Building The 2018 Patriots Big Board: Off Ball Linebackers

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Linebacker might be the one position fans agree on as being a position of need for the Patriots. After Hightower got hurt last year, the unit was….well, not very good. The team tried a lot of different combinations and in the end, they just didn’t have the talent on the roster to be able to do all the things the team wanted to do and require from the position. I have to imagine that the team will look to add someone at the position early in the draft and there are some guys who fit what the Patriots like to do at Linebacker.

Position: Off Ball Linebackers (Inside and Outside)

Priority: High

Current Roster:

Dont’a Hightower (age 28, signed through 2020)

Derek Rivers (age 22, signed through 2020)-edge

Marquis Flowers (age 26, signed through 2018)

Kyle Van Noy (age 27, signed through 2019)

Elandon Roberts (age 23, signed through 2019)

Harvey Langi (age 25, signed through 2019)

Nicholas Grigsby (age 25, signed through 2018)

 

Position Overview:
When healthy, Hightower is one of the better Linebackers in the league. That is a big caveat with him however. Van Noy has done a nice job and has developed his game better, but he has his struggles against the run. The team was high on Langi last year, but a car accident derailed his rookie year and is still an unknown commodity. Elandon Roberts is an old school thumper with limited athletic ability. Teams have taken advantage of him when he is on the field. Rivers is more of an edge pass rusher and while Flowers showed some flashes, he is probably better suited to special teams. Basically, what I am saying is that this group could use an influx in talent. My focus was on well rounded players who are athletic enough to handle today’s pass happy NFL.

Linebackers With A Draftable Grade:

 

Rashaan Evans, Alabama

The Patriots have had luck with LB’s from Alabama before and there is the obvious Saban/Belichick connection. Evans has a thick frame to hold up in the NFL. He diagnoses plays quickly and has the speed and short are quickness to get to the ball quickly. He is very physical in all aspects of the game with the ability to fight through blocks and put a hit on the ball carrier. He is a student of the game and has a very well rounded game. Has the athletic ability and enough pass rush moves to get after the passer. He plays with good balance and footwork to drop into coverage. Evans comes downhill hard and can get himself out of control, leading to missed tackles. He needs to learn to play with more body control and not be so aggressive in everything he does. He has to develop patience. Evans can rush the passer, but does not have the length or fluid movements to be consistently productive in that role. He has dealt with some injuries including a recurring groin injury that kept him out of Alabama’s pro day. Grade: 1st/2nd Round

 

Fred Warner, BYU

I wrote up Warner earlier in the process and you can read his full write up here http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2018/02/scouting-report-fred-warner-lb.html. I think Warner is a great fit for the Patriots because he has great experience in coverage. He has great range and moves really well in all directions. I also like his potential coming down hill against the run and maybe as a situational pass rusher. He does not have a lot of experience in those roles, but he showed he can do it well when given the opportunity. Grade: 2nd Round

 

Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

LVE has ideal size and athleticism to play Linebacker in the NFL. Obviously from his testing you can see that he moves well and can cover ground quickly. He looks comfortable in his back pedal and playing in space. He locates the ball quickly and can quickly get where he wants to go. LVE plays hard on every play and is known for the time he puts into his game, both on and off the field. He has transformed his body into the ideal Linebacker. The tape shows that he does not always trust what he sees and is a hair late in reacting to what he sees. He is raw from a technique standpoint and needs to learn how to use his hands better to be able to get off blockers. Most aspects of his game need refinement, but tape showed improvement even in season and his best football is probably ahead of him. With his traits, he has the potential to be special if he continues to develop the finer points of the game and learns to trust what he sees. Grade: 2nd round

 

Lorenzo Carter, Georgia

Carter is an athletic freak. Guys his size should not be able to run and move the way he does. He explodes out of his stance when rushing the passer and has great acceleration in pursuit situations. He has long arms to take on blocks and the speed and change of direction skills to work around blockers. He is a high motor, high effort player who was willing to do and excelled at everything he was asked. While Carter is an impressive athlete, he lacks the sand in the pants to consistently take on blockers and set the edge. He can be overaggressive at times and overpursue plays. Despite all his athletic gifts, was not overly productive as a pass rusher and needs to develop his pass rush moves. He needs to focus on adding strength to his game to go with his athleticism. Carter is all athlete right now that does not have a true home on the football field. If the right team gets a hold of him and allows him to focus on his development at one position, he could be a special talent. In the Patriots scheme, I think he could be used similar to Jamie Collins. Grade: 2nd round

