It’s Officially Draft Season!

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

I needed a day. If you came to the site yesterday looking for some instant reaction to the Super Bowl, I apologize. I just couldn’t do it. I needed a day. That being said, there is a lot to be done between now and the start of the next season if the Patriots are going to make another run at ring number 6. For me personally, I am admittedly behind in my review of this draft class, but since I won’t be turning on a TV for the next few weeks to avoid anything and everything that was Sunday’s disappointing loss. This will be the one and only time I talk about the game, and then I am moving forward. I have some other exciting news to announce as well, but for now, lets review the game.

Obviously the headline during the game and subsequently after has been the Malcolm Butler situation. There is a good chance we never fully know what happened leading up to the game that Bill Belichick decided to not play Butler on defense. I, like most of you, do not believe for one minute that this decision was based solely on game plan. In no way does it benefit the team to take a guy off the field who has played the most defensive snaps for the team the past two years. Just like with an Offensive Line, a Secondary is built on trust and communication. When that is taken away hours, or maybe even minutes before the biggest game of the season, and for some players, the biggest games of their lives, nothing good can come of it. That showed on the field. I have no idea if playing Butler would have changed the outcome, because the rest of the defense looked terrible all night except one or two players. The question is, was that a product of the surprise benching? We will never know the answer. All I know is that unless we find out something much bigger than has been reported so far, Belichick cut his nose off to spite his face at the most crucial and inopportune times imaginable.

Not only did this have a negative affect on the team on Sunday, it could have far reaching ramifications in the future. Up until two days ago, the Patriots were the place to go for free agents looking to win or to rehab their image and game. Now, players could see something like this and be completely turned off by the idea of coming here because of the perception on how BB and the organization treated Butler, not only on Sunday, but throughout this final year of his contract.

Obviously, the offense was spectacular. Brady showed that he can hold up throughout a season still and still play at the highest of levels in the biggest of games. He truly is the GOAT. Gronk was Gronk in the second half, but I have to admit, he did not seem to have the same uplifting, no nonsense attitude we have come to expect. Even on his touchdown catches, I thought his celebration was subdued a bit. Hopefully him hinting about retirement was just a reaction to the loss and not something he is seriously considering. I still cannot believe the team moved the ball as well as they did and lost that game.

Finally, congratulations to both Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia on their new head coaching jobs. I hope they both have success, as long as it is not against the Patriots. This should be a very active and interesting off season for the Patriots. The rumors have been flying for weeks now about Brady and Belichick’s future. I think both will be back and I think it will be business as usual.

 

That’s it. I don’t want to talk about that Super Bowl or this season ever again. It is officially draft season. I am excited to announce that I will be getting some help moving forward. Jeff Fidler will be adding his thoughts on a variety of topics, including helping me out with some scouting reports. I will be posting his first reports later today. Jeff seems very knowledgeable and passionate about all things Patriots and will be an excellent addition to the team. Please give him a warm welcome. You can follow him on Twitter @j_fid as well.

16 Responses to “It’s Officially Draft Season!”

  1. steve earle says:

    Yup, I was right with my first thoughts on my mocks. Forget the last one, back to the future.

    1) Marcus Davenport DE/OLB Tex-San-Anto ( if available or trade down for a 2nd and 3rd, otherwise trade the 2 SF for a 2nd and 4th)

    Now let’s assume Bill trades down our 1st:
    2 SF) Duke Ejiorfor DE Wake Forest (Rush DE who can rotate in early)
    2 Td) Harrison Phillips DT/DE Stan. ( Taking Russell’s lead here, can play inside or edge)
    2) Andrew Brown DT Vir (DT to stack up run and get inside push on passes)
    3 Td) Marquis Haynes LB Miss. (Sets edge can Rush or drop, will rotate in early)
    3) Sione Teuhema LB So. Estn Lou. (another talented LB Inside or out)
    4) Ito Smith RB So. Estn Lou ( Lewis 2.0 Just in case)
    5 traded
    6) Coles Rayes SS N.Dak ( Good tackler, decent speed, compete for ST slot)

    • Claude Edouard says:

      Steve,
      It might be wishful thinking that Davenport would be available when it comes time for Patriots to pick and I think it’s highly unlikely that Bill would give up draft picks in order to move up for the chance to draft Davenport. Now if he were to fall all the way down to us at 31, great, but I can’t see that happening.
      Don’t know much about the other players you’re projecting in your mock draft but the heavy focus on defense is a must. Would love to see some scouting profiles on some of these projected picks. Now I’ve seen some folks argue that the problem throughout the season and even in the Super Bowl was not our front 7 but in the back end with our secondary, which I strongly disagree with. A secondary can only cover for so long if a QB has all day to stand in the pocket and survey the field and go through his reads like Foles was able to do.
      I noticed that you don’t have a QB on your list though. A lot of people are high on the QB out of Richmond based off of his Senior Bowl performance. If Patriots don’t address their QB situation through the draft how do you see them addressing this for the near future?

    • Andy says:

      Please stop trading down! If you think Davenport is the answer and he’s not going to be there move up and get him, they seem to do a better job of building the roster with late round and free agent picks!!

