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Ask PFW: Finally, draft week!

Posted May 6, 2014

After months of anticipation and a couple extra weeks of waiting, the 2014 NFL Draft is finally just about here and Patriots fans have plenty of last-minute draft queries in this week’s Ask PFW!

How about Patriots trading down and trading the second round pick for Suh? You say you do not want him for free, but if Pats are in a "win now" mode, then why not? The question then is, how hard is it to swing the trade for a player during the draft?
Stan Cohan

It’s certainly not hard to work a trade for a player on draft weekend. Bill Belichick has done it a few different times over the years. And I would consider trading a mid-round pick for Suh, an elite talent with some, let’s say, issues. But the Lions seemed to make it pretty clear this week that they weren’t going to deal the former first-round defensive lineman. Maybe that’s just talk. Maybe not. But I’d have no problem with the Patriots trading down from the first round, or looking into a value-deal for Suh, a durable, athletic, violent tackle.. I probably wouldn’t send a second-round pick for a guy I’m going to have to do a long term contract with soon, though.
Andy Hart

Learning how intensely diligent the draft scouting and evaluation process is, I am absolutely baffled at Patriots selections of at least a half-dozen second-round picks which were busts. All that gives me a pause to ask, if we trade down and get two second-round picks, would we draft a quality player like Gronk or others like Jackson or Dowling?
Ben J.

As is said so often by so many people, the draft is an inexact science. It’s not easy to make the right call all the time with so many variables in play throughout the scouting and development process. Belichick has had plenty of hits and misses in all rounds. Nobody, not even Belichick, could tell you now how this year’s potential second-round picks will pan out. Or any picks for that matter. He could give you his opinion and a theoretic progression, but that’s all. It’s a crapshoot on some level. Sometimes you shoot for the stars and end up with crap. Sometimes you hit the target dead on. It’s why it’s so fun. At least for those of us whose jobs don’t hinge on the actual picks!
Andy Hart

Many are saying that Michael Sam is too small to be a defensive end and too unathletic to be a linebacker. The Pats have taken a chance on an in-between player before when they took Bruschi in the third even though there were concerns that Bruschi was too small to be a lineman and too slow to be a linebacker. Would you use a late round draft pick to see if Sam, the 2013 SEC [co-] defensive player of the year, could become a successful NFL player? If so where would you take him?
Bryce Spalding

Like most, I struggle to see Sam having much success as an edge player in the NFL. He’s an impressive person and was a very good college player. But as a prospect in terms of measurables and fitting the NFL game, he comes up short. Still, I’d consider a sixth- or seventh-round pick on Sam. Maybe he is the next story to prove the scouting process and measurables wrong. I just can’t count on that or invest a high pick in that idea.
Andy Hart

Hey guys! Here is my draft plan: trade first rounder for a 2nd and 3 late rounders. 2nd: Easley and Niklas, 3rd: Coleman. With the remaining 8 picks u take best player in this order: SS, DT, QB, C, OG, LB and 2 best talent. Your thoughts? Thanks.
Mike Hammer

My thoughts are there isn’t really a question in this email. Making a long statement and then adding the word “thoughts” and a question mark at the end isn’t really what I’m looking for in mailbags. That said, I don’t like this draft class you put together. I’m not as high on Easley, coming off an ACL, as others and I don’t care for the Coleman pick. He’s big. But doesn’t wow me at a position where the Patriots have plenty of decent bodies. If I’m adding a receiver, he’s got to have huge upside. I don’t see that with the oversized Coleman. Your thoughts?
Andy Hart

Hi guys, looking forward to the draft. My question: Do you think the Patriots might consider switching back to a 34 defense? If I look at the roster today maybe the players are in place to field such a defense and this might also help out at the DE position. If Vince Wilfork can play at a high level once again (backed up by Siliga) you would have the likes of Tommy Kelly, Armond Armstead, Chris Jones and Joe Vellano to man the outside of the line and free up Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich to play more of an OLB role where you could throw Dont’a Hightower into the mix there as well. Do you think they would be capable of playing these roles? Esp. Chandler Jones? Keep of the good work. Greetings from Munich.
Olli Martin

I won’t rule out a 3-4 switch and watching draft weekend unfold might give us an even better understanding of this possibility based on the defensive talent that’s acquired. The one guy that I think is most affected by this, and I have the most questions about, is Chandler Jones. I’m not sold he can be a linebacker. He seems to be a pure 4-3 end to me. Most of the other guys involved would seem to have the versatility. Time will tell. But I’m not sold on the idea at this point.
Andy Hart

