Building The Patriots Big Board: Cornerbacks and Safeties

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Well, we did it. We have made it to the final post in the Big Board Series. It has been a long, exhausting road and I for one am ready for the actual draft so I can see all this time and effort I put into this was a huge waste of time. We are still in a wait and see pattern when it comes to what is going to happen with Malcolm Butler, so the waters are sort of muddied in terms of need at the Cornerback position.

Position(s): Cornerback and Safety

Priority: (?) Cornerback, (low) Safety

Current Roster:

Cornerbacks:

Stephon Gilmore (age 26, signed through 2021)

Malcolm Butler (age 27, signed through 2017)

Eric Rowe (age 24, signed through 2018)

Cyrus Jones (age 23, signed through 2019)

Jonathan Jones (age 23, signed through 2018)

Justin Coleman (age 24, signed through 2017)

Safety:

Devin McCourty (age 29, signed through 2019)

Patrick Chung (age 29, signed through 2018)

Duron Harmon (age 26, signed through 2020)

Jordan Richards (age 24, signed through 2018)

Nate Ebner (age 27, signed through 2017)

Brandon King (age 23, signed through 2017)

Position Overview, Cornerback:

Both of these classes are strong. The Cornerback class is as deep as I can remember and we have not seen top end talent at the safety position like we do this year in quite some time. With the uncertainty of Butler, it is tough to gauge just how important it is to get another corner in the mix. If Butler does get traded however, the position might become the biggest need. While I don’t have big hopes for the year two jump from Cyrus Jones, maybe he will surprise us and be able to contribute. Eric Rowe played okay last year once he got immersed into the system, but he has his shortcomings and I am not sure I am comfortable going into the season with him as the #2 Corner.

Cornerbacks With A Draftable Grade:

Sidney Jones, Washington (6’0″, 186 Lbs): While Jones may not be able to contribute this year because of the injury, this could be one of those picks that pays off big long term. Prior to the injury, Jones was considered a Day 1 pick and maybe even the best Corner in the draft. If he happens to fall to #72, he may be too good of a value to not pick and stash for the season. He is an easy mover. He is fluid in his backpedal and transitions seamlessly, turning his hips and running without losing balance or momentum. He tracks the ball well and has good spatial awareness, riding the hip pocket of his man while maintaining focus on the ball. He is a play maker. He had nine interceptions in college, including two he took back for touchdowns. He is not afraid to come up and make a tackle in the run game. He is known for his leadership on a team full of stars and coaches say he loves to study film. He is thin and needs to bulk up. He can be pushed around by bigger receivers, giving them the spacing they need to make plays against him. He must get stronger to counteract this. Obviously, the ruptured Achilles is what makes him drop as he most likely will have to red shirt a year. Grade: 2nd/3rd round

Ahkello Witherspoon, Colorado (6’3″, 198 Lbs.): One of my favorite players in this entire draft. From a pure cover standpoint, he might be the best player I watched. He is so fluid for a guy his size and he rides the hip pocket of the guy he is defending easily which created an insane amount of pass breakups this year (23). I would like to see him come down with a few more turnovers though. I wrote him up earlier, so you can read more about him here: http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2017/03/scouting-report-ahkello-witherspoon-cb.html Grade: 2nd/3rd round

Desmond King, Iowa (5’10”, 210 Lbs): I know a lot of draft experts think King will make the move to Safety, but from what I saw, I think he at least deserves a shot at Corner. He may not have ideal size and speed, but I think his shortcomings there have been somewhat overblown. He is a very physical player who shows no fear coming up and being physical in run support. He is also physical in pass coverage as well. He makes up ground with his ability to change direction quickly. He is a smart player who reads the QB (sometimes will get him in trouble as well) and recognizes routes quickly, almost running the route for the receiver. He knows how to use his body well to force receivers off their route and creating smaller windows for QB’s to throw into without getting the attention of the refs. King as excellent ball skills as well. Does not have the recovery speed to stay with receivers who get past him. He may be a slot Corner or Safety at the next level. He will play too aggressive at times, which leads to penalties. King was a punt returner in college, but not sure he will have a role there in the NFL. Grade: 2nd/3rd round

