybe not enough. They might trade both 2nd rounders and some late rounders for a better 2nd rounder and 3rd or a 4th rounder.

    I think they can find a replacement for Hicks the way they found hicks; looking for other teams undervalued spare parts next September.

    I would not be surprised if the Pats ended up trading away all 4 of their tradeable 6th and 7th round picks before its done.

  17. Kevan says:

    Terrance knighton would be worth a look. Possible hicks replacement, it is one of the deeper positions in the draft though. I like nick fairley too but he is a little smaller i don’t know if he fits the specific need at that position. If the pats decide to cut or trade amendola to save money, then Nate Washington could be signed for insurance, with a draft pick probably going into that position as well. Who is better out of josh Doctson or Michael Thomas from ohio state? Are either worth drafting if they fall into 2nd? Right now I have tackle rb WR DT and corner as the positions to still upgrade.

  18. J H TARBORO says:

    The Browns and Broncos are idiots, why wait for Kap,Fitz, or RG3, they go after the Bengal’s QB AJ McCarron!

  19. Jeff says:

    If Bennett gets significant playing time, it’ll be a different sort of 2 TE set than the Pats showed a few years ago. Hopefully it’s one that can help run the ball more effectively while creating mismatches offensively. If Bennett consistently can beat linebackers in the passing game and push defensive backs in the running game, a combination of Gronk and Bennett should allow McDaniels to have some fun. I think the Pats will be hoping that an impact running back is available in round 2, as a dynamic running game will be necessary to maintain the versatility of the offense, especially with question marks at receiver after Edelman.

  20. Jeff says:

    Hard to imagine the Pats making too many more moves in free agency, although I think they’ll still add a one-year deal with a cornerback at or close to the vet minimum for insurance/competition in case the cornerback position doesn’t fall right on their draft board come draft day. Even if Amendola and Cannon are cut, I’m not sure the Pats use free agency to replace them. To be honest at this point, I’m content and want cap space reserved for extensions.

    With 2 tradeable 6th round picks (and a couple of 7ths), the Pats might be able to move up to the 5th. We know Bill doesn’t like long waits between picks, and the 3rd to the 6th is a long wait, especially after he has to wait out the first 60 picks without a selection.

    Even if Bill spends picks to move up, there won’t be much room on the roster for undrafted guys, probably fewer than 10.

  21. J H TARBORO says:

    RB Dwayne Washington-UW is the biggest sleeper on this list, former WR converted to RB, very similar to CJ Prosise, with another gear, a home run hitter that i would take in the 6th round.

    • Brian says:

      Dwayne Washington is my top guy that I hope we take a flier on in the 6th or 7th. I think that if it wasn’t for his injuries, this guy would be talked about right next to CJ Prosise in the 3rd or 4th round. There’s limited tape on him, and he may need some work on ball security. However has 4.4 speed at 220lbs, with a frame to easily add another 10-20.
      Could be a good developmental guy to sit on the practice squad for a year.

  22. J H TARBORO says:

    The clock maybe ticking on Danny Amendola, it’s just a matter of time! Mike Florio reported he could be traded or cut!

    • Russell says:

      I look for a trade to the Vikings for a 4th round pick. Houston or K.C. are possible landing stops as well.

      • J H TARBORO says:

        DE David Onyemata-Manitoba (E/W Shrine )
        LB Ian Seau-Nevada ( nephew of Junior Seau )
        WR Mekele Mckay-Cinn. ( worked out by Casario )
        WR Johnny Holton-Cinn. ( worked out by Casario )
        OT Stephane Nembot-Colorado 6’7 320
        OT Dominique Robertson-W.Georgia 6’5 330 (E/W Shrine )
        S Jamal Golden-GT
        CB Cre von Leblanc- Florida Atlantic (E/W Shrine standout) slot CB
        OG/TE Laquan McGowan-Baylor 6’7 410 did really well at Baylor’s pro day yesterday.
        DE Sterling Bailey-Georgia ( worked out by Belichick yesterday )

        • steve earle says:

          I’ve been touting McGowan for a while now. He may have climbed up from UDFA into day 3 consideration now. With all out 6ths and 7ths he should be on Bills short list, I hope.

  23. Marc says:

    Here’s my 2 cents after yesterday’s moves….

    2nd(NE)60:Chris Jones-DT/MISS STATE

    2nd(ARZ)61:Braxton Miller-WR/OHIO STATE

    3rd(NE)91:CJ Prosise-RB/NOTRE DAME

    3rd(NE)96c:Willie Beavers-OL/W.MICHIGAN

    6th(NE)185:Byron Marshall-RB/WR/OREGON

    6th(NE)196:Josh Forrest-LB/KENTUCKY

    6th(NE)208c:David Morgan-TE/TEXAS SAN ANTONIO

    6th(NE)214c:Keith Lumpkin-OL/RUTGERS

    6th(NE)222c:Eric Rawls-CB/KENTUCKY STATE

    7th:(HOU)243:Rashawn Scott-WR/MIAMI

    7th:(NE)250:Alex McCallister-DE/FLORIDA

    • Marc says:

      That’s 196 and 204 not 185 sorry

    • J H TARBORO says:

      i like your mock! Marc

    • steve earle says:

      Your 2nds and 3rds could work out real well and so could the rest but there are about a hundred guys that could be mixed and matched down there and likely do as well. Not a knock on your picks just that the talent/value in those areas are so close it’s really hard to say. I’m hoping Bill can find a couple gems there, he often does.