Do you think the Pats pick Shayne Skov and Michael Sam in the mid-rounds of the next draft? I think they can be good additions and fill the need in DE and LB depth. Hello from Mexico.
Julio Hernandez

As I said earlier, Sam is a late-round prospect at best. He’s a developmental guy that I don’t think dramatically would change any team’s depth chart as an undersized DE. Skov, on the other hand, is indeed a mid-round depth possibility at inside linebacker. I don’t think he’s a great athlete, but as a backup middle linebacker he’s a solid, heady, proven option on a good team with a good defense at the college level. He wouldn’t be a terrible fourth- or fifth-round pick.
Andy Hart

How does a team know when a player they covet is about to be chosen by another team and what gives them the opportunity to trade to get him?
Morris Hickok

Short answer – they don’t. Teams do as much research as possible on other teams’ draft needs, wants and desires. But it’s still just projecting and guessing. As Nick Caserio said last week, there is a lot of information out there right now and much of it is not reliable. But if you want a player bad enough and have an inkling that another team is about to take him, you have to take the chance and move up to make it happen. Otherwise, you may regret it.
Andy Hart

Hi, I am from Austria and I was wondering what trades do you think the Patriots should make? I think the Patriots should try to get as many day two picks as possible. The draft is deep enough so it won’t matter if they pick their first player with 29 or 42. Rounds 2 and 3 and maybe 4 are where I think you can get the most value. After that there isn't much difference between a 7th round pick or an UFA. How many picks do you think the Patriots could get for rounds 2-4?
Christian Leitner

Depending on what they are willing to trade in terms of this year’s picks, future picks and players, Belichick and the Patriots could land a number of mid-round selections. And you are right in that the one and only thing that most people seem to agree with regarding this draft is its overwhelming depth. It’s the main reason I’m inclined to hope the Patriots do trade down and out of the first round come Thursday night, assuming they can get fair value for the trade. By the way, that shot you hit for Duke back in the day is one of the greatest moments in sports history. Well done.
Andy Hart

I've been a Patriots fan since I was a kid. Big fan of TB, BB, and company. Who do you think will be the face of the franchise when TB retires? I think will be Ryan Mallett. What are your thoughts? This season Mallett will be creating a name for himself. I would like for Mallett to play 90% of the snaps during preseason do you see this happening?
Mike Sanchez

Clearly Ryan Mallett is not seen as the QB of the future, why not package him with a mid-round pick and send him to Tampa Bay for Mike Glennon - another QB on the outs of the organization?
Ewan Canning

The only thing that’s clear is that no one really knows who the future of the Patriots quarterback position. I personally don’t see any way that Mallett is the guy, or the future face of New England. He’s entering the final year of his rookie contract, very likely his last in Foxborough. But he’s also the proven backup, so I’m not sure Belichick would look to trade him and have a lack of comfort and experience behind Brady. As for Mallett’s snaps this summer, I’m not sure how much they’ll change. You still have to be focused on getting Brady ready for the regular season. Depending on who the third passer is – we know it won’t be Tim Tebow! – Mallett may get a few more August snaps, but I don’t think it will be a dramatic increase. Plus, I’m not sure a Mallett trade late in the preseason would benefit anyone involved. Most likely, Mallett just walks away a free agent next spring.
Andy Hart

Everyone has this opinion that SS is a weak position we have and need an impact player ASAP. Yet Harmon played that position so well last year and I believe keeps the starting job. I believe our first pick is likely a big, raw DT and then finding a partner for Gronk at TE. Could there be some draft day deal in which we could move up to get 2 picks in the 3rd and satisfy our depth at RB as well as maybe looking at a guy who plays OG and if so who would they likely be?
Daniel Huysmans

Harmon only started three games as a rookie a year ago, two of those coming when veteran starter Steve Gregory was inactive due to injury. So while the second-year former third-round pick is penciled in as the starter on a weak strong safety depth chart, I would say that the starting job is far from locked down. I thought he had a nice rookie season, but I’m not willing to anoint him the present or the future at the spot next to Devin McCourty. I still would be looking for a bigger, more physical guy with a greater upside. Have I mentioned I love Washington State prospect Deone Buccanon? I do agree with you, though, that based on how things may unfold a defensive tackle might be a likely option at No. 29 if the Patriots do indeed stick in that spot and pick. I’ve gone with Louis Nix III in some of the mocks I’ve done. Unlike most mockers, I don’t see it being Ra’Shede Hageman. The rest of the draft will indeed be a chance for many trades and options for the team to add depth at a great number of position, including running back and guard on offense, using a long-term approach to picking.
Andy Hart

