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Ask PFW: Analyzing the draft

Is there a chance the coaching staff has plans of moving one of the young guards over to tackle? Is there anyone that even fits that profile outside Sebastian Vollmer or Nate Solder on the NFL level? Otherwise I can only think of camp cuts season to shore up the depth.

Paul Oliveira*

This is an interesting question considering the fact that the Patriots did not draft a tackle with the potential to back up on either side. Vollmer is entering the final year of his deal so it's possible the team will be looking for a new starter next year, which makes it even more surprising that New England didn't add some youth to the crop. Moving from guard to tackle is rare in the NFL. Generally the switch is made the other way, from outside in. There have been many quality tackles who played guard as they got their feet wet in the NFL, but it's not usually a situation where a true interior lineman – like Shaq Mason and Tre' Jackson – moves outside. I don't know enough about Jonathan Cooper to suggest that he could be in the mix on the outside, but my guess is Bill Belichick likes LaAdrian Waddle and is confident that he can be a suitable backup swing tackle. We'll see how this all plays out once the camps start in a few weeks.
Paul Perillo

Do you think Vincent Valentine will end up like Jake Bequette or Tyrone McKenzie? It seems like Bill drafts these guys in earlier spots when many teams have the same guys as not worthy of a draft pick?

Dave Sarro*

It's way too early to draw any comparisons for any of the draft picks since they've yet to take the field in a Patriots uniform. I think it's unfair to suggest Valentine is a bust before he even starts his career. I was a bit curious about the pick and honestly did not like it much. But I'll reserve judgement until I see him play. With regard to the two players you mentioned, it should be noted that McKenzie tore his ACL during his rookie mini-camp, which wasn't the ideal way to start his life in professional football. But there's no question there have been some misses in the third round for the Patriots – and Bequette and McKenzie were two of them.
Paul Perillo

Big fan from Germany, hope my English is good enough … With the draft in the books and still a hole at RB, do you see any FA option, other than Arian Foster, if he comes in for a cheap and not injured? Who of the current roster might have enough trade value to trade for Jamaal Charles or any other nice RB? Maybe Danny Amendola?

Chris Hau*

First your English is much better than Andy's so no need to apologize. As for running backs … I've been having some fun pitching the Jamaal Charles for Danny Amendola trade for a couple of months now. It's a longshot but I do believe both sides would benefit and the contracts aren't all that different. Otherwise there aren't many alternatives available other than Foster, and I'm not sure he's got much left after so many injuries. They did add Arizona State's D.J. Foster, who is more of a pass-catcher, as an undrafted free agent. We shall see.
Paul Perillo

Now I can't pretend to know more than Bill Belichick, I've learned by now to blindly trust all of his moves that more will be right than wrong and we will find ourselves in the playoffs once again. That being said, it was tough to watch us pick up players like Joe Thuney and Jacoby Brissett at positions we don't need while Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker and Kenneth Dixon were still on the board. Hopefully the offseason transactions are just beginning, could we possibly see Arian Foster brought in? Or maybe a trade for a player that just lost value like Darren McFadden or David Cobb?

Alex Marr*

I am not the most sympathetic fan when it comes to the running game. I'm of the belief that in today's NFL you need to throw the ball to succeed and certainly the Patriots do that as well as anybody. But even I have to admit that I was surprised that the team didn't draft a running back at some point, and I really liked Dixon and Howard just as you said. I already talked about Foster but McFadden might be an interesting option. He wouldn't need to carry the load but would provide some depth should the Cowboys decide to cut bait. I understand your point about David Cobb perhaps being cut loose in Tennessee considering their offseason. I'm just not a huge Cobb fan. He wasn't overly dynamic at Minnesota in college and did nothing as a rookie with the Titans.
Paul Perillo

I 100 percent agreed with PFW, the Pats needed corner help bad. Since the draft, that sentiment hasn't changed. I watched Cyrus Jones in Alabama plenty of times, he's a tough, ball hawk with great special teams value. This wasn't anywhere near the reach that Jordan Richards was, but he is NOT going to be a "perimeter" guy like Nick Caserio kept saying, he got torched against speedy or bigger receivers  Love the kid, really like the pick and he will live in slot. I still think Patriots will struggle with bigger or faster receivers, particularly guys in our division (Parker, Watkins, Marshall).

