Re: Draft thoughts
posted at 5/11/2014 9:36 AM EDT
In response to rkarp's comment:
Pro, good insight. What I disagree on, and with most here, not only you, is WR. I do think Amendola is elite, in much the same way Wes was. I also really, really like what JE brings at WR. But the guy that intrigues me the most is Boyce. I found him to be electric last year, and had hoped the Pats found ways to put the ball in his hands more often. I am not thinkingmofmtrying 100 catches, but 35-40 catches with YAC ability to score at any crease taken.
If Amendola plays like he did in that first Buffalo game last year, he can be like Wes. What bothers me (even more than the injuries) was the fact that he disappeared late season. Maybe there were still injury issues, but he just wasn't making much of an impact and was almost invisible in the playoffs. Collie looked better. We'll see how he does this year with some more time in the system and hopefully better health.
Maybe a bigger concern for me at WR, though, is the ability of either Amendola or Edelman to stretch the field, catch the ball reliably when they are running directly downfield, and provide that big target for Brady who can also fight for the ball in tight coverage. Edelman wasn't very effective in the Broncos playoff game, I thought. He did get open, but he either couldn't get to the ball or he couldn't win battles on the sidelines. He's a small target who requires perfectly thrown deep balls and whom the Broncos covered successfully with just a single defender. Dobson (or Thompkins) really needs to step up to give us that complementary receiver to the Amendola/Edelman slot types. Where I do like LaFell is his size. He's not a TE or an H-back, but he's got a little of those characteristics in his size and blocking ability. The Panthers used him in the backfield a lot and I see him sort of taking the Hernandez role on the team.
I'd love to see Boyce work out, but last year he just didn't seem to be able to make the field. I assume it's more learning the system that he needs to do, so hopefully he takes a big step forward this year. His speed could be a big asset. My fantasy right now is that this Jeremy Gallon kid turns out to be the next Troy Brown too . . . but at this point it is pure fantasy.
If Gronk is healthy, things do look a lot better. He actually can stretch the field . . . and his size is a nightmare for DBs, so the offense looks very different when he's in. The question is whether he'll be 100% after that knee injury.
I am not sold on Lafell. I do think Dobson will be a solid #2 with spikes against certain coverages. I think Thompkins struggles to make the team, especially if the Pats have finally drafted a KR/PR that is also listed at WR.
I simply don't see Nink at LB, and actually heard him say last year "that ship has sailed". As a DE that will occasionally drop back in coverage, no problem. But as a LB he will be picked on and taken advantage of with most any QB in the NFL. Wouldn't surprise me to see another FA brought in to compete. Think Tracy White type.
I don't see Nink as a main LB, but he can back-up there in a pinch. Right now we have the three presumed starters: Hightower, Mayo (who hopefully will be full recovered), and Collins (still inexperienced, though talented), Beauharnais (a bit of a mystery, but maybe the primary back-up), and some special teamers listed as LBs, plus a few DEs like Nink who could probably play LB if we need. I agree we'll see more FAs coming in during the summer. Apparently there already a few rookie free agents signed, and veterans may show up as the summer progresses and even after final cuts.
I happened to bump into Buchanon a few times this offseason. He is bigger, and I think he surprises in his year 2 jump. He looked impressive, hope he can transition the look to production
I'm hoping he adds to the mix at DE. We've got a few developmental players there as well as the experienced Will Smith, so I'm feeling okay. I think both Armstead and Easley (assuming health for both players) can also rotate into the DE position. Overall, I'm okay with the guys with their hands in the dirt (assuming Wilfork and Kelly are both back). But the stand-up guys seem thin to me.