  2. steve earle says:

    Hooray! Josh McDaniel’s is back. Bill and Bob have stuck it to the Colts again. Now the question is what is the deal here, let the spec’s begin. Here is my theory: BB will coach one more season (maybe) then pass the HC job over to Josh while he handles the GM duties. How do you guys see it?

    • Claude Edouard says:

      Steve,
      I agree! However, a few thoughts come to mind. We all know about the NFL and its Rooney Rule. It’s a no-brainer that Josh cam back in order to become the next coach once Bill resigns or retires. With that being said, how will the Patriots be able to convince any minority candidates to interview when it’s clear that Josh is the next coach in waiting in order to show that they are complying with the Rooney Rule? There is also a lot of division right now with some players siding with Bill for benching Butler and some players siding with Butler in spite of his selfishness. Now of course they say winning cures everything, BUT, what happens if Patriots get off to a rocky start next season? What happens if the division from the Super Bowl rolls over into next season? Will there be an abrupt resignation or firing of Bill and the promotion of Josh? Would this keep the Patriots from having to go through any of the Rooney rules criteria? So many questions….????

      • steve earle says:

        You bring up some concerns but I think where McDaniels is and has been in the organization for years no one will be under any illusions about his being the next HC. If no black/minority applicant applies can’t see much league can do? If minority does apply and doesn’t get the job there might be an issue. Still I don’t see how it will change anything. One thing comes to mind is Mc Daniels could be signed as assistant HC once the season is under way and all other viable candidates are under contracts. Bill could then be promoted to GM and both positions would be filled. Kind of skirts the rule but can’t be actually braking it. Besides look what the Raiders pulled off so. Anyway likely nothing a good (shady) lawyer can’t fix.

  3. macspak says:

    McDaniels et al not leaving, shocking but great news!

  4. kevin z says:

    2nd Rasheem Green DE DL
    2nd QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
    2nd Andrew Brown DL NT
    3d, Darius Leonard LB
    4th Oren Burks Will LB if slips here
    4th Brandon Parker OT
    5th drawing a blank here lol
    6th Ryan Nall RB

    Full Mock think best trade 1 rd pick for more to help fill need areas.
    Front 7 top area needed as of now wait and see how off season unfolds

    • howie horvath says:

      Like the emphasis on D and LB. Andrew Brown was impressive in the Senior Bowl. Likewise, the QB you’ve picked also looked great in Senior Bowl and reminded me of Garoppolo a bit. Also think OT is another key need if they don’t resign Solder (if they do grab Fernandez or the Georgia T/G from the Senior Bowl. Missing a CB I’d say (maybe that 5th rd pick) especially as it looks M. Bulter is gone for next season.

      • kevin z says:

        Thanks Howie, Yea really tried stacking the front 7 up. I believe its a Huge need for next season and beyond. More Speed along with Versatility needed in our front 7 which why chose players I did.
        Yea CB in the 5th would be nice just not sure who..

    • steve earle says:

      Good one kevin, now send this right over to Bill (smiling). Really though I like it. You hit the big three DT,DE,LB. If bill takes Lauletta fine but if he doesn’t fine.

      • kevin z says:

        Thanks Steve I think BB would LOL at me. and would say son you got the positions right but wrong players haha..
        Building the front 7 a now and a future thing so drafting that way a key.
        Getting Versatile players helps for when injuries happen which is needed as we saw this past year.
        stacking the D will help greatly for when Brady drops at some point. D keeps you in games.
        Being versatile with some speed needs to be our new Defense going forward JMO though

  5. Russell says:

    Mock with trade; BB trades 1st to Detroit for; 2nd (51) 4th, 5th, so the Lions can pick, RB Derrius Guice.

    2nd (49ers) LB/edge Kemoko Turay
    2nd (lions) DL Harrison Phillips
    2nd , —– S Quin Blanding (special teams day one)
    3d, —— SS Terrell Edmunds (Bye Bye Richards!)
    4th (lions) OT Brian ONeil
    4th Comp. WR Allen Lazard (Joker TE )
    5th (lions) QB J.T. Barrett (future slot receiver)
    6th ,——- QB Matt Linehan

    • Andy says:

      Enough of trading down for marginalized depth the patriots need frontline impact players!!

    • steve earle says:

      Andy said it, “front line impact players”. Now if BB trades down #1 for a 2nd and a 3rd I’m good. But if he wastes any of those 5 picks on Saf’s who will ride the bench and play ST’s I’ll have some unkind words about it. I just don’t give a hoot or holler about “planning for the future”, the future is now to my mind.

  6. JH says:

    I’ve altered my draft trade so that we trade our SF pick instead of the first rounder, and receive a late 2nd and late 3rd.

    1st – DE Harold Landry, Boston College
    2nd (trade) – SS Kyzir White, West Virginia
    2nd – QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
    3rd (trade) – LB Darius Leonard, South Carolina State
    3rd – CB Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech
    4th – OT Brandon Parker, NC A&T
    6th – RB Ryan Nall, Oregon State

    I think we’ll be fine assuming BB, Brady, and Gronk are back next year. Let Butler go, sign a big and talented DT (Poe please), and resign all the other key contributors.

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