Building The Big Board: Linebackers/Edge Players

Would the Patriots consider taking an undersized LB early in the draft?

Would the Patriots consider taking an undersized LB early in the draft?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

We are getting down to crunch time here. Luckily for me, and maybe you, the Big Board series is getting close to the end. In today’s article, I will be covering both Inside and Outside Linebackers as well as a few Edge rush specialists. I have a lot of ground to cover and a lot of prospects to go over, so let’s not waste any time and get into the prospects.

POSITION: Linebackers and Edge Rushers

PRIORITY: Medium

CURRENT ROSTER:

Dont’a Hightower (age 25, signed through 2016)

Jamie Collins (age 25, signed through 2016)

Shea McClellan (age 26, signed through 2018)

Jon Bostic (age 24, signed through 2016)

Jonathan Freeny (age 26, signed through 2016)

Eric Martin (age 24, signed through 2016)

Ramon Humber (age 28, signed through 2016)

James Vaughters (age 22, signed through 2016)

Kevin Snyder (age 23, signed through 2016)

POSITION OVERVIEW:

One thing that this exercise has done for me is made me more aware of players age and their contract situation. So many times I get caught up in the current season that I don’t take a look at the long term plan of the team. When you look at that list above, you realize that the team is young at the position, but only one of those players is signed beyond this year. Hightower and Collins are two of the very best Linebackers in the league and I think the Patriots will try and keep both long term. The team brought in McClellan on a 3 year deal this off season, so they must have a plan for him as well. The rest of the guys are fighting for jobs, and if the Patriots do decide to draft a LB, their future with the team becomes much more in doubt. And while I do not see Linebacker as a top priority going into the draft, I do think they could bring in a player to try and develop just in case they lose one of their stars next year. For the sake of this exercise, I am going to break the prospects up into three categories: Outside Linebackers, Inside Linebackers, and Edge Rushers. Some of these guys might fit multiple positions as well, but I put them in the category I think is best for them. So let’s get started.

Outside Linebackers With Draftable Grades:

Josh Perry- Ohio State (6’3″, 254 Lbs.): Perry checks a lot of boxes that the Patriots look for in a Linebacker. He has a great combination of size and speed for the position. He is extremely versatile, playing multiple Linebacker spots for the Buckeyes as well as occasionally playing some rush end. He is a smooth athlete that glides around the field effortlessly. Perry looks natural in his back pedal and can drop into coverage. He shows good awareness to find the ball and then will attack it. He can make plays in multiple ways, either using his speed or mixing it up and fighting through opponents to make plays. He is a smart player and a team captain at a position where that is very important. He is a hard worker on and off the field. Perry is good at almost everything, but not elite at anything. He does not possess that top end speed that defenses seem to be looking for these days. He can focus too much on getting to the ball that he gets taken out of plays with what is going on around his feet. (2nd round grade)

Su’a Cravens- USC (6’0″, 226 Lbs.): Cravens is a former Safety turned Linebacker who could make a move back to his original position in the NFL. Cravens will be at his best if not locked into one position, rather playing that hybrid role that Belichick has wanted to employ for several years now. Cravens is a smooth mover that can cover a lot of ground.  Cravens is intelligent and instinctual, showing quick read and react skills. He plays bigger than his size and will mix it up with much bigger plays. He shows good burst and a quick first step to be used as a situational pass rusher. Cravens is a team captain that loves football and will do anything and play anywhere for the good of the team. He is smaller and appears maxed out from a physical standpoint. He is a little out of control as a tackler, although there was marked improvement this year. Cravens plays aggressive to compensate for his size and will take himself out of plays. He has had his fair share of injuries and durablity is a concern. If put in the right situation, he has the chance to be special. (2nd round grade)

Kyler Fackrell- Utah State (6’5″, 245 Lbs.): I have been a big fan of Fackrell’s since the fall when I first watched him. I almost left him off the list though because I think that he and Shea McClellan do the same things and I am not there will be room on the roster, but I like him so much that I had to keep him on the list. Fackrell is a very smooth athlete that covers a lot of ground quickly with his long strides. He shows good lower body flexibility and lateral quickness to make plays North/South as well as East/West. He has good balance and natural bend to be a better pass rusher in the NFL than he was in college. He also has light feet and fluid movements to drop in coverage.  He is a hard worker and a team leader. Fackrell’s combination of size and athleticism give him great versatility and can play multiple roles in the NFL. He definitely needs to add bulk/strength to his frame to hold up in the run game, but has the body to handle it. He is tall and lean and can get off balance. Fackrell is an older prospect and he does have an injury history that will need to be cleared. He would be a great fit if the Patriots decide to go back to a 3-4.  (2nd/3rd round grade)

