Post Draft Scouting Report: Vincent Valentine, DT

If Valentine can consistently do what he did to this Iowa Hawkeye QB in the NFL, then he will have proven me wrong and be a good pick.

If Valentine can consistently do what he did to this Iowa Hawkeye QB in the NFL, then he will have proven me wrong and be a good pick.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

First, apologies to James Christensen, but I have to get my digs in on the Hawkeyes when I can. We finish up the Day 2 of the draft portion of the post draft series with a look at Vincent Valentine. This pick was the low point for me in the draft. I was still trying to pick my jaw up off the ground from the Brissett pick when I heard the selection. Sure, I got the position right, but certainly not the player. In the pre draft process, I was not a big fan of Valentine’s. Now that I have had a chance to watch more tape and do a more thorough investigation, my stance on this being a horrible pick has lessened, at least a little bit. Here are my full thoughts on Valentine.

Valentine certainly looks the part of a space eating nose tackle or one technique. With the additions and subtractions the team has made along the defensive line, he seems to fit the mold the Patriots are now looking for. He shows good lower body burst and upfield speed for a guy his size. He has long arms and plays with good football strength, showing the ability to handle double teams. He is not going to wow you with his stats, but his percentage of tackles for loss and sacks to tackles is really good. He has an impressive combination of size and athleticism.

Now, the big problem with Valentine is his motor. My initial notes for Valentine were all based on 2015 games and a majority of them were not great. He would flash here and there, but it was just too inconsistent to give him anything better than a late day 3 grade. After reading that he dealt with an ankle issue all year, I went back and watched some 2014 games and you saw a more consistent player with not near the concern with motor as his 2015 tape showed. Maybe the ankle forced him the inconsistency issues, but I have my doubts. When he is giving full effort, he flashes the ability to be a big bodied guy who can stop the run and give the team a little bit of interior disruption. When he is not giving full effort, he is a guy who is moved around way too easy. His fundamentals go out the door and he plays too high. His hand technique is all over the place. It is out of control and at times he can completely miss his target. Valentine needs to become more consistent in every facet of his game if he is going to have a shot at being a contributor.

I still do not get this pick. For a team that has created a culture through guys who contribute because of hard work and determination rather than relying on their natural gifts, this pick just does not fit. Then you add to the fact the Patriots used a top 100 pick on an underachiever leaves me scratching my head. That being said, it sounds like NFL teams and scouts were higher on Valentine than the outside draft community. Now, I know that Valentine does possess some rare physical and and athletic traits, and I am sure the team has the confidence that they can get this guy to play up to his athletic gifts, but I have my doubts. The one good thing is that the Patriots will not have to rely on Valentine to be a contributor this year and hopefully the veterans in that locker room can show him how to be a professional. When this pick was made, I absolutely hated it and now that I have had some time to read up on Valentine and watch more tape, I find myself only disliking the pick greatly, which is a step in the right direction. Valentine has a lot to prove to me personally, and I certainly hope he does.

21 Responses to “Post Draft Scouting Report: Vincent Valentine, DT”

  1. Russell says:

    Help me if you can with the BB ‘Hoodie” caption contest at go to my home page to give me a thumbs up……hopefully. :0)

  2. Yohy says:

    At least he’s not coming off two ACL surgeries. And that’s about the only positive I can find on this pick. Bill seems to be like that gambler who places $100 bet on a 50-1 horse in the Derby. If he hits it’s a huge win, but the odds are so long for a reason.

    I hope Valentine fares better than Brace, Cunningham, and Easley. I hope Grissom doesn’t join this list of busts. After Brady retires, the bill is going to come due on all these misses.

    And speaking of Brady, deep down he has to be upset over the latest draft day shenanigans. How does Brissett help this team this year? A RB like Dixon or Booker even as rookies could help by playoff time.

    OT was exposed in the Denver game, so let’s trade for and draft more guards. What?!?!?

    I was hoping Bill would build a stronger run game to take the pressure off Brady and help the defense but he must know something about Tyler Gaffney that we don’t.

    • acm says:

      Word on the street is Gaffney’s name in his previous life was … Jim Brown 😉

      • Yohy says:

        Doesn’t the person have to die first before their spirit get reincarnated in someone else?

        Is Jim Brown still alive? I know he’s in Cleveland but is he still alive?

        Seriously, I’m just angry that the Ravens picked Dixon before the Pats could.

