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Ask PFW: Draft reaction

Posted May 13, 2014

Passionate opinions from fans about New England's 2014 Draft class in this week's PFW mailbag.

Well, there is a very good chance that the top two picks will get not more than one year of starts in the next four years. [QB Jimmy] Garoppolo will never see the field and [DL Dominique] Easley (see Ras-I Dowling) may get a handful. NO TE, no X receiver, no DE (until way late) and no safety, although I like Jemea Thomas as an athlete and he may pan out as a safety. Hard nose player. Please explain (if at all possible) how this draft can help the Pats win a Super Bowl this coming year. Nader Behbehani

To be honest, I'm a little bit disappointed with the Patriots' draft. We pick Dominique Easley in the first round, who has talent but who has injury problems. Second round we choose a QB?! Why wouldn't we choose a TE like Troy Niklas who was still available?! We had the chance to even draft Arthur Lynch! All that I'm looking forward to now from the rookies is 6'8" TE Justin Jones, who I'm rooting for to make the roster come regular season. Vikram Sakotai

Ok, I hate this draft class. A DT coming off two ACLs while passing over comparable talent (Gronk Part 2?) a mediocre QB (low level of competition, could care less about his quick release) and a bunch of afterthought linemen. Coach [Belichick] has done nothing to address the obvious glaring needs on this team: no safety, no complimentary TE, and zero DL depth. We are headed for yet another 12-4 "what could have been" season. Do you guys ever see a scenario where the Kraft family tells BB to step aside and hire a GM?? I'd like them to clean house in the scouting department while they are at it!! The rest of the NFL has caught up to BB and his “genius,” he is becoming ego-driven and it is costing this team dearly. If this ridiculous draft doesn't prove it, I don't know what will. Andrew Thomas

I guess I just don't understand the philosophy. You would think they would draft people who could come in and contribute at positions of need. TE, S, and DL were glaring needs. The Pats decided to draft an injury-prone DL prospect that may need a red shirt for this season in the first. Passed on TE C.J. Fiedorowicz for a QB that may never see a start in a Pats uniform in the second, traded out of the third, then passed on a big, hard hitting safety in Mo Alexander. I just don't see how this team is any better today than it was before the draft. Can you please tell me what I am missing? And why this QB over [Tom] Savage, who was available in much later rounds? Jesse M.

So much invective to fight through here… and believe it or not, there were other submissions that used even angrier language.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t entirely thrilled with many of these selections either, but now that they’re here, I’m anxious to see what they can do and how they might help. I’m especially intrigued by Jimmy Garoppolo. If he shows any signs of being a bona fide NFL passer, he just might climb up the depth chart faster than many of you think. They may have also gotten a future (maybe even near future) starting center in Bryan Stork.

The Easley selection was not my favorite, but at least they addressed the d-line need with that pick. How soon he can contribute is a major issue, however.

As long as Belichick keeps winning double-digit games and getting this team into the AFC title game, I don’t expect the organization to make any changes with regard to the general manager’s position. And to suggest that the scouting department is at fault because you don’t like the team’s draft choices is unfair. Director of College Scouting Jon Robinson is a talented football guy and his staff a hard-working bunch. Keep in mind that Belichick has the final say on everything that goes on here, football-wise, so, it might be that they scouts are suggesting one player and the boss likes another, in some or many instances.

Bottom line: if any of you has a problem with this or other drafts, fine. Just direct your anger at the man in charge, but have the decency, too, to give these young players a chance to prove themselves before you render a verdict. They deserve that much of your respect at this point. Erik Scalavino

This preseason made some of us fans and beat writers think that Patriots are in a "win now" mode. And while Patriots do go into every season with an expectation to win a trophy, the second round pick of Garoppolo made it clear, risk management is more important than winning it all. He needs at least one year in a system to back up Brady in 2015. So then would they carry three QBs this year or can they put Garoppolo on some red-shirt list? Stanly Lopatknik

