Patriots third round pick Tyrone McKenzie
Hello Ask PFW: I'm sure the draft has filled up the Ask PFW inbox! Here's one more to throw on the pile of email. How well do you think New England did at addressing the most pressing needs? What do you think of Tyrone McKenzie, New England's only OLB pick? Do you see any of the Patriots' draft picks as Day One contributors? Thanks for reading!
Despite not landing the elite pass rusher I think we were all lusting for, I think the Patriots did a solid job addressing current and future depth needs on draft weekend. The extra talent and numbers along the offensive and defensive lines as well as in the secondary should pay dividends either now or later. As far as McKenzie goes, he's going to be an inside linebacker in New England. Based on his ability to produce immediately at three different colleges and how much Belichick praised his maturity and makeup I think the South Florida player could be a candidate for early rotational reps for the Patriots. I'd say he, Darius Butler and most of all Patrick Chung are the three likely options to be Day One contributors. I'd put Chung at the top of that list.
Now that the draft is over, who do you see the Patriots picking up as Undrafted Free Agents? Are there any players that went undrafted that you expected to be picked?Cole Weigman
Scanning stories on a variety of news outlets here is a very much unofficial list of guys who reportedly could be in rookie mini-camp later this week at Gillette Stadium: Kent State wrestler Jermail Porter, Virginia linebacker Antonio Appelby, Kentucky safety Marcus McClinton, