Patriots Draft Blog 2009

Patriots Draft Blog 2008

Patriots Draft Blog 2007

Entry for April 4th, 2009

 

I just read your latest mock…I had to start this email/reply right away because of the KC pick (Orakpo):  I would be shocked if Pioli takes Orakpo, especially over Curry, who many very reputable people are saying is the best all-round LB prospect to come out in a decade.  And, more personally, I just don’t like the roid head…he’s said to be so athletic and I don’t see it…I see a guy who can rush the passer, but not cover…I see a first round talent (although I wouldn’t take him). 

Okay, good point. However, I have been trying to figure out what Pioli will do in the Draft for years. The reason I am his biggest fan is that he never does what everyone predicts he will do, and I have not been able to correctly guess who will pick. Everybody, and I mean everybody has them taking Curry, so how can it happen? To me, I think a good comparison between the two is: Curry reminds me of Mayo, Orakpo reminds me of McGinest. So the question is who do you like more, Mayo or McGinest. Traditionally, the OLB/PR is the money position in the 3-4. So when I try and project what Pioli will do I keep coming back to Orakpo.    

Here’s a side note:  BJ Raji may have got the herb from Belichick…maybe he slips to us at 23 and we get, who I believe, is one of the best players in the draft…a steal!

 

I love, and agree with, Freeman going to Denver at #12…that would be a wise move…teach the kid to play the position, while Orton starts, teaching him to read defenses and react for a year or two and then have a super star QB. 

 

Ok…The Pats pick is right on, and every since I saw Pettigrew play (for about 3 seconds) I thought he would make a nice Patriot…never get by Belichick in the 1st round; especially because he is a nasty blocker.  But, he has the ultimate quality of any receiving position:  he’s a ball snatcher…he doesn’t catch the ball…he snatches it out of the air, and then runs like an angry, strong man…I love him.  Every mock draft over the last 6 months that had him going beyond the Patriots I had to stop and wonder…just can’t see him slipping past us…too good a player, and we use TE’s and need him.  Could be easily be a top 5 player on the Pats board.  My mind is still stuck on Ayers though…if he’s there, or Barwin, But I made my pick of Larry English in January and I’m sticking with it, that was the point of making the pick early…just for fun to see if I could guess.  I still like him, but there are other obvious players that I think have past him, and I know your opinion on him going to the Pats, but I think Belichick actually likes the guy. 

 

Just finished reading your 2nd round:  That’s a dream draft for the Pats…I would be pretty happy if it fell like this…even close, but it could, because certain players can be replaced by others at the positions…like Chung or Delmas, or Sintim or English if Barwin isn’t there, and the lineman is easy…someone of high quality that they like (Dante likes) will be there…some flexible, experience kid that he can groom will be there…a few should.  I just think they may move around a bit with all the picks…they may have to use them.

Can’t wait…good job, but I don’t get the Orakpo thing (I could write all day about obvious guys that over-roid, I’m not naïve, I realize that most these guys have used or used to get to where they are, but it’s a big red flag when a kid is that big and strong…when it’s that obvious (see Gholston, Vernon Davis)  it just seems to me that they may have over-used to get into the 1st round, or top 10 lottery.  And, there’s a reason they call it the lottery…because if you are picked you just won big bucks, and that means no real reason to keep taking them…endangering your health…just get off them and bank the money and play for a few years, do your best, and live happily ever after while paying the best doctors to monitor your blood every month.  Then you add in the factor that that type of athlete tends to get injured…muscles are too tight…too stiff, and then, finally, the league may test them and suspend them, even if they are great!  Best example, Sean Merriman…why did he slip?  I was following that draft closely also and he was a known superstar in the making as a pass rusher…a workout warrior etc…but he slipped a bit, and you see what you got…a superstar, but he gets suspended, with pay I assume, and he gets hurt…wouldn’t be surprised if the guy isn’t out of the league in a couple of years…already in the booth poised to slip away with what health he has left.  I take guys like this…extreme, and obvious, roid heads right off my board, never mind Pioli taking this kid at #3!) 

 

 

Entry for April 4th, 2009

 

Greetings Patsfans,

Here are a couple of interesting question I went a little overboard with:

Hey,
Really like your blog. Lots of good info and like your analysis.
A comment & question. The only 2 guys I would move up the board to draft are Curry and Maualaga . Of the 2, I like Curry.
Question...Do you think the Pats are more likely to move up to #3/#4 to grab Curry, or possible let Maualaga slip down to #12 like you suggested and arrange a trade with Denver?

No, I don't think that the Maualaga  trade would be possible, because of the Cutler trade. I think, right now, Denver has to be looking to trade up from 12. So that precludes them from trading down. The good news, and the bad news, is that this Draft is loaded with average talent, There is not a noticeable difference between pick 10 and pick 20, and you could get the same player at 23 as at 34, like I said in an earlier Blog, the Pats could take Eben Britton at 23 and Larry English at 34, or Eben Britton at 34 and Larry English at 23, either scenario is just as likely to happen. Look at the plight of Malcolm Jenkins, he could go 10 the San Fran, or fall all the way down to the Pats at 23. 

So I believe everyone in this Draft is looking to trade down. Remember if you want to trade up you have to find a team who believe trading down helps their team the most. So the average talent in this Draft makes trading up to get Maualaga easier, but it also makes trading up for Sanchez easier for Denver. I wrote my latest mock draft that the perfect trade would be for Denver to trade up to 7 with Oakland, but that will never happen because Davis is feuding with Denver. A lot of the national guys have been saying the Jags at 8 want Sanchez, I don't see it, so maybe the Jags are trying to orchestrate something. I could easily see Denver giving up 12 and their 1st to move up to 8. However, the Jags are neck and neck with the Bears for the worst WR in the Draft, so if Crabtree is sitting their at 8, can they pass? I just don't think so. Ironically, Raji testing positive for weed again could allow the Packers to trade down to 12, and still have a shot at Raji, and if Denver is still willing to give up 12 and their 2nd I don't see how the Pack can refuse. Not only will they still get Raji, he will cost less. Of course now that I think about it, Cincinnati is the best possibility. I think both Curry and Orakpo will be gone by pick 6. So that leaves them choosing between Raji and André, or possible Oher. Both will slide down the charts because of character issues, and one of the two should be available at 12, and Michael Oher will definitely be available at 12. So right now I am predicting that if Seattle doesn't take Sanchez (And I just can't see that happening) that Denver will trade to 6 and take Sanchez, and the Bengals will take André at 12.   

The Pats traded back last year with NO, and it worked out well for both teams, so they could be a comfortable target for a trade for both teams. Remember, both teams have to want to make the trade. However, word out of Washington is that Snyder loves Maualaga, and if he is on the board the Skins will take him. So I think the Pats have to get above 13. So if Denver can't trade up for Sanchez and he is not on the board at 12, I think there's over a 50-50 chance the Pats will have a trade worked out with Denver in advance, and McDaniels just has to say yes. Plus, if Denver trades up and Washington doesn't take Maualaga (which is just as likely to happen as not) I think you can expect a trade up with NO as well. Especially when you consider that I believe NO would be ecstatic to come away with Beanie Wells, Malcolm Jenkins, Eben Britton, or one of the USC LB. One or two of those 5 players should be available at 23. Plus, they could grab a D-Lineman at 34, like Sidbury, Brace, or Hood. 

Okay can I make that any more complicated;-) And just the record, I want to be clear about this, I think Maualaga is the number one prospect that can help the Pats next year. Putting him inside right next to Mayo would be a beautiful ballet of violence that few teams could run against. I get shivers just thinking about it. So I think the chance of trading up with Denver is less likely because of the Cutler trade, but that a trade up with NO is more likely to happen. So yes I think the Pats have over a 50-50 chance of trading up to get the perfect guy for this defense, and if you are excited about the thought of Maualaga playing next to Mayo than you just don't like football;-)
It would seem to me that Pioli would be itching to get NEP's #23 and #34 in exchange for #3...What are your thoughts?

No, I don't think that trade would be possible, because of the stupid Draft Pick Compensation Chart is so ridiculously outdated. It was suppose to help make trades, but instead it now makes a trade up into the top 5 literally impossible, because it leaves all the salary Cap implications out of the mix. According the stupid chart the Pats would have to give up their 1st, all three 2nds, and probably a 1st next year. Then they would have to pay Curry like 8-10 Million a year on the Cap, they just don't have room under the Cap. I guesstimated that they are 7.8 million under the Cap right now, and it will take approximately 2.8 million (to make the math easy) to sign all their picks, so they are literally about 5 million under the Cap. So they could probably pay Curry, but not their remaining picks. They will also have trouble extending contracts of their three big free Agents to be, and what about Jason Taylor? That trade would preclude them from getting Taylor. Right now I think they are 50-50 at getting Taylor. I do believe his would go back to Miami if the conditions are right, but I also believe his first choice is the Pats. They have to the ability to fit 3-4 million under the Cap for Taylor, if they want even the slightest chance of signing him. So if Kansas City agreed to the trade, which with all the Salary Cap implications they just might, that would cost you, according to my Mock Draft right now: Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma (23), Connor Barwin OLB Cincinnati, and Jason Taylor (possibly, certainly a 50-50 shot at Taylor). So, no I don't think they can make that trade.
Thanks,
Lifelong Pats fan in Dallas

 

Entry for April 3rd, 2009

Crazier than a 3-dollar whore.

 

This was a dangerous trade for the Bears and the Broncos. I personally think Cutler is a jerk, and I wrote that before all this mess occurred. He is a terrific talent who can do everything you want a QB to do, except be a leader, because he is crazier than a 3-dollar whore. I wrote about Cutler's lack of leadership skills in my March 1st Blog, "Leadership matters in football. Look at Tom Brady, he never has a disparaging word to say about anyone on the team. That matters. Look at Jay Cutler, he has everything you want in a QB, except leadership. He's smart, has a great arm, can read defenses, studies film, etc. However, he will never be a great player until he learns to lead. I have heard him bashing teammates and coaches behind their backs, to the media, multiple times. Stabbing his teammates in the back in the worst possible way, to the media. You simply cannot do that. Sanchez showed better charisma and leadership skills at the Combine, by all accounts, then Stafford. And I am not trying to say in any way that Stafford is a jerk like Cutler." Franchise QB's cannot be two-faced, period.

 

I lay 100% of the blame for this rift on Cutler's two faced shoulders. First, after Shanahan was fired, he went to Pat Bowlen, the owner of the Broncos, and said he wanted him to move his O-Coordinator/BBF up to Head Coach. When he didn't, and hired McDaniels instead. When Cutler heard this he told Bowlen he wanted to be traded. Then three weeks later when rumors surfaced, false rumors by the way, he whined and said his feeling where hurt. BB has even verified that he never talked with McDaniel about a trade for Cassel and I quote, "Believe me, those teams, I personally contacted 24 to 48 hours before the consummation of Matt's trade to Kansas City, and they said they had no interest in the player," and he goes on, "They never made that offer to me." 

 

Then Cutler went to meet McDaniels, and he claims McDaniels lied to him, McDaniels claims he didn't, who do you believe? Cutler has been trying to undermined Bowlen since he didn't hire his BBF as HC of the DBs. Remember, McDaniels is not the GM, and most of this stuff has been orchestrated by Bowlen. When McDaniels says he was not involved in the talks, he most likely mostly wasn't, plus there were no talks. Not only does BB refute that Denver showed interest, but more importantly the Bucc's alleged that they tried to trade for Cassel after he had already been traded, which says to me that it was propaganda sent out by the Bucc's GM because he was afraid of losing  his job, as I wrote about in my March 9th Blog. I don't believe any of the trade reports reported by ESPN's alleged reporters, who never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Remember it was reported that they were discussing this so-called three way deal on Friday March 5th when even the NFL head office admitted that the paper work for the Cassel trade had already been submitted. So could you please explain to me why BB would be talking about a trade with the Bucc's GM and McDaniels when he has already officially traded the player?    

 

Then Cutler and McDaniels meet, and by all accounts everything goes well, even buy two face Cutler's standards, he said immediately after the interview. Two Face said he even understands why McDaniels had interest in Cassel, and that he had the same comfort level with his BBF. Except the next day, Two Face tells the media McDaniels belittled him and he feels worse than ever. Just more bullshit from Two Face. Then he demands a trade again, refuses to meet with McDaniels, refuses to come into the Broncos facilities, skips mini camp, refuses to call Pat Bowlen back after he calls him a dozen times or so, and then he puts all his houses in Colorado up for sale, including his fathers. And this why is why he is crazier than a 3-dollar whore, On Monday Bowlen comes outs to the media and tells them he is done and Cutler is to be traded. Cutlers has demanded to be traded. and by all his actions has shown he is already out the door, and their is no way this situation can be resolved. The very next day Two Face come out to the media and says he doesn't understand why they are trading him, that he want to be a Broncos. That is just completely insane.  