There is no redshirt list or designation in the NFL, per se. To “save” a player for next year, the Patriots would have to place him on IR, which would preclude him from taking part in practice, unlike in college, where redshirts are allowed to practice with their teams. Of course it’s entirely possible that New England will keep three quarterbacks on the active roster. That used to be the norm around the league, until recently, when just two has become fashionable. And I don’t agree that Garoppolo necessarily needs a year in Foxborough before he can be a backup to Brady. As recently as Brian Hoyer, the team has kept just two QBs, and Hoyer, as a rookie, was Brady’s lone backup. Garoppolo should be a much better player than Hoyer, given where he was selected, so, it’s conceivable he could beat out Ryan Mallett for the number-two spot this summer. Erik Scalavino

Erik, Do you think Dominique Easley has potential as a DE in a 4-3 front? If so, a rotation between Chandler Jones, Easley, and Will Smith would free up Ninkovich to join the rotation at LB where we are sorely lacking in depth. Or do you think Easley is more suited to play DT? Joel Lindgren

Sure. I got a look at him yesterday when he came out to meet the media in person and he looked more like an end than a tackle, body-wise. At either spot, though, he’s a bit undersized compared to the NFL average, but if he can do his job, it won’t matter how big his measurable say he is. My main concern with him isn’t his size, but when he’ll be able to suit up and go full-speed. Erik Scalavino

Big Pats fan from UK and living in China- love ask PFW. First time question: having not drafted a TE, who is still available for us to get in that position (I assume through free agency?) and who do you think would be the best fit in NE? Peter Hawkins

When a TE didn't fall to the Pats in the 2nd round, I'm happy that the Pats didn't reach for a player based off of their needs. With that said, I hope that the Pats find a way to upgrade the TE position before training camp. Can you see the Pats signing one of Jermichael Finely or Dustin Keller? Or do you think the team could realistically upgrade the position through a trade? Zach Strong

So since we didn't draft a tight end, what are our options? Dustin Keller? Who else? Any idea on any possibilities of late training camp cuts? Thanks. Jay Bird

While I was quite disappointed with the draft (when is a Pats fan NOT until seasons end), taking Easley's knees way to early and a good QB in Garoppolo, still too early instead of a TE, is the reason hidden behind Dustin Keller? Yes he left without a deal, but so did Smith. I'm just wondering if the floor littering bitten fingernails from Pats nation regarding the TE position were worth biting off or do we see a Keller signing on the horizon? Don Blakeborough

Keller is still on the free agent market, which makes him a possibility to sign at any point. A trade can’t be ruled out either, though I don’t that would be as likely. New England also added three undrafted rookies at the position this week. Maybe one of them could impress enough to stick around. And let’s not forget, the Patriots still have THE best tight end in football in Rob Gronkowski. Yes, he’s coming off a really bad knee injury (suffered in early December), but that doesn’t mean he won’t necessarily be ready to go in Week 1. Michael Hoomanawanui is a fine backup, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a veteran like Keller eventually comes to Foxborough as well. Erik Scalavino

Greetings from Germany! My biggest question about the Patriots draft is what they did with in rounds 3-4. Were there real no talent left in round 3 to trade out of it, and was [James] White the best RB available on the board then? Len G.

“Danke” for writing in, Len. Who’s to say who the “best available” back was when the Patriots selected White. What matters is, the Patriots felt he was (or at least Belichick). And there was absolutely talent available on the board in the third round. Bill just decided he’d rather acquire some extra picks later on. That’s not how I would approach a draft, but he’s the head coach and that’s his prerogative. Erik Scalavino

Hey everyone, first off I really enjoyed your coverage of the draft, offered some good humor and kept me interested in the draft. So I am going to avoid asking about who the Pats actually drafted (enough people will ask about that) and ask who out of the undrafted free agents intrigues you, who do you think has a shot at making the roster as well as maybe seeing some game action? Jacob Templar

Thanks, Jacob. The radio show is a lot of fun to do. Glad you enjoy it. It’s far too early to say which undrafted rookie has a chance to make the roster when none of them has even suited up for a practice yet, but I can tell you that I’m looking forward to watching the three tight ends -- Tyler Beck, Justin Jones, and Asa Watson (Ben’s little brother) – and the two linebackers, Cameron Gordon and Deontae Skinner – as both of those areas are in need of some bodies on the depth chart. Erik Scalavino

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