Post Draft Scouting Report: Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB

May 3rd, 2018

While most thought the Patriots would look to add speed at the LB position, they went with an old school thumper. Does that type of player still have a role in the NFL?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

I probably spend more time on this hobby than I should. I know my wife would agree with that statement, but she puts up with it. That being said, players fall through the cracks. Did I now who Bentley was? Yes. That is I knew the name and I had seen some highlights of his game. I was in the mode that the team needed to get more athletic and faster at the position, so I quickly dismissed him as a prospect for this team. Now that he was the pick, it was time to dive into the tape and see what he brings to the team.

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Post Draft Scouting Report: Duke Dawson, CB

May 2nd, 2018

Dawson is a versatile defender who could see the field early as the Patriots nickel corner.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Trader Bill made a variety of trades on Day 2 of the draft, mostly moving down to acquire later picks or for picks in next years draft. He did make one trade up however, and that was to get Duke Dawson, the Corner out of Florida. In a draft where it seemed the Patriots really didn’t like the talent, it is telling that the team would move up to grab a specific player. Dawson was a guy I had targeted as a potential Patriot before the draft and I think his skill set fits in nicely with what the team already has on the roster. Now that he is actually on the team, let’s take a look at what he brings to the table.

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Post Draft Scouting Report: Sony Michel, RB

May 1st, 2018

Michel is going to be a dangerous weapon in the Patriots offense.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

I think most Patriots fans would agree that Sony Michel is a very good football player. I also think that most Patriots fans were shocked when they drafted him with the 31st pick of the 1st round last Thursday night. So, why would the Patriots take a player at a position that seemed to have as good of depth as any other position on the team. That is what we are here to explore.

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Post Draft Scouting Report: Isaiah Wynn, OT

April 30th, 2018

Maybe by thinking outside the box, the Patriots got the best Tackle in the draft.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

“With the 23rd pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the New England Patriots select….Isaiah Wynn, Tackle, University of Georgia.” When Roger Goodell said those words last Thursday night, I bet there were a lot of people who had a very shocked look on their face. I know from reading the comments on this very website that fans seemed less than pleased with the pick. Let me see if I can bring some clarity to why this was a good pick.

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Post Draft Potpourri

April 30th, 2018

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

I am home! If you follow me on twitter you may have read I had an epic journey to get home from the draft yesterday. What should have been a two hour flight turned into a twenty two hour day that included flight cancellations and multiple plane transfers, topped off with mechanical issues that led to me getting home fourteen hours after I was originally supposed to. The only saving grace was that it game me an opportunity to watch some tape of the newest Patriots players, even if it was only on my phone. Needless to say, my eyes are a little sore from the lack of sleep over the past few days and staring at a tiny little screen for ten hours yesterday. Even through all the chaos yesterday, it didn’t dampen my excitement to get back to my real computer where I could finally talk Patriots and Draft will my favorite people, you.

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Patriots Draft Thoughts

April 29th, 2018
  1. Some say you have to wait a few years before judging a player/pick or a draft class. Most of the time I agree but I always believe you can identify some players that will translate to the next level. And I think we drafted a few of them. I believe we’ll have at least 3 starters from this draft & it could get better. Wynn, Michel, Dawson are all plug & play players. They will absolutely have their “rookie” moments but these are 3 very solid picks with traits that immediately translate to the NFL. Not only did we walk away with certain starters with upside, not an easy feat in any draft. We also stockpiled picks for 2019, giving us 6 Top 100 picks next year. Our 1st, 2nd, 2nd from Chicago, a 3rd from the Lions as well as two 3rd round comp picks.

New England made moves to win now. The Wynn & Michel picks have to put a smile on Brady’s face. Wynn will be his & Michel’s enforcer helping the QB stay upright & clean. Michel is a swiss army knife that gives Tom another weapon in the run & rec game. Not to mention another way to diagnose defenses pre snap. These were two very calculated picks that know each other very well. Literally worked & complemented each other too. Safe to say the chemistry on offense just got better despite adding new players. I thought this was a great draft that brought in NFL ready players to make a difference day one. And again we added to the future as well. Here’s a little breakdown & some thoughts on each player.

