Building The Big Board: Defensive Tackles

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

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

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

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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