In response to Low-FB-IQ's comment:
In response to Faucetman's comment:
I think a strong case can be made to draft Eifert and even possibly Ertz at 29 if they are available, especially Eifert. The importance of the TE position in NE and the success they have had is well documented but here is the data behind this.
In 2011 Gronk played in all 16 regular season games and Hernandez played in 14. Combined they were:
169/2,237/24. The Pats went 13-3 and went to the SB
In 2012 Gronk played in 11 regular season games and Hernandez played in 10. Combined they were:
106/1,273/16. The Pats went 12-4 and lost the AFCCG
That is a lot of lost production. 63 catches, nearly 1,000 yards and 8 TDs. Counting the play-offs the two stud TEs only had stats together in 4 of the 18 games.
In games where only one of these TEs had stats they averaged 6.1/74.9/.9
In games where both had stats these TEs averaged 10.5/107/1.5
The Pats were 10-4 where only one TE played and were 3-1 when having both. Each TE played 7 games essentially without the other, meaning the other either didn't play or got hurt and left without producing any stats. Production was similar for both except for TDs.
With just Hern: 44/464/3, team scored 225 points and went 5-2
With just Gronk: 41/585/10, team scored 272 points and went 5-2
First, there is no way Eifert gets past Atlanta at 30. He probably doesn't make it to 29 but if he does, I think we could do a lot of cool things with Eifert. First, he can fill in for Gronk should he go down again. Second, we could run a lot of three TE sets with Hern playing as the H or lined up outside as a jacked up WR. The mismatches having all 3 stud TEs on the field at the same time would be incredible. Because Hern can play WR, drafting Eifert would be like drafting one of the big WRs but with the ability to be insurance for either Gronk or Hern going down again.
The game is all about mis-matches. As shown with the stats, having both Gronk and Hern on the field together, the production out of the position explodes. Brady is more of a possession, short range passer preferring to move the chains rather than going for the quick strike downfield. I think these guys would just be a nightmare for LBs and Ss to try to cover. I can see all kinds of creative ways to use them together and I'm Josh could find new ways too. Thoughts?
In addition to the ballard comments I think people have to keep in mind the players already on the team.
With the exception of Eifert, on a purely measurables view, ertz and most of the others did not fare any better than either Daniels or Hooman did when they came out.
WHen we look at WR's or CB, etc there is not currently many options under contract so its easier to speculate all sorts of possible guys making the team. ...at least until FA is over.
I always try to say yeah oh I like this guy or that guy but then go back and look at the Pats depth chart and ask ok who is he really beating out and how long will it take to impact if he even makes the team.
We may not love certain guys at various positions on the Pats but they are guys who have been playing in a league a while. When you go back and look at their combines compared to the guys we like coming out, for me at least, I often find myself going hmmm oh ok not that great.
Especially the later round guys. I assume that's why Bill take some of these special teams types like Ebner etc because he thinks whats available at other spots isn't going to make the team and be a wasted pick.
I was trying to find a creative way to address our need for a big, physical WR and to address the problem we had last year by having both stud TEs out for significant time. Trying to kill two birds with one stone so to speak. Moving Hernandez to WR full-time is an option. Ballard may be productive, he may not. Eifert is going to be a stud, Gronk-lite if you ask me.
We will likely sign a couple of veteran F/A WRs and perhaps draft one. Hartline maybe? BB was there for all the WR drills so that was pretty telling. Then I don't recall seeing him at all for the defense. Unlike most on here, I don't think we are going heavy on D this year. The reason is our age is on offense and we have far more players on offense not under contract. The D will get better with time as we had a lot of young players last year seeing lots of reps like Dennard, Hightower, Wilson, Jones,etc. If we get Ed Reed and get Talib back and if Dennard doesn't spend the year in the can, it's hard to see who we could draft that would beat out a veteran.
I think Ninkovich and Love are possible areas we could upgrade. I like Chase Thomas in the 3rd if he's around. I didn't get to see much of him at the Combine because Te-o went before him and they kept showing his replays and not Thomas.
But there is no question we have a lot of potential holes on offense especially if we lose Vollmer and cut Lloyd.
It's a good thought because Eifert did spend a lot of time in the slot and out wide... heck, he drew Milliner in the NC game... though was clearly ND's biggest offensive weapon and Milliner has the size and physicality to match up.