Howard Wilson, Houston (6’0″, 184 Lbs): What I love about Wilson is his mindset. He plays with such confidence that it almost seems that QB’s are intimidated to throw his way. He backs that up with how he plays. He has good size for the position. He is smooth in his transitions with the ability to quickly come back to the ball. He is a playmaker, with 24 passes defended and nine interceptions. He does not have great long speed, but is adequate enough to play on the outside. He loves to hit and seems to enjoy helping out in the run game. He has no fear coming up and taking on bigger players and seems to relish in bringing them down. He can be overaggressive at times, biting on pump fakes and double moves. He needs technique work in his back pedal. Wilson tended to play with his hips open, almost shuffling at the snap. This lead to spacing issues, allowing too many completed passes underneath. I think a lot of Wilson’s game translates well into the Patriots system. Grade: 3rd round

Damonte Kazee, San Diego State (5’10”, 184 Lbs): I think what I said about Kazee shortly after the Super Bowl still holds true today, so if you haven’t read his scouting report or just want a refresher, here it is. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2017/02/scouting-report-damontae-kazee-cb.html Grade: 3rd/4th round

Cameron Sutton, Tennessee (5’11”, 188 Lbs):  Sutton is a smart player who reads and reacts to the play quickly. He has adequate size for the position with the versatility to play inside, outside, or even Safety at the next level. He is smooth in his transitions and is rarely fooled by double moves or complex routes. He tracks the ball well and has good hands, coming down with 7 interceptions over his career. He brings added value to a team as a punt returner and a team captain. Sutton does not have great speed for the position and will panic when receivers get past him, grabbing at receivers too much and getting flagged. He is willing to help in run support, but does not always wrap up the ball carrier, leading to missed tackles. Although he is not small, he lacks explosion to win contested throws against bigger players. Grade: 4th round

Shaquill Griffin, UCF (6’0″, 194 Lbs): Griffin has good height and long arms for the position. He is a smooth mover with the ability to transition out of his backpedal with little effort or wasted movements. He played both man and off coverage and look comfortable doing both. He does a nice job of staying in the hip pocket of his receiver with the ability to keep his hands off of them and not getting flagged. He tracks the ball well and does a nice job of getting his hands on the ball. Griffin struggled with quicker receivers and does not play to his timed speed. He is a willing tackler and is not a liability in run support. He needs to learn to play faster from a mental aspect. Grade: 4th/5th round

Brian Allen, Utah (6’3″, 215 Lbs.): Allen may have the best combination of physical attributes in this draft. Not only is he tall, but he has insanely long arms for someone at the position. He uses he fame well to seal off inside routes. He has very good ball tracking skills and uses his length to his advantage, getting his hands on a lot of balls. He is a long strider with the speed to handle NFL receivers on the outside. Allen plays like a Linebacker in run defense, showing no fear to come up and stick his nose in the fray and make a hit. He tested better than his film showed from a change of direction standpoint, but to me it looks like a technique issue more than anything. Allen relied heavily on his athletic gifts and was beat by savvy route runners. He is raw from a technical standpoint and is an older prospect, so can he learn quick enough to be productive early? Allen needs work as a tackler as well, looking to make the big blow rather than ensure the ball carrier goes down. He is intriguing and could be a Day 3 steal. Grade: 4th/5th round

Channing Stribling, Michigan (6’1″, 188 Lbs.): Stibling has good size and length for the position. He uses his length to his advantage and knocked down a lot of balls in college. He shows the ability to stick his foot in the ground and come back quickly to the ball. He is not afraid to mix it up in run support, but needs some refinement in his technique. Stribling does not have a ton of starting experience and needs some work from a technique standpoint, especially in his lower half. He did have very good production despite a limited sample size. Stribling needs to get stronger and add some bulk to his frame. He needs to be coached up in almost all facets of the game, but he showed marked improvement throughout his one year as a starter and his best football may be ahead of him. Grade: 5th round