 

In the end, Two Face is selfish, immature, whinny hypocrite who demanded a trade and then cried like a 2 year old when he found out they tried to fulfill his request. The Bears have a chance to make some runs at the Super Bowl now that they have a legit QB, but Two Face is at a best a Buyer Beware Player, and he better learn he is not the center of the universe or will destroy this team as well. Terrell Owens 3 for 3, Jay Cutler 1 for 2 can counting.     

 

Entry for April 2nd, 2009

Also,  I agree…I think Green from Iowa would not shock me one bit in the mid rounds.  Again, I think Belichick would need to have a gun to his head to take a 1st round back.  

I love Green. However, I have bad news, in my latest my draft, I have the J-E-T-S suck-suck-suck taking Green in the 2nd Round. I was going over my notes of the Iowa Bowl and remembering how spectacular he was. 

All that being said watch him take Moreno and make me look like the fool!  Moreno is the type of back I’m guess he loves…he’s the best at hitting the hole on one cut that I’ve seen in a while and he’s so well-rounded…I would love to see him, but that’s fantasy stuff, don’t think it will ever happen.  And, to answer you question, or dilemma, on where to put Wells & Moreno I would look to team with so-so offenses and coaches on the bubble who need an instant offense…help for their QB’s, not to mention their careers.  I think Andy Reid could easily take one of them, but only because they do need someone.  Watch for Lynch’s suspension in Buffalo…if he is that big f-up and gets suspended maybe they go for the top back in their minds, knowing they play in the part of the world where having a strong back goes a long way towards winning football games.  And, they signed TO…so that’s big sign they are desperate and losing control of their senses, in my opinion.

Knowshon Moreno has the best feet of any back in this draft. When he is outside in space, and does his little shimmy-shimmy-shake, he is awesome to watch. I would have no problem at all with the Pats taking Knowshon at 23. He is one of my favorite players in this Draft. And I think you are right I have Knowshon going to the Eagles at 27. I also have Wells going early to New Orleans. I know it sounds weird, because they had one of the top offenses last season. However, the reason I gave them Wells was because there biggest problem last season was finishing games. They lost every game they played in decided by three points or less, and held the lead in the 4th quarter in all of them. They need a closer on offense and some closers on defense. I think the signings of Safety Darren Sharper and CB Jabari Greer opens up the opportunity for them to grab a big back who can run out the clock in the 4th quarter. 

I also see a mid round (3rd or 4th ) round tight end, if not sooner.  That’s where they’re value chart will come into play in a big way…if someone they like is there they’ll take him.  It’s one of those positions in football that is evolving and causing teams to react to this “arms race”…it’s a game of mismatches and these tight ends cause big game plan issues if they have to be watched going down field or cutting across the middle.  And, something Pats fans don’t understand is we often run two tight end sets, so you need 3 decent ones and Watson is most likely gone after this year, unless he stays healthy and has a big turn-around.  I don’t hate the player…just hasn’t lived up to the pick, but plays a ton of snaps and has become a decent blocker…they are getting their moneys worth, or killing him trying. 

That is hilarious! In my latest mock I have Brandon Pettigrew falling to the Pats and BB taking him in the 1st Round. People always talk about the versatility of having so many picks. One of those options is that they can take a guy early who may not have to be a starter next season. I think they still need a TE as well. Dave Thomas's contract expirees at the end of this season as well. And like you said in a two-TE offense having 3 good TE is important, and without Heath Evan, a viable FB, having four good Tight Ends is not the worst thing in the world. Other than that look for Bear Pascoe a TE from Fresno St in the 4th or 5th Round. Although I am starting to question if they can pass Laurinaitis at 23? The more I look the more I like their OLB than their ILB, and more importantly I think Larry English, Connor Barwin, and Cody Brown are all 2nd round picks, and as good as any 3-4 OLB in the Draft. I don't see a real good option in the 2nd Round for an ILB. If you pass on Laurinaitis in the 1st, than I think you are talking about Jasper Brinkley at pick 97. 

I can’t wait to see what Maroney does…another drama waiting to unfold…he’s thick as shit…so much skill, yet doesn’t get it.  I would sit him in a room watching tape of Moreno until he got it, then got him on the field and had him one-cut a thousand times…hand off, run, plant and up field hitting full speed until it was second nature. 

Yes, I am an unabashed Maroney fan. If his shoulder can heal, he and Taylor will be a dynamic duo;-) I think he was treated very unfairly last season. His shoulder surgery was not successful, and he tried to play anyway. During his infamous run out of bounds play, he shouldn't even have been on the field, as his shoulder was all torn up. What his critics like to ignore is that he was put on IR after the game, and had to have another shoulder surgery.     

Sorry, I’m obsessed a bit…take care,

Oh please, I have had a Patriots Draft Website since 1996, you have barely reached the first step in Draft obsession;-)

 

Entry for April 1st, 2009

Greetings Patsfans,

More good emails from fans:

Would these guys fit into Belichick's system
Connor Barwin DE/OLB Cincinnati
I think Barwin is a bit overrated currently. He is the most athletic DE/OLB prospect in this Draft, except for maybe Clay Mathews, but he will need sometime. He is vastly under experienced. However, he also the most versatile player in this Draft, and is already a Special Teams Maven. And just make you happy;-) I have the pats taking him at pick 34, in my 2nd Round.   
Victor Harris CB/S  VT
I thought he was a much better prospect when he was running 4.3's at VT. But when he went to the combine he ran a 4.68, that is unacceptable for a CB. He ran a 4.46 at his Proday, which allows to be considered a CB again. I currently have him rated as my 93 player in my top 100 or so. He is a cat quick Boundary Corner, whose best asset is his quickness. He also blitzes a lot, which is a useful skill, but I don't like to CBs blitz a lot. I see him a 3rd Round guy.
  Phil Loadholt  OT
I thought Loadholt played well last season. He is a lumbering hulk, but with his size and long arms he does a good job of getting in the way of Passrushers. His problem is that most scouts don't think he can play OLT, but he looked terrible on the right side at the Senior Bowl. I currently have him rated as my 66th player in my top 100 or so. He doesn't fit the Pats system. Belichick has installed the Shanahan zone-blocking scheme that uses smaller, more athletic, smarter O-Lineman.    

  Herman Johnson  OG LSU
Sorry, Johnson is better story than player. He is SLOOW. The more I watched the less I liked him. He doesn't fit the Pats system. I currently have him rated as my 88th player in my top 100 or so.
  Duke Robinson OG   Oklahoma
He doesn't fit the Pats system. However, as a ORG prospect in the 3rd, the Pats could do a lot worse. I think they need to draft a lineman for the right side. I currently have him rated as my 67th player in my top 100 or so.
 You mentioned not getting peppers which I think was a brilliant thing not to do cuz he's a defensive end and its not a need rather he's a linebacker or end. We need to sign Vince Wilfork to an extension
Just another example of shoddy journalism. They can't fit Peppers under the Cap, period. 
But why not have  guys like Shawn Crable and Gary Guyton see more time. I like what Gary Guyton contributed to our football team and i think its time that Teddy Bruschi started to hang 'em up.
I really liked Crable and Guyton in the Draft. In fact, I said in May that Guyton was going to make this team. I watched him the Senior Bowl and he looked like he was picking the system faster than the other guys. One of the important aspects of the Senior Bowl is that it really shows which players are going to adjust the NFL quicker. Not necessarily  better players, but the the players who transition better at the Senior Bowl, often transition better as rookies on their teams. Guyton was one of those guys who really took to the teaching at the Senior Bowl, and impressed me tremendously. As for Shawn Crable, apparently he is just a bad practice player. He is one those guys that plays better than they practice. Be careful what you ask for, without Bruschi on this team, we are horrifyingly shallow at ILB. In fact, I have been thinking about giving the Pats Laurinaitis at 23, because he maybe their last chance to get a viable ILB in this Draft.   
I think Jonathan Wilhite will be a steal in the 4th round just 03  draft when we drafted Samuel.

That is hilarious, I just wrote about how I think Wilhite reminds me of Assante;-) and I quote myself, "Wilhite was an absolute shock in the final quarter of the season. The quality of his play has been grossly exaggerated, because of the incomprehensibly incompetent coverage of Deltha O'Neal, who so thankfully put out of our misery on Feb. 27th, who may be the worst Corner I have ever seen play. Still, there are a lot of echoes of Assante Samuel in Wilhite, and what he did last season: where he was drafted (4th Round same as Assante), dreads, his size (5-9 183 similar to Assante 5-10 185, though he looks 5-9 to me), both had to start games late in their rookie seasons because of injuries (4 starts for Wilhite and 1 for Assante, though Assante actually played more in the Nickel and Dime), and they have similar stats as rookies (28 Tackles, 2 PBU and 1 INT Vs 34 TKL 5 PBU 2 INTs)." 

Thanks for the great email. You really made me think about some of those players, especially Macho Harris. When I watched him a VT, I couldn't have been more impressed. He was so quick, aware, and aggressive, and I usually don't like Boundary Corners. I am going to have to move him back up in my player ratings. 

 

Entry for March 21st, 2009

I’m a long-time Pats fan, so I follow the draft as a hobby and visit all the sites for over a decade now, and I agree 100% with your pick philosophy; and I say “philosophy” because I never found this to be right…to guess the player, although I do that for fun.  But, I realize how ridiculous it is to have all the variable fall into place in order to have the player fall on your lap. 

I spend a lot of times on team needs. I find the whole idea of Best Player Available to be stupid. And in this age of Salary Cap and escalating salaries of 1st Round Picks, it is even dumber. You have to draft a player who can play, at a position where he can play. All teams, at least in the 1st Round, always-always-always draft for need. I love to scout players, but I also enjoy the puzzle aspect of the Draft, trying to find out which piece is missing from each team and how they can fit that piece into their team. To me, that is the definition of a Draftnic. A person who trying to find the missing piece (the player) to fit in the correct hole (the team need). The more accurately you can do that the more accurate a mock draft is. And just to make it more interesting, every day at least one piece and one shape (team, sorry that didn't quite fit) of the puzzle changes every day, it's not just a 2-dimensional puzzle, it's a constantly shifting 4-dimensional puzzle that will drive you mad.  

That being said, I do believe that Brown would be a nice pick and fit for the Pats…they have to get to the quarterback, they’ve addressed almost every other part of the team, and strongly in my humble opinion.  I’ve had the Pats taking Larry English for over 3 months now….going back before the Senior Bowl.  But, if Brown is there he may fit better as a pure pass rusher, and I was leaning yesterday to changing my pick to Ayers…he’s the type of big athlete that makes all the sense in the world for their team. 

Speaking of a constantly changing 4-dimensional puzzle, I no longer believe that Everette Brown will be available at 23, as I talk about in my 3/19 Blog. Unfortunately, Belichick mentioned Larry English at his Combine Press Conference, "The 3-4/ defensive end group, I think it's an interesting group. I think there's some really talented players there, guys from different backgrounds. Guys who've been in coverage, guys who haven't been in coverage, with pass rush ability. The Orakpo's, the English's, guys like that, so that will be part of the process as we go forward and try to figure out how they would fit into, in our case, our system, how we would utilize them, what their skills are, and how that translates."  

I also like your assessment of the corners…I love Alphonso Smith, but he’s bit small and slow and I don’t see it happening in the 1st for him…especially with Bodden & Springs signed with Wheatley & Willhite in the wings.  We all know how hard it is for young corners to come in and play corner for Belichick, so I’m expecting those two to pick up where they left off…and that is looking pretty good, small yet capable, and they are fast…going back to your comment on being slow and short…these guys are short, but they are very fast and quick…nice players.

Alphonso Smith will be a great player in the NFL. I think I have already staked my Draftnic reputation on that;-) However, I said that the Pats need a DB or three. They have acquired two already, and I think they will target a Safety in the 2nd Round, and after that I would be surprised if they took another, except as a late round lottery ticket pick. They will not take a Corner, unless it's late in day two, where if you think you can find a player at any position who can contribute you take him. The 6th and 7th Round is where BPA really comes into effect.   

