by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
Well people, it is time. Despite the beginning of spring training, despite the Patriots’ inglorious playoff exit, it is time to take interest in the draft this year.
After numerous misleading headlines courtesy of The Bleacher Report (to me, potentially letting go of Nick Kaczur doesn’t warrant the alarm of “Pats To Release Stud Lineman?”), we need to take matters into our own hands here at PD.
The draft is like art, where works appreciate – or don’t – over the years. That unknown pick could, like Julian Edelman, turn out as a contributor or, like George Bussey, end up on the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.
Though I’ve done little to keep up with this year’s potential selections, a recent bit on ESPN piqued my interest. (Not that the Entirely Self-Promotional Network needs the plug, but they deserve some credit here.) In light of one of their scenarios, I give you three possible outcomes of draft day…
SCENARIO ONE: This is my favorite, proposed on the aforementioned network. The Patriots trade their first three picks for a top five pass-rusher like North Carolina’s Robert Quinn. They need a pass rush. They have needed a pass rush. If they don’t make a big splash at that position, they will still need a pass rush and we will watch Quinn tear it up for another team and think how great he would have looked with a Flying Elvis on his head.
Good: You have to like New England’s record with early first-rounders. Plus, it would be awesome as a fan to watch opposing QBs actually have to hurry instead of sitting down for tea before completing a pass.
Bad: Vernon Gholston looked awesome. He now has the same NFL occupation I do: watching. A harrowing account of his non-career cited here.
SCENARIO TWO: Stay put. Probably not going to happen. On draft day, Bill Belichick moves around like an electron. The Pats picking at 17, 28 and 33 seems about as likely as Rex Ryan getting hired as a spokesman for Dr. Scholl’s. (What? It’s been a while.) Still, three picks out of the first 33 could infuse the team with some top-end talent at the necessary spots.
Good: That “top-end talent” comment pretty much says it all.
Bad: No one’s saying the Patriots are untalented. If they need certain, special players at certain positions, isn’t now the time to go get them?
SCENARIO THREE: Same old, same old. Move around the board picking up some solid players, while trading down to get picks for the future. If this happens, you’ll hear similar language in our household to what was said during New England’s last game.
Good: Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Pat Chung. All three players and many other high-end contributors came to the Patriots in this same scenario.
Bad: Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Pat Chung. The youth has arrived. Why trade for the future if the future is now? The Patriots have picked 24 rookies in the past two drafts. Including undrafted free agents, they had 23 players on the 2010 roster with less than two years of experience.
New England has nine draft picks. If they end up with that many drafted rookies in camp, how many of them are the Patriots just grooming for another team once they cut down their roster? Here’s my stand: time to move up and, with six picks in the first three rounds, get two or three high-impact players who can start right away.
It’s the draft, people. This time of year, everyone can be right. Give me your right answer below.
Email Chris Warner at email@example.com
Good stuff, good analysis.
I think Cleveland has a lot of holes to fill wouldn’ t the first scenario be great? I find it plausible only because it would be a complete surprise and BB likes to change things up. Around draft time, always remember that Curtis Martin was a 3rd round pick, Tom Brady a 6th, and Troy Brown an 8th. “Value” is about finding underappreciated talent usually from not-great teams, or last year’s injured stars… that and some luck.
It’s like poker, sometimes you get your chips in with the best information and hand, it’s the right decision, but it just doesn’t hold up. In Bill we trust.
Tbuk: I think the Pats have done a great job getting talent in later rounds (and as RFAs). Getting another legend on Day 3 just doesn’t seem likely, due in part to the luck aspect.
I mean, I love Dane Fletcher, but no one expects to see his poster on the walls of Gillette in 20 years.
I agree totally with this “New England has nine draft picks. If they end up with that many drafted rookies in camp, how many of them are the Patriots just grooming for another team once they cut down their roster? Here’s my stand: time to move up and, with six picks in the first three rounds, get two or three high-impact players who can start right away.”
Quit moving down the board for more picks and move UP the board to grab some studs….BB has a darn good recod with first round picks……Use a third rounder or even Patriots second round pick to move either #17 or #28 up to grab a couple of starters….or solid guys that can start by mid season if needed.
The Pats’ first two picks would get them up to number 6 – that would probably get Quinn.
The advantage of trading down for future picks only works if you eventually use those picks – you can’t be just pushing picks off into the future every year. What we don’t know is how they figure budget into deciding which picks to take and which to trade away. With no bargaining agreement right now, they have no idea how much a player will cost. Of course, everyone else has the same problem. They don’t even know whether the new agreement will apply to this year’s draft choices. Tough year to gamble on picks.
Good points, Mark. I neglected to bring the labor dispute into the argument, just because the whole draft has such a random element to it, anyway. While a guy like Quinn would be expensive, I think he’d be worth it (especially if he’s their only first round pick). Not sure if 17 and 28 will do it, though: they may have to throw in at least a third.
Chris, I’m going to go with what I believe is a shocker and predict BB will stay put and draft in 3 or 4 (depending on if you believe RB is a need) and perhaps trade away some of those late picks to a team of suckers – say Washington. Blue Thunder got it right.
I believe that because BB always does the opposite of what “experts” say he does. Would I like it if he traded up for one of the sexy guys I knew nothing about in December? Yes – but in him I trust.