Xavier Coleman, Portland State (5’10”, 189 Lbs.): Coleman has decent size, but with his skillset, he plays much bigger than his measurables. He plays the Cornerback position with a Linebacker mentality. He is excellent coming up and taking on ball carriers. He breaks down well and is a solid tackler in open space. In coverage, he is a little stiff in his transitions, but he competes well and got his hands on a lot of balls. He is comfortable in press and has the strength to knock receivers off their routes early in their routes, throwing off timing. He is physical with receivers, sometimes a little too physical and will get flags thrown his way. His testing showed he has the speed to stick with receivers downfield, but he does panic when players get past him. Has a heart condition that required open heart surgery in high school and medicals will be a major factor if he gets drafted or not. He has the raw physical and athletic skills to make it in the NFL and he plays the game the way the Patriots like their corners to play. Grade: 6th/7th round

Interesting UDFA Prospects:

Sojourn Shelton, Wisconsin (5’9″, 177 Lbs)

Nate Hairston, Temple (5’11”, 196 Lbs)

Dwayne Thomas, LSU (5’10”, 196 Lbs)

Michael Davis, BYU (6’1″, 190 Lbs)

Josh Thorton, Southern Utah (5’10, 184 Lbs)

Cole Luke, Notre Dame (5’11”, 198 Lbs)

 

Position Overview, Safety:

Like I said above, the Safety group seems pretty set, but Richards has not shown much and the team may look to make a change with his roster spot.I don’t see the team using an early pick on the position, but we all know that Patriots staff love to pick that obscure Safety that most people think should have gone 3, 4, maybe even 5 rounds later, so we must take that into account. I fully admit, I struggle scouting this position. Without a lot of access to All 22 tape, it is difficult to tell what the prospects responsibilities on each play are, so take my rankings with a grain of salt.

Josh Jones, NC State (6’1″, 220 Lbs): Jones has prototypical size for the position. He has the speed and explosion to stick with receivers down the field. He has the strength and mentality to come up into the box and be a good player in run support. Jones has the strength to take on blockers as well as the movement skills to evade blockers to get to the ball carrier quickly. Jones tracks the ball well and got his hands on a lot of balls. He is a little stiff in his transitions and receivers can gain separation on cuts. He can be too aggressive at times, peaking into the backfield too often and losing track of his assignments. Jones has an intriguing blend of size, speed and toughness to be able to play both Free and Strong Safety in the NFL. Grade: 2nd/3rd

Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech (5’11”, 197 Lbs.): Woods is a player I think I am higher on most and that is why I put him on here. Woods is an extremely smart player who is also very fundamentally sound for the position. These are two traits I think the Patriots find most important in their safeties. He is quick to recognize the play and reacts quickly to the ball. Shows good route recognition and will run the route for the receiver. Woods is a playmaker in just about every way possible. He had 14 interceptions, 6 force fumbles, 32 passes defended with 3 touchdowns in his college career. He excelled on special teams as well. He is a solid tackler who takes proper angles when chasing the ball. He does not have great measureables, but I don’t think that will matter to the Patriots. Woods will benefit from time in an NFL strength and conditioning program. I am not sure he goes as high as I have him graded, so he could be a good draft value. Grade:3rd round

Eddie Jackson, Alabama (6’0″, 201 Lbs): Jackson is the forgotten man because he broke his leg during the season and has not been able to test. He is a former corner that still moves like one at the Safety position. He showed excellent range and fluid hips to line up in man if need be. Jackson shows excellent ball skills and should be a playmaker at the next level. He was known as a team leader and voted a team captain on a team that was full of NFL talent. Jackson can come in and contribute immediately on special teams and could be a weapon as a punt returner. Jackson needs to add mass to his frame and become a more physical player. He struggles in run defense and his tackling must improve. He has had some major medical issues in the past and that could scare off teams. If he is healthy though, he could be a steal. He has first round traits. Grade: 3rd round