 

Darius Leonard, South Carolina State

Leonard is a rangy Linebacker with good size and length. He shows excellent later movement to slide down the line and make the play. He shows excellent range with a non stop motor, making plays all over the field. He was always around the ball and put up incredible numbers in college. Leonard needs to continue to get stronger to hold up in the NFL. He plays with tunnel vision and can be fooled by misdirection. He has long arms, but does not really know how to use them to his advantage. If he can get stronger and play with better awareness, he has the physical and athletic attributes to be a 3 down linebacker. Grade: 3rd/4th round

 

Jack Cichy, Wisconsin

Cichy is a smooth mover with excellent range. He has the speed and acceleration to get anywhere on the field quickly. He plays with excellent balance and is one of the better form tacklers at the position. He fights hard to work through blocks and has a team first attitude to do all the little things needed to be successful. He looks comfortable playing in space with the size and speed to handle NFL Tight Ends. He is a blue collar guy who is willing to play through injury and was a team captain. The major red flag with Cichy is his injury history. He missed half of 2016 and all of 2017 due to major injuries. He does not have ideal size to take on blocks and consistently win. When Cichy is on the field, he plays smart, tough and fast and would be a great addition to any Linebacker corp. The problem is the when part of that sentence. Can the Patriots afford to have another injury plagued LB on the roster? Grade: 4th round

 

 

Shaquem Griffin, UCF

By now, we all know the story regarding Griffin. He has overcome so much that to be at this point is amazing. I am not sure what the reality is for his future as an NFL player, but his work ethic and attitude alone would be a great addition to any locker room. Don’t get me wrong, his tape is really good. He is very fast. He seems to be shot out of a cannon towards the football. He has the body control and flexibility to rush the passer. He did better than I expected taking on blocks. Griffin is a smooth athlete that looks comfortable dropping into zones.  He is a high character, high motor player that looks to prove he belongs on every single play. Obviously, only having one hand brings certain limitations. He is also undersized and it will always be a struggle to disengage and fight through blocks. He may never have a traditional role outside of special teams, but could be a subpackage type player, which is becoming more prevalent these days. Grade: 4th/5th Round

 

Hercules Mata’afa

Talk about an intriguing player. If you unaware of Hercules’s game, he actually played DT for Washington State. At just over 6’2 and 255 lbs, obviously he is going to be making a position change in the NFL. On tape, he shows explosion out of his stance. He plays with a low center of gravity and good balance to sneak under big Offensive Lineman. He is a smart player who keeps his head on a swivel to quickly locate and attack the football. He has very active hands to keep Olineman off him. He has a wrestling background and it shows on tape. He is a high effort guy with lots of production. The big question is where does Mata’afa play at then next level. He doesn’t have great size or length even for the Edge or Off Ball Linebacker position. Both will be new positions and he will have a large learning curve. He does not have the length or the strength to win the point of attack and seal off the edge. Ultimately he may be a situational pass rusher, but he does have the instints, quickness, and coordinated footwork to get a shot at Linebacker ala Teddy Bruschi. Grade: 4th/5th Round

 

Christian Sam, Arizona State

While Sam might not have ideal height and length for the position, he is not small. Sam is quicker than fast. He is extremely intelligent and diagnoses and reacts to plays quicker than most, making him look even faster. He is built with a low center of gravity and does a nice job of playing through trash. Sam as good footwork and balance, looking smooth and comfortable playing in space. He is strong, with the ability to come up to the line of scrimmage to make plays. Sam is a reliable tackler as well. Obviously does not have ideal measurements for the position and it shows up on tape. He can be moved by bigger opponents and doesn’t have the arm length to disengage. He tries to avoid taking on blocks, which leads to being out of position on plays. He missed the entire 2016 due to injury. Grade: 4th/5th round

 

Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson

If you have read any of my previous year’s big board work, you would have seen a lot of guys like O’Daniel on that list. He is undersized, but lightning quick. He has the speed to beat opponents to the spot to make plays. He is a smart player who can diagnose plays quickly and get a head start to where he wants to go. He did a lot of blitzing at Clemson and was very good at it, using good timing to disrupt plays. He is smooth in coverage with quick change of direction skills. He is a tough minded player who will mix it up and hit hard. He was a team leader and a very productive player for a team full of NFL talent. Size is the obvious concern and when blockers get their hands on him, he struggles to disengage. He lacks the size and power to be consistently come up and take on blocks to stop the run. I am not sure his final role in the NFL is more of a in box Safety than at Linebacker. Either way, he is a smart football player who can contribute if he is put into the right situations. Grade:4th/5th round

 

Oren Burks, Vanderbilt

Everything I just wrote for O’Daniel, think the opposite for Burks. They are similar from an athletic ability standpoint, with both possessing good speed and lateral movement skills. Burks however, has the more prototypical build for the position. He has long arms and the upper body strength to take on blocks. He looks comfortable in space (played some Safety) with the speed and size to man up with bigger receivers down field. He was a two year captain and is well known for his off field accolades. He has scheme and position versatility and could be a true chess piece in the right defense. Burks does not always trust what he sees and can be a tick late in reacting to plays. He consistently took false steps, which can lead to big plays at the next level. He is raw from an instinctual aspect and his processing speed must improve. Burks has all the physical and athletic skills to be a very good player in the NFL, he just needs some refinement to his game both mentally and from a technique standpoint. Grade: 5th Round

 

Interesting UDFA prospects:

Joel Lanning, Iowa State

Frank Ginda, San Jose State

Matt Thomas, Florida State

Garret Dooley, Wisconsin

 

Overall Impressions:

This is one of the higher needs for the Patriots and unfortunately, this LB class is not very deep. There are some intriguing players, but most of the guys in this class have more question marks than answers. There are a few that can come in and be major contributors right away, but most are either limited physically or need time to develop. I could see the team using multiple picks on this position to get as many bites at the apple so to speak. Hopefully they chose correctly because the team could use some youth and athleticism at the position.

 

 

48 Responses to “Building The 2018 Patriots Big Board: Off Ball Linebackers”

  1. Daniel Sullivan says:

    Possible trade Patriots Mock Draft.
    1 Harold Landy DE Boston College
    1 Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame
    2 Traded with a 6th round pick to Texans for 3rd round picks 80and 98 also 4th round pick
    103.
    2 Malik Jefferson LB Texas
    3 From Texans Mark Walton RB Miami(Fla)
    3 Kylie Fitts DE Utah
    3 From Texans Josey Jewell ILB Iowa
    4 From Taxans Chase Litton QB Marshall
    6 To Texans
    6 Trayvon Henderson S Hawaii
    7 Justin Jackson RB Northwestern

    • steve earle says:

      McGlinchey will never make it to #31, might not even to #23 but if he did I’d sure take him. RB position might welcome one addition but don’t think two still nothing wrong with the names and placement.

  2. steve earle says:

    On a more serious note I’m reading the Giant’s may be wanting to trade OT Ereck Flowers, who struggled at LT last year (reason they signed Solder). Anyone think BB might be interested in offering one of our 6th rd picks for him? Could he be rehabilitated by Scar as a RT? Any thoughts?

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Ereck Flowers is due $4.5 Million in 2018.

      That plus a 6th rounder is a lot for a backup.

      As you say, if Scar could fix him, but I doubt that’s the right course at Tackle. Coming out of college pass protection was his weakness and people thought he’d make a better OG. His draft profile literally says some of his pass protection problems might be hard to fix.

      OG isn’t a position of need in 2018, so I don’t see this as a low cost enough or high upside enough for the Pats this year.

      • steve earle says:

        I pretty much agree that OG isn’t a need but a back up OT for a 6th isn’t a reach. But I’d want one that could pass block as well as run block and as you say Flowers doesn’t look like one of those. Just thought I’d throw out the question and see what thinking is.

  3. Stephen J says:

    Who is the better overall player

    Connor Williams or Frank Ragnow

    Thanks to some of you in here I took a closer look at Ragnow and came away impressed and currently would say he is the better player than Williams is

    • steve earle says:

      I too am very impressed with Ragnow and would love it if we draft him. Always the question is who might we have to pass on to draft him though? Regardless of OC rankings he seems to me to be the best fit for the Pat’s style of play. He can also play OG giving flexibility that BB likes. But here we go again comparing an inside player to an edge guy.

