Re: 2011 Patriots Draft Options ***UPDATED 2/19 w/ PRE-COMBINE MOCK***
posted at 4/2/2011 10:59 AM EDT
In Response to Re: 2011 Patriots Draft Options ***UPDATED 2/19 w/ PRE-COMBINE MOCK***
sorry all, i'm more interested in discussions about the draft and discussions of mocks for the most part than doing mocks. did you see this: " Hey Jeff, just wondering what your thoughts are on the Pats improving their pass rush. To me, this weakness really became evident through the season and killed them in the playoffs. What do you see them doing to improve in this much-needed area? --Dave M. Consider this a scheme issue, while noting that players play a big role in driving the scheme. On the other side of the argument, Belichick hasn't done much to draft a big-time pass rusher, and that is probably because he values the idea of total team defense over one or two pass-rushing playmakers. While the Patriots' defensive balance worked out well earlier in the decade -- they had at least 40 sacks five times from 2001-07 -- their pass rush has taken a huge hit since 2008 when the core of that championship defense really started to break apart. Also keep in mind, Mike Vrabel (12.5 sacks in 2007) and Tully Banta-Cain (10 sacks in 2009) are the only two Patriots who have recorded at least 10 sacks in a season during Belichick's tenure in New England. Break it down even further, Vrabel (twice), Rosevelt Colvin (twice), Banta-Cain and Willie McGinest are the only outside linebackers who have recorded at least seven sacks in a season during the Belichick era. Belichick added Vrabel and Colvin through free agency. He drafted Banta-Cain in the seventh round in 2003, but he re-signed him through free agency prior to 2009. And McGinest was already on the roster when Belichick took the job. That shows how Belichick has gone about acquiring his best pass-rushing linebackers in New England. Belichick's approach needs some modification, as the Packers and Steelers showed what a defense can do with dominant outside linebackers. But on the other side of that, the Patriots should be aided by defensive end Ty Warren 's return, as well as the addition of one of the draft's high-quality defensive ends who can set the edge, eat up blockers and add to that total-team defensive approach." (my emphasis with the highlight)
Posted by brdbreu
What should he change?
You suggesting he change his defense? I hope so because if you are suggesting he change his drafting approach to get OLB's I do NOT see how you get to that conclusion.
1) You mentioned the Steelers and Packers.
Both franchises have been consistent so lets take a look at their current OLB situations and how they got them.
Steelers = James Harrison FA and Lamaar Woodley pick #46, 2nd round. The Patriots also had interest in Woodley that year but he was gone before they picked again. Neither player mentioned however was traded up into the top 10 for.
So we covered one of the teams you used as a reference for how its done and your own reference has not traded into the top 10 for its OLB extraordinare as you have campaigned for NE to do on here. Just sayin.
The packers are still looking for a 2nd OLB but grabbed Clay Mathews late in the 1st round with pick #26. The Packers would be at least be closer on point to for what you are trying to say. While they too did not trade up into the costly top 10 to get their OLB extraordinare they did trade up. Trading three picks for two in return moving up from #41 to #26. They gambled. It paid off. It happens. The Packers team at the time however was one of the younger teams and you could argue that those later picks, of what players might be left, would have had a harder time finding starting roles on the Packers team so it was worth the gamble to them.
If you were the Patriots however, doing a rebuild on the fly called for more picks rather than a single impact player at that particular time and year. Remember this was 2 years ago and not today. Also, if you were the Patriots, what exactly could you hang your hat on to say that Clay Mathews would work out well? Strictly on his combine measureables and senior bowl practices? You wanted to throw out 4 years of productionless film for a week of practice and an underwear workout? 25 other NFL teams also passed on Clay before NE. I never blamed the Patriots and still don't for passing on Clay. There is at least logic to it for the given circumstances. Now unfortunately Butler has not played so great. If Butler had been playing anywhere close to McCourtey the topic would be moot.
To step out on a tangent for one moment using your Packers Clay Mathews example, this year is a year where I would like to see the Pats continue to do trades BUT to do more small trade ups to land the players they really want. Not so much in the top of the 1st round but in the bottom of the 1st and 2nd round. I don't think there will be a ton of places for payers being drafted after the 3rd round on this team. I also do not like the idea of trading back more than a handful of spots from 28 or 33 this year and that is only acceptable to me if they have 3 or 4 players equally rated at a given draft spot and don't mind picking who's left rather than who they want if they fall back a handful of spots. I am also dead against trading back or out of BOTH 28 & 33. Your Packers scenario is the perfect example why. Young team needing some strong pieces but the Pats have themselves in the perfect position. They do not need to trade up from a 41 to a 26 as the Packers were forced to do. They are already in perfect spots to land quality players this year while finishing up on the reloading process.
OK back to your post
2) Scheme. The Steelers and Packers are playing more of a 1-gap 34. They play an attacking style of defense. Fact - none of those three players mentioned would have the same stats here in NE playing in this defense. Fact - their successes haven't been soley because of having a good defense. They both have top QB's in the league as well. Fact - both defensive coordinators use scheme to design plays to attempt to get their linebackers some free runs at the QB. NE rarely if ever does that. NE 27th most conservative defense this past year.
In conclusion I am not sure I can see how BB's approach needs to be changed. The draft history of the league and de/olb prospects says it doesn't really need to. The Patriots just drafted one reasonable high in Cunningham at pick #53. They also draft Shawn Crable at #78. Now Crable didn't work out but i would rather pick #78 didn't work out than some of the more recent busts at the position projection. Aaron Maybin #11. Vernon Gholston #6. Jarvis Moss #17 are just a few quick examples.