John Johnson, Boston College (6’0″, 208 Lbs): Johnson is a versatile athlete who has lots of experience at several spots in the secondary. He has good size for the position and above average footwork because of his time at Corner. He shows good range and quickness to cover ground quickly.  He lines up his targets with good angles and likes to lay the wood on the ball carrier. He is aggressive in coverage and does a nice job of knocking the ball away from the receiver. Johnson is knows for his work ethic and intelligence. He was a team captain as well. Johnson needs work to be a better fundamental tackler instead of looking to make the splash hit all the time. He can get back on his heals when in coverage, allowing receivers gain the necessary space to make plays.  Grade: 4th/5th round

Tedric Thompson, Colorado (6’0″, 204 Lbs): Thompson is a good sized athlete with good speed and range to be a playmaker in the NFL. He is quick to read the QB and reacts quickly to the ball in the air. He has excellent ball skills, with 47 passes defended and 13 interceptions in his college career. He is a threat to take the ball back to the house whenever he has the ball in his hands. Thompson has the physical mentality you look for from a safety and he has no issues coming up and helping in run support. He needs to wrap up ball carriers rather than diving and going low, because that led to too many missed tackles. He is a little stiff in his lower half and will give up space to good route runners. Thompson likes to watch the QB a little too much, leading to miss reads and being overaggressive. Grade: 5th round

Nathan Gerry, Nebraska (6’1″, 218 Lbs.): Gerry is a rocked up, in the box type Safety. He looks like he is shot out of a cannon when coming downhill to fill gaps or cover underneath routes. He is a smart player who reads and reacts to what he sees quickly. He is a fundamentally sound player who takes good angles and rarely allows player to get behind him. He has above average ball skills and put up Linebacker type numbers as far as tackles go. He lacks fluidity in his lower half and struggles when asked to cover downfield. He looks much more comfortable the closer he gets to the line of scrimmage and teams need to keep him in the box for him to be successful. He shows good range but struggles when his back is to the QB. Gerry was a two time team captain. Grade: 5th/6th round

Interesting UDFA Prospect:

Chuck Clark, Virginia Tech (6’0″, 208 Lbs)

David Jones, Richmond (6’1″, 205 Lbs)

Final Thoughts:

My first thought is that I am glad this exercise is over. Talk about an hours eater. It was fun and it helps me get a better feel for the class and the guys I like. There are a lot of Corners I like and I think the Safety class is strong as well. I think Corner will be the focus, but if a Safety slips, I could see the Patriots using a pick on another one.

 

I have a few more things I want to get out before Thursday, but if you have anything specific you would like to read, leave a comment and I will try and get to it. Thanks to all of you who have read my work.  I want to thank you all who have commented as well. A lot of great posters on here with a lot of great information.  Many of them write other places as well, so do not forget to check out their work. Happy Draft Week!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

68 Responses to “Building The Patriots Big Board: Cornerbacks and Safeties”

  1. Mike Gerken says:

    Okay, I did my first mock draft of the year over at fanspeak. Here were the results. I used Jonah Tuls board.
    72. Adam Shaheen, TE- TE binkie and with some development, could be Gronk lite.

    96. Ahkello Witherspoon, CB- I love his size and cover skills. Needs to bulk up and be a more willing tackler, but has shut down corner upside

    131. Daeshon Hall, Edge- Bigger edge player/defensive end type with good size and length. Would fill a similar role to Chandler Jones

    183. Joe Mathis, Edge- double dip at edge, but 2 guys with a different style. Mathis would be Rob Ninkovich’s heir apparent.