    • steve earle says:

      Darn it what we need is about 6-7 more picks. LOL.

  4. td says:

    Mike, any idea if BB still likes his Outside backers 6’3″ and 250 at a minimum anymore? That Griffin kid IS shot out of a cannon with a 4.38 40. He might translate into the big nickel guy ala Chung and that Richards seems to struggle with.

    • steve earle says:

      That’s what I think, a hybrid nickle SS playing in the box. He’d be like a ground to air missile.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I think that is a preference for the guys he thinks will play every down or close to every down. But in Griffin’s case, he brings a special trait (speed) to the field as well as his off field character that he would have a role as a specialist. He can play special teams and be in on passing downs as either an edge rusher or cover the TE. It is all about finding a role.

  5. brandon maxham says:

    mock draft 4/21:

    1st:Rashaan Evans ILB-OLB

    1st:Isaiah Oliver CB

    2nd:traded for 3rd , 4th and 5th.

    2nd:Kyle Lauletta QB

    3rd:Chad Thomas DE

    3rd:Ian Thomas TE

    4th:Leon Jacobs OLB-ILB

    5th:Chase Edmonds RB

    6th:Braxton Berrios WR

    6th:Natrell Jamerson S

    7th:Phillip Lindsay RB

  6. steve earle says:

    I have an open question for anyone, it concerns Orlando Brown OT. Brown had a terrible combine but redeemed himself somewhat at his pro day and is now being considered a mid round prospect. This confuses me because the closest physical match to him is Cody O’Connell OG Wash. O’Connell is one inch or less taller and seven pounds heavier, their pro-day stats are almost identical but O’Connell is rated a 7th-FA prospect. They (scouts) say guys his size don’t usually work out as smaller faster Def go under or around these huge guys. If that’s true why is that not the same for Brown? Should he be rated a mid rd prospect just because he played LT instead of LG? Can these ratings be trusted?

    • Stephen J says:

      Ratings are guesstimates. Each team grades/rates players differently. Shoot even individuals on each team grades players differently. So take them with a grain of salt.

      In this specific case OT’s usually have a higher premium on them.
      An article by bigblue.com stated it best

      Cody O’Connell’s massive frame and power are purpose built for a power run game. Which Washington St ran sparingly. Based on his frame, teams will certainly look at him as a potential right tackle, but I would worry that his feet just aren’t up to playing on the edge in the NFL. On the other hand, there there just aren’t many guards his size (if any), and there are a couple good reasons for that. First, interior defenders might be (much) bigger than their edge counterparts, they also tend to be shorter, maximizing their leverage and balance. O’Connell’s height freely gives away any advantage in leverage to the defender. It also tends to clog throwing lanes over the middle, making it more difficult for any quarterback to scan the field and see defenders or receivers.

      O’Connell is more plodder and mauler than a light-footed tackle. That doesn’t mean a move outside is impossible, but it would take major improvements to his footwork and lateral agility.

      That is why he is being considered a late rounder. Where as Orlando Brown already has experience playing OT and will go earlier than O’Connell.

      • steve earle says:

        I’ve read all that stuff before which is why I dropped O’Connell from my board. What puzzles me is with almost identical measurable times in the cone drills, the 40 and everything why are Brown’s feet up to playing the edge? I’m not arguing pro O’Connell as much as just questioning Brown’s rating.

        • Stephen J says:

          Because he has shown his feet at that position already. Cody has not. Cody has played inside and everyone has to make a projection on him. Where Brown there is no projection you have actual tape playing that position.

        • Mike Gerken says:

          It comes down to the tape at that point. While Brown is no athlete and that was evident on tape, he uses his size and length well enough to “win” often on tape. He plays with balance and knows how to use what he has to his best ability. While not fast, he does have coordinated feet, which help. O’Connell does not. His footwork was a mess and he was off balance and high in his sets far too often.

        • steve earle says:

          Thank’s Mike! That explanation is much clearer and I can buy into it.

      • steve earle says:

        I guess it’s just an academic question as I don’t see or expect either one fit BB’s type of OT preference. I will be interested to see just how this turns out.

