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Ask PFW: Headed toward the draft

Posted Apr 24, 2012

The draft is finally upon us (well, almost) and it seems most of the fans' favorites have been asked about and analyzed at this point because there were very few questions this week. That will not be the case a week from now after the draft is complete and no doubt hundreds of questions will flood our inbox at "Ask PFW."

I wanted to know your thoughts on a three prospects: Vinny Curry, Alshon Jeffery and Chandler Jones? Which could you see most in a Pats uniform? Keep up the great work. 
Alex Sabo

Obviously it’s difficult to say with any degree of certainty but I’ll go with Jones. He showed the ability to do some different things at Syracuse and has the size and versatility to project as an outside linebacker if the Patriots choose to go with their normal 3-4 base defense. Jones isn’t necessarily the best pass rusher in the draft but he can get after the quarterback a bit while also performing well against the run and doing a lot of different things to contribute on defense. This all-around nature is why I think he has a chance to be in the Patriots plans. Curry is an interesting pass rusher who also could be in the team’s plans. I’m not sure he’s as versatile as Jones, though, so I put him in second place of these three. I don’t like Jeffery much at all. He’s a bid bodied receiver but has questionable speed and work ethic. He doesn’t always get open and too often relied on his size to make plays at South Carolina. He’s physically gifted but I’d rather go with several other receivers – like Kendall Wright, Reuben Randall, Stephen Hill or Jaron Criner.
Paul Perillo

Is it just me or every year since the last Super Bowl victory, the Patriots look just one or two playmakers away from winning it all? I know that it's not easy as it looks, but if Bill Belichick drafted one more playmaker two years ago, that could have made a difference last February. The point is we need talent now. Trading down or trading for a first next year makes me sick. Quarterbacks like Tom Brady are rare and he will not play forever. Is BB thinking keeping two picks in the first round until Brady is gone and trading up to draft his replacement or what? The Patriots must improve the defense BEFORE Brady retires. Just hope I'll have the chance to see another Super Bowl win.
Martin Lampron

While I understand the frustration of constantly trading picks and moving down in the draft, it’s hard to argue with the results that philosophy has brought. The team constantly has multiple picks in early rounds and therefore is one of the teams that annually controls the draft. At the same time, the on-field talent of the club is good enough that Belichick and Brady have made sure the Patriots are perennial title contenders. It’s true to say this defense lacks playmakers and it could be argued that a few more would likely put New England over the top. But it’s also tough to say the draft system is failing the team and resulting in falling short. It’s hard to stay on top of the heap every year like the Patriots have done, and working the draft to acquire extra picks is one reasons they have been able to do so. I don’t believe Belichick’s goal is finding a replacement for Brady or anything else other than doing what he feels is best for both the short- and long-term interests of his team.
Paul Perillo

The draft is this coming week and I've been buzzing with questions. I'd like to pose the question that we will be getting a right DE in the draft? We currently don't have any signed up on the roster. We lost Mark Anderson to the Bills and I believe Andre Carter won't be returning in full shape either. A good candidate would be Nick Perry from USC. He is great on the edge and that is exactly what we are looking for. And a plus would be that he can play either on the left or right. He would be a great addition to the line up alongside Vince Wilfork. Lastly, do you think BB would move up this year in the draft? We may be able to get a better DE than Perry if we trade our 31 and one of our second-round picks to get closer to the 15th range. What do you think? 
Kyle Rodgers

I think defensive linemen will be one of a handful of positions the Patriots will be looking to fill. Free agent addition Trevor Scott could be a possible candidate to fill an edge spot but your suggestion of Perry also could be in the mix. Perry is a solid pass rusher who has said he’d like to play defensive end in a 4-3 in the NFL. That could take him out of the Patriots plans if Belichick wishes to go with more 3-4 looks moving forward since he’d need more versatility from his edge guys. But Perry is a solid prospect. I also wouldn’t be stunned to see Belichick show some interest in moving up in the first round. If a specific player or two were to be available somewhere around 20, I could see him looking into that possibility. Now, trying to figure out which players might fall into that category is tough, but let’s use a hypothetical group of Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, Whitney Mercilus and Chandler Jones. If some or all of these guys were available at or after No. 20, I’d look into moving up from 27 to get one. The more likely scenario, however, would be a trade down and into the future (ie – trading 31 for an additional second and a first in 2013).
Paul Perillo

I saw the recent safety breakdown by Andy and was wondering opinion of Brandon Hardin since he wasn't listed. With the drop off after Barron and the signing of Steve Gregory I would assume BB takes a flier on someone later on in the draft and Hardin has good size, speed and played corner in college so he must have some cover skills. Any interests from the PFW or the Patriots?
Ryan Matis

Hardin is an interesting prospect. He missed a lot of time during his career at Oregon State due to injuries and didn’t play at all as a senior because of a shoulder problem. That caused him to not to get invited to the Combine and therefore had him as a fringe prospect. But his immense athleticism – particularly his speed – and strong workouts have him back on the radar. He has definite cover skills as a corner and his speed should make him a solid candidate to play free safety at the NFL level. He has some definite upside and would be a great mid-round possibility. Good find, Ryan.
Paul Perillo

Due to prior year trades, the Pats only have six picks left in this year's draft. We all expect more trades to occur this weekend. Question: Do the Pats have any additional draft picks in next year's draft (acquired from other teams in prior trades) which could be used as capital this year?
Nat Potter

As of now the Patriots do not have any additional picks in the 2013 draft, and in fact they lost their fifth-round selection as part of the Albert Haynesworth compensation and their sixth-rounder in the Chad Ochocinco deal. So currently the Patriots have five picks next year – first, second, third, fourth and seventh. Still, it’s safe to assume the Patriots will make some trades to try to acquire additional picks in the later rounds this year even though they currently only have those six picks at their disposal. Belichick doesn’t like to have long stretches without picks so expect at least one trade in an effort to get some more.
Paul Perillo

I can't remember dude's name, but there used to be this guy who would write a Friday breakdown type post. He was some professional writer who had written a couple of TV shows, etc. What happened to that/him? I used to love reading his stuff. He had a great opinion and was really funny. Any chance he comes back?
Pascal Rawls-Philippe

If you’re a fan of “PFW in Progress” you might know him as John in LA. His name is John Cockrell and he is indeed a professional writer in Hollywood for a show called “In Plain Sight” on USA Network. John used to write a column for us called “Friday Outtakes” in which he took a sometimes whimsical look at the league. But real life and his professional commitments no longer afford him the time to continue his fine work for us so the column no longer appears on patriots.com. I’ll be sure to let him know he has a fan asking for him.
Paul Perillo

 

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