I hate asking dumb questions but here I go. Has Arrington ever been considered as a second option at SS?
Rick Colson

Many fans and media types have posed the idea of Arrington playing safety over the last couple years. But we have seen little or none of it in games or practices over that time. He’s a little shorter than desired at the spot. Has been prone to some injuries and may not have the overall range needed as he’s much better in the slot covering in a smaller yet quicker area. But believe me, as far as Ask PFW goes, your question wasn’t in the top 1,000 worst of all time. So you have that going for you. Which is nice.
Andy Hart

Sounding off from New Jersey. First and foremost love your [PFW in Progress radio] show and what you guys bring to the table. Now let's talk draft. I'm a fan of Richard Rodgers the TE from Cal. I believe he can be that "move" TE we are looking for. Feel we can snag him in the 4th, your thoughts? I see Bill trading out the 1st and early in the 2nd taking the best player available at that stage, agree or disagree?
Eric Martinez

I like what Rodgers – who grew up playing high school football in Massachusetts -- brings to the table and he should certainly be available in the fourth round, maybe even quite a bit later. He doesn’t have great speed, but does have that move tight end or H-back feel. He played a bunch of different roles, at various weights, for the Cal team over the last couple years. He has solid hands and would make sense as a solid value pick as a potential pass catcher at the undermanned tight end spot for New England.
Andy Hart

A few questions... What are your thoughts on Austin Seferian-Jenkins? Would u take him with the 62nd pick if it isn't traded? Where do you see Troy Niklas going (team and pick) And about Colt Lyerla? I know the Pats have to be very wary of players with legal problems after Aaron Hernandez, but do you think the Pats could judge his infractions minor enough to take a chance on him if he slides, say, to the 6th round? Last thing: Marcus Martin OG out of USC, what's your feel on him?
Ben Levin

I like Seferian-Jenkins and would very much consider him in the second round, but I’m not sure the team feels quite the same way. I like his versatility and think he’d be a nice weapon for Brady. Niklas will be another option as a possible second-round pick. He’s a well-rounded tight end who can block and catch with soft, confident hands. I actually think he could be a possible Patriots pick. The same can’t be said for Lyerla. He’s toxic in my opinion after leaving Oregon and then having an arrest for cocaine. I don’t consider that a minor offense and don’t believe the Patriots will, either, especially in the post-Hernandez era. Martin played both center and guard at USC and I think he’d be a possible fit in the mid rounds for the Patriots as a versatile interior guy. I could see the team adding either a guard or center in this draft, and Martin could play either spot. He’s not as powerful and dominant as his 320-pound age might imply, but is still a decent prospect.
Andy Hart

Hi guys, love your work! Greetings from London. What would you think of these first 7 picks: 1. Hageman, 2. Best TE available (ASJ/Niklas) 3. OG 4. Hyde or Mason 6. Linebacker 6. Utility lineman 7. Linebacker. Would you see ASJ making it to our 2nd round pick? What do you think of Hageman because in my opinion he looks like a beast! Thanks for answering!
Jack Naftalin

I don’t love your draft class, either. I am not on the very-much-full Hageman bandwagon. I don’t like his lack of consistent production. I think he’s forever going to be a tease based on his size and skills but not a great player. I also don’t like Hyde. He’s a one-year guy and I think he’s a durability concern and isn’t quick enough. Mason worries me as an undersized workhorse. As I said in the previous answer I like Seferian-Jenkins, but I’m not sure he is what the team is looking for. He has a third-round grade from Nolan Nawrocki, so not everyone is sold on his ability and total package. Although an anonymous scout did compare Seferian-Jenkins’ build to Gronkowski in Nawrocki’s draft guide book. I think he does have a chance to a pretty impressive NFL pass catcher. The rest of the positions…who really knows?
Andy Hart

Since it's likely that we will not be able to grab a top tier tight end with our first two/three picks.. why isn't anyone talking about a trade to get a known commodity in Jordan Cameron?
Andrew Robb

Unless I missed it, I don’t believe Cameron is on the trading block. My understanding is that he’s seen as a core young offensive playmaker for the Browns. He caught 80 passes last year to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl. Why would Cleveland look to deal one of its few offensive weapons as it looks to find a quarterback? It wouldn’t. The Patriots indeed need a tight end and are likely to take one in the middle of this week’s draft. It’s not an overly deep position in the draft, but there are some intriguing mid- and late-round options that I would be happy with like Seferian-Jenkins, Niklas, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Rodgers and Jake Murphy. And don’t forget versatile Massachusetts native son Arthur Lynch!
Andy Hart

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