      • steve earle says:

        That’s a good explanation, or at least a reasonable one. I took the time the other day to watch highlights of each and lacking side by side comparisons both seemed to move about the same but as you say Brown was at OT and O’Conner at guard which makes the comparison difficult at best. But thanks for helping me get a little clarity on this.

    • steve earle says:

      Okay, okay I know I’m being unreasonable now but I’m old and can get away with it (I hope). But the question of why Orlando Brown OT is a mid rd. projection and Cody O’Connell OG is a 7-FA just gnaws at my sense of reason and fairness. Couldn’t let it go but I tried. It kept me awake last night so for sake of discussion please humor me? (Mike, please don’t ban me for life for heresy.) My points:
      1) these two guys are like identical in every measurable stat. difference is positions only.
      2) O’Connell didn’t allow a sack in two years as a starter,
      3) O’Connell blocked for a QB that is 6-1 210 and threw for 2,719 yards in 2017. (6-9 had no effect apparently.)
      4) I’ve read and heard all the pro’s and con’s but not buying them. Either both are mid rd +/- or both should be 7-FA. imo
      5) Heck with it I’m putting O’Connell back on my big board. 5th rd but there he stays.

  7. Stephen J says:

    Does anyone know who the best zone passing QB is in this draft is?

    The reason why I ask is that I was reading the reason Cleveland brought in QB Tyrod Taylor is that he was a good zone QB. The reason why they wanted a zone QB was because the AFC North played zone on passing upwards of 65-80% of the time. Pittsburgh(81%) Baltimore(66.5%) and Cincinnati(75.8%). Since that’s the case I was wondering which QB was the most successful against the zone. Would it be Josh Allen Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson(who has similar traits to Tyrod Taylor) or even possibly Mason Rudolph. If you were to know that then maybe you would know better who the Browns favor at QB.

    • Stephen J says:

      Frequency of Defenses Playing Man or Zone Coverages in 2016

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DFV39uTW0AI–4k.jpg

    • Stephen J says:

      Taylor vs. Man Coverage

      2016: 112-of-208 (53.8%), 1247 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT, 75.9 QBRating

      2017: 106-of-205 (51.7%), 1327 yards, 12 TD, 2 INT, 87.6 QBRating

      Taylor vs. Zone Coverage

      2016: 139-of-202 (68.8%), 1663 yards, 12 TD, 3 INT, 107.3 QBRating

      2017: 118-of-164 (72.0%), 1201 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 94.1 QBRating

    • steve earle says:

      No idea offhand Stephen but would be interested to know. What I would also be interested in is you opinion on Mason Rudolph being taken by the Pat’s with a high draft pick? I like his TD’s from the red zone ratings and think he would fit the Pat’s much better then most of the other QB prospects. Personally I don’t have them taking a QB in my mock until our #63 but you know how mocks go.

      • Stephen J says:

        Well here it goes, my opinion on Mason Rudolph is this. The general consensus with Rudolph is that he is a late 1st to mid 2nd round range QB. If the Patriots are really interested in Rudolph using the 1st pick on him would most likely be the one. The Saints Steelers Jacksonville and the Giants are the teams rumored to be looking for a QB after the Pats pick at 23. The Saints seem to be interested in and sold on Kyle Lauletta. The Steelers are interested in a QB and were mentioned to have shown interest in Rudolph. Then Jacksonville with Tom Coughlin were rumored to have shown a lot of interest in Rudolph. Then there is the Giants who were looking at taking a QB early in the 2nd and possibly trading back in the 1st for one with the consensus being that it was for Rudolph. So if Rudolph is their QB then it would seem that taking him before that 2nd tier of teams rumored to be looking at QB would be in the Pats interest. That leaves the Pats with 2 possible options one take Rudolph at 23 or combine picks 31 and 95 to move up to pick 25 which Tenn holds and has voiced a willingness to trade back. On the trade value chart pick 25 has a value of 720. Pick 31 has a value of 600 and pick 95 has a value of 120.

  8. brandon maxham says:

    mock draft 4/20: 3 of 3

    1st:Calvin Ridley WR

    1st:traded for 2nd,4th and 5th.