Deion Jones- LSU (6’0″, 222 Lbs.): I have had an unhealthy obsession with this type of Linebacker for the last couple of years. The thought of an athlete like this paired up with Belichick gives me happy thoughts.  Jones was one of my earlier reports I did this year (http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2016/02/scouting-report-deion-jones-lb.html) He has great range, combining great straight line speed with fantastic lateral quickness to get all over the field in a flash. Jones is a physical tackler who plays much bigger than his size would indicate. He is also a special teams monster, making him a true, four down defensive player. Jones is size deficient and can get caught in the wash. He only has one year of starting experience and his play recognition is still developing. (2nd/3rd round grade)

Jordan Jenkins- Georgia (6’2″, 259 Lbs.): Jenkins will come to the NFL without all the fanfare his former teammate Leonard Floyd does, but he might be the better overall player. While Floyd is the more gifted athlete, Jenkins is no slouch himself and has attributes that Floyd does not. One such trait is power. Jenkins has a powerful lower body to be disruptive as a pass rusher as well as hold up against the run. He shows good burst at the snap and enough flexibility to turn the edge and make plays on the QB. He uses his hands very well and has long arms, using both to his advantage. He is smooth in his drops and looks comfortable playing in space.  Jenkins is very smart, recognizing plays and reacting quickly. He keeps his head up and shows the awareness to keep his eye on the ball while working through trash. Jenkins lacks the pure speed needed to be an elite pass rusher. He wins more with technique and power and that does not always translate to success with a jump in talent. His ideal position is 3-4 OLB and we are just not sure if that is what the Patriots will be running. (3rd round pick)

Joe Schobert- Wisconsin (6’1″, 244 Lbs.): Schobert might fit that happy medium between Josh Perry and Deion Jones. While not as big as Perry and not quite as fast as Jones, he falls right in the middle of both and it could be the perfect compromise. Schobert has great burst and first step quickness, leaving opposing Offensive Lineman with their head spinning. He plays with great intensity and a non stop motor to make plays after his initial move has been stopped. He has good balance and ability to get low to be an effective rusher in the NFL.  Schobert looks natural in space and can drop into coverage with ease. He is instinctive and a natural play maker both as a rusher and in coverage. Where Schobert struggles is with strength. He is not built to fight through blocks and take on lineman. He has short arms and will struggle to disengage once an opponent gets their hands on him. When in coverage, he struggles when trying to defend bigger, more physical players. (4th round pick)

Jatavis Brown- Akron (5’10”, 221 Lbs.): Let’s just get the negatives out of the way first. I know that he is really undersized and he has short arms and that has to be factored into his evaluation, but the rest of his game is so good that he might be the exception. I thought about putting him in with the Safeties, but I think ultimately he will be one of those players with no defined position and if he gets with the right staff, he could be a play maker. He is an explosive athlete with outstanding speed to get anywhere on the field quickly. He has the quickness and flexibility to come off the edge as a pass rusher. He also is a smooth mover who looks natural in space and in his backpedal. Brown plays much bigger than his size and will come up and hit the ball carrier. He was very good on special teams in college despite being the teams best player. He has been called a film junkie by his coaches and puts in the effort to prepare for each game. He does struggle to disengage on blocks and teams can run at him.  Despite his size, he put up too much good tape not to get a shot in the NFL. I think if he goes to a team that does not pigeon hole him, he could be special (5th round pick)

Stephen Weatherly- Vanderbilt (6’4″, 267 Lbs.): Weatherly has excellent measurables for the positions. He has excellent size for the position and is physically reading to handle the rigors of the NFL. He has excellent straight line speed as well. He has long arms and he uses them very well to keep defenders off him. He is a smooth mover up and down the line and he can hold his own when stopping the run. He has good burst at the snap and good balance to play through trash and make plays. He has fluid movements but needs refinement in his technique and pass rush moves. He was not asked to be a pass rusher and he could be better in the NFL than he was in college if given the time to develop. Weatherly looks to be a little slow in processing the game and that does not allow him to play as fast as he tested. He has the physical traits needed and has the chance to develop into a quality NFL player (6th round pick)