My own comment, I like the additions in the office in a big way.  When I heard Pioli was leaving I wasn’t entirely crushed…I was excited to see how the drafting would change…I think the last few years it’s been below par…big misses.  I love Reese…he always appealed to me on NFL.com or ESPN (where ever he was)…he just seemed to know a player when he saw one.  And, I don’t believe for a moment that he’s there just to help with the contracts…I believe he has Belichick’s ear on personnel, and I believe it’s already shown up in these signings. 

You are wrong, sir. Okay maybe not completely wrong;-) Scott Pioli was, by far, the most underrated piece of the Patriots puzzle. As brilliant as a HC and economics philosopher as Belichick is, Pioli is just as brilliant as a personal guy. I have been observing the Draft for decades, and have had a Patriots Draft website since 1996, and I have seen it all, and Pioli was as good as anyone I have seen since Bill Walsh in the 1980s. Losing him was a huge loss, and I was crushed. Alright, so I wasn't completely crushed, I, like I'm sure all Pats fan knew he was going to leave soon. He wanted to be the man, and you can't blame him for that. However, his loss is huge. I have always said he is as important as Belichick and Brady, and never gets the credit he deserves. He is just a great personal guy, period. 

I would hate to be in the top 10 in this years draft unless I needed a LT or BJ Raji (any mock draft that doesn’t have Raji in the top 10 I dismiss without hesitation…he may go top 5…too disruptive…too unique and hard to find guys like that…see what Docket did in the Super Bowl, not to mention the risk/value equation on dishing out that guaranteed money.

I love Raji too. I had a hard time evaluating him this season, because I'm a B.C. fan, since they are the only real college football team in the area. I have a tendency to watch B.C. as a fan, and not a scout. I watch 4 to (oh crap I don't know maybe) 7 games a week (thank you DVR!!!). Except for sometimes Notre Dame and USC, I don't really watch the games I watch the players, or more accurately specific players, and sometimes just a specific player. With B.C. I almost always watch them as a fan. So I didn't take any notes, or rewind as much as a normally do. However, Raji is a beast, and should be a top ten pick.

Other players I like:

·        Connor Barwin, maybe in 1st, but someone like Ayers is just more skilled…more dominant or Brown, maybe English.

I have been seeing Barwin going to the Pats at 34 for a long time, but now I'm not so sure. He is the type of ultra versatile talent that Belichick loves. I'm not secure in the Vrabel comparisons, but I see what people are talking about. Plus, he is a safe pick, because he is already a special teams maven, so he is assured to be a contribute as a rookie. I am very suspicious of Robert Ayers. He really came out of no where this season, but he was a monster at the Senior Bowl. In the passrushing practices he was unbelievable. Speed, technique, freakish power, inside, outside, great hands, he was unstoppable in those contact drills at the Senior Bowl. He also had the best highlight of the drill when he just went low, stuck his helmet right into the chest of the OT, drove him back, and actually lifted him right off his feet and threw him into the cone that was suppose to be the QB, it was THE highlight of the Senior Bowl practices. Then more importantly, he translated that skill and intensity to the field with constant pressure during the game. If he is there at 23, I think he is a NEP. My suspicion, Mike Mayock loves this guy and has him rated higher than everybody else. Mayock is buddies with Belichick, and it has been alleged that they have lunch every week together in the off season. So when he has aberration, a player who fits a 3-4 and is much higher rated than everyone else, I pay attention. I don't see Brown making down to the Pats. They will not Draft Larry English.       

·        Ron Brace #34, if there (to hedge against Wilfork…I don’t believe he’ll get the big bucks no matter how much the media says how irreplaceable he is… he’s not getting 40 million guaranteed here)

I think this is hilarious. I have been thinking about the 2nd Round a lot lately, and I the more I think about it the more I thought about the more I thought that the Pats can't pass on Brace at 34. Brace is big strong immovable object in the middle of the line, who offers almost no passrush. That sounds like a Nose Tackle to me. The Pats have done a good job of addressing needs on the outside and off the line. I think they will be addressing more needs along the line than people think right now. They need some help on the O-Line, and, like you said, the Wilfork issue. If we lose Wilfork, now, we are screwed. And I cannot say with certainty he will be here next year. He has already said he is looking for big bucks. Miami, the Jets, Cleveland, Denver, and KC will all be looking for NTs. How much is it worth to those teams to not only acquire an All-Pro NT, but to also take him away form the Pats. If they don't work out an extension this season, I think it's 50-50 or less Wilfork is on the team next season. That is a terrifying thought. However, if they have Ron Brace, who will also have a year in the system, they will not be anywhere near as bad off. Plus, Wilfork really has no back up. He has some D-Ends who step in and play NT, but they are not anywhere near fulltime NTs. Also, whether they take Brace or not, we will learn a lot about how confident BB is at signing Wilfork. If they pass on him,, than I say BB believes they will be able to sign Wilfork, and some kind of deal is in the works. If they take Brace or Hood in the 2nd, or Terrence Taylor, or Roy Miller late, than you can bet they are nervous about Wilfork's contract.  

·        Alphonso Smith, (I mentioned) in the 2nd…would love to have him…he seems like a thicker Wheatley…could excel in our system.

he is great player, but he won't be a patriot. They signed two Corners this off season and won't draft another, except as a lottery ticket pick late in the Draft. 

·        Darius Butler:  I like his body and short film I watch…has some height & speed, can be coached up, if he has the character.

He is a very good player, but he won't be a patriot. They signed two Corners this off season and won't draft another, except as a lottery ticket pick late in the Draft. 

·        William Moore: 2nd,  I think he has the size and skill and could be coached up (we as Pats fans forget that part…the players learn, and they learn they only have to do their job…case and point: Eugene Wilson.

I really like Will Moore. He was great as a Redshirt Junior two seasons ago, where he garnered 111 Tackles, 6 PBU, and 8 INTS, and really looked like a top ten pick. He looked like a super athletic Safety playing in a Linebacker's body. I had him in my top ten right up the Senior Bowl, and I had to reluctantly lower him. He is smart and super tough kid, who is willing to sacrifice for his team. Ironically, it was his apparently not so smart decision to help his team and play through injuries that has caused him to drop. If he had stayed off the field when he was not 100% healthy, he would have healed faster and played better at the end of the season. So do you kill him for last season, when he was devastated by injuries, or do you give him Credit for playing through the injuries to help his team. He won't be a 1st Round pick, but he should be. He showed up at the Combine, healthy, and displayed the athleticism that had him rated as a top ten player before last season. Then he looked even better at his Proday. This guy is a terrific player, and if the Pats took him at 34 I would be ecstatic. However, they won't. In my opinion, they have locked onto Rashard Johnson as their Safety of choice in the 2nd Round. He is Saban guy, and Belichick did a good job describing Johnson when he was describing how the play of Safeties had changed over the past few years, in his press conference at the Combine.    

·        Patrick Chung: 2nd   I like his game

I gave a full review of Chung in my 3/20 Blog

Someone had the Pats taking Wells in the 1st and I do NOT see them taking a back with that top pick (I see them taking a “faller”, but leaning towards OLB), but, as a huge fan of his play and RB’s, I would love to see Moreno on this team…love the way he plants and heads south…unique, all-round back, but highly unlikely to say the least with what we have in the backfield now. 

The Fred Taylor signing precluded any chance of the Pats taking a RB in the Draft, except as a lottery ticket pick late in the Draft. However, I do like Beanie and Moreno as well. However, finding a hole to put them in has driven me crazy for the past few weeks. I see a lot of depth at RB in this Draft, and I think both could further than people think.  

One of the best things I like about our coach is he seems to evolve…learn, and I think it will take a shotgun to the head for him draft another running back in the 1st round.  They don’t last, there are too many out there for the taking in later rounds, and via free agency

LOL, I couldn't agree more. Plus, I keep thinking about Shonn green, who played for his boy at Iowa.

 

Entry for March 20th, 2009

 

I think it's the general consensus that a better pass rush will make are young and newly acquired veteran cornerbacks look a lot better and if there is one thing that is plentiful in this draft it's OLBs not to mention the prospect of bringing in a Jason Taylor

 

I do believe BB will add a OLB/PR in the Draft. I talked a lot about this in my 3/19 entry. However, there are some snags on the way to passrushing bliss. As I say below, I doubt they can pick up Maybin, Brown, or Mathews. In his Combine press conference, he mentioned the names of Orakpo and (unfortunately) Larry English. He has never drafted a player who he has mentioned by name in his pre-Draft Press Conference. However, he has never given a Combine press conference before either.  

I talked about this in my 3/19 Blog, and I quote myself, "Right now I have Aaron Maybin, but after his Proday he will be going to Buffalo at the latest. I like Everette Brown as well. However, after his Proday he will definitely not make it past the Buccs at 19. Clay Mathews is an interesting pick, as he has ties to Belichick, his dad played for BB in Cleveland. However, BB has always believed in production, and I have a lot of problems seeing him taking an OLB/Passrusher who has only 5.5 career Sacks. Rey Maualaga seems to be slipping in the Draft, and if he is still somehow on the board at 23, there is no way BB can pass on him. Maualaga is a great football player. I have been wondering lately if there is a deal in the works with Denver, to allow them to trade up to 12 and take Maualaga. It would seem to benefit both teams, and you won't need to give up 34 or 49, in my opinion. Our third 2nd Round pick should do it. However, as it stands now, and in my next mock draft, I will be giving them Eben Britton, ORT out of Arizona. I doubt you or anyone else would agree with me. However, he can play any line position except OC. He can play ORG, and whenever Stephen Neal, and his chronically crappy shoulder, get injured the O-Line falls apart. He will start at ORT next season and be serious upgrade over Nick Kaczur. Plus, I believe his eventual position in the NFL will be OLT, and this would allow Light to play LT for another 2 or 3 seasons and than slide over to RT." I have a problem. I outlined in my 3/19 Blog why I think the Pats will eventually land Jason Taylor. However, in Belichick's interview on WEEI, A MUST LISTEN TO, he mentioned both Julius Peppers and Jason Taylor. Now when it comes to the Draft, when Belichick mentions a player by name he will not draft him. Does that include Free Agents? He has never mentioned a player, by name before he signs them in Free Agency. However, he also has never talked to the media in March before. Jason Taylor was a great player, and I think BB could make him great again. However, I lived long and prospered with the knowledge that once BB names a player he has never drafted him (Larry English), and I will speculate that that transcends into the realm of Free Agency. I know for a fact their is no way he can sign Peppers, and I believe that since he has named both Peppers and Taylor their fate has been sealed, and they will not be here. However, I do think he talked about Adalius Thomas at the Pro Bowl the year they signed him. Oh crap, now I'm not sure again;-)

So why not target one of the two ILB in the first round, we know BB likes to trade on draft day and there seems to be some teams in the mid teens willing to trade down (N.O. at 14 needs a 2nd and 3rd round pick). Yeah you know where i'm going with this, if Maualaga slips past Denver at 12 why not target him? 

Rey Maualaga is the man. I place my full Draftnic reputation on him;-) He will succeed in the NFL or my name isn't Mr. Patriot Homer! Oh Wait, my name isn't Mr. Patriot Homer. Oh crap, caught again. Okay, I say Rey will be a great player or my name isn't TOM! Okay so my name isn't TOM. Well it is Tom, but T-O- M are actually my initials. My initials spell my name;-) Okay, I say Rey will be a great player or my initials aren't TOM! There I said it;-) If they Pats have a chance to trade up and grab Rey they have to do it. In my opinion, he is better geared for the Pats system than Mayo. I mean Mayo plays at a spectacular speed, but in college, Rey has shown better strength at taking on O-Guards. His play in USC Bowl game two years ago was the most dominate performance I have ever seen a Defensive player have in college, period. They have 9 picks and absolutely no chance of 9 rookies making the team next season. Trade up and trade out (acquire picks in next years Draft). I really have a hard time seeing more than 4 or 5 rookies making the roster next year.

Or do you think a 2nd or 3rd round prospect would be better like Beckwith or Jasper Brinkley? 