    200. Xavier Woods, S- I think I said all I need to say about him above. This would be insane value. Woods is vastly underrated.

    239. Grover Stewart, DT- Insane measureables with crazy upside. I think he goes much sooner than this in reality.

    Overall, I would love this draft. I missed out on all the Tackles which is not ideal.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      I like all your picks except first one #72 I don’t think he played at a high level and that
      will show up the NFL.

      Enjoy the Draft!

    • GM-In-Training says:

      I like it. I’d take Hall ahead of Witherspoon, but otherwise, looks good to me.

    • steve earle says:

      I like it too but agree wit GM, Hall ahead of Witherspoon.

  2. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriot Mock Draft and Predictions 20.0
    Mike Gillislee will be a strong addition Patrions giving them a great backfield.
    Butler goes to Saints for a 2nd and 3rd round pick.
    2 Cameron Sutton CB Tennessee
    3 Eddie Jackson S Alabama
    3 Jordan Willis DE Kansas St.
    3 Zach Banner G USC
    4 Jarron Jones DT Notre Dame
    5 Jordan Evans LB Oklahoma
    6 Sam Tevi OT Utah
    7 Blake Jarwin TE Oklahoma St.

    My final Predictions experts say Patriots won Free Agency and now win the Draft.

  3. Stephen J says:

    Mike what are your thoughts on Shaquill Griffin he was another one I was eyeing.

  4. Russell says:

    PROSPECTS THE PATRIOTS WILL DRAFT; PER MY DRAFT BOARD IN NO ORDER;
    DE Evan Schwon
    OT Will Holden
    S Eddie Jackson
    DT Dalvin Tomlinson
    CB Jack Tocho
    LB Eric Wilson
    My wild card; CB/S Desmond King in a trade up of some kind.
    That’s my finial group, totally wrong the last two years, so hope to fair better.
    Thanks to Mike, (Kareem Hunt Gerken), Stephen, and all of the group for their draft comments!!!!

    • steve earle says:

      Don’t feel bad Russell we’re all wrong 99% of the time and you and Stephen J at least bring tons of prospects we would likely never hear of otherwise so a big THANKS to the two of you.

      • steve earle says:

        Mike not leaving you out your the cog that makes it all happen year after year. Great Job Thanks!

        • Mike Gerken says:

          No worries, I to look forward to questioning why I put so much time into this process after the Patriots take 6 or 7 players who are not on my radar at all. Its okay, I love the process and love learning new ways to look at things.

    • Russell says:

      I ran my draft trade idea for the Patriots at footballnation.net in an article.

      • Mike Gerken says:

        I have tried several times to post over there but I keep getting an error, so I will comment on your mock here.
        First, let me pick my jaw up off the floor. I don’t want to spoil it for the rest, but that scenario from a Patriots perspective would not make me feel warm and fuzzy. I like the players, but not as high first round picks.
        I commend you on thinking outside the box and doing something different.

        • Russell says:

          yes they are working on the site (footballnation.net) so you CAN’T leave a comment. BB may make a trade on draft day, he may have to use a player.(NOT Butler or Garoppolo) Moving into the second round to get a targeted player.

        • Russell says:

          your jaw hitting the floor; PERFECT I nailed a BB draft!!!! :0)

  5. Stephen J says:

    the Pats are showing “big interest” in Florida S Marcus Maye, but need to get into the 2nd round

    Athletic Comparison Patrick Chung vs Marcus Maye

    Patrick Chung……………Marcus Maye
    5’112″…………………….5’115″
    212 lbs……………………207 lbs
    4.57………40…………….4.47
    1.56…..10 Yard Split……1.57
    34″………Vert……………33 1/2″
    9’11″……Broad…………..9’10”
    4.24…..20 Shuttle………4.18
    7.11…..3 Cone………….7.07

    I like this personally he is one of two Safeties I was eyeing.

