PatsDraft.Com

2016 Season Blog.

Arizona.

Last Second Moves.

By TOM

Greetings Pats Fans,

First off I just want to thank all the fans of this site. I have been promoting my books for sale primarily on this site. As a result, I have sold almost 500 books in the past year. Thank you for your support and patronage, both are greatly appreciated. I cannot tell you how happy it made me when I read that report. So thank you Draft fans and Patriot fans alike, and mostly thank you to all the fans of my books and website worldwide.

Eric Rowe.

By TOM

I am a big Eric Rowe guy. "I can conform that," BB conformed about the trade (not that I was so high on him that I had the Pats taking him in the 1st Round) on 'EEI. "We felt that this was something that could help our team. I have a lot of respect for Josh [Kline, who was later removed from the trade]. He came in here as an undrafted player. Spent a little bit of time on the Practice Squad. Worked hard to make our team. He has played for us. We won with him. But we felt like Rowe would give us some depth in the secondary. He's a young player. He's in his second year. And so well see how that goes." He was primarily a Safety his first three seasons at Utah, but in his Senior season they moved him to CB for the year and he was spectacular.

UTAH: Four-year starter ... played in 47 games (missed three games with injury) and started in 45 ... moved to corner his senior season after starting at free safety his first three seasons ... 34 career pass breakups tied for the third-most in school history ... two-time honorable mention All-Pac-12 ... made four Freshman All-America teams as a true freshman in 2011... 4.39 40 speed.

Now I don't know what happened to him in Philly, other than they were such a terrible organization that they ended up with the 2nd Pick in this years Draft (Yes I know it is more through trades that utter incompetence, but there was the Chip Kelly purge that hurt a team with a veteran QB more than it should). "He played Safety in college his junior year, and then play Corner his Senior year," BB said on the Dale & Holley, and of course Thornton Show. "So he's played both. He's played on the perimeter. [He] could possibly be a match-up type of coverage player. Maybe he'll play safety. I don't know. We'll have to wait until we get him in here. But he's done some different things in the past. As you say: he's got some length, he runs well. So well just see how that all works out." I thought he was the best Press-Corner in the 2015 Draft.

Now the Pats took a big time talent in Malcolm Brown. So you can't complain about that. I had Brown in my first 2015 Player Ratings ranked 12th overall. Which means that I personally thought he was the 12th best player in the 2015 Draft. I moved him down because it became obvious that NFL people were not as high on Brown as I was, and that he was not going to go in the top half of the 1st Round. But I still think that if Brown wasn't there Rowe was their guy.

2014: Honorable mention All-Pac-12 ... played in 12 games and started in 10 (9 at corner, 1 at free safety) ... missed one game with injury ... 13 pass breakups led the team, tied for second in the Pac-12 and tied for the third-most ever in a season by a Ute ... 14 passes defended (13 PBU, 1 INT) tied for second in the Pac-12 ... 59 total tackles included 3.0 tackles for loss ... also had a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal ... season-high 11 tackles (0.5 TFL) vs. Fresno State ... eight tackles (1 TFL), two pass breakups and a fumble recovery against Stanford ... Pac-12 All-Academic second-team ... invited to the Senior Bowl.

He also tested out as one of the best athletes in the entire Draft. He was a special teams maven on the Utah team his last couple seasons. He played the Gunner on both punts and kickoffs his senior season. He also blocked a field goal attempt as a senior. He hits like a Strong Safety, and runs like a top Corner. He plays out on the edge like a Safety against the run, screens, and swing passes to RBs and WRs outside.

Now he has to make the team, and he has a lot to learn in a short time. "We got great chemistry [in the secondary]," Butler said. "We're not going to go out there and just run plays. We're going to talk to each other. Make sure we know our assignment. We know it's a team thing. So we just have to go out there and be focused." Rowe has to go out there and be focused.

If there was one weakness in his game is was that he talks too much crap on the field, and looses his cool sometimes. He is one of those guys that sometimes turns a matchup into a beef. That needs to stop. It can mentally take him out of the game.  He needs to focus mentally on helping his team, and not just beating up his assignment. It got too personal for him on the field sometimes in Utah.

I don't know if that was the problem in Philly, but there was a problem. "Heís learning a new defense," Philly HC Doug Pederson said. "Heís learning some new techniques from coach Schwartz. There were some hiccups in the road during this offseason. He was pulled back a little bit." Now he has to turn it back on learn every thing he can.