Terrance Smith- Florida State (6’2″, 237 Lbs.): Smith is another one of those undersized, rangy athletes at the Linebacker position. He is a smooth mover who can cover a lot of ground in any direction. He reacts quickly to the play and looks like he is shot out of a canon. He has the lateral quickness and speed to go around blockers, but has the mentality and enough physicality to fight through blockers as well. Smith has enough speed to drop into coverage, although he needs refinement in his technique and hand use and doesn’t look completely comfortable doing so. Smith can be overaggressive at times. He tends to freelance, which leads to missed assignments. He lacks power and his frame may be close to maxed out. (6th round pick)

De’Vondre Campbell- Minnesota (6’3″, 232 Lbs.): Cambell is a rocked up athlete with a frame to add even more weight/muscle to. He has good speed to make plays sideline to sideline. Campell is a great athlete and may have only scratched the surface of what he can do on the football field. He shows good flexibility and balance to be a better pass rusher than he was in college. Cambell does a good job of using his length to his advantage, fighting off blocks and getting through trash to make plays. He has a good motor and gives great effort throughout the game. Campbell is still developing his instincts and can be slow to react to plays. He does not always trust what he sees which makes him a step to late to make the play. He needs time to develop his pass rush skills and counter moves. He is more of an athlete than a football player at this time, but there is potential there. (7th round pick)

Antwione Williams- Georgia Southern (6’2″, 247 Lbs.): Williams has the look of an NFL Linebacker, with a powerful build and long arms.  A physical player who likes to come downhill and hit, but has good lateral quickness to make plays on the outside as well. Williams has a strong lower body to hold up against blockers and powerful hands to swat them away. He is a good tackler who lets ball carries know that they have been hit. Williams was a team leader with lots of positive press from his coaches and teammates. Williams is better moving forward than back and while he has enough athleticism to drop into coverage, he does not look comfortable doing so. Williams is coming from a much lower level of competition and needs time to develop his instincts and fundamentals. (7th round pick)

Inside Linebackers With Draftable Grades:

Tyler Matakevich- Temple (6’0″, 238 Lbs.): Matakevich should be the poster child for anyone who relies solely on analytics. On paper, their is nothing impressive about Matakevich. He is short, he has short arms, and he did not test well at the Combine. However, when you put on the tape, you see a football player. He is a solid tackler with excellent instincts and awareness to make up for his lack of speed. He is aggressive and will jolt bigger players with his strength. He plays with good technique and vision, with little to no wasted movements. He is a team captain and life is focused on everything football. Matakevich will never be a wow type player, but will put up consistent stats and be an important cog in a defense. (4th/5th round grade)

Blake Martinez- Stanford (6’1″, 237 Lbs.): Martinez has a nice combination of instincts and athleticism. He is a smooth mover and rarely has wasted movements. He diagnoses plays quickly and moves quickly but in control towards the ball. Martinez has no concern for his body as he attacks to fill gaps and make plays. He has the athleticism and movement skills to drop in coverage. He was a very productive tackler in college. He is known for his team leadership, toughness, smarts, and non stop motor; all things the Patriots look for in a player. He is undisciplined as a tackler and needs to work on the fundamentals. Will make a big hit on one play and then wiff on the next. He is tight hipped and struggles with lateral movement and will get caught flat footed when dealing with shifty ball carriers. (4th/5th round grade)

Nick Kwiatkowski- West Virginia (6’2″, 243 Lbs.): Kwiatkowski has good size for the position and is built to hold up in the NFL. He is a downhill runner with good instincts to read and react quickly. He is a solid tackler who lets people know when they have been hit by him. He is a smart player who moves well and is comfortable in space. He has a nose for the ball and is a play maker, with 20 passes defended and 6 interception in his career. Plays with the necessary mindset of an NFL Middle Linebacker. A team captain and ferocious competitor. He is more of a straight-line runner and lacks lateral quickness when moving East/West. He will struggle with shiftier receivers in coverage because of his lower body tightness. (5th/6th round grade)

Edge Players With Draftable Grades:

Shilique Calhoun- Michigan State (6’4″, 251 Lbs.): Calhoun has good size and length for the position and could be utilized in both a 4-3 or a 3-4. He still has room to grow and could add bulk to his frame without sacrificing any athleticism. Calhoun is quick off the snap and has good lower body flexibility to bend the edge as a pass rusher. He is a smooth mover that plays with good balance,body control, and change of direction skills. He has the coveted trait of transferring speed to power. Calhoun has powerful hands and he uses them well. He has long arms and uses them to shield off blockers. He has the speed to set the edge and force running plays outside. Calhoun wins with his speed and must develop his pass rushing skills and counter moves. He lacks lower body power to hold up consistently against the run and teams will exploit that weakness.  He can be overaggressive at times and is not a great tackler from a fundamentals standpoint. He can come in and contribute right away as a pass rusher. He needs time to develop his skills if he is going to be anything more than a pass rush specialist though. (2nd/3rd round grade)