    • Stephen J says:

      Flexible Safety Run stuffer drop back and pass defense

      https://twitter.com/ChiefsReporter/status/851505981192364036

    • steve earle says:

      Is safety really priority? I think most agree it’s DE/LOB. .

      • macspak says:

        Agree. Seems odd that with other priority needs we would spend scant draft resources to move up to grab a S. Plus, since when do the Pats share their draft intentions with the public?

      • Stephen J says:

        How many times have we thought a position was a priority and the draft was deep in that position and BB didn’t address it in the draft. Not saying that is the case here just that it maybe. Now I like him as a player and think he would be a good Chung replacement but he is not without his issues. His biggest one is he has a tendency to bite on double moves by WR’s to often and get burnt now is that correctable I don’t know. I’ve had him going in the later part of round 2 to mid part of round 3. The Pats have shown interest in him on a couple of occasions so maybe the story is true or maybe he is being used as a decoy to get someone to fall to them and get the guy they really want which maybe the case here. We will have to wait and see.

      • Mike Gerken says:

        I don’t think Safety is a priority, but I think this staff values the position and if one they like is there when they pick, I could see them picking one. Also, don’t fall for the physical and athletic freaks, they will take a smart player with certain intangibles over that. That is why I think Xavier Woods could be high on the Patriots draft board and wouldn’t be shocked if he was the pick at 72.

    • Russell says:

      I like Maye as well, but I think Desmod King would be my choice at S, but Baltimore wants him in the 2nd round. #47 Patriots will need to trade up to get either of these guys.

  6. Russell says:

    GM said it best look for 10-15 undrafted guys in camp this year.
    Also with only 6 draft picks I’m projecting BB trades 3d #72 & 3d #96 & 6th #200 to New Orleans for 2nd #42. NOW I know that’s alittle light based on the trade chart, HOWEVER this will allow the Saints 4 draft picks in the 3d round, without a 4th round pick.
    This will allow BB to get a targeted player at #42, IF he see’s his guy is available, IF Not No Trade.
    Best bet’s; DE Jordon Willis, CB/S Desmond King, DE Tarell Basham, LB T.J. Watt, CB Fabian Moreau, LB Jared Davis, or ?????/?
    Don’t look for trade of Butler or Garoppolo.

  7. Stephen J says:

    Hunter Dominick Response

    I had him going with our late now only 5th round pick mainly due to the lack of scheme versitily.
    As far as age goes I didn’t knock him for that there are plenty of 5 year/redshirt players when they are 2-3 years older I knock them mainly because they will be coming into the league at an age where they need 1-2 years to adjust and then they finish their 1st contract and they are starting to be looked at as getting old so you basically have them for 2-3 good/prime years where most of their prime was spent in college.
    As far as health goes yes he missed a total of 8 games during his sophomore and junior years with shoulder issues but they weren’t major/chronic/degenerative needing surgery type.
    His playing style and lack of experience is what I believe led to his injuries. As he gained more experience and played smarter he was able to stay healthy his senior year. He is in a ILB body playing a DE position. Whoa hold on a second. I was looking at him as an OLB/DE type player but what if he could play ILB and be Dont’a Hightowers backup replacement since he has injury issues. Lets do a comparison

    Hunter Dimick…………….Dont’a Hightower
    6’030″………………………6’022″
    268 lbs……………………..265 lbs
    4.75………….40…………..4.68
    1.64………10 Yard Split….1.66
    28″………..Vert……………33″
    9’01″………Broad………….9’09”
    4.13………20 Shuttle……..4.64
    7.15………3 Cone…………7.55
    38**……..Bench…………..33

    ** Arm Length question/benefit how much
    What are the actual arm length’s of both Hunter and Dont’a ???
    It seems to me that Hunter has more lateral speed while Dont’a has more explosiveness
    Does this translate from this one clip I would say yes
    https://twitter.com/MarkDulgerianOS/status/845272609252007942

    but that is only one clip and most other clips and tape I’ve seen is from that outside position. What about you who have watched more tape do you think it’s a stretch to think he could play Hightowers ILB position or is he more effective being on the outside in space.

