Building The Big Board: Running backs and Full backs

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

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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Building The Big Board: Quarterbacks

March 28th, 2016
Will the Patriots draft a Quarterback? If so, how high?

Will the Patriots draft a Quarterback? If so, how high?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

We are exactly one month from the start of the 2016 NFL draft. That means it is time to start putting together my Patriots big board. This exercise helps me get a feel for where the Patriots might be able to find value and what positions they may have to target early if they want to get a player to fill an immediate need. I like to break this process down position by position, creating the horizontal board first and then going back and creating the vertical board from there. Today, we start with the most important position on the football field, the Quarterback position.

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Scouting Report: Cyrus Jones, CB

March 26th, 2016
Can Jones fill the Patriots biggest need?

Can Jones fill the Patriots biggest need?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Cyrus Jones to the Patriots has become a popular topic in recent days, so I figured writing up his scouting report seemed appropriate.  I have watched more Alabama tape this draft season than I care to count, but when a team is stacked with so much talent, that tends to happen. I had watched Jones and had plenty of notes on him, but I was so bummed after watching my beloved Cyclones lose in the sweet 16, I figured I would go back and do it again and I am glad I did because I picked up on a few more things that I had not in previous viewings. Here is what I think of Cyrus Jones and his potential fit for the Patriots.

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Scouting Report: Jerald Hawkins, OT

March 21st, 2016
One position the Patriots have yet to address is Offensive Tackle. If they wait for the Draft, Hawkins might be an option.

One position the Patriots have yet to address is Offensive Tackle. If they wait for the Draft, Hawkins might be an option.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

This draft process started so long ago that I thought it would never get here. Now that we are only about a month out I find myself wishing I had more time.  I have watched a ton of players (193 by my count) but there are still so many more I want to watch and write about.  Today’s report spawned from a conversation on Offensive Tackles and which ones are good fits for the Patriots. Jerald Hawkins was a name brought up with mixed reviews. I had watched Hawkins awhile back, so this gave me the excuse to review my notes and to go back and watch him one more time. Is he a good fit for the Patriots? You will have to read on to find out.

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Assessing The Jones Trade And Potential Targets For The Late Rounds

March 16th, 2016

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

So much for a boring off-season. Over the past 24 hours, the Patriots have been busy. Not only did they make a blockbuster trade when they dealt Chandler Jones to Arizona for Jonathon Cooper and a 2nd round pick (#60) but they also added former top 5 draft pick Chris Long to replace the now departed Jones. What may have been lost in all this activity was that just a few days earlier, the league announced the compensatory picks for the upcoming draft, and the Patriots were awarded four, a 3rd round pick as well as three 6th round picks. This is the final year that these particular picks cannot be traded, so the Patriots will be making these picks, so I thought I would throw out some players I think fit the Patriots and have a chance to make the team.

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Scouting Report: Thomas Duarte, TE/WR

March 13th, 2016
Duarte is not a household name, but he could fill a role that Patriots fans have wanted to fill for some time now

Duarte is not a household name, but he could fill a role that Patriots fans have wanted to fill for some time now

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

With all the big splashes the Patriots have made in free agency……Oh wait, nevermind. Once again, the Patriots have taken a much more laid back approach to free agency. Every year, fans complain that the Patriots are the only team not to do anything in free agency. Then, they completely forget when the team is on another run deep into the playoffs. This team has a philosophy of building through the draft, and one position that needs attention is Tight End. The Patriots have Gronk, but fans have clamored for Aaron Hernandez’s replacement since his departure from the team. Well, Thomas Duarte may be that guy.

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