Archive for the ‘NFL Draft’ Category

Building The Big Board: Linebackers/Edge Players

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
Would the Patriots consider taking an undersized LB early in the draft?

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

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

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

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Building The Big Board: Defensive End

Monday, April 18th, 2016
With the recent moves the Patriots have made, we could be seeing a shift in scheme, so who are the players that might fit what the Patriots are looking for?

With the recent moves the Patriots have made, we could be seeing a shift in scheme, so who are the players that might fit what the Patriots are looking for?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Yikes! We are not less than two weeks away from the NFL Draft. There is so much to get done in such a little amount of time. The Patriots continue to make moves, making my life much more difficult. Typically, as we get closer to the draft, we can start to get an idea of the positions we think the team will target. This year however, I find myself more confused than ever. The team has made some interesting cuts and rumors are flying that the team might be looking to shift back to a 3-4 base defense. If that is the case, a position like Defensive End will have a different type of prospect to target than if the team decides to stick with the 4-3 they have played in recent years. Who the Patriots draft at both Defensive End and Defensive Tackle should give us a peak behind the curtain as to what the team wants to do defensively this year. So let’s take a look at some of the prospects the Patriots might target at Defensive End.

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Building The Big Board: Defensive Tackles

Friday, April 15th, 2016
While not a huge need for the Patriots, there might be too much talent in this draft to pass up on.

While not a huge need for the Patriots, there might be too much talent at Defensive Tackle  in this draft to pass up on.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Over the past several weeks, I have laid out my big board for the offensive side of the ball. Today, we move to the defense and start to look at the defensive line, specifically Defensive Tackle. This is probably the most talented group in the entire draft. In fact, I feel as many as 10 could be off the board before the Patriots even make a pick. Even with that staggering number of players gone, it does not mean there won’t be talent still left on the board. The Patriots are always looking to get value, and with this much talent at one position, a player or two is bound to slip. Now the Patriots have invested top end resources on the position in recent years and the depth chart seems set, but if a player they have rated highly falls to them, they may have to pass on a need to take the value.

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Building The Big Board: Offensive Lineman

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
The Patriots have invested heavily in the interior of the offensive line, but it might be time to use some resources on the Tackle position.

The Patriots have invested heavily in the interior of the offensive line, but it might be time to use some resources on the Tackle position.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

We finish up the offensive side of the Big Board today with a focus on the Offensive Line.  To say that the play of the Patriots O-line has been a disappointment over the last couple of seasons would be an understatement. Injuries and sub par play from veterans led to Tom Brady taking a record number of hits last year. Tom Brady has shown no signs of slowing down, but if he has to endure another year of that kind of punishment, we may lose our franchise QB earlier than anyone wants. In my preparation for this draft, I focused mainly on potential Offensive Tackles. There were some Guards and Centers that caught my attention, but those were two positions that did not get the same type of attention as other positions. Right now, the Patriots Tackle situation is unsettled. Nate Solder has not played as well in recent years and is coming off an injury. Sebastian Vollmer is getting up in age and he to has an injury history that is a cause for concern. Marcus Cannon is a backup, and in my opinion, not a very good one and Cameron Flemming was cut last year only to be forced into playing time after the injury bug hit. As far as I am concerned, both of those guys could, and probably should, be replaced. I am not ready to give up on the young guys the team has at Guard and Center, and with recently acquired Jonathan Cooper, it seems like they have enough pieces to work with on the inside. Plus, with Dante Scarnecchia back as Offensive Line coach, there is some optimism that the group will show improvement. So lets take a look at the current roster and what prospects the Patriots might be targeting in the draft.

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Building The Big Board: Wide Receivers

Saturday, April 9th, 2016
If the Patriots decide to draft a Wide Receiver this year, what exactly will they be looking for.?

If the Patriots decide to draft a Wide Receiver this year, what exactly will they be looking for?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

With the fourth installment in my Big Board series, I take a look at the final skill position on offense. It is an interesting position, both from a prospect and a team specific point of view. In my opinion, the draft will answer a lot of questions regarding how the team feels about the guys on the current roster. I could see the team pass on the position all together and I could see them take a guy early and maybe even double dip at the position. If they do not draft anyone, it shows the team still has some confidence left in Aaron Dobson and are comfortable keeping Danny Amendola even with his bloated salary. On the other hand, it will speak volumes if the team does draft a Receiver early. It could mark the end of one or both of the guys mentioned above. This made it hard to determine how many prospects to keep on the Big Board. I had to make some tough decisions and leave some guys off this list that I really liked. Here are the guys who I think are good fits for the Patriots and could represent value.

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Building The Big Board: Running backs and Full backs

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
It seems like the Patriots will look for their feature back in the draft, but who fits what the team is looking for?

It seems like the Patriots will look for their feature back in the draft, but who fits what the team is looking for?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

In the third installment of my Building the Big Board series, I focus on what might be the Patriots biggest need.  We all saw last year what can happen when a team becomes one dimensional, and it is not good. With Tom Brady getting older, the Patriots need to develop a running game to take some of the burden off of Brady’s shoulders, both literally and figuratively. The Running Back position has been devalued league wide over the years, so it will be interesting to see when the Patriots decide to pull the trigger on a Running Back. This class does have some potential and I think there are some guys who fit well into the Patriots scheme. As I stated in my previous post, I am trying to adhere to the idea of keeping my draft board similar in size to the Patriots, which is roughly around 75 players. This made for some tough decisions on who would make the board and who would be left off. Here is who made the cut.

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Building The Big Board: Tight Ends and H-Backs

Monday, April 4th, 2016
With the recent additions at the position, will the Patriots still look to draft a Tight End.

With the recent additions at the position, will the Patriots still look to draft a Tight End.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Part two of the Building the Big Board has had an interesting path to this point. I had Tight End as a much higher priority when I started putting together this post, then the Patriots made a series of moves that required a bit of a revision to the article and to the board. When I originally wrote this, I thought the team might actually look at double dipping at the position, now they may not draft a Tight End at all. If they do, however, here are the guys that I like for the Patriots from this draft class.

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