    2nd:Lorenzo Carter OLB

    2nd:Rasheem Green DE-DT

    2nd:Kyle Lauletta QB

    3rd:BJ Hill DT

    4th:Troy Fumagalli TE

    5th:Chase Edmonds RB

    6th:Troy Apke S

    6th:Danny Johnson CB

    7th:Richie James WR

  9. TommyG says:

    If McGlinchley is not available at 23 Pats do following:

    #23- DJ Moore WR
    If Maurice Hurst is not available at #31: Pats do following:
    Pats trade 31
    2nd- Justin Reid/Ronnie Harrison
    2nd- Lorenzo Carter
    2nd- Rasheem Green
    3rd- Mike White
    4th (Trade)- Nyheim Hines
    6th- Christian Sam or used to move up in 3rd
    6th- Logan Woodside or Chase Litton
    7th- Troy Apke

  10. Stephen J says:

    Here is a thought.

    I was reading something somewhere recently that mentioned Bill Belichick wanted his coaches(I believe it was his strength and conditioning coaches but could have been coaches in general) to come up with a drill that Mimicked Wes Welker’s ability to do something that made him successful. I was wondering if they found that drill and are bringing in certain individuals such as WR to test it out to see which prospect they like better. BB is always trying to find an edge/advantage.

  11. Yohy says:

    First, let me say I love reading your articles, I don’t get a chance to see many college games so I rely heavily on your in-depth analysis.
    Secondly, I’m always nervous this time of year because you never know what Bill is going to do.

    I hope he keeps the picks and drafts a few defensive players like Evans or Carter. Can’t wait for Thursday

    • Mike Gerken says:

      thanks for the kind words. I hope they help you prepare for the draft and have a feel for the type of players the Patriots will be bringing in.

  12. Stephen J says:

    Mike 2 more comments awaiting Moderator that have no links that were typed from scratch.

    • Stephen J says:

      Mike I believe I found the problem your website apparently doesn’t like South Carolina’s
      Mascots name being Gamec**ks. Every time it was mentioned typed it would go to awaiting moderator.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I think I was able to approve all your comments now. Hopefully the issue will not continue.

      • Stephen J says:

        I noticed this morning your post comment this moring. Thanks.

        FYI. This morning after I noticed I attempted to post the direct links in one of the posts you cleared moderated on this page but it went into waiting for moderator because the 2nd link had gamec**ks in the link.

  13. Stephen J says:

    Here goes another attempt

    Lenny I have been attempting to reply to your Hayden Hurst one drop post in the Building The Patriots 2018 Big Board: Tight Ends post but that among others have been waiting moderator.

    I have been able to track down 2 of the 3 drops he had during his career at SC

    On Nov 21 2015 against Citadel when he was being covered by Shy Phillips

    On Nov 12 2016 against Florida

    In both cases the following day there was articles that had pictures of both plays mentioning his individual drops. I attempted to post the links to both articles but that is what may have been causing the moderator messages.

    In the Citadel case you can search Hayden Hurst and Shy Phillips and it will bring you to a link thetandd. In that link it states South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst can’t hang on to the ball while defended by the Citadel’s Shy Phillips during the second half.

    In the Florida game you can search Gamecocks three game winning streak drowned. There you will see a post and courier article dated Nov 12 2016. In there you will see the Photo and the statement South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst drops a pass as he’s hit by a Florida defender.

    Those two articles showed to me that he had more than 1 drop. Which also goes along with what PFF wrote in their Ranking the TE prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft that said Hurst has only three drops on 103 catchable passes in his career where there was so many reports that say he had only 1 including Hayden Hurst himself. In any case 100 catches with 3 drops is still a great ratio.

  14. Stephen J says:

    Lenny I have been attempting to reply to your Hayden Hurst one drop post in the Building The Patriots 2018 Big Board: Tight Ends post but that among others have been waiting moderator.

    Here goes another attempt

    I have been able to track down 2 of the 3 drops he had during his career at SC

    On Nov 21 2015 against Citadel when he was being covered by Shy Phillips

    On Nov 12 2016 against Florida

    In both cases the following day there was articles that had pictures of both plays mentioning his individual drops. I attempted to post the links to both articles but that is what may have been causing the moderator messages.

    In the Citadel case you can Google Hayden Hurst and Shy Phillips and it will bring you to a link thetandd. In that link it states South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst can’t hang on to the ball while defended by the Citadel’s Shy Phillips during the second half.

