The Haphazard Blog

Patriots Off Season Thoughts

by on April 19, 2010 11:24 PM, under Football, Patriots, Sports

With the NFL draft coming up later this week I thought now would be a good time to share my thoughts on where they are at this point and throw out some wild guesses on what happens during the draft.

The Patriots made some small signings since the second day of free agency. They brought back old friend David Patten. He is certainly a guy Tom Brady can work with, but given his age (and he was out of the NFL last year) I don’t know how much production you can expect from him. I would be surprised if he made the roster. The Patriots could’ve picked him up last year when they badly needed a receiver but didn’t. I believe he was brought in to help teach the younger players good habits. Troy Brown is long gone, Wes Welker is rehabbing his knee and I don’t see Randy Moss as a workout warrior.

The Patriots worked out a deal for Kevin Faulk. Looks like he is now going to finish up his career similarly to Troy Brown, one year at a time until he retires as a Patriot. I’m hoping Faulk can teach Laurence Maroney how to better protect the ball. Long time Patriots fans will remember that Faulk had a fumbling problem earlier in his career and now he is counted on for his sure hands.

They also signed Alge Crumpler who was not nearly as good in Tennessee as he was in Atlanta. He reminds me of Kyle Brady now. Just a big guy who would likely be best suited (and used) as a blocking tight end. Seems fine to me though. The Patriots just don’t seem to use a tight end to catch passes. It’s like their last responsibility. The best group of tight ends that Bill Belichick has had in training camp are all gone. They cut Alex Smith, traded David Thomas, let Ben Watson walk and cut Chris Baker. Doesn’t speak to well about the quality they had last year. Not to mention that Thomas went on to catch more passes in New Orleans in one year than his first three years with the Patriots combined. I don’t think the main problem is the players.

So the early free agency didn’t really get them any new playmakers for the many holes they have. That leaves the draft, roster cut downs during training camp and trades. Since the draft is coming up, that’s a good place to start.

A lot of the talk has been centered around the Patriots having 4 of the first 53 picks in what is supposed to be a very deep draft. Just going by prior years, I would be shocked if they used all 4 as they have them right now.

I really have no guesses on who they will take. There are many needs (OLB, RDE, ILB, TE) plus many other positions they could use help/upgrades. I think the Patriots draft in a procedure like this:

  1. Determine all the players who potentially fit
  2. Assign a value to each player so they know when they are “overpaying” or have a “steal”
  3. Create a short list of the players they would like to have at the end of the draft
  4. Draft the best player available

I think part of the last two steps are the trading the Patriots do. If there is a player they covet and the value is there, they will trade up to get them. Conversely, if their pick is coming and they don’t have any players they want (or the best player available is “overpriced”) they will try and trade down to select a player that was assigned the same value.┬áIf someone wants to “overpay” (based on their assigned value), so be it.

I think with all the extra 7th round compensatory picks they will be able to draft players who may’ve had competition for their services if they went undrafted.

Overall, they had a lot of rookies make the team last year making up almost 20% of the roster. While they didn’t gain much from their 2007 draft, I don’t think there is much room on the roster. I am expecting the Patriots to select 8 or 9 players through a combination of trades (move up, move down, get 2011 picks and players).

Some wild guesses:

  • They get another 2011 1st Rd Pick
  • A starter is traded (Matt Light? James Sanders?)
  • Their first pick will be a defensive player
  • They will draft an offensive lineman in the second round
  • They will draft only 2 of the 3 (WR, TE, RB)

Whatever happens, no one will have predicted it, that much I know.

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