    • Russell says:

      Interesting Idea about Dimick, I would compare him to Ninkovich. It is a totally different read/react so hard to compare.

      • Stephen J says:

        Here is Rob Ninkovich and Hunter Dimick side by side comparison

        Rob Ninkovich……………..Hunter Dimick
        6’031″……………………….6’030″
        260 lbs………………………268 lbs now at 274
        4.93………….40……………4.75
        1.69……….10 Yard Split….1.64
        34 1/2″…….Vertical……….28″
        9’8″…………Broad…………9’1″
        4.18………..20 Shuttle……4.13
        6.96………..3 Cone……….7.15
        23…………..Bench………..38
        31″…………Arm Length…..????

        • Russell says:

          Thanks Stephen! I that Dimik is more of a Ninkovich type, than Hightower, the 3-come and 20yd. and 10 yd. time is what I would look at. Interesting, just not sure about Dimik, not sure why, tape is good.

  8. Antigonus says:

    Honestly look at the corners the last three years, they all stink ! I keep hearing “strong draft, deep depth” who buys into it ? The Patriots to me should be smart in their evaluation: good hands, tackling, hips, balance, downfield acceleration, sideline to sideline speed and durability. The better corners IMO are from the smaller programs.

    • Stephen J says:

      I buy into the depth aspect in this regards. It is deep in ave to slightly above average talent but shallow in elite overall play making talent. There are many players that (because of above average abilities in areas that don’t match the position they play in but use it unconventionally) can make plays. They will be the type of player that quietly goes about doing his job making plays here and there to stick around the league. That being said there will be a few in this group that will become very good players now who will they be only time will tell.

      • Antigonus says:

        So basically mediocre draft class. Not surprised, Caseiro’s comments really tell me this is as bad as draft edition as it gets. Not many players pro ready

        • Stephen J says:

          I wouldn’t say Pro Ready per say really the only Pro Ready players are usually 1st maybe some 2nd rounders in certain drafts but this is a great Depth class draft. Players who can fill in to give a starter rest or in case of injury but not necessarily a starter themselves. Some will remain depth players and some will become starters.

  9. Mike Gerken says:

    It will be interesting to see if Jabril Peppers falls into the Patriots range with his diluted drug test at the combine.

    • acm says:

      Seems to me I am in the minority out there who thinks Peppers is hugely overrated as a football player lol

      • Antigonus says:

        He comes from an overrated program.

        • acm says:

          I have no dog in this fight, just see him as a gadget player, who never settled in a position in college for a reason as he seems to lack the instincts for a safety or nickle LB.

      • steve earle says:

        Over rated or not the major needs DE&OLB corresponds so well with the talent/values available for our two 3rd rd picks I just can’t see Bill doing anything other then taking them at those times. I know Bill can’t be predicted, still.

    • Russell says:

      Nope would not touch Peppers, no-way!

    • Stephen J says:

      I will give him this much He deliberately played out of position to help the team at the request of coaches. Now this test failure will most likely knock him out of the 1st round talk which may benefit him because teams will now be more willing to put him where he may play best whether that be on Offense/ST’s or Defense/ST’s. Personally he is good with the ball in his hands use him as a RB/ST’s player. His pass protection from playing defense should(??) be better you would think and there wouldn’t be as steep a learning curve as say WR. Personally I wouldn’t take him because I think he is going to be overdrafted because I’m viewing him as a RB who hasn’t proven himself as one yet.