James Cowser- Southern Utah (6’3″, 248 Lbs.): Cowser is a small school pass rusher with big time skills. He is a smooth mover with good lower body flexibility and balance to get low and turn the corner. He is very active with his hands and he uses them really well. He has a good combination of strength and athleticism. His test showed he had great lateral quickness and agility and that showed up on tape as well. He is a solid tackler that likes to make his presence felt. Cowser is very smart both on and off the field and was a 3 time team captain. He plays with a non stop motor and is relentless all game long. Cowser is coming from a lower level of competition where he was asked to do very little other than get after the QB. He will need time to develop the other aspects of the game if he wants to be more than a situational pass rusher. (4th/5th round grade)

Travis Feeney- Washington (6’3″, 230 Lbs.): Feeney has a nice combination of size and speed for the NFL. He is a smooth mover with little to no wasted steps when changing direction and can cover a lot of ground quickly. He is quick at the snap and can press the edge to get after the QB. Feeney is a smart player, showing good play recognition and good read/react skills. He has a Safety background and looks comfortable in coverage and can make plays on the ball, with 4 career interceptions. He is a pass rusher first, but has the traits to be effective in space, given time to develop those traits. Feeney was a star on special teams and worst case scenario he makes a team just on that skill set alone. Feeney wins with his speed and when that does not work, he is not very effective. He lacks power in his game on both run and pass situations. Medicals will be big for Feeney as he has already had 4 shoulder surgeries in his career. (5th/6th round)

Victor Ochi- Stony Brook (6’1″, 246 Lbs.): Ochi is an interesting prospect. He does not have ideal height for the position, but makes up for it with long arms. He uses his compact frame to his advantage, using good balance and the ability to stay low to get underneath blockers and get to the QB. He has great explosion at the snap of the ball and maintains his speed when redirecting his momentum. He uses his long arms and good hand technique to keep bigger blockers off of him and he does a nice job of shedding blockers to make plays. Ochi plays with his hair on fire and will put all 246 lbs into every tackle. He is known for his work ethic and high character and was a team captain. Ochi had eye popping production even for lower level football. Size is the main issue for Ochi and he could struggle to be a consistent threat as a pass rusher. He is maxed out physically and his ceiling is as a situational pass rusher in the NFL. He was not asked to do much more in college than get after the QB, so if a team wants him to be more, he has a big learning curve ahead of him. (6th/7th round grade)

Alex McCallister- Florida (6’6″, 239 Lbs.): First thing that jumps out at you when looking at McCallister is his length. Not only is he tall, but he has 36″ vines for arms and an impressive 86 1/8″ wingspan. With that length comes a good burst at the snap and good mobility to move in all directions smoothly. Despite his height, he does a good job of playing with leverage and can bend well enough to get under Tackles and get to the QB. Shows the ability to lock onto Tackles and stretch plays out, forcing ball carries back inside. He also has the speed to chase down said runner if he tries to go around him. At 239 pounds, he is way to thin and not strong enough to hold up in the NFL. He must put the time in the weight room to fill out his frame. He becomes useless if blockers are able to get into his body. McCallister lacks the instincts and awareness to make plays that are not right in front of him. He has had off field issues and his passion for the game has been questioned. His size, speed, athleticism, and upside are intriguing and might be worth a late round flyer. (7th round pick)

 

Interesting UDFA prospects: (all 3 positions)

Cassanova McKinzey- Auburn (6’1″, 248 Lbs.)

Steven Daniels- Boston College (5’11”, 243 Lbs.)

Curt Maggitt- Tennessee (6’3″, 247 Lbs.)

Luke Rhodes- William & Mary (6’1″,239 Lbs.)

Ian Seau- Nevada (6’1″, 259 Lbs.)

Ron Thompson- Syracuse (6’3″, 253 Lbs.)

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53 Responses to “Building The Big Board: Linebackers/Edge Players”

  1. Todti says:

    Man, so many OLB I’d like to see in a Patriots uniform. I think the potential move to a 3-4 could open the door for a couple of them (not multiple, but one of several). Before those rumors I thought Matakevich would be an amazing successor of Mayo. Smart and reliable, but not flashy so that BB could get him right in his sweet spot of the draft. Now, if the Pats move to more of a 3-4 I could see Jones or Su’a Cravens be a real possibility as an ILB, not just a potential safety net for Collins. The Patriots still don’t have a clear-cut ILB, but with a staple of these versatile LBs I’m not sure that’s a problem. Just picturing a LB corps of Collins, Hightower, McClellin, and Su’a Cravens gives me shivers. Boy, they could switch roles on ever snap.
    On the other hand, if an edge player like Fackrell or Jenkins presents good value at some point that would be great, too. Ninkovich and Long (if he makes the roster) aren’t going to get younger and who knows whether the Patriots can retain Sheard after this season. I think Grissom has a bright future in front of him and Flowers should flourish under BB, but I’d rather see them be part of a comittee.