Wynn will start & play either T or G & I believe, with all due respect to Mason & Thuney. I really believe Wynn is a little better than both right now. He’s a throwback that can roll his hips generate big boy power. Obviously Isaiah will have a lot to learn & some adjustments to make but this guy is a tremendous player. If you ask Bill what he wants in an OL’m he’ll say Big, Athletic, Tough & Smart. Now some might be put off by Wynn’s size for Tackle but he handled every pass rusher thrown at him & showed + mental processing, handling stunts & delayed blitz. When he gets his paws on you the play is dead. Very strong mitts. Wynn is mini mammoth multi-tasker that brings so much across the line. He has the body control to escort defenders away from the play & strength to kick fools out da club. Wynn would walk miles each day to play & practice football after high school. He’s a reliable, tough, durable football player to his core. He was my favorite pick of the draft & has a chance to be one of the 5-10 best players in the 2018 class.

 

Michel is another player that will make an immediate impact. Again some may complain (I have a feeling they do this about everything) about he previous knee injury but we didn’t draft Sony thinking about a 2nd contact. He’s a win now pick that is a little bull in the run game. Very decisive runner that will lower his shoulder. Great job at following & setting up his blocks. Very nice vision & patience at the line. He’ll change up his pace & tempo to work with his blocks. Has that burst to explode for a big gain & the moves to shake defenders in the open field. He definitely has that Kamara feel & was graded higher by me fwiw (Kamara-7.90 – Michel-8.20) Michel, Burkhead, White & Hill/Gillislee is one hell of a backfield. I said this last night but good luck defender our 21 package with Michel, Rex, Gronk & co. Teams will have to commit their best S/LB’s to these player & really open things up for our WR’s.

(What’s funny is you can see both of their traits that translate in each of their highlights)

 

Duke Dawson seems to be under rated by some but I love the pick. Dawson is a gritty DB that is plug & play in the slot/Nickel but always has some experience at S. He’s played everywhere in that UF secondary & learned from some pretty good DB’s in Wilson, Maye, Teez & others. Dawson has great route recognition & won’t hesitate to break off & make a play when the opportunity presents itself. Very aggressive in run support. Very physical player but especially at the line. Duke has a very effective jam & is able to reroute WR’s at the L.O.S. He has the feet to quicks to stay with receivers in a short area & take away the underneath. He’ll erase the slant, screen & reverse. Very smart, tough player. Hasn’t allowed over 40% cmp in over 2 years. Typical P-TP

 

Bentley I didn’t grade because of lack of tape but am familiar with the player. Maryland native that is a heavy hitter & enjoys the contact part of playing defense. There were more than a few times I saw him diagnose a play, work through the much & make a play at or behind the line. He’s not a speed demon but he plays faster than he looks. He suffered a season ending injury in 2015 but bounced nicely the following year. He’s a force in the middle & isn’t someone RB’s will want to meet in the hole. He’s a hip sinking hitter that will knock the snot out of you.

Christian Sam is another player that plays a lot faster than he timed. Loose player with good c.o.d. , he can hang with bigger TE’s underneath & up the seem. Quick twitch player that when he just trust what he see’s is a force. At times he just reacts off what he see’s & is able to slip through the bigger bodies to make a play around or behind the line. He’ll touch a few passes. Pressure the QB. Pops through his hips when he hits. He’ll really benefit from the film room with NFL coaches as his play recognition & ability to diagnose needs to improve.