  10. steve earle says:

    Well now that the draft pick question is settled and I can reveal my secret formula for draft success. Edge is the key and so, in order of value I have:

    3#72) Jordan Willlis OLB Kan.St.
    TJ Watt OLB Wis.
    TYUS Bowser OLB Hou.
    Deashon Hall DE Tex.A&M
    Demarcus Walker DE Fla.St.
    Tarell Basham DE Ohio

    3#92) Joe Mathus DE Wash
    Duke Riley OLB LSU.
    Ryan Anderson OLB Ala.
    Dalvin Tomlinson DT Ala.
    Chris Warmley DT Mich.
    Eddie Vanderdoes DT UCLA

    If we select an OLB at the 72nd pick then the DE’s go to the top of the 92 nd pick
    If we select a DE at the 72nd pick then the OLB group goes to the top of the 92nd
    If other any of above that may slide into the 4th. Otherwise the 4th:

    4#131 Vincent Taylor DT Okla.St.
    Davon GodChaux DT LSU
    John Johnson S BC
    Eric Wilson ILB Cinn
    Julien Davenport OT Bucknell
    Conor McDermott OT UCLA
    Carrol Phillips OLB Ill.
    Dwain Smoot OLB Ill.7
    Herein my hopes are we have an OLB, a DE and a (DT or an OT) The final three again considering for slipping but not cast in stone Would be:

    5#183 Samson Ebukan OLB E.Wash.
    6#200 Xavior Coleman CB Port.St.
    7#239 Javarius Leamon OT S.Car.St.
    Not really a mock but a formula. Best I can do given the abundance of prospects arould the 3rd and 4th.

    • Tommy G says:

      I like your choices for DE but I like to add Alex Anzalone LB UCLA. I think we need more speed on the defense. We have enough power with High,Flowers,and Ealy but after seeing Deion Jones and Grady Jarrett on Defense. I think we could use a little more speed. Coverage linebacker who can be a more disciplined Collins would be awesome. As for safety, I really would like them to use Eric Rowe more as a safety sort DMC like conversion but he plays more physical so he could feel Chung’s shoes.

    • Russell says:

      Holey smokes lots of good prospects there! OT Will Holden is a lock, you heard it from me. :0)

      • Stephen J says:

        I agree with you Russell he is a lock to be drafted by whom and when I don’t know.

      • steve earle says:

        Don’t know, lots of scouts saying he’s a carer back up most likely. Nothing wrong with that except we already have a couple of those on board.

        • Stephen J says:

          Most of these OT are going to be career backups as you say. Holder is just one of the best ready backups(plug and play player) coming out of the class. You can use him earlier as a situational backup than most(Still needs work of course). That being said I am not saying others won’t become better than him in the long run with training.

        • steve earle says:

          I agree Stephen but we need to remember there is always some vets that get cut during the summer that can fill those backup rolls. I’m not anxious to spend above a 6th on an OT this draft. Other prospects at positions who can contribute earlier available above that imo.

  11. Bob says:

    Why not put Rowe at SS, add FA McCourty at CB, and draft the injured CB Jones to stash?

  12. GM-In-Training says:

    I’m starting to think the Pats think this is such a thin-at-top-but-wide-at-bottom draft class that they can mostly play UDFA roulette to fill the bottom 2-4 guys on their roster.

    At this point, they draft ~6 guys, and get to 71 players. They grab a few veteran FA after June 1st (to avoid impacting compensatory selections), and still have to hire about 15 UDFA. They’ll waive some of those and quickly pick up other UDFA, so by the end of training camp, they’ll probably have had 20-25 different UDFA in camp total.

    Of their 6 draft picks, 3 or 4 make the 53, 2 make the PS. That makes the odds of 2-3 UDFA getting on team likely, instead of the usual 1.

  13. Mike Gerken says:

    Gillislee is officially a Patriot!

  14. steve earle says:

    Okay, It’s past 4:00 pm so what has Buffalo decided? Inquiring minds and all that.

    • GM-In-Training says:

      Buffalo took the 5th-rounder. The Pats have reasonable depth at running back, 6 remaining picks, and, I think, about $17M in cap space left.

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