    • carlo strada says:

      hey, do you imagine if the Pats could trade up in order to reach up a falling star just like ogbah?
      That ´d give us leverage on Sheard´s potential departure next year.
      Meanwhile, Sheard on the left side and Ogbah on the right as OLB, that´d be insane

      • Todti says:

        I’m actually not sure about trading up anymore, with the recent changes on the roster and a possible move to a 3-4. But it’d be fine with me if they were doing that (although my guy would be Dodd).

  2. Stephen J says:

    Just been catching up on some players one of them I looked at last night thanks to Mike Gerken’s excitement of him is OT Jason Spriggs. From that I thought I should look at him. From how Mike has talked about him in my mind it seemed like the Pats didn’t have a shot at him late 1st early 2nd round projection. Then last night I read this scouting report

    http://draftwire.usatoday.com/2016/01/14/2016-nfl-draft-scouting-report-indiana-ot-jason-spriggs/

    This is what stood out to me
    Spriggs’ upside is excellent, but when I watched his tape, it seemed the better the competition, the more he struggled
    He has too many technical flaws, inconsistencies, and a lack of fundamentals
    Spriggs needs time, coaching, and physical development before he can reach his potential
    With a 3rd round Grade

    Sounds like a perfect Scar project but not a late 1st early 2nd round pick, which would work out for the Pats if they wanted to go in that direction. Maybe he will be a last minute visit like Solder was. Thoughts anybody.

    • Russell says:

      I like Spriggs a lot, but there are so few good OT’s, I don’t see Spriggs falling past 40, so BB would need to trade up. If I had a choice I’d take Whitehair.

      • Stephen J says:

        I agree that there is a shortage of Good(OT) for me Good is being able to come in and start playing from day 1. From reading Spriggs has the potential to be Good with the proper training and hard work. He is definitely better than most of the OT’s so I can see other teams reach for him earlier than ideal and start him before he has reached his potential. That to me is saying he maybe good enough(serviceable) to start right now.
        Don’t get me wrong I see his potential and think he would be a great fit for the Pats. Based off this one scouting report and what has been said here is a very small frame to base a good overall picture understanding. As of right now though I would love to draft him but not as a starting OT. Give him a year under Scar and be Volmer’s understudy. Then play him as a backup for the 1st year to gain experience would be the ideal senario as I see it right now.
        I could be totally wrong as well and he could be ready to start day 1 and perform well.
        You guys have definitely got me excited about him.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Spriggs has his flaws for sure, but the physical traits that he possesses are exactly what the Patriots have looked for and have had success with in their Tackles. He graded out as a 2nd rounder for me, but Tackles are going to go quickly and teams are going to fall in love with his measurables and his athleticism.

      • Gerry says:

        I watched the Ohio State tape, and he did a job on Bosa. He is a bit light and could use so weight room pounds, but he can backup LT and RT day one, and may be a better RT for NE next year.

    • steve earle says:

      Very interesting report Stephen and thanks it makes me think that we might have an outside shot at getting him after all. Russell likes Whitehair better but I’ve noticed most scouts project Whitehair to OG because of shorter arms. I’d like Spriggs though, espicelly with Scar coming back to put him on the right track. I think he could be the next great Patriots OT.

  3. Stephen J says:

    For those that like James Bradberry would you say this is accurate

    James Bradberry, Samford (6’1, 213)
    Areas of Strength: Has excellent size for the position and fits the mold of what NFL teams look for in a long cornerback nowadays. Uses his length to his advantage when attacking the ball in the air. Solid open field tackler in run support as well as being able to shed receiver’s blocks.

    Areas to Improve: Stiff athlete who has trouble flipping his hips and turning with receivers. Makes quick reads, but has yet to show he is a reactionary player on tape. Because of this, his feet are a bit slow for NFL standards.