I see Beckwith as a prototype Flash-an-Dash Linebacker, meaning his is a perfect fit for a Tampa Two defense. I don't see him fitting our defense. I am also not a fan of Brinkley. His size is massively enticing. However, he is not a 270 Linebacker. Just for the record he bulked up to 270 pounds after his knee injury, and showed up at his Proday at 250 pounds (I think actually 256). He is strong and can take on blocks well. When I watch South Caroline early last season he looked terrible. I don't think he has completely overcome the knee surgery, mentally. By all accounts he lost a lot when he hurt his knee 2007. In 2006 he was a monster, when he was a Junior College transfer. He still looked hesitant at the Senior Bowl. He is a guy who fits the Pats system so I really focused in on him the second time I watched the Senior Bowl and I was very disappointed. He didn't move forward well. He seemed hesitant and unsure. I wanted to like him, but I kept waiting for him to attack the Line, and he didn't. So I admit my judgment of him is unfairly harsh, but as he drops his potential becomes more and more enticing, and he will be hard to pass in the 4th or 5th Round. Because, if can regain the confidence in his knee and start attacking the LOS again, he can be a very effective Inside Linebacker in a 3-4.  

With 3 picks in the 2nd round what do you think will be there priorities, ok it will probably end up being 2 picks, you know BB will end up fleecing some desperate fool in a trade with one of them. 

Okay, I will try to be brief here, LOL. I am currently working on my second round now. Right now I have them taking Brace at 34, Pat White at 49, and Rashard Johnson at 57, and that is if they take Eben Britton in the 1st. I think they have to take an ORT or ORG early, and if not Britton at 23 or 34, than they will have their eye on Jamon Meredith at 34 or 49.  

What are your thoughts on safety, Delmas, Chung? Well the page is cool, keep up the good work. Bob.

Okay, I will not be brief here;-) I love both Delmas and Chung, but I don't see the Pats taking either player. Okay, don't get mad at me, but Bob Sanders is a great player. I know he is a dreaded Colt's player, and Patriots nemesis, but he is a great player. I have been comparing Louis Delmas to Bob Sanders. Now Sanders has better speed (I think the little freak actually ran a 4.3 at the Combine), and Delmas ran 4.5. However, his strength is, like Sanders, moving forward and assaulting anything and anybody with suicidal viciousness. His strength is his weakness, just like Sanders, he hits opponents with ferocity and without any regard for self-preservation. He will knock out opponents, and he will knock out himself, just like Sanders. This is a guy, who if he can stay healthy, and I don't see how that could be possible, could a defense changing All-Pro, just like Sanders. Chung reminds me of Brandon Meriweather. He is another slightly undersized Safety, who has the athleticism to play Free Safety, but plays like a Strong Safety. He is always looking to move forward and hit. He is a great physical player, for his size, who just loves to hit, and can have the spectacular hit that is on TV ten times before the night is through. Chung ran a 4.24 in the Short Shuttle at his Proday, and that is Deion Branch type quickness. He has good balls skills and the speed to play Center Field, but is at his best when he is allowed to attack. Chung is the type of guy you want on your team. He was that knack for always seeming to be around the ball. No Safety in this this Draft has better change of direction quickness than Chung. I think he can play a little CB in a pinch, but he is not a CB, I think he has better cover skills than given credit for, but even I can't see him playing CB full time. I do think he can step down as a Nickel Corner for a game or two when injuries strike, but any more than that and you are asking for trouble. Okay, now the problem, Rashard Johnson. Rashard Johnson is a Saban special. He raves about this guy. I just don't see anyway the Pats get through the 2nd Round without taking Johnson, period. If you take Johnson at say 57, you won't take Delmas at 34, or Chung at 49, and I don't either player lasting much longer than 34 and 49 respectively. However, I think if they come out of the 2nd Round with either of the three, I will be ecstatic.         

 

Entry for March 19th, 2009

 

Hey hi I like the site who do you think the patriots will pick in their first round draft choose. Please get back to me as soon as possible. THX.

Right now I have Aaron Maybin, but after his Proday he will be going to Buffalo at the latest. I like Everette Brown as well. However, after his Proday he will definitely not make it past the Buccs at 19. Clay Mathews is an interesting pick, as he has ties to Belichick, his dad played for BB in Cleveland. However, BB has always believed in production, and I have a lot of problems seeing him taking an OLB/Passrusher who has only 5.5 career Sacks. Rey Maualaga seems to be slipping in the Draft, and if he is still somehow on the board at 23, there is no way BB can pass on him. Maualaga is a great football player. I have been wondering lately if there is a deal in the works with Denver, to allow them to trade up to 12 and take Maualaga. It would seem to benefit both teams, and you won't need to give up 34 or 49, in my opinion. Our third 2nd Round pick should do it. However, as it stands now, and in my next mock draft, I will be giving them Eben Britton, ORT out of Arizona. I doubt you or anyone else would agree with me. However: he can play any line position except OC. He can play ORG, and whenever Stephen Neal, and his chronically crappy shoulder, get injured the O-Line falls apart. He will start at ORT next season and be serious upgrade over Nick Kaczur. Plus, I believe his eventual position in the NFL will be OLT, and this would allow Light to play LT for another 2 or 3 seasons and than slide over to RT.     

Entry for March 17th, 2009

 

I like some of the guys you mentioned in your mock for the patriots cuz I'm a big fan of the patriots. Belichick has worse luck in the second round since he got here,  Adrian Klemm (2000) Bethel Johnson (2003) Eugene Wilson (2003) Marquis Hill (r.i.p. 2004)  Chad Jackson (06). I say trade one of these picks  to either move up or  trade it for a future 1st rd in next years Draft. Thanks, Steve

I would thank you back Steve, however, you asked a very tough question, and you brought up Chad Jackson, who I said was the steal of the Draft on '06;-) Okay, in order to make Belichick's 2nd Round picks not sound so bad, I am going to have to let Mr. Patriots Homer answer these questions. First off, Klemm was also a guy I thought was going to be a good pick. Bill was wrong, as was I. However, that was his first draft as the HC of the NEP, so you have to cut him some slack. Bethel Johnson was not a homerun, but he was not a strikeout either. He was a one year wonder who was a valuable asset (granted, more as a KR than WR) on a Super Bowl team. Eugene Wilson was an excellent pick. He was the starting FS for multiple Super Bowl winning teams. He played centerfield better than any Safety they have had in decades. His ability to cover both sides of the field from a One-Deep zone, allowed Harrison to be the blitzing In-The-Box Safety that helped make him so great a player here. Granted, injuries and a reported lack of work ethic made is effectiveness here much shorter than it should have been. He was a great pick, and remember they were able to trade back 20 to 25 (from 19 to 40?) spots and pick a first in the following Draft, and that pick turned into Vince Wilfork. So for a 2nd Rounder, that was a grand-slam. Marquis Hill was not a total bust. He never turned into the player everyone thought he would be, but he did a lot behind the scenes to help the team, and he played for us for what 3 or 4 years. Not what you want, but a total bust. I will never speak of Chad Jackson again, total bust. However, it is also important to remember Wes Welker and Cory Dillon. Both were acquired with 2nd Round picks. So when you look at it objectively, like only Mr. Patriot Homer can;-) they really didn't do to bad: two complete busts (Klemm and he who cannot be named), a One-Hit-Wonder (Bethel), an underrated player done in by injuries (Wilson), a 3 or 4 year contributor who could never crack the starting line up (Hill), and two excellent trade for All-Pro players (Dillon and Welker). Okay, so I agree with you. Call it luck, or trends, or coincidences, but the more you follow the Draft the more these things pop up. I would never take a a WR from Florida, a QB from Texas Tech, or a DE from Florida ST. And you if you look at the luck Belichick has had in the 2nd Round, you have to hope they trade those picks for a player or a 1st in next years Draft. However, it has had some success in the 2nd Round, and if you hit 50% of your picks you are doing good. I do believe they will trade some picks for future picks, they have to. They have 9 picks in this Draft, and no one can tell me 9 rookies are  making this team next year. They have a team that should have been in the play offs last year, and they are returning the best player in the league to the Roster, and while they have lost 7 players, they have picked up 10. They will not acquire Julius Peppers for a Draft pick. However, I can a team giving up a 1st in next years Draft for a one of our seconds. Plus, everybody, and I mean everybody, in this Draft wants to trade down. They could easy send one of the 2nds, and their 3rd to move up into the 1st. This is not a good Draft. That is why from pick 20-49 you could see all these players going in any order. My ratings have Jamon Meredith (49), William Beatty (47), Josh Freeman (46), Kenney Britt (45), Percy Harvin (43), Darius Butler (42), Michael Johnson (41) and Hakeem Nicks (36) could all easily go in the 1st Round. So when you hold pick 34 and 49, and one or all of those players are the board, their will be a GM who is willing to give up a 1st in next years Draft for one of those player, because remember a trade is a two way street. You have to have a team that has something they want enough to give up what you want in return. I think I answered your question, but I really have to go;-)   Thanks for the email.     

 

Entry for March 16th, 2009

 

3/16 This whole Julius Peppers story is historically ridiculous levels, now ESPN is reporting that the Panthers have not discussed a trade with the Pats, because it is against the rules. I believe that report as much as I believe Carrucci's report. Let the bullshit begin!!!!!!! I mean continue;-)

3/15 This whole Julius Peppers thing has officially reached the modern standard of ESPN journalism, where the story is more important than the facts. NFL.com's Vic Carucci is reporting Peppers is on the way to New England for pick number 34? "Peppers, on whom the Panthers have placed a franchise tag that assures him of a one-year contract worth $16.68 million". On March 10, the Pats were 16.9 Million under the Cap, according to John Clayton. The Pats are approximately 7.8 million under the Cap, according to Miquel's very unofficial Patriots Salary Cap information page. "Plus, I forgot about the Draft, in order to make a pick on Draft Day you have to have 110 thousand Cap-dollars available, per pick. I think the Pats have 8 or 9 picks. I believe they gave up their 5th Round pick for Lewis, giving them 8, but they will be receiving a 3rd for Assante, giving them 9 again. If they give pick 34,  that will leave them with 8 picks at a cost, on April 25th, of 880,000.00 in Cap-dollars. Which leaves them with 7 million under the Cap. Plus it will cost them 2-3 million to sign all their Draft picks. Let's suppose it will them 2.8 Million to sign all their picks (to make the math easy), What is 7.8 minus 2.8? Hhmm, that leaves them with an actual Cap figure of 5 million remaining under the Cap." So could you please tell me how this signing could possible work? It cannot! The Panthers can Pats can talk amongst themselves as much as they like, but unless Peppers agrees to a contract with Cap-money of under 7 million for 2009, it is irrelevant. The only saving grace to this negotiation is that next season is going to be unCapped, so they could give him a 3 million dollar salary this year, and a 25 million dollar salary next year with about 3 million a year in salary bonus spread out over 3 or 4 years, that would be a Cap figure of 6 and 28, which is a total of 34 million over two seasons and an average of 17 million over the first two seasons, then maybe 12 million and 12 million over the next two years, making it a 4 year 58 million dollar contract (please note this contract is pure fiction and should not be related to reality in any way, shape, or form). First, does anyone think the league would approve this deal? And what does Brady say? This also means either Seymour or Wilfork is gone after this season. Of course judging by how Seymour has played the past three or four years, it may be the only way they could say goodbye to Seymour. Seymour would minus 9 Million of Cap-money next season making that 25 million more like 16 million, if you want to be a little delusional. Also cutting Seymour on June first would be a Cap savings of 6,406,720.00, he has 6 million Cap-dollars remaining in Signing Bonus, and 3,406,720.00 in actual new money for 2009 (if you cut a player after June 1, the remaining Signing bonus money is spread in two equal payments of Cap-dollars over the next two years, 3 mil in 2009, 3 mil in 2010). With Julius Peppers on the team he could be cut. Did you see how far into la-la-land I had to go to find a contract that actually worked for Peppers and the team, and don't forget this move will cost you Seymour, and/or Wilfork. I think Wilfork is looking at the Haynesworth money, and saying, "sounds good to me." If you give Peppers a 4 year 58 million dollar deal, with a 25 million dollar year, what do you think Wilfork's agent will saying next February, "Oh sure, I'll take the ridiculously fictional hometown discount." I love how fans think players should take a discount because the player plays for the Fan's hometown team. This isn't Wilfork's hometown. Nor is it Pepper's hometown. Nor is it Seymour's hometown. Nor is it Brady's hometown. And most importantly it sure as hell ain't any of their agents hometown, you know the guys who actually do the negotiating. If Peppers is actually trading here, it would have to be in a Very similar scenario to the one I just described. What do you think the odds of all this crap happening is? 3%, 7%, maybe 10%. Okay I'll with there is a ten percent chance this deal could actually work, and that is my most Mr. Patriots Homer unrealistically optimistic moment of the day. Crap, this is suppose to be a mock draft? Now I have to go, and have written nothing about the Pats pick, again! Has this off-season been the best off-season ever? 