In Philly they didn't think he progressed mentally as much as they needed him too. "With the guys that we have, and then bringing back C.J. Smith [from the practice squad] and different things [he became expendable]," Pederson said. "It was a good opportunity for our organization to make some moves and to further his career. As you know, he was like, for us, the fourth corner, fifth corner right now going into the season. This gives him an opportunity to play. Thatís what you want from your players in the National Football League, is to play. This gives him an opportunity." They have their top four Corners that Pederson wants: Jalen Mills, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, and Nolan Carroll, and wanted to give Smith a shot at the fifth CB slot.

So that open up an opportunity for the Pats to get the most physically talented CB on the Eagles roster. "Itís just an opportunity that players have to embrace," Pederson said. "He did put himself in a position to compete and be a part of the Eagles. We just felt at this time it was not only a great opportunity for him, but for some of our young players that were playing well during camp to make this roster as well." So Philly burned a 2nd round pick off their roster from only a year ago.

They burned off a young player who just survived his rookie season, and who they think can still be a starter in the NFL. "There is some validity to that," Pederson said when asked if they gave up on a young player too soon. "I think, too, you have to look at where you currently are and where that player is currently. This definitely gives him an opportunity to play and potentially be a starter there, and compete and do some good things. As a big picture, you definitely got to take a look at that moving forward." It just seems like a bad move at a bad time for Philly.

As for the Pats? It seems they got themselves another super athletic Corner who is a special teams maven. "I think I finished [the Preseason] out strong," Rowe said. The Pats Corners were playing a lot of Press on the outside all Preseason. That is what Rowe excels at. The rougher and tougher it gets on the field the better he plays.

Now the slate is clean in New England "I had some ups and downs, but at the end of the day I just have to remind myself I have to make myself better out there," Rowe said. "I canít go dragging around practice holding your head down. Gotta keep fighting. Once all that was happening I just told myself, obviously thereís something they donít see in me, so I just have to keep getting myself better on the practice field." It was a matter of the GM Roseman continuing his oddly obsessive purge of everything that was former Philly tyrant Chip Kelly (maybe that's why Roseman was voted the worst GM in the NFL). Though I actually loved what he did in this years Draft.

So Rowe has to just shake it off, and get working to get better, "Thatís everybodyís goal," Rowe said. "All you have to do is just keep working your way to that by good practice, showing the coaches that if they make a change, you just have to have their trust. I just have to keep working on that." Now he is in a system that will work to his strengths.

He can control how hard he works in practice and in the film room, but he can't control odd grudges by personal guys. "I canít say that," Rowe said. "Thatís out of my control. All I can do is just do my thing out in the game like I did today." He has worked hard in practice since he got here.

He has to start staying the facility 24-7, like Mingo did, to learn his role in the defense. "The way I looked at it, I was just going to go out there and compete," Rowe said. "I was already kind of in my zone. I wanted to go back out there." Be physical in the Press, and make tackles on special teams. That is his new way of life in New England

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So now they have to get Rowe ready to play in Arizona. He played mainly corner in Philly. "Mainly at corner," BB said. "He played corner." But it sounds like they might want him more in the Safety role. I don't have any inside info, and would disagree with that, but I just got a feeling. He will also be on all special teams right away.

I see him as a straight up Press corner like Logan Ryan. "Eric played safety and corner in college so he has got some versatility," BB said. "He has mainly played corner in this league, but you know, has some length. We'll see how it goes but I think he has some positional versatility, a smart kid, has got some length, has some speed." You see, he keeps coming back to that versatility.

He has better speed and size than Ryan. "I think athletically he has a good skill set and that gives him the versatility, at least in college, to play those two positions [CB and safety]," BB said. "I'm not saying he's going to do that for us or not do it. We'll have to see how it goes. I don't really know." Please stop saying versatility, your scaring me again.

What he is now, is not who is is going to be in a month or so. He has a lot to learn. "We try to get him ready for, obviously, a smaller role this week," BB said. "I don't think we can get him ready to do everything, get him ready for a smaller role. But between practice, for the show-team practice for the offense we do a lot of working guys into different spots; tackle to end, corner to safety, vice versa, inside to outside linebacker, guard to tackle on the offensive line, things like that. So, that gives us an opportunity to look at players at more than one spot when you include the practice plays." He might come in as a Dime or Prevent Corner. Remember they had Chung playing Dime Corner in the 3rd Preseason game. But otherwise, it will all be special teams for him for a while.

After a year of being messed with in Philly, he is most likely an injury replacement guy only, for now. "We've brought in guys on shorter notice than this but obviously we'll just have to see how it goes," BB said. "We spent a lot of time meeting with him as the game plan goes through the week, early downs, third down, red area, special teams, just kind of where we feel like the right spot is, the sweet spot for this game, and then reevaluate next week, next week. I'm sure the game plan will be different and he'll have more under his belt and so forth. He's working hard to get everything and even some things that he won't be doing, he's working hard to learn those. It's the same process we went through with Mingo last week, so we've been down this road quite a few times. It all depends on the player. It all depends on what the game plan is and what his role - just how it evolves. There's no really straight-line formula on this." Which is very valuable over the long season. There will be injuries to the secondary during the season, and as long as he stays a special teams maven he has a spot on the roster this season.