Jumbo Murphy*

I like the Jones pick and obviously we all agree that corner was the top overall need. I do wish he was a bit taller but I like his feistiness and ability to continue fighting through the play, sort of similar to the way Malcolm Butler never quits on a play. Jones played plenty on the outside at Alabama but if he can't do the same with the Patriots that's not a huge concern for me because playing in the slot is just as important and was a huge need for the team last year. I expect Jones to compete immediately for playing time and I'll be anxious to see him on the practice field.
Paul Perillo

Do you think that we should go after Alfred Morris since the Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliot, and since we didn't draft any? Clearly he will be the starter in Dallas and I feel like they would like Darren McFadden as a backup more since he had a solid year with them last year.

Dakoda Esposito*

The Cowboys just signed Morris as a free agent so I doubt they'd be looking to get rid of him. McFadden, as a poster said earlier, would seem to be the odd man out. He's older and wouldn't cost as much to lose. I like the idea of looking at these teams with extra running backs, however. There's a chance the Patriots could find a suitable back during or after training camp, and Dallas is definitely an option.
Paul Perillo

While I am a huge Pats fan and love the fact that BB tries to draft/sign high character players, allow me to list two of my least favorite ones and wonder if any of them will remain on the team: Marcus Cannon and Aaron Dobson? I primarily question their attitude of giving their best.

Ted K.*

I don't think effort is necessarily a problem with these two. I question the ability of both, however. Dobson seems to have some trouble picking up things but to me his biggest problem is getting open and catching the ball consistently. Maybe effort is part of that and the coaches would certainly know more than we would by just watching. But I don't see a dynamic wide receiver when I watch him play. I think he will have a tough time making the roster this summer. Cannon is probably safer but he still could go as well. The Patriots didn't add a true tackle in the draft but it's possible they like LaAdrian Waddle more than Cannon and if that's the case there's a chance he could go too. I would agree that both have been disappointments.
Paul Perillo

What are the chances of us picking up Cordarrelle Patterson? The Vikings released him and I think we should snag him up. Dude's wicked fast.

Robert Miles*

Patterson is still with Minnesota even though the Vikings declined to pick up his fifth-year option. He will likely stay there at least through camp. But even if he becomes available I don't see much reason to go after him. Yes dude's wicked fast, as you said, but he's also not much of a receiver. I like Malcolm Mitchell as a young outside receiver who could potential factor into the return game and I don't see the need to take a flyer on Patterson.
Paul Perillo

Chicago released Antrel Rolle, and although way down on his career, is there a chance that BB would consider him for a role with the team, and helping mentor new players?

Sergio Oliveira*

I've always like Rolle as a player and I believe he could help a team with his experience and leadership. I'm not sure that's a problem for the Patriots secondary, however, with Devin McCourty holding things together on the back end. The safety position is reasonably deep as well, although if Belichick decides that Duron Harmon will be tough to re-sign perhaps he'd look for another one to add to the mix. Like I said, I like Rolle but I'm not sure the Patriots need him at this point.
Paul Perillo

Can Joe Thuney play RT and can Vincent Valentine be a solid DT who has the motor to play all game? I have doubts especially about the later and wonder why BB made Valentine choice vs. taking RB Devontae Brooker?

Jerome Buller*

I don't think Thuney can play tackle, at least that's according to both him and Dante Scarnecchia. Both said he could possibly play outside in a pinch but Thuney is an interior offensive lineman. I could even see him playing center with Bryan Stork and David Andrews also in the mix. As for Valentine, I was curious about this pick as well. I thought there were plenty of running backs available that would have made sense like Jordan Howard and Kenneth Dixon as well as Booker, but clearly the Patriots didn't agree. Valentine has the size to be a run-stuffer in the middle but some scouts have questioned his desire. Again, we'll have to see how he performs on the field before we can make a final determination.
Paul Perillo

The Pats 2016 draft left me confused and disappointed. Several of these picks will no doubt make the team, and a few of them may contribute, but Thuney, Brissett and Valentine as our 2nd, 3rd and 4th picks? Deprived of a first-round pick I think Belichick could've chosen better than those 3, or packaged some of our 11 picks to move up for a better player. After giving BB the benefit of the doubt on picks like Ras-I-Dowling, Easley and Tavon Wilson in previous drafts, and considering we gave up Chandler Jones for a second-round pick, I'm calling BB on falling a little short on this 2016 draft.