    • Todti says:

      Two things:
      1) Brady might be angry, but everybody in and around Foxborough should know by now that BB never, NEVER, sacrifices the future for the present. That’s why the Patriots became this model of consistency and it’s why they drafted QBs that early lately. It’s also one of the reasons the Patriots been to the SB every 4 years or so and I think Brady appreciates that.
      2) How can you be afraid of Grissom becoming a bust? He actually played pretty well when given the chance last season. Even if he only slightly improves in his second and third seasons, he’ll by no means be a bust. He’s already past that stage. If you want to be concerned then pick Flowers, but even he shouldn’t be a bust because his ceiling is limited anyway. The best case scenario is that he’ll succeed Ninkovich as the run-stopping edge player, but even his floor is likely as a decent, cheap depth option.
      Actually, the 2015 draft could look really great in a couple of years. Brown will probably contribute for years to come, even if he won’t be a Pro Bowler. Grissom and Flowers are already promising or will be reliable depth options at least. Mason can be a stellar OG if his pass protection improves. And Roberts might at least be a #4 or #5 CB which you got in the 7th round and therefore is on a cheap contract. Plus Cardona who is a very good LS. The jury is still out on Jackson and I’m anxious to see which role BB designs for Richards. All in all it’s a decent draft, especially picking at 32 in each draft (without trades, of course).

  3. Russell says:

    Valentine is the most difficult pick to feel good about. He has skills, but you can’t teach a guy to player with a higher motor; He has it or he does not. Why did BB bring back Vellano? Hard work, high motor, plays with heart, smart, but limited skills.
    I see Valentine on the P-Squad at best.

  4. Todti says:

    I more or less agree with Mike on the last paragraph. I understand why the Patriots drafted a player like Valentine and I mock-drafted guys in that mold.
    Does anyone know whether the Patriots had a pre-draft meeting with him? That would certainly be reassuring considering the Patriots would be content with his character and work habits.

  5. steve earle says:

    Honestly Mike I really don’t feel any better about the Valentine pick then I did before. Just my gut but he reminds me of the kid they drafted from BC a few years ago. Same size, also taken far to early so I kind of expect the same results. Hope I’m wrong.

  6. Matt says:

    I like Brown and Pot Roast at NT. I think the Pats should have drafted Day to take Easley’s spot. I think Brown and Day would have made a great combo. Or even Pot Roast and Day. Day I good at stopping the run and he can get after the QB also.

    • steve earle says:

      Probably Day would have been the better pick I agree but if your talking about replacing Easley’s skill set rather then roster spot then I would have rather had Adolphus Washington. Either would have made sense to me.

    • Todti says:

      I really liked Day and I agree that Day+Brown would have made a nice combo, but apparently that’s not the style of DT they look for in their scheme. I think that traces back to the Patriots’ roster construction philosophy which BB mentioned this offseason. They look for players at positions that are undervalued right now so that they get higher quality for the same price. Those smaller, quicker DTs are becoming more common lately and prices are increasing quickly (Donald, Jackson, Atkins, McCoy) which is why I think the Patriots are tending in another direction now. I’m not sure whether the big cloggers are becoming devalued or the Patriots may have some other strategy in mind.

  7. Stephen J says:

    Has anybody else noticed this. There seems to be quite a few teammate reunions going on from this draft. BB double dipping in a different way this year.

    DL Woodrow Hamilton and CJ Johnson Ole Miss

    OL Joe Thuney and QB Jacoby Brissett NC State

    WR Devin Lucien and RB/WR DJ Foster Arizona State

    G Ted Karras and CB V’Angelo Bentley Illinois

    Which pair do you like the most

    For me its WR Devin Lucien and RB/WR DJ Foster

    • GM-in-Training says:

      It seems pretty clear that when the Pats scout a particular player, they end up scouting his entire team and program. If they like a college coach’s recruiting sensibilities, they tend to go back to the well, especially in later rounds or UDFA.

    • steve earle says:

      I agree Lucien and Foster peak my intrest the most. Not sure if it’s because of the skill position sets or because of the low rd/UDFA where BB often has found real gems or what? Be interesting to see how they turn out.

      • nomar says:

        Me too.

        Lucien was a player I mocked to the Pats so I had a personal feeling of elation and vindication when the Pats took him.

        D J Foster looks like a good kid and the kind of guy you can root for.

        Like most on here Valentine was a head scratcher for me but clearly teams are seeing something in him that normal pundits aren’t, which is not unusual.

        Valentine looks like the kind of pick that will either end up making BB look like a genius or a profligate fool.

  8. Stephen J says:

    Like you Mike I went back and did more looking and came away feeling slightly better but not much and definitely not for where they picked him. I wonder what NFL teams and scouts know or see that cause them to be higher on Valentine than the outside draft community. I am also curious to what the back up plan is in case he doesn’t pan out. I will end this on an up note looks like he has been given a cool nickname though Big Love.

    Big Love make us proud were rooting for you

  9. Jeff says:

    I would’ve liked Nile Lawrence-Stample better in the NT role. I had mocked him in the 6th, but he ended up going undrafted. I’ll be watching to see how his career unfolds vs. Valentine. Let’s see if the Pats go and spend another high pick at the position next year or if Valentine can be the guy and they can restock the position later in the draft with backups.

    • Todti says:

      Yeah, I had my eyes on that guy, too. Was hoping they would pick him up as an UDFA to have depth behind Valentine.

      • steve earle says:

        He’s at Cleveland right now but that could change. Someone to keep in mind for down the road.

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