    • Willy says:

      Why would they draft yet another DT in the upper rounds? Im Ivory Soap certain that will NOT happen. I believe they will draft a T, CB, DE with their top 2 picks, then from there on its depth, depth, depth (WR, RB, LB…). A Tackle because of what happened last year and because neither Tackle we have is signed long term, Vollmer may be in his last year (retirement or gone elsewhere), CB because we only have 2 good ones and neither of them are signed long term, DE because they traded Jones and Only signed replacements to 1 year deals with no clear long term option in the fold. Never mind those 3 positions are 3 out of the 4 highest paid positions and having a young, inexpensive guy in the fold is smart business.

  24. acm says:

    Nice list, Mike, but I don’t see Keenan Reynolds on it. He and Dan Vitale are just way too easy to predict to the Pats :)

  25. AM says:

    Love Keith Marshall. Could be a terrific player for us, as could Victor Ochi.

    I’d also add in Wendell Smallwood at RB; Joe Dahl and Dominick Jackson at OG/OT; Antwaun Woods at DT; and Darryl Worley at CB/S (although some seem to think he’ll go fairly high).

    • AM says:

      Forget comment on Smallwood above; noted that he was charged with witness tampering ina friend’s murder case. That’s a bit too close to home to chance.

  26. Kevan says:

    Count Shea McClellin as the newest patriot. What a crazy 2 days

    • steve earle says:

      Wow your not kidding. I was busy, tied up most of the past two and Bill goes all wild on me. Just catching up now but I like most of what I’m reading. This will really mess all our mocks.

  27. Dan Sullivan says:

    Martellus Bennett just traded to Patriots him and Gronk together will be awesome!

  28. Dan Sullivan says:

    Donald Brown just signed as free agent by Patriots don’t go by stats as he played for
    the worst offensive line in football. A very good signing.

    Patriots Mock Draft
    2 Joshua Perry OLB Ohio State
    2 Shon Coleman OT Auburn
    3 Maurice Canady CB Virginia
    3 Nick Vannett TE Ohio State
    4 Daniel Lasco RB California
    6 Tajae Sharpe WR Umass
    6 Joe Schmidt ILB Notre Dame
    6 Mehdi Abdesmad DL Boston College
    6 Matthias Farley SS Notre Dame
    7 Christian Powell RB Colorado
    7 Cayleb Jones WR Arizona

    Here comes the Irish as today we are all Irish! Happy St.Patricks Day enjoy the day
    as snow on Sunday.

  29. Ryan says:

    Apparently Chris Long’s deal is 1 year, 2 million. Crazy stuff.

  30. Ryan says:

    Some more 6th-round targets:

    CB: Ken Crawley, Morgan Burns, Lloyd Carrington
    DT: Nile Lawrence-Stample, Vincent Valentine, Destiny Vaeao, Trevon Coley
    S: Deon Bush, Jordan Lucas
    ILB: Jared Norris, Antonio Morrison
    OG: Isaac Seumalo, Joe Dahl, Eric Mac Lain
    OLB: Antwione Williams, Ian Seau, Curt Maggitt
    OT: Alex Lewis, Caleb Benenoch
    WR: Cody Core, Geronimo Allison, Ricardo Louis, Devin Lucien

    We’ll have to see how who falls, but there should definitely be some depth options when we pick in the 6th. By the way, I love Zettel and if we get him in the 6th I will be amazed.

  31. Tim D says:

    I really like Mike Thomas, Reader, Lowry, Madden and Hogan especially if they are there in the 6th round. I agree with the 4-5th on Thomas. I think if he has a good showing at his pro day, combined the underwhelming combine for the WR’s that actually got the invite, it will put him in the 4-5 range for many teams.

  32. Russell says:

    Coach Belichick at the Georgia pro-day, watching Sterling Bailey 6’4″ 285 lbs. DL 20 bench, 5.03 40 yd, 30.5 verticial

  33. Russell says:

    I believe the Patriots had 11 draft picks last year, 1 was traded, 3 spent the yr. on IR, and 1 was cut. So a player like CB KeiVare Russell, LB Jaylon Smith…. etc. maybe interesting draft picks spending the year on IR. and not counting toward the roster.
    I look for coach belichick to trade UP to get a player he wants. Look for him use a 2nd & 3d/ and or a 6th, or BOTH 2nds, to move up in the mid-early 2nd round.
    LB Joshua Perry still heads my Patriots draft board. A surprise pick maybe RB Derrick Henry if available at #32-33 in exchange for both 2nd round picks.

    • Willy says:

      The Only way he moves up higher into the 2nd round is if there is a player he is in love with that is still available. It doesnt make for “good value” to trade multiple picks to move up and Bill is all about value. Keep your eye on a T, CB, DE that slips from the 1st round, that would be the Only way id see Bill going away from his normal “value” picks.

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