  4. Russell says:

    2nd- LB Joshua Perry
    2nd- DE Carl Nassib
    3d- CB/S Sean Davis
    3d- DT Austin Johnson

    6th- OT Cole Toner
    6th- CB James Bradberry
    6th- OT Nick Ritcher
    6th- QB Jason Vander Laan
    6th- DL Justin Zimmer

    7th- CB Vernon Harris
    7th- RB Keenan Reynolds

    • Gerry says:

      FWIW Reynolds should be taken by some one before the end of the 7th. I would place him late 5th at worst.

  5. Russell says:

    Another smaller school guy; DE- Jake Ceresna , Cortland State 6’5″ 294 lbs. 4.97 40 yd., 35 on the bench, 7.30 3-cone drill.

  6. Russell says:

    Each year we are looking at prospects from smaller programs, that show abilities that translate well to the next level. Last year it was OG Ali Marpet who played very well starting for Tampa.
    This year; DL-Justin Zimmer, LB- Jatavis Brown, OT- Cole Toner, CB James Bradberry and others.
    Tampa took OG-Marpet in the early 3d round. This group does not project that high, but all are highly draftable.

  7. Matt says:

    2(60) Chris Jones DT
    2(61) Kenneth Dixon RB
    3(91) Joe Haeg OT
    3(96) Kalen Reed CB
    6(196) DJ White CB
    6(204) Keyarris Garret WR
    6(208) Nick Kwiatkowski LB
    6(214) Kevin Hogan QB
    6(221) Joel Heath DT
    7(243) Marquez North WR
    7(250) Keenan Reynolds RB/WR

    • Jim R says:

      Would be nice if it worked out that way. Getting Reed, Garrett and Hogan in those slots would be great. nice mock

  8. GM-in-Training says:

    See! You laughed at my elaborate scenario of the Browns trading down 5 times in the first round and accumulating +2 2017 1st rounders, some 2017 2nd rounders, a late 2016 1st rounder and maybe more 2nd and 3rd rounders this years, but phase 1 is complete!

    By trading down to #8, they still have a valuable pick, worth ~1,400 points on the trade value chart. It’ll be harder to get a hoard for it with most of the star QB and Linemen probably gone by #8, but doable. Anybody who really wants Jack Conklin, Taylor Decker, Vernon Hargreeve, Jarran Reed, Kevin Dodd, Shaq Lawson, Laquan Treadwell, Darron Lee, or Paxton Lynch (all expected to be gone by #20) might have reason to move up. Paxton Lynch in particular becomes really highly sought after in this scenario.

    The ideal for the Browns is to make several small trades down so they can keep auctioning off the picks creatively. Remember, future picks are undervalued by the trade chart, so with some patience, they can harvest big value and comparative advantage.

    To drop from #8 to #18 nets about 500 points on the trade chart, which is a high 2nd rounder this year, or a 1st rounder in 2017. If they package some of their lower picks from this year, they might be able to get several early picks this year and next from a team in a hurry to win now for GM or Coach job security (looking at you Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta).

    To drop from #18 to late first round is harder, partly because the successful teams in the late first round are more set and more disciplined…but one of the teams that already picked in the first round might be willing to trade a 2nd rounder and 2017 1st or 2nd round picks to pick again.

    Moneyball, indeed.

    • acm says:

      Normal people out there would say there is quite a bit of diff between trading back from 2nd pick once … and doing so 5 times. But hey you are the GM, don’t let us simple folk tell you you are way off with the math there …
      Btw, have you considered that those who laughed at you, did so not so much about the unrealistic scenario of trading back 5 times in the first round, but rather that you had enough time on your hands to cook up such a fairy tale about the most irrelevant team in the NFL?
      Best advice I could give you, Mr. GM, would be this – jump into the first freezer you see out there, and then straight to bed :)

      • GM-in-Training says:

        “You’re only saying saying it’s impossible because it’s never been done.”

        Clearly the value for each step back in the first round gets relatively smaller, but the theory that the most value is in the first round and the reward for trading down is most exploitable in the first round is sound. Another avenue for value is trading back to the top of the 2nd for a bad team’s 2017 1st rounder, that will also likely be worth a lot next year.

        Also, I’m guessing I’ve spent far less time scrutinizing players and draft stratagems than many of the regular contributors on this site 😉

    • Russell says:

      Cleveland is clearly in a better spot in the draft to get a day one player, and extra/future draft picks. I could see the Browns drafting RB Elliott at No.8, and get an impact player. It could also be good to trade their 2nd pick with New England (IF) BB wants to give-up two 2nd round picks to get a targeted player.
      I had Dallas taking RB Elliott, but they can not pass, on Jalen Ramsey.
      Interesting that Carolina pulled the “Tag” off Josh Norman, The Raiders are my best bet to get him. Dallas would be interested but no Cap space.