 

Entry for March 14th, 2009

 

Here is an email from a 49ers fan:

 

Niners just signed Alex Smith to a new 2-yr contract for a huge reduction in salary...so now have 3 QB's under contract.  They may draft another...to groom for the future, but that most likely won't be 'til at least the mid-rounds.  So, here's what Singletary will do...he'll take the top pass rusher or OT on the board.  Brown is arguably his top choice if he's available...if not, he'll grab the best OT, probably wither Andre Smith or Oher.  Then he takes a pass rusher like Connor Barwin in the 2nd.  Those are his two top draft priorities.

 

Alex Smith is a bust. He has proven one thing in his time in the NFL, he's a KP, and I quote myself, "Okay? Just like Parcels used to say, Alex Smith is a KP, can't play (Or maybe that's Kan't Play;-). He took less pay so he could continue to play in the NFL, not because he is now somehow suddenly good. J.T. O'Sullivan was picked up because he knew the system, not because he can play. Shaun Hill is a better story than player. He is average, at best. He look so good last season, because you had been watching two KPs for too long. Don't believe me? Ask Singletary, who still refuses to anoint Hill the savor of  his coaching career, because as we all know the Head Coach and the starting QBs careers are intricately linked, if not completely dependent on each other (sorry Josh). Plus, the first thing Singletary said after the season was declare that his top concern was getting a QB. Right now it looks good for this Franchise, because word out of Detroit is that they are leaning towards Jason Smith, which could just mean the negotiations with Stafford have officially started, or Detroit is blowing it again. Which means they could be getting their choice of Stafford or Sanchez, because right now I just don't see any other team in the top ten taking a QB." Second of all, the QBs in this Draft, after the first three, suck. The QBs that remain are all Lottery Ticket QBs, which means you have to hit the jackpot to find a viable QB. The forth best QB in this Draft is Pat White, and the only thing scout seem to agree on is that he cannot be a fulltime NFL QB, and I quote myself, "Has everything you you want in a QB except size. He is clearly the 4th best QB in this Draft. I don't understand how scouts call Nate Davis, Graham Harrell, Cullen Harper, Chase Daniel, Nathan Brown, and Brain Hoyer NFL prospects at QB, then say White can't play QB in the NFL? Last season he took the giant step forward from being a Running QB who could throw, to a Throwing QB who can run. He was easily the best QB at the Senior Bowl, and all the scouts acted surprised that a four year starter ay West Virginia could throw the bowl smoothly and accurately. Did they watch him at all last season? I watched West Virginia's first game of the season, and even I could see he was a different QB then his previous three season. Then he goes the Combine and tests out as the best QB athletically in the Draft. And again scouts act surprised he displayed a smooth and accurate arm? I don't understand it." After Pat White I don't see another QB being taken until the 7th Round. This is not the year to be messing around if you need a QB. If you have a chance to grab one of the top three QBs, you need to do it and pray. Nothing makes a Head Coach look smarter than a great QB, and nothing makes a GM look dumber than a bust at QB. Like Alex Smith who has already cost two HC's and at least GM (?) their jobs. I agree that they need a ORT, and a Passrusher, and I thought Manny Lawson was going to be a great passrusher, shame. However, I think a Free Safety might be more of a concern, and I quote myself, "Okay, if they somehow pass on Sanchez? Jenkins would be an excellent fit here. Their Starting Free Safety Mark Roman not only didn't get an INT last season, he didn't get an INT in 2007 either. That is just not acceptable. Jenkins has top ten talent in this draft, but I can't seem to find a place for him in the top ten, this could be the spot." As for Conner Barwin, their are a lot of teams hoping to snag him in the 2nd Round. He will have to get by the Pats at 34 first;-) Thanks for the email.  

 

Entry for March 12th, 2009

 

3/12 Okay, now it's time for Patriot Homer Time. I think the Pats got the most they could get for Cassel. Upon further review, we were not going to get a 1st for Cassel, so the most they could have gotten for him was the 33rd pick. Why you ask Mr. Patriot Homer? There are many reason, but again what you need to do is follow the money. When you are confused about anything corporations do you just need to follow the money. When they Franchised Cassel, it was not a brilliant move, it was a necessary move. It was the only way of ensuring they would receive compensation for a valuable asset they had spent years grooming for four years (I love how those crappy ESPN reporters were pretending that there was a chance Cassel was going to be on the team next season. I mean how stupid would you have to be to think they were going to pay a backup QB over 14 million dollars?). There was however one fly in the ointment. What if he signed the tender? It was not a brilliant move by Cassel to sign the tender, it was a necessary one. By all accounts Cassel lives a modest lifestyle with his wife and children on the South Shore. 14.65 Million to a family man who lives a modest lifestyle, sets him up for life. I would have signed it. However, when he signed the tender it had consequences that went unseen. It not only guaranteed 14.65 million dollars, it also Guaranteed him that his next tender had to be at least 10% more then the tender he signed this season (a minimum of 16,115,000.00$). So he would have to have a really horrible season next season to not be, minimally, Franchised next season. So when he signed that tender, he was in effect signing a 2-year deal worth 30.765 million with 14.65 million guaranteed. That is a hard deal to beat, and ensured that could NOT sign a long term deal. A repercussion I'm sure he didn't foresee. In order to give a 1st Round pick or more, a team would have to have a long term deal, a long term deal that starts at 30.765 Million with 14.65 million guaranteed. But where do you go from there? The only place to go is Haynesworth money. Who is going to give Cassel 100 million dollars and 41 million in guarantees, after only playing one season in the past eight years. If your Cassel you cannot give up 30.765, which is all but guaranteed, unless you get more guaranteed. If your a team, you cannot give Cassel more. So you have to take him with the one-year contract and the option for the second year. Under those conditions you cannot give up a 1st Round pick. I'm sorry, it's simple economics. No long-term deal, no 1st round pick. Notice that Cassel still has not worked out a long-term deal, and he won't; It can't be done. If they had waited for a long-tern deal to be worked they would still be waiting. Plus, they were straight against the Cap. No Cassel trade: no James Sanders, no Russ Hochstein, no Greg Lewis, and no Shawn Springs, and maybe no Chris Baker and Fred Taylor. Moss had to restructure his contract to give them the room to sign Taylor and Baker, but both deals were not signed until after the trade. Maybe that was a coincidence, or maybe they were luxuries BB felt he could afford only without Cassel's contract on the Cap. So they not only got a 2nd for Cassel they also got 4 valuable players for next season, and maybe 6. 

 

Entry for March 11th, 2009

 

3/11 Okay Jason Taylor time. I think the Pats have an excellent shot at Jason Taylor. Why? Because of the money, again. The Pats are still well under the Cap. However, I don' think they will be signing more expensive players. There are a ton of players who have been released for money reason that could be to good a bargain to pass up. So there may still be some signings coming. However, I think they will be saving as much as they can as they try and rework the contracts of some of their valuable veterans who contracts are up after next season. in particular Wilfork and Mankins. So they will be holding onto as much as they can for as long as they can, especially when you also add in the fact they have 5 or 6 of the top 100 picks in the Draft. They won't know who they are going to get until the end of April, and won't really know anything about them until the end of mini-camps in June and July. So they will hold onto the 10 million or so they have under the Cap until they can properly judge the rookies and properly judge were they stand with they expiring contracts. Taylor said he wants to spend the off season with his family, okay fine, that's understandable. Plus, he's what a 40 year veteran. How many 10 plus year veterans do you know who love to go to Training camp. I don't see him signing with anybody until August and maybe even September. So who is going to have the money to sign him in August and September, and also have a legit playoff team? Hhmm I wonder?            

Entry for March 11th, 2009

Where do I start? Okay, Julius Peppers. Julius Peppers is not coming to the Patriots! It is an impossibility! He is tendered for 17.5 million dollars! The Pats don't have that much room under the Cap and never did! Even after they traded Cassel and opened 14.65 million, plus 3.5 million = 18.15 million, then they immediately signed James Sanders for 3 millions (OOPS!), and Russ Hochstein (for undisclosed amount). Plus, Peppers said he wants to play in a 3-4, because he thought it was best for "him", not because he wants to go to a winner, not because he doesn't think Carolina can't win, but because he does what's best for "him". He NEVER said he would take less money to play for a winner, and he certainly never said he take less to play for the Pats. In fact, what he did say (it was rumored) was that he wanted Haynesworth money. Can you hear me now? THEY DON'T HAVE THE MONEY, PLEASE STOP! Thank you. Sorry for yelling, but the winter has officially defeated me, and so I am exceedingly grumpy after every snow storm. 

Entry for March 10th, 2009

Okay, the Secondary. I actually received an email from a guy who said they don't need help in the Secondary. I was to grumpy to answer that email. If you don't think they need help in the Second you need to stop watching football. That is like saying the sky is green and it is light out at night. It is just plain wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. Last season the defense was actually very good against the run. How many times did they stop a team running on first and second down, only to give up a long pass on third and long. When it came to make a stop in the passing game they were defenseless. They were the worst team in the league on passing down, and against the pass. The only thing that saved them from statistically being the worst team against the pass was they played in some of the worst weather I have ever seen them play in the last two weeks of the season. In final four games in was the horrible weather conditions that made their pass defense acceptable, not the suddenly miraculous play of Jonathan Wilhite. They played in the worst stretch of weather games I have ever seen, in this damn winter. Snow storms, Ice storms, freezing cold conditions, and that bizarre wind storm in Buffalo, I have never seen anything like it. And even with the wind blowing 65 miles and hour sideways, they still never really stopped the Bills passing game, the Bills just chose not to pass, for the most part, because of the wind. Edwards was actually very efficient when he did pass the ball, he was 14 of 25 for 128 yards in the worst weather conditions for throwing the ball I have ever seen. There was the blizzard games against the frozen Cardinals, who just openly quit on the field because of the frozen weather conditions, not because of the Pats great pass defense. Then there was the Raiders game, which was more like beating up your little brother then a football game. They looked like a team that had quit long before the Pats ever arrived in town, and Russell who most people think is halfway down Bust Highway, was 17 of 31 for 242 yards and 2 TDs. That is nothing for the defense to be proud of, especially when you consider how crappy their WR are. Oh my, remember Seattle? Where the Pats had to play a Seahawks team that decimated by injury, including their starting QB. The game where the Pats vaunted pass defense made Seneca Wallace look like Fran Tarkenton. I mean, the great Seneca Wallace was 20 of 28 for 212 yards and 3 TDs! Okay, that's enough! I refuse to argue with someone doesn't think the Pats should draft a CB. Now their pass defense is automatically better just because Dealtha O-Neal is not going to be on field, though it worries me that he still on the team. He cannot even cover me, and that is worst insult I give a CB. Wilhite played admirably, yes. I thought Terrence Wheatley was their best Corner in the preseason, and was pissed he wasn't playing earlier. However, the only thing he has proven is that he can break his arm (oh, that was mean;-). I mean he has the perfect body for a Corner: size, speed, rare natural quickness, except his forearms are apparently made of glass? Who would have guessed a CBs forearms were so important. I mean he broke his forearm 3 times in college. He actually broke an unbreakable titanium rod that was inserted into his forearm, and had to have it removed and replace by an unbreakable stainless steel rod. That's three broken arms, two surgeries, and 3 rods inserted into his forearm. Then he come to the Pats and break his other arm. How bizarre is that? although it was actually his wrist that he broke, but still, how bizarre is that? How much can rely on this guy? I just don't know?    