    In the Florida game you can Google Gamecocks three game winning streak drowned. There you will see a post and courier article dated Nov 12 2016. In there you will see the Photo and the statement South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst drops a pass as he’s hit by a Florida defender.

    Those two articles showed to me that he had more than 1 drop. Which also goes along with what PFF wrote in their Ranking the TE prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft that said Hurst has only three drops on 103 catchable passes in his career where there was so many reports that say he had only 1 including Hayden Hurst himself. In any case 100 catches with 3 drops is still a great ratio.

  15. brandon maxham says:

    mock draft 4/20: 2 of 3

    1st:Mike McGlinchey OT – I have seen him all over in mock drafts lately.

    1st: traded for 2nd,4th and 5th.

    2nd:Fred Warner OLB-ILB

    2nd:Duke Ejiofor DE

    2nd:Kyle Lauletta QB

    3rd:Royce Freeman RB

    4th:Troy Fumagalli TE

    5th:Leon Jacobs OLB-ILB

    6th:Bial Nichols DT

    6th:Troy Apke S

    7th:Braxton Berrios WR

  16. Brian says:

    Pats hosted Temple OLB Jacob Martin not to long ago. Haven’t been able to find much of anything on him besides his back story. Looked sudden in his pro-day clip and turned the corner quite well. Anyone know much about him?

    Might be a late round target or UDFA

  17. brandon maxham says:

    my top 5 off-ball LBs are LVE, Evans, Warner, Burks and Carter not in a particular order.

  18. maineman209 says:

    Great job, again, Mike!

    I agree that there seems to be a distinct possibility of a double-dip at LB – PLUS a couple UDFAs.

    One prospect I’m curious about is Leon Jacobs out of Wisconsin. His highlight reel looked pretty good. Yes, it’s highlights, but his tackling technique was very consistent – head-up, wrap-up. Never went for the big hit even when it was served up to him on a platter. Also seemed to have great ball location awareness and a non-stop motor.

    6011/246, 33.5″ arms
    4.48/40 .. 4.44 shuttle .. 7.12 3-cone
    34.5″ vertical .. 122″ long jump
    26 reps

    • kevinz says:

      I really like Jacobs for a coverage LB especially for where mayb drafted. Like his connection to wisconin have him in good amount of my mocks in the 6th but is rising hoping there in the 4th now.

      • maineman209 says:

        Jacobs rising (catchy book title there) makes sense. Outside of the top 3 or 4 (if you include LVE), the rest of this off-the-ball, ILB/MLB class seems kinda sketchy to me. So, pretty much any LB with decent size, decent measurables and decent tape is probably climbing the boards at least a bit.

        If the Pats can’t snag Evans at #23, and if they don’t see any of the remaining OTB-LBs on the board as having early-starter potential (including LVE), it seems possible to me that they’d select a lighter-weight, but better-proven Edge prospect (OLB type) who’s a solid run-defender and try to broaden his skill set.

        They also have Langi and Marquis Flowers as potential candidates for a “partly” ILB/MLB role. IF the Pats coaches really like their potential, OUR perceived “need” (as fans) for the Pats to significantly augment the second-level interior may not seem as acute from the Pats perspective.

        • kevinz says:

          I agree dont really like the ILB MLB spots in this draft if top ones gone go after OLB hybrid types. I like this Drafts depth except for at DE OR OT . I feel like if draft right this draft awesome for adding depth which is huge for when injuries hit. I have feeling get a smaller hybrid type to play like a Box saf it wont look as Obvious to Chung that we trying to replace him soon. Then get a bigger Hybrid so have 2 faster LB type.

  19. kevinz says:

    Like the list mike. I know small but really want O’daniel think with the Big DT’s we have he could roam everywhere to make play after play with his speed and edge plays with.

  20. GM-In-Training says:

    I see the Pat’s top 3 needs as LOT, MLB, and QB.

    If I were them, I’d be looking at Mike McGlinchy, Leighton Vander Esch, and Lauletta. There are a couple other possible LOT with traits that could be developed up, but the right candidate has to have the traits (or the frame to add weight) to be elite. There’s no point in having an average LOT.

    I’d also be looking DE with traits (long enough to shed blocks and heavy enough to set the edge), probably Ejiofor.

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