JD*

These were the picks that seemed to resonate the most with the fans and I have to admit I didn't like any of the three. If Thuney was a true tackle I could have been convinced that he was the right choice because I believe he has some talent and versatility. The problem is he's not a tackle and I don't think he'll upgrade the team much even if he's better than our current starters. Brissett really made no sense to me, both for how early he was taken and the type of quarterback he is. I don't see the Patriots offense as being conducive to a run-around playmaker at quarterback and that was what Brissett was in college. Maybe a couple of rounds later for a potential backup to Jimmy Garoppolo for the first four games. Valentine seems to be another big, run-stuffing defensive lineman – a position the Patriots have some depth at with Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, Terrence Knighton, Markus Kuhn and Frank Kearse. So I can understand your disappointment and I share it with regard to these three picks.
Paul Perillo

Do you feel that drafting a QB, who will probably only get released once Brady has served his suspension, was a wasted draft pick? They hardly ever carry 3 QBs so someone has got to go.

Brian Sprague*

As I just said I didn't like the pick of Brissett, but if he gets released I'll be even more disappointed. Brissett is likely here to replace Garoppolo as the backup at some point so the Patriots may need to carry three quarterbacks for the last 12 games of the season in 2016. I just can't see the team cutting ties immediately with a guy they took in the third round. He's more than just a temporary backup. He's someone the team wants to develop. We'll see how that works out.
Paul Perillo

The 2016 NFL Draft was the most memorable draft I've ever experienced. I have to give the Patriots props for something I didn't see coming; drafting QB Jacoby Brissett in the third round. Do you agree that despite not being the tallest guy or the fastest guy or the guy with the best arm, Jacoby Brissett was a smart, calculated pick in the third round to backup or even beat out Jimmy Garoppolo this summer and to possibly succeed Tom Brady? More importantly, is this NOT an attempt to trade Garoppolo, but to merely back him up and make him prove that he should start Week 1 if Brady does not?

Mackenzie Kirkey*

I completely disagree with this one on pretty much every level. I didn't like the pick of Brissett at all since I felt the team had some needs it could have addressed, like running back. But Brissett is 6-4, which plenty big enough for NFL quarterbacks, and his speed would probably put him in the top of the current quarterbacks, so his overall skill level is fine. However, I do believe he was brought here to be Garoppolo's backup in the short term and then perhaps pave the way for a trade of Jimmy G. down the road. Otherwise it makes no sense to bring two young quarterbacks on board to sit behind Brady for four years.
Paul Perillo

I am 72 years young and have been a loyal fan since their birth in 1960. I would like an explanation without a bitch-slap to a simple question. I regard No. 12 as the most important player on the Patriots. How does a cornerback (as their first pick) help TB more than a big running back and tackle? Great show guys even though on occasion you over-talk callers on the phone. A bit rude.

Gene in Vermont*

Your question makes sense – not that I'd say otherwise if I didn't think so after your intro. I feel cornerback was the bigger need because the team didn't have enough to get by at the position, especially if something happened to either one of the starters. The Patriots use three CBs at a time more often than not, and Cyrus Jones should be able to factor in as one of those immediately. There's no question they could use a running back too, but at least they have some options with LeGarrette Blount, Donald Brown, Dion Lewis, James White and Brandon Bolden. They definitely could have used a backup tackle as well. We all remember how things went last year when Nate Solder got hurt. So a case could be made for any of those positions, but I've seen Brady overcome shaky protection and no running game and still dominate. It's tough to do that with a shaky secondary as well. And we'll try our best to clean it up on the radio too.
Paul Perillo

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