Entry for March 9th, 2009

OH MY GOODNESS! Matt Cassel for a 2nd Round pick, I hate it. "Yo Bill, screw Pioli. He's a Chief now!" Oh well, in Bill we trust. I don't believe he would pass up a 1st and a 3rd for Cassel, just to get a 2nd from Pioli. And I really don't believe they would have gotten Denver's 1st, number 12, in the deal. ESPN, the crappiest, I mean the most imaginative reporters on the planet, have changed the reporting of the deal three times since the trade happened. If they had waited a day or two could they have gotten a 1st? Yes! If they could have waited a week could they have gotten more? Yes, well maybe. However, Bill had the backroom deal finalized before the Free Agent starting line, with an accomplice he trust with his shenanigans, and so he pulled the trigger. The devil you know is better then one you don't. No, the rolling stone catches no moss? No. A bird in the hand is better two in the nest. Yes, Bill chose the devil in his hand rather than the Rolling Stones in his nest. Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled program. The good news, is that I have been saying since January (and not since Cassel was traded for a 2nd. Ow! It still hurts.) that the depth of this Draft is in the Defensive Backs and the Linebackers in the Second Round. Have 3 2ns Round picks is a huge boon in this Draft, and don't be surprised is one of those pick turns into a First Next Year. There is always 1st Round talent in the second Round Remember, we have: a 1st (23), 3 2nds (34, 47, and 58) a 3rd (89), and a 3rd Round Compensation Pick on the way (Around 100 for Assante). That's 6 pick in the top 100, or so. That's a lot of rookies to throw onto the team. Alphonso Smith could fall to 34, because of his height. Will Moore, who is a terrific player, seems to have fallen into the Second Round, and could be available at 47. Beside Crabtree, Brain Robiskie is the best WR in the Draft, and for some reason he looks destined for the 2nd Round as well? He would be a steal at 34 or 47. Plus, I believe that Belichick has zeroed in on Rashard Johnson S from Alabama. He is a Saban favorite, and in Belichick Press conference at the Combine he talked about the evolution of the Safety into a more Free Safety role, because of all the three wide and spread offense. Johnson fits that role. Plus in the Second Round you could find: Louis Delmous S, Patrick Chung S, Sean Smith S/CB, Nic Harris S, Chip Vaugn S, Courtney Green s, Darius Butler, Mike Mickens CB, Macho Harris CB, Keenan Lewis CB, and even Alphonso Smith. That is a lot of DBs to choose from. Plus there are some interesting O-Linemen who could lineup on the right side who could be available, including: Jamon Meredith (who sure looks like a Pats O-Linemen to me!), OL Max Unger ,OT Fenuki Tupou, OL Alex Mack, OG Duke Robinson, OT Phil Loadholt. That is a lot of talent that will be available in the 2nd, and some will slip into the 3rd Rounds. Here is an interesting scenario: NE Pats Draft has the Pats taking Connor Barwin, DE/OLB, Cincinnati at 34, he tested out as the most athletic D-End at the Combine. He has them taking Darius Butler, CB, UConn at 47, he has great feet and toughness, and some think the best change of direction of any DB in the Draft. And, Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn at 58, who I have as a legit 1st Round talent. Plus they have Rashard Johnson S from Alabama sliding into the 3rd Round. That would not be a bad day.

Entry for March 2nd, 2009

Oh boy here is another interesting email:

The Steelers have signed ALL of their starting OL from the Super Bowl.  Agreed they still need depth at that position and their CB's and DL is in need of some bolstering. Hope to see you guys next year in the playoffs. It's gonna be MACK (C).  Like you, just a guess.

Greetings,

Great, just when I have the needs of one team down they go and sign all their player who are suppose to be leaving! Being a Draftnic is never easy;-)  But seriously congratulations, on the Super Bowl and signing your players. I always tell people that the O-Line is half the Offense, and exactly half the Offense if count the Tight End as half an O-Linemen like I do.

Here are a couple of thought for you. If you need a NT, Ron Brace is going to be there at 32. He could back up pp-Casey Hampton for a year or two, and then move into the starting lineup. Hampton is getting way up there in years, and it would help to rest him from time to time.

If you are thinking about a D-End, I have Tyson Jackson rated as my top 3-4 D-End. I think he would be a monster in a 3-4. He said he went back for his senior year in order to work on his passrush. I think he succeeded, sort of. He showed better passrush moves, but also looked much bigger and a bit slower. He is such an unusual athlete it is hard to pigeon hole him. I have not been able to find a hole for him in the First round, but he is a First Round talent. I have him now as my 25th rated player.

As for Alex Mack, you might be in luck. The Waiting Game is as important as finding player in the draft, which is what the Steelers have always done better than most teams. It’s not just the how you rate a player, but how he is perceived by everyone else in the league, or rather where is he going to fall. Do you take LaMarr Woodley in the First Round, or do you wait until the Second Round, where everyone else seems to think he is rated. Waiting for a player you think is vastly undervalued is a difficult waiting game. I see Alex Mack sliding through the cracks a little. There is a lot of talent at Center this year, and I think the Centers will go lower than people think. I think he will be there for you guys at 64. Can you wait? That is the Waiting Game.

As for your DBs, I have thought for a few seasons on upgrade at CB was coming. This may finally be the season, as CB Bryant McFadden has been wined and dined by every GM  with a few million left under the Cap. I just can’t see how he stays in Pittsburgh. 

Entry for March 1st, 2009

Combining the Four.

The Combine matters. Every year player's draft positions and millions of dollars fluctuates up and down, and ever year I hear the same alleged sports guys complaining that the Combine is overrated or shouldn't matter. I just sit and marvel at the ignorance. They always pull out the same stupid arguments. What does running around in shorts have to do with football? The forty yard dash is overrated. I want to see football players playing football. 

The Combine matters, because the forty yard dash matters. Speed kills on the football field, and in contract negotiations. It is Aaron Curry showing he has no competition, physically, at the Combine. He is the safest pick as far as athletic abilities and football skills on the field. The show he put on at he Combine, on the field, was as dominate as any I've seen. His feet, hips, and change of Direction skills for a 250 pound Linebacker is astounding. He solidified himself as my number one prospect at the Combine. I think he is the most NFL ready to physically step on the field and dominate.

But what really matters about the Combine is that for a lot of these coaches and GMs this is going to be the first and only time they see these kids live and in person. Are you going to tell me that's overrated? The work outs on the field make for good theatre, but it is the off the field stuff that makes the Combine important. It is the mental workouts these kids get from the decision makers in the NFL that matters. The constant assault of tests, medical examines, and interviews that test a man's soul; How does this guy, we are about to give a multi-million dollar contract to, how does he handle this mental and emotional assault? That is the main question these GMs are looking at. How do the Kids deal nonstop meetings and press conferences. Jason Smith handled this aspect better than any player at the Combine. He was the most mature and impressive player off the field at the Combine. His handling of his press conference was masterful. His intelligence and maturity really shone through, and in my opinion he is the most NFL ready to deal with all the mental pressures these young men will have to deal with over the next ten months or so. 

The most difficult aspect of being a Draftnic is that one of, if not the most important aspects of drafting a kid we are not privy to, and that aspect is the individual interview. Does he get along with the coach, GM, or president? A simple silly thing that we cannot quantify. Players have been drafted rounds higher and taken off board just because the coach really got alone with him (Deion Branch) or thought he was a "Con artist" (André Smith?). 

A prime example of this is Mark Sanchez and Mathew Stafford. Stafford is the better thrower. However, in person Sanchez is the more impressive person. I have heard, from multiple sources, that Sanchez is far more impressive in interviews than Stafford. He has a better grasp of the "Chalkboard", which coaches love. I have heard Belichick rave multiple times about a players skill at standing up in front of an entire coaching staff and draw up and diagnose a play. Sanchez put on a show on the chalk board. He also displayed a better grasp of handling the media, which shouldn't matter, but we all know in this age of jealous media relations giving the press guys what they want is important, because they will barbeque you behind your back at every opportunity. 

Work ethic matters in football. What separates the great QBs from the also-rans is film study. Which QB is going to spend half the night studying film after he has been at the facility for ten hours working with other players and coaches? Which QB has that ability to see the film of a defense and understand what they are doing, and then translate that to the field on Sunday? The ability to see it on film and then see it on the field during the game. The great ones have that ability: Payton Manning, Tom Brady, and Matt Cassel (that's right I said Cassel) are film-room junkies. They study film more than any other QBs in the game, and have that ability to translate to the field. By all accounts at the Combine, Sanchez is the one who is more advanced in that area, and the film-room junkie. When judging QBs I always look for the film-room junky first.   

Leadership matters in football. Look at Tom Brady, he never has a disparaging word to say about anyone on the team. That matters. Look at Jay Cutler, he has everything you want in a QB, except leadership. He's smart, has a great arm, can read defenses, studies film, etc. However, he will never be a great player until he learns to lead. I have heard him bashing teammates and coaches behind their backs, to the media, multiple times. Stabbing his teammates in the back in the worst possible way, to the media. You simply cannot do that. Sanchez showed better charisma and leadership skills at the Combine, by all accounts, then Stafford. And I am not trying to say in any way that Stafford is a jerk like Cutler.

I am trying to compare the unmeasurables, measured at the Combine, of Sanchez and Stafford. It is unfair? Yes. However, I am not saying that I think Stafford stinks. They both have there pluses. Stafford is a better pure thrower, like Cutler. Stafford played behind a much worse O-Line than Sanchez. Plus, he has started over 30 games and three Bowl Games in college, that is a huge plus over Sanchez. I have a lot of trouble getting over Sanchez having only 16 collegiate starts. On the plus side Sanchez did start, dominate, and win two Bowl games. 

So when people say the Combine is overrated, they are lying or just plain ignorant. Just remind them that the Combine is not just a forty time. It is accurate height and weight measurements. It is intelligent tests, psychological tests, and medical exams. It is the only opportunity for every player to show their athleticism, in person, to every decision maker in the NFL. It is the "chalkboard", personal interviews, and common sense tests. It is a constant assault on your mental toughness. It is how you will deal with being shoved in a strange place, surrounded by strange people, and being ask strange questions by the the estranged media. It's money, agents, and power. It is an encapsulation of all the pressures player will be facing over the next ten months or so.           

Entry for February 27th, 2009

Here is another interesting email, from a Vikings fan:

There is absolutely no way the Vikings select a DE in the first three rounds. They have Jared Allen, Ray Edwards, and Brian Robison. Actually, this is probably the deepest spot they have. They will probably pick up an OT and QB in free agency. That leaves WR, CB, and DT.

Well, you got me. One of the difficulties in doing a mock draft is that when you move up a player form a lower team, you have to replace that player with another. Sometimes, like after work on the Draft for 4 hours, you just switch players.

I have been going back and forth between Everette Brown DE/OLB, and Brandon Pettigrew TE. I keep changing my mind. I can’t make up my mind, and just as I finished, I changed my mind for the 15th time, and just switched the players.   

I have been studying the Vikings, and I keep coming back to QB. It’s a shame you guys got Rick Spielman, who got fired in Miami for passing on Brady Quinn, and will get fired in Minnesota for passing on Matt Cassel. He worked for ESPN and is excellent with the media, but he is not a good GM, and more importantly he does not learn from his mistakes. He is still searching for a marginal back up QB to magically turn into a great starter. Giving Sage Rosenthal 9 millions dollars, that’s NINE MILLION DOLLARS, is akin to giving up a Second Round pick for A.J. Feeley. Both are beyond stupid, and both Spielman is guilty of doing.

Now I’m not trying to denigrate the Vikings. Heck, I was rooting for you guys in the play offs last season, and Adrian Peterson is just as good a player as there is in the NFL. That is why I was so adamant about you gut acquiring Cassel . I thought your defense was played excellent. Your O-Line was dominate, and do I need to point out your running game? What I say as a neutral observer, was the team was dominate, but the QB was too much of a negative force to overcome. If Matt Cassel was on that team, with that defense, that O-Line, those RBs and WRs, they beat the Eagles easily. I think they play in the NFC Championship game, and who knows maybe the Super Bowl.

What bothers me is that you have such a solid team that is you had an above average QB you guys could long way in the play offs. Sometimes fans give this magic mystical power to Draft picks. Sometimes when you look at the reality, those pick become a single player. If you had traded pick number 20 to the Pats for Cassel , I truly believe he leads you guys to the Super Bowl. Now, the magical mystical power of the First Round pick. Does Brandon Pettigrew lead you to the Super Bowl? No. Does Derrius Heyward-Bey lead you to the Super Bowl? No. Does Alphonso Smith lead you to the Super Bowl? No. Does even B. J. Raji lead you to the Super Bowl? No. And I think these are all good players.

Entry for February 25th, 2009

Four For Irony

When studying the Left Tackles in this years Draft I find myself disappointed. Although it is unfair to compare them to last years crew, who where the best class ever, I can help it. However, I find the irony of the top four left tackle to be interesting, maybe even more interesting than the great talents from last year. André Smith and Michael Oher are the best athletes at that position, but Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are the top two prospects. Why? Because football is about more than just the best athlete available. 