    • Ryan says:

      How does the Browns’ first trade provide any credence to your theory? It’s only one trade, and I don’t think anyone here objected to the Browns trading down from #2 for value. Not saying you’re wrong, just that now is the wrong time to brag. It’d be really cool to see the Browns trade down more than once, but trading down to let a greedy team take their franchise QB is hardly evidence for 5 trade-backs.

      • GM-in-Training says:

        Oh, the bragging is entirely premature!

        I was just crowing that the first step of my hyper aggressive trade idea was already accomplished, making it easier and more probable for the second trade…especially since certain other people (ahem, ACM) made fun of my enthusiasm rather than the ideas itself.

        I’ve been noodling on this concept for a few years, but it requires a team with a really high draft pick, and a year with a lot of desirable players in the top 25. This year might not have enough star power after pick #10, but we’ll see.

      • uknepatsfan says:

        PFT has said that Sashi Brown has not ruled out further trades down, as Cleveland are looking for ‘volume’ in this draft.

        Cleveland are the opposite of the Patriots in that they need a whole raft of players whereas the Pats need quality rather than quantity.

        I’d love the Pats to trade up to Cleveland’s spot in the 2nd round (32) and also get one of their 5th rounders. That 2nd would effectively be a first round pick for the Pats and there would be a top tier OT there to be had.

        For me, the OT position would be the reason to trade up because the rest of the draft looks like it can come to the Pats. But the greatest position of need for the Pats is the one that they most needed their 1st rounder for.

  9. Stephen J says:

    Here is Mike Loyko’s Mock Draft he posted on twitter

    https://twitter.com/NEPD_Loyko/status/722808792904245248

    Whose do you like better Mike Gerkin’s or Mike Loyko’s

    • Stephen J says:

      Oops sorry Mike Gerken just noticed I spelled your last name incorrectly. Apologies.

      • Mike Gerken says:

        I pick mine!
        If I had a nickel for every time my name was spelled like that, I would be lving on a beach somewhere. You are not the first, and won’t be the last, so don’t sweat it.

  10. EdgeX says:

    I really want the Patriots to double dip at cornerback this year. But, in reality, that may be a position wiped out of talent before the Pats pick.

    And looking at the talent on this list and age/depth of future players this may just end up being a draft where the Pat’s double dip at LB or DE…I could really see it turning out like that.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I am writing up Corners right now, and I have to tell you, the sweat spot for me is the 4th round. There will potentially be some good talent right in that range.

      • EdgeX says:

        Hey that would be great…I only hope it works out like that in reality.

        I think my brain is getting fried from all the mock drafts and possibilities…

      • uknepatsfan says:

        Which is a problem when you don’t have a 4th rounder.

        I fully expect BB to try to buy back into the 4th, although how the hell he does it is anyone’s guess! I think getting a 5th rounder back is more realistic as I’d have thought that you can package up a load of those 6th rounders for a mid 5th.

        If the Pats kept all their picks where they are, which they undoubtedly won’t, I would seriously consider taking a CB in the 2nd. Ideally I’d take an OT first and CB 2nd or 3rd as I think those are the positions of greatest need, skill wise.

        RB’s can be found anywhere in any draft. Derrick Henry is the only one I’d be prepared to spend a 2nd rounder on.

  11. Mike Gerken says:

    I will be the first to post. I did a mock draft over at fanspeak last night, and here is what I came away with.
    60. Sterling Shephard, WR
    61. Chris Jones, DT

    both guys I felt were to good to pass up and the CB position had been wiped out

    91. Joe Haeg, OT
    96. Jonathan Williams, RB

    Again, CB did not have anyone I really loved. Looking back, this might have been the case to take a reach though.

    196. James Bradberry, CB
    204. Dan Vitale, FB/TE
    208. Dominique Robertson, OT
    214. Daryl Worley, CB
    221. Moritz Boerhinger, WR

    Loved my 6th round hall here. I got great value with the Bradberry and Robertson picks. Vitale can do a little of everything, Worley is undersized but has talent and Boerhinger is a lottery ticket that has impressive physical traits.

    243. Victor Ochi, Edge
    247. Justin Zimmer, DT

    Ochi can come in and be a situational pass rusher and Zimmer is another physical freak that could develop into a good player.

    • EdgeX says:

      I’d be fine with that!

    • steve earle says:

      Well I’d like this mock just because you took Sterling Shepard at 60 but then you went and filled it out with some really good value talent. I like it very much and think if Bill mannaged to follow it we would be in great position for the coming season.