Bishop Sankey.

By TOM

I'm not a Bishop Sankey guy, butÖ "My mindset is to just compete," Sankey said. "Compete every day and every drill, and when you get your opportunities, make plays and be accountable. I feel really strong and I feel more explosive. Iím way more confident than before. So I am just trying to come out and prove myself each day and make plays every opportunity I get." He has a new opportunity here in New England.

He is a strong tough rusher. "Bishop didn't get a lot of opportunities to carry the ball," Mularkey said before their last Preseason game. "So Bishop is going to get a good dose this game. And he should." His career was derailed mysteriously in Tennessee. 

He only had 47 carries for 193-yards last season. "[Sankey's ability] running the ball, I am pleased," Mularkey said. "Thereís things protection-wise, Iíd like to see him better at. More consistent in the protections. But running the ball he has been good." He has to improve in pass pro to get on the field for the Pats.

The Pats saw him in the Draft as a Vereen like 3rd down back who can run as well. "He did some good things for us, especially with the ball in his hands there at the end," Mularkey said after he had 3 catches for 43-yards and 2 rushes for 11-yards in the Preseason game against Houston. "Heíll get more time, hopefully at least that many snaps." But he continued his disappearance instead.

He was the starting RB his rookie season, and ran 12 times for 74-yards and 2 TDs. He ran 12 times the following week for 42-yards, and then went away slowly and painfully. He was taken out of the starting lineup and ended up 589-yards and 2 TDs. So it makes some sense that the Pats plan to develop him into a 3rd down back. 

He could sense something was coming this preseason. "We're out here competing," Sankey said. "Everybody's trying to be the best. And you definitely have that extra urgency with everything you do, from individual drills to team drills to everything." They cut him on the final cuts, even though when they put him in he produced.

The best part about this signing is that he can stay on the practice squad and study, learn, and get stronger as the veteran RBs play. "Just improving on everything," Sankey said. "Becoming a better running back with everything. Just keep getting better and improving in all areas." Then if there is an injury they can activate him in 2, 3, or 10 weeks into the season. If not? They can just keep him on the Practice Squad, and give his body another year to mature. Win-win.

The Pats are hoping that what happens to a lot of players, like hopefully Mingo and Rowe as well, is that they go to a bad organization and the coaches don't put them in the right places to succeed. "Really just the culture they created," Sankey said when asked why he chose the Pats. "That Coach Belichick has created. Theyíre a winning team, and thatís really what attracted [me] the most." The culture and coaching of the Titans were what got them into position to Draft Mariota with the 2nd pick in the Draft after Sankey's rookie season.

The Patriots worked him out in 2014, and he was seen as one of the top two or three RBs in that Draft. "Thatís always stuck in my mind," Sankey said. "Iím excited to be here. Iím excited to get to work and just pick up the system and learn it." The Pats picked Jimmy-G eight picks later and James White a couple rounds later. I wonder what would have happened if Sankey was on the board at pick 62 in the 2014 Draft?

He is a guy who had some production in the run game. "I feel like I can play every down," Sankey said. "I just gotta go out here and pick up the playbook and prove it at practice each day." He also showed to be a good receiver out of the backfield.

The Pats saw him as a Vereen type RB. "Itís definitely urgent," Sankey said. "Iím taking that upon myself just to improve every day, pick up the system and make plays at practice. The rest will take care of itself." He will have to sit on the Practice Squad and develop into a better player than he showed in Tennessee. He has to improve his Pass Pro if he wants to be a Vereen type back.

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They like him as a 3rd down James White type back. "That's another guy we did a lot of work on in the draft a couple of years ago," BB said. "He came out with James White. [He's] a player with good skill [in the] running game, passing game. We've used him in the kicking game here in the last couple of days and that showed up. He can run. He's athletic. He's another smart kid that seems like he can handle a decent volume of information. He has been good. We're getting to know him, getting to integrate him into our system and its been positive. We like him, like having him." He showed he could be a productive kick returner in Tennessee.

He was at his best this past Preseason catching passes out of the backfield. "That's a good question," BB said when asked about his versatility running and receiving out of the backfield. "He has done both, kind of like James [White] has. James has done that more for us but in college he carried the ball a lot. Sankey did both at Washington. He can run, he can catch, he has been involved in the return game, special teams, so we'll see how it all plays out but I think he has a variety of skills." He has to work n his blitz pick up to get on the field on 3rd downs. That is gong to take a while.

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