Jason Smith is a man. He is not a boy, he is not a young man, he is a full grown mature man. At the Combine he was as impressive as a person can be, in everyway. I'm not necessarily talking about the physical aspect. He was impressive in interviews. He was great in his press conference. He understood the importance and the consequences of the Combine. On the field and off the field Jason Smith, Aaron Curry, and Mark Sanchez where the most impressive prospects at the Combine. Remember, the Combine is not just about working out, and meetings, it is also the best test of mental stress that anyone can come up with. It is a four day grind of pressure, press, harsh treatment, harsh conditions (meeting and interview until 2 in the morning and wake up calls at 7AM), and harsh question, Money on the line at every turn, imbalanced judgments from all angles, and manipulative motive on national stages, etc. How does a person react to it? I believe coaches and GMs study how they react to this constant assault of pressure more than another aspect, including the medical and the interviews, which are 2 and 3, or maybe 1A-1B-1C. In my opinion Jason Smith handle it better than any other prospect. He was just impressive in everything he did, period.

André Smith is a better football player, right now than Jason Smith, and probably a better athlete. However, he has failed in every mental test over the last 3 months that a player can fail. Physically, he has everything you want in a Left Tackle, although I still don't like how he move backwards. Plus, I think his best position in the NFL will be at Left Guard. He plays Left Tackle like a Left Guard. He sets like a Left Guard. When he has to kick-step further back then a Left Guard would, he looks more and more uncomfortable. Playing Left Tackle is just as much about intelligence and consistency, as feet and kick-stepping. He displayed such a lack of intelligence and consistency so openly at the Combine, that I no longer see him as a Left Tackle. People are talking about his leaving the Combine as a problem, they are fools. The problem is his consistent pattern of display a lack of intelligence and consistency. First, he gets thrown off the Alabama Football team for what was alleged to be meeting with agents on campus. Do I need to explain how stupid this is? He had one game left in his career at Alabama, two weeks. Then he has to prepare for the Combine in two months, and does this by not working out. Do I need to explain how stupid this is? Then he goes up to the podium for his press conference, and honestly is just as unimpressive as Jason Smith was impressive (Now I admit this is an unfair criticism, he is a football player and not a PR guy, and should be expected to be media savvy, but it is part of the pattern). Then he brags about not working out for the past two month, claiming he was "searching for an agent". then he lies about not having an agent. Then he goes into the weight room, stands before all the NFL executives and proudly proclaims that his not lifting because he is not prepared. "Sorry coach I can't protect the QB's blindside today, I'm not prepared." Do I need to explain how stupid this is? Do I need to explain how stupid this is? In the "most important interview of his life" he walks around telling everyone he lazy, does work hard enough, and in not prepared. If this where a real job interview he would be checked off as crazy, and Never hired. Then just when you think it can't get any worse he jobs on a plane and flies back to Atlanta with out telling anybody. The leaving was not the problem, it was the midpoint of his problems. Because then his agent arrives on the scene: the agent he got suspended for Alabama Bowl game for, the agent who he couldn't work out for two months for because he was so desperately searching for him, and, oh yeah, the agent doesn't actually have yet. Oops. He left the Combine, to go work out in Atlanta, on the day OL work out at the Combine! Do I need to explain how stupid this is? He alleged he hired a new personal trainer in Atlanta, and scheduled, not one, but two work out sessions on the day he was supposed to work out in front of every GM and head coach in the NFL. Now either is lying, and the lie is so stupid that you would have to be paid to believe it, like his agent, or he actually scheduled two work out sessions on the day he was supposed to work out in front of every GM and head coach in the NFL, and didn't bother to tell anyone about it. Again we are talking about intelligence and consistency, the stalwarts of the Left Tackle position. Are these the action of a man you would want to protect the blindside of your 50 million dollar QB? I say no. 

Michael Oher, in my opinion is best athlete, on the field, of the four. However, inconsistency is his bailiwick. When his hands are up in front of him, he has the best technique in pass protect of the four. However, he will predictably and maddingly lower his hands, and his perfect form disintegrates into sacks, QB hits, and QB pressure. However, I would draft him, because when he is on, he is the best of the four. When he lowers his hands, which always seems to happen in the 2nd Quarter at some point. I would yank him out of the game right there, and explain him, not necessarily kindly, that he has to keep him hands up in front of him in perfect form or he cannot play. This serve two purposes: One, it has to emphasized over-and-over-again- technique, technique technique, because once he learns this lesson he will be a legit NFL Left Tackle; two, it will piss him off, and anybody who has watched him play knows he always plays better when he is pissed off.  

And than of course there is Eugene Monroe, who is a testament to irony all by himself. He is probably the biggest of the four (André may be bigger, but it is more fat than muscle). This guy is huge in the chest, shoulders , and back muscles. I don't know if you saw him at the Combine with out his pads on, but he was gigantic. He looks like the proverbial biggest, meanest, and ugliest street-fighting brawler at the Combine. He looks like he could pick up and not just throw down any D-End they put in front of him, but also he looks like he would barbeque them and have them for a nice picnic. However, his game is finesse. He is unexplainable a pure finesse player. If I had to compare his style to anyone I would compare it to Ryan Clady from last years Draft, A pure finesse pass blocking Left Tackle, who need to work on his run blocking and play a little tougher and meaner. 

So when judging the O-Tackles for this years Draft, try not to judge them to harshly against last years crop. This years crop is not as talented, but is a strangle mix of talent, troubles, and irony.

Entry for February 21st, 2009

Here is another letter for an easy Blog, with an interesting question that I thought you might like. 

Pats Fan,
I really love your set up of your mock draft page, looks like it's going to be one of the most complete. 

Thank you. I put a lot of work into the site. I also switched hosts, and have been as busy rebuilding all the damage I did to my files. The reason I am answering this section is because I have only just begun. I usually don't even start my Mocks until after the Combine. I am still massively struggling with Team Needs, which I take very seriously. No team Drafts by Best Player Available period. It is the most over used and misused phrase in all of Drafting. You have to combine need with BPA, which I call value. There is nothing more valuable than having the top rated player at your top need position fall into your lap. My Draft blog is going again, my Player Ratings are quickly reaching 100, and I am working on the Second Round.

Being a fellow lifelong Patriots Fan when you
have Minnesota Select you have them making a pre-draft or Draft day trade
for Matt Cassel. But you never mention who the Pats would select at #22 for
Casell to make your pick at #23 does not make sense if you don't acknowledge
who they'll take at #22. I think from reading your Pats selection you say
Brandon Pettigrew?? We'll see how that unfolds. 

I thought it was pretty clear that Brandon Pettigrew was my pick at 22, but you are third person who emailed me and said it was confusing. So I took it down. What I was trying to convey is that the Vikings have a Super Bowl quality team, if they had a decent starting QB. They have a Huge opportunity here. How many times is a QB available who leads a team to 11 wins available? A team that was the best team to not make the play off in 20-30 years? As Patriots fans, we watch Cassel develop from a Pre-season bust to a Pro Bowl QB. What separates Cassel from all the other pretenders is that he has made a conscious effort to emulate Brady in every way, on the football field. What separates Brady from the rest is his great work ethic and his great preparation. Trait he Cassel has inherited from Brady. Cassel will not fail wherever he goes, because he has the training skills, the study skills, and the leadership skills he stole from Brady. I believe in all honestly and sincerity, that if you add Cassel to the Vikings roster they will be fighting for the NFC Championship and a shot at the Super Bowl. My other point was a comparison of who they might take and the effect the to would have on the game. Brandon Pettigrew (who I would love the Pats to draft, just so you don't think I am insulting him), Everett Brown, or Michael Johnson are not going to lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl. They could all develop into Pro Bowl Players, and still they would not lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl, as long as Tavaris Jackson is their QB. The opportunity is here for their new GM to build an instant Super Bowl contender, an opportunity that does not come along very often. An opportunity that Rick Spielman had better take advantage of, or he will add the nightmare's of Minnesota to his his nightmare's of Miami. 

If you don't mind let's take your theory of the trade. IF the Pats made the
trade I would almost bet that having the relationship that Kraft has with
Jones, Pats would make the #22 selection (insert name of choice) then trade
#23 to Dallas who would love to get back into the first round, Pats would
receive Dallas 2010 first round and a player or Dallas's 2010 first and this
years second round pick. If you like the scenario go ahead and use it.... or
just call me crazy and say that would never happen!!

You're crazy! Okay so maybe not so crazy. First, there Second would have to be included, and the only way you can make that deal is if you think the Dallas freefall will continue. Will Jones ego-driven mismanagement continue? Well, that tis a yes. Is TO leaving? Probably. Is Terry Glenn's career Done? that in another definite maybe, as he has been arrested, again, for his what third drug related incident. He has always been mentally unstable, just like TO. Only Glenn's mental illness is more inwardly attacking and so much quieter and easier to miss. Unlike TO's mental illness which is more outwardly attacking and thus much louder. Plus, Romo is vastly overrated. And most importantly their defense is getting old and vulnerable at a few key positions (Chris Camty, Zack Thomas, Greg Ellis, Roy Williams, Anthony Henry, and Pacman). The issues with their defensive players are not as serious or bad as with TO and Glenn, but their are legitimate questions concerning half their defensive starters, if you consider Pacman half a starter. Their Offense is falling apart at the seams, and their defense may not be far behind. Plus, Jerry Jones is starting to reek of desperation, and let's be honest, the most lopsided deals are done when one side is desperate and the other takes advantage. So getting the Dallas First next year and the Dallas Second this year would not be a bad trade for 23 (Our current pick), 22 (the Viking pick), or 20 (the Detroit pick). 

And in conclusion, I have been saying for weeks, that one of the biggest reason Cassel will be easy to trade is because Belichick has no problem taking picks in next year's Draft. They already have an extra Second, which they acquired by trading the Raiders 2008 Third Round Pick (which they acquired by trading their 3rd in the 2007 draft for the Raiders 3rd in the 2008 Draft) to San Diego for their 2009 2nd round pick, whew! Plus, they almost definitely will be receiving a 3rd round pick in compensation for the Assante Samuel loss. So, armed with an extra pick in the 2nd, and the 3rd, I would argue that they would prefer picks in next years Draft. Getting a First in this years Draft would most likely give them 6 picks in the top 100, that's a lot of rookies for the rookie-bashing Belichick to spread around the roster! Granted, it would be great fun to watch for us Pats Fans!!!! So, are they looking for another First in this years Draft? Or would they be happier with a 2nd or 3rd this year and a 1st next year? Belichick is always looking 2 or 3 years down thr road, and that is another trait that makes him the best coach in the NFL, because 99% of coaches only care about This Season or This Game. Belichick is so unique in so many ways, but his ability to play chess, not only 3 moves ahead, but three years ahead is what is going to put him in the NFL Hall Of Fame.

Again thanks for your great mock draft keep up the good work. Bill

No Bill, thank you. Your responses had me thinking a lot, and again gave me a free Blog;-)  

Entry for February 7th, 2009

Sometimes while doing mock drafts you get great emails. Someone who takes the time to really read your site, and takes the time to put some real thought into it. I try to blog when ever I can, but this is my hobby, and with two jobs and two kids it can be tough. So when I get a great email I try to add it to my blogs, as a cheap freebee;-)

I think you went on a little too long about William Clay Ford's promoting from within, it seems like such an simplistic view and maybe that is public opinion at this point but I would expect you to dig a little deeper before you take the safe approach. If you look at what Mayhew has done since he has been named to the position he has done nothing but impress:

I was trying to compare the situations of Atlanta last year and Detroit this year.  Last year Atlanta needed an exorcism. This year Detroit needs a expunging of the culture, and all those involved in the past ten years of losing. You are lost in decade of incompetence and the culture of losing. Losing begets losing. They have studied and prospered in the culture of losing and are now experts in losing. I’m sure they are both smart men, but systems win in the NFL. Systems like the Patriots have, and, I hate to say, like the Steelers and Colts have, and even the Titans. Bad decisions can carry consequences for years with the salary cap. And, intelligent decisions carry positive consequences for years to come as well. The decisions of the Presidents and GMs in the league are a double edged sword. With no bigger example being having the first pick in the Draft, is that pick going to propel your franchise into a winner, or continue to mire it in incompetence. That decision is not only a positive or a negative, but also the double negative (if you will) of the player not chosen. Odds are either Matt Stafford or Mark Sanchez is going to be a bust. Choosing the wrong one carries not only the salary cap stigma, but the loss on production of the other. I personally think that Stafford is a more natural thrower, and that Sanchez will be a better Pro. Lewand and Mayhew hold the fate of the franchise in their hands for the next 5-15 years with this one decision. Because, the wrong decision can screw up your cap for the next 5 years, and the right decision can place a winner at QB for the next 12-15 years. And what about Matt Cassel? Your off season should start with the acquisition of Matt Cassel. If you think he is going to a Franchise QB, than you will continue the culture of losing by not acquiring him. I am far more confident that Cassel has a Much better chance of being a Franchise than Stafford or Sanchez. In fact, I would say Cassel is a Franchise QB and those two guy might one be a Franchise QB. I have watched every throw he has made as a Pro, and he is Much better than you think. You bragged about have an extra 1st, 3rd, and 5th, great, but those are just picks. Why not offer those picks up for Cassel . Acquire a franchise QB and then move into the Draft. Using the 20th pick in the draft on a QB who has shown he can win in the NFL is far less risky than using the First pick in the Draft on a young QB. These two guys are the ones who are making this decision and a hundred more as well. I hope they make the right one, I honestly do. Personally, I would have gone after Pioli with everything and the kitchen sink. Also, remember, Ford is the one who kept making the decision to keep Millen year after year when it was obvious he was not the answer.    