 

If you’ve followed the draft & potential patriot targets Braxton Berrios might be the most Patriot-Type Player in the class. From his ACL injury, to the tough slot receiver cliché, he just fits like a glove (Ace Ventura voice while snapping an imaginary glove) Berrios is a great route runner that makes everything look the same. At the line, in route/before he breaks, it all looks alike. He was very underutilized until recentlu but made a big impact when given the chance. He has + hands & has no problem catching through contact & taking a big hit. He has that big catch on 3rd down feel & knows what his role is. He always bring special teams value. If he’s healthy he’s a contributor at worst & at best our new slot wr,

 

I love the Keion Crossen pick. He was definitely on my radar & obviously the Patriots as well. Undersized but very aggressive CB. Very easy, fluid mover that might be able to follow some of the smaller, quicker receivers around if they move on motion. He’s fearless & doesn’t hesitate in run support. Won’t just stayed blocked. Very smart, high character guy that will intergrade himself into the team & community if given the chance. He’s a very high energy player that doesn’t quit.  I really this player & where we got him. He checks all the boxes we like from an athletic standpoint too.

 

Danny Etling was a bit of a surprise but you can understand the thought process here. Etling might not have mental processing capabilities to digest quick info on the fly but has some physical gifts you see right away on film. He has a very quick release, the ball shoots out at times. He doesn’t have a “cannon” but when his head & body are friends & working together he can sling it down the field. At times he really pushed the ball the field. He can make just about any NFL throw if he gets polished up.

 

Ryan Izzo is Y-type tight end that can be brought in on goal line, short yardage. Work in play action of some misdirection & eat up unaccounted yards. Overall shows good promise a blocker but has to commit to getting & maintaining inside hands as well as leverage. Right now he doesn’t have the play strength to just out muscle guys.


Draft Day Thoughts – Day 2: Grade B+

April 28th, 2018

 

NEPD Staff Contributor: Jeff Fidler

In typical Bill Belichick fashion he turned 2 picks into Duke Dawson & future picks going forward. Day two really spoke to how good the Patriots are & why they are always ahead of the curve with this football stuff. They walked away with a Patriot-Type Player in Duke Dawson (more on him later) & added picks for this year (105) & next year (Bears 2nd). I always love trading with “bad” teams & while Chicago has plenty to be happy about I could easily see them picking in the lottery next year as well. That’s a def a pick to watch considering next years draft is loaded from top to bottom. Going forward in this years draft we’re set up pretty well with picks in every round. We pick early to start the 4th (105), right in the range we landed Flowers & Rivers. We have the 143rd in the 5th. 198 & 210 in the 6th. And 219 in the 7th round.

As for our 2nd round pick Dawson, he’ll fit in just dandy in our secondary & our team. He grew up an FSU fan in Cross City, Florida but decided on U.F. after being swayed by the Gator tradition & atmosphere there. He’s a very tough player that plays with no fear & will absolutely look to thump you run support. He’s one of the better CB’s in terms of actually succeeding after getting his paws on his opponent. He does a great job at impeding receivers at the line. He’s an eraser in the slot. Just eliminating slants, screens & anything close to the line. Dawson plays with plus route recognition & is very quick to break off his man to make a play somewhere else. And when he does get his hands on the ball, he turns into a running back. Dawson also is very comfortable & very good in man, off & zone. He won’t come off the field ever & might even play some special teams. He reminds of Logan Ryan. Very physical, smart dependable player that will probably always have trouble with certain types that have long speed. He was a 2nd round player by my grades (https://1drv.ms/x/s!Arhgisx89Ip6gQqZ0kVkO-Eys1vs) & definitely worth a top 64 pick.

Going forward we have the 105th pick in the 4th round, 143rd in the 5th, 198/210 in the 6th & 219 in the 7th. There are plenty of very good players on the board that could make an impact day 1 for us. Here’s a few names I would definitely keep an eye on. Duke Ejiofor (RUSH), Josh Sweat (RUSH), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (RUSH/LB), Kylie Fitts (RUSH), Cruikshank (S), Meeks (CB), Avery (LB/RUSH), Thomas (TE), James (WR), EQ ST Brown (WR), Tate (WR) & Elliot (S).


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