    • Ryan says:

      Love the mock. My only critique is “lack” of Keanen Reynolds. I dont think its a matter if they take him its a matter of when.

      • acm says:

        Ah yeah, that’s another “issue” I have with the mock – no KR to the Pats hurts the credibility of any mock.

    • acm says:

      Mike, put in CJ Prosise for Booker and I might french-kiss you :)
      Booker I think will end up being just a role-player for the Pats, while Prosise has the potential to become a starter, imo.
      I am generally against taking WR and RB early but Shepard and Prosise are the two exceptions at those positions.

      Other than that, the only issue I have with this mock is that you are getting a bit too “lucky” with the value you are getting in the 2nd round, me thinks. I personally don’t see either Shepard or Jones fall that far for the Pats to take both, at least not at the expense of a 2nd+3rd to move up in the 2nd round.
      Not saying it’s impossible they fall there, just don’t think it’s realistic to project they do, especially not both.

      • steve earle says:

        One thing I notice on your breakdown list is how Deion Jones and Jatavis Brown’s games are so alike. You have Jones rated a 2nd/3rd and Brown a 5th. Is that because of their different levels of competition or are you seeing something I’m not picking up?

        • Mike Gerken says:

          That is a valid question Steve,
          Competition is one factor for sure. I also think Jones has better movement skills laterally and is more NFL ready in coverage. We know from the tape that Jones’s athletic traits translate to the next level, but it is a more of a projection for Brown. A team may ask the same question and pass on Jones because they know they can get Brown later with little drop off in talent, maybe just a sacrifice in his readiness to contribute.
          Great Question!!!!

    • Stephen J says:

      Mike Gerken here is one for you out of these 3 which 2 would you choose
      1 Sterling Shephard
      2 Chris Jones
      3 Jason Spriggs

      • Mike Gerken says:

        Oh man, that is a tough question.
        I will put Spriggs up there for sure because of need, his fit, and his upside.

        After much thought, I will take Shepard. A couple reasons. I think Shepard is hands down the best route runner in this draft and I think he could play both inside and out, giving the team flexibility in their looks. Shepard could be really special in this offense.

        Jones is great and I think he has the potential to be a difference maker. In this draft however, I might be able to get someone comparable a little later in the draft.
        Really good question though. I am glad you didn’t put xavien howard on that list though, I would not have slept. :)

        • EdgeX says:

          Well if you did put Xavien Howard on that list I would still probably take Shephard and Jason Spriggs…BUT…

          Knowing the Pats and how much they value WR’s

          I’m betting if it was up to the Patriots they would take Xavien Howard and Jason Spriggs

          See problem solved!

          :-)

        • uknepatsfan says:

          Mike, won’t the Pats first 2nd rounder effectively be treated like a 1st rounder in terms of what they’re looking for?

          With the first pick they usually go for a player that they believe can come in and make an impact straight away. For whatever reason, WR’s don’t tend to come into the Pats system and contribute right away like they do on other teams (much to my annoyance).

          For that reason I’d find it odd if, in that scenario, they’d pick Sheppard over Howard or Jones. Both of those guys could come in straight away and contribute much more than Sheppard would be likely to.

          IMO Spriggs is truly a no-brainer if he was there when the Pats were up, so essentially the question in that scenario is: Jones/Howard v Sheppard for the second 2nd round pick?

          I also think Hogan is going to be nailed on which gives us Edelman, Amendola, Gronk and Hogan. Sheppard is unlikely to be displacing any of those guys this season.

          I guess you could argue that Spriggs won’t displace Vollmer this season, but you get the idea….

        • Mike Gerken says:

          I agree, in this scenario I take Howard and Spriggs. As far as Shephard is concerned UK, I think he is such a good route runner he would play this year. He may not displace anyone immediately but it would give the team some leverage with Amendola and he cut be a cap casualty.

        • Gerry says:

          This is where not having the first round pick that NE could trade back is crushing! Trade back, then trade up and NE drafts both of them.

          I do not believe Spriggs is on the board at #60. Shepard with TB12 could be something VERY special. If NE drafted him, then drafted another day-6 WR or two Brady will have more options in 2016. If folks have not looked at these late WRs, they should. The WR pool is not full of studs, but it runs deep.

          [late WR: Daniel Braverman, Nelson Spruce, Bralon Addison**, Demarcus Robinson*, Demarcus Ayers**, Marquez North, Devon Cajuste~, Keenan Reynolds]

          ~before 6th *risk **ST

    • Jim R says:

      Mike 7th Rounder LaQuan McGowan, BB cant find a niche for him??

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