Traded Roy williams for 1st, 3rd, and 5th round picks. That has to be considered a steal at this point.

Again this may look like a great deal, but there are always lingering consequences. Detroit is going to draft a QB, most likely Stafford , with the Number One pick in the Draft. Would he be better off throwing to Johnson, Furrey, And Williams? Or just Johnson and Furrey? I believe that helping a young QB with O-Linemen and Wide Receiver is paramount to their success. I believe Williams would have helped in this development. Although, I have to admit you did get a lot for him. But I bet Stafford would have preferred to have Williams over anyone you can take at 20.

He did a thorough coaching search selecting a coach that is clearly qualified unlike Millens hires. Schwartz is very well respected from a great coaching tree.

 "It is rare in this league to get to spend 10 years with an assistant coach as we have with Jim. In his eight years as our defensive coordinator, Jim has clearly put his stamp on that side of the ball. He is competitive, a tremendous communicator and motivator and in our opinion he has been ready for this next step for several years. I want to congratulate the Lions for hiring the right guy and he will be missed here in Tennessee.” Jeff Fisher coach of the Titans. Good enough for me. However, “The reason the Lions had no shot at getting Shanahan or a much-rumored combo deal of general manager Scott Pioli, formerly of the Patriots, and McDaniels, is none of the top candidates likely would have submitted to taking orders from newly promoted Lions team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew, both leftovers from the Matt Millen era. Schwartz accepted the job regardless.” Brian VanOchten. There is nothing more dangerous then GMs who require a Head Coach to subjugate himself to their orders. The Head Coach is the most important person in the football organization, and they HAVE to have control over the players, or they are lost. They do not have to have final say on all personal decisions, but they have to have the absolute right to cut a player whenever they want. If they don’t the players will know and naturally rebel. I have seen it a hundred times. GMs who grow up in a culture of losing can over step their bounds and try and have control where they should not.

He actually hired Coordinators with head coaching experience unlike Millen. These guys are proven coordinators.

 A head coach needs to delegate, and be in complete control. Tough assignment. It sounds like Schwartz has learned from one of the best in Fisher.

You can certainly criticize William Clay Ford for his decision making over the years. The Millen hire was a disaster, especially since he already had the people in place. Kevin Colbert who is the Steelers director of football operations, and Ron Hughes is in charge of scouting for the Steelers. Both guys worked for the Lions.

Again a history of mismanagement personified. Ford has consistently shown his great knack for making the wrong decision. I hope Lewand and Mathews are geniuses on skates, but management starts from the top and your top is horribly weak. People often make the mistake in thinking that because someone was born into billions than they are intelligent and successful, and that is not true. Ford has mismanaged his billion over and over again. What has changed so much that you think his judgment can be trusted now? Is he getting a few more billion in bail-out money.

Ford had the right people under his nose all the time. He doesn't want to make that mistake again.

 Making the mistake again, is his forte.

As for the rest of your mock draft. Who knows at this point, especially considering the players haven’t been to the combine yet.

I could not agree more!!!! I started my mock while during Senior Bowl week, before the Super Bowl, before Franchise Tag designations, before Free Agency, before the Combine, I have barely studied the teams and don’t know team needs, which is paramount to a mock draft. One of the fist things I do is Team Needs and FA signed and lost, with out that knowledge a mock draft cannot work. I always started my Mocks in February, after the Combine. However I often start getting requests in January to start. And lets be honest, the only thing dumber then criticizing a mock draft in February, is creating a mock draft in February;-)

I don't think Sanchez will go in the top 10.

I could not disagree more. There are a lot of things to like about Stafford , but I think Sanchez is going to develop into a better QB. He is a much better athlete than Stafford , and throws on the run a lot better as well. His arm is not as strong or naturally smooth as Stafford , who just seems to throw the ball so effortlessly. However, understanding the game and game preparation are the number one and two keys to a successful NFL QB (With the presupposition that they have an NFL arm and athleticism). In my opinion Sanchez is better in both areas. He certainly has the reputation as being the most prepared QB in this draft, and in USC program he had to compete for every inch he got each week. He also makes less mistakes and far less errant throws than Stafford , which says to me he has a better understanding of the game, or at least the system he plays in. To me those are the two most critical aspects that a QB cannot do without in the NFL. And I’m not trying to say there is a huge difference, I think they are rated pretty evenly, and Sanchez’s work ethic puts him a little ahead for me, but that Stafford will probably go first. Stafford has an edge in experience starting and as a pure thrower. But I just like Sanchez’s consistency and make up a little better.   

I think Monroe will go before Oher.

You are probably right. However, when Oher is at his best there is no better O-Tackle in this Draft. When he is using his feet and hands in unison it is like trying to get around a bull blocking with his horns and his hooves, and when he gets pissed off it is like trying to get around a Minotaur blocking with his horns and an axe. However, his inconsistency will probably cause him to go after Monroe . Right now I am just mostly giving my evaluations of players, and I have seen Oher do things athletically that the other OTs can’t do.

I think Raji will go before Peria.

As I said above, I am mostly giving my evaluations of players. I have been extra careful with Raji, because I am a BC guy, and I didn’t want to over-rate him. Personally, I think he’s a top five player, and that’s why I think I have him overrated. I have watched almost every game he has played over the past five years. His ability to stuff the run and slip past the O-Guard and harass the QB is unmatched in this Draft. However, Peria is that flashy 3-Technique DT that can blast through a gap and really do damage. 4-3 teams are going to be drooling over him, and I think he will go before Raji. However, like you, I actually like Raji better.

I think the Chargers work it out with LT so they won't go RB

 LT has not been able to play in the play offs the past two seasons, because he is worn out. There are a LOT of issues that you have to deal with, when it comes to LT. Getting a backup/starting RB to replace and help LT has to be at the top of the list. He cannot survive a season on his own any more. Ironically, I was thinking the other day that the player Beanie Wells most reminds me of is Michael Turner. Wells could come in and hopefully take 10-15 carries off of LT during the regular season, so he can get 20-25 carries in the play offs when it matters most. Or they can pass on Smith and pass on the play offs, again.

I don't think the Bears go LB with two of the highest paid LB's in the league.

I could not agree more. However, word at the Senior Bowl was that all the Bear’s Coaches and scouts were studying the LB more than any other position.

I don't think the Lions go DE with 1B. Cliff Avrill looked very good at the end of the year and White is serviceable. DT OT and CB are much bigger needs. I think they would draft Alfonso Smith, DJ Moore, or Eben Britton since they are still on the board.

Okay, I believe you. I had no intention of watching Detroit play anybody after Thanksgiving, it was just to painful to the eyes.  

You have the Vikings trade for Cassel but you didn't list the player the Pats would take with the pick thus screwing up the rest of the 1st round.

 I thought it was pretty clear that Pettigrew was the 22nd player taken in the Draft. First choice, they trade the pick to the Pats, who take Pettigrew. Second choice, they don’t trade for Cassel , they don’t get a young QB to lead the team, they don’t get close to the Super Bowl, again, and they take Pettigrew.

I don't think Robiskie is 1st round material

Oh you are wrong sir. They have a half dozen big-play, big-speed, big-risk WRs, who also don’t know how to play the position. Besides Crabtree Robiskie is the best pure WR in this Draft, and he is by far the most polished WR in this Draft, and the most ready to start as a rookie (beside Crabtree of course). He is precision personified in the passing game. And don’t forget he showed up at the Senior Bowl at 6-2 and 7/8 (That’s close enough to 6-3 for me), over 200 pounds, with long arms, and Velcro hands. He has a farther who is a scout for the NFL and has spent his life training as an NFL WR. Does he have the sub 4.4 speed of the so-called 1st round material WRs, Maclin, Harvin, Heyward-Bey, and Williams, no. But he is a better WR now, and I believe he will have a better NFL career than all those guys. And I think Maclin is going to be a terrific pro, and Heyward-bey has that unique ability to make an entire Offense better. I think Harvin is a RB, and has always played better as a RB, but can’t play RB in the NFL. And Williams is just an enigma to me is he great or is he too small? I just don’t know. What I do know is that Robiskie has the skills of a real WR, the best hands of the crew, and will be ready to play in the NFL as a rookie, and the others won’t. They are great athletes, they are beyond great athletes, who don’t have a position. He is the safe pick if you will, so you have to decide, are you willing to risk your career on one of the half-dozens speedsters? I’m willing to risk mine, on the safe choice, this year, Robiskie. 

Thank you , Patrick

No Patrick thank you. Great Email.

Entry for February 11th, 2009

I placed this blog below my previous entry because I want you to read my post above first. I will be also be updating my site more often, I have been taking care of some technical stuff. I have shifted my site to a new Host, and lost and had to rearrange a lot of stuff. It was a pain in the ass, but I think I'm mostly done. 

In case you thought I was crazy for suggesting that Detroit would be better off trading for Cassel than taking Stafford Number One, I am not alone in that opinion. Mike Reiss from the Boston Globe wrote a piece where Kiper said in a conference call that he agreed with me. It is a very interesting article, and one that I agree with completely. Cassel, right now, is a better prospect than Stafford and Sanchez. He is definitely ready to step in and start leading a team to victories. While Stafford and Sanchez have a good possibility of stepping in and starting as rookies, the probability that they can start and lead a team to victories is exceedingly small. Even with the fresh memories of what Ryan and Flacco did last season still in our heads, they are the exceptions not the rules.

Here is a copy of Mike Reis's post on Mel Kiper and Matt Cassel:

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper is holding a conference call today and the Patriots came up a few times.

Kiper was asked to put himself in the position of the Lions (picks 1, 20, and 33) and Chiefs (picks 3 and 34), assuming they were considering taking quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez in the draft.

Given that, would he take Stafford or Sanchez, or would he rather have Matt Cassel in a trade?

"If I were Detroit or Kansas City, I would make that move in a heartbeat. If you’re asking me if I would rather have Matt Cassel or Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez, I’d rather have Matt Cassel," Kiper answered.

Kiper doubted that Cassel would be available, however, saying he's an insurance policy for Tom Brady.

“He looked like he should have been the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. It’s amazing. To watch him play this year, if he would have been the No. 1 pick in the draft, people would have been very happy with the way he’s playing right now,” Kiper said.

“He came out the same year the other three quarterbacks did [Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell] and right now he’s better than those other three – and I’m including [Jay] Cutler in that. I would rather have Cassel than Cutler. So, to me, I think Cassel is more than worthy of being a guy that the Kansas City Chiefs or Detroit Lions go after. He’s played to the level of a No. 1 pick overall this year.”

At one point, Kiper was asked if he sees good value where the Patriots are picking in the first round (23rd selection) when it comes to defensive backs and linebackers.

“Yeah, I think linebacker could be a very good position – the Clay Matthews, the Brian Cushings, Larry English, those type of players would probably be there for New England at that point,” Kiper answered.

“In the secondary, the same thing. There are going to be some guys possibly there at the cornerback spot. Maybe a safety like William Moore [of Missouri]. But more likely a corner will still be there at that point. That could be a D.J. Moore at Vanderbilt, a Sean Smith at Utah – a player like that could still be there.

“I would say, linebacker, it could fall pretty well for New England. The player I had them taking in the projection I made was Brian Cushing of USC.”

Kiper said that Cushing is versatile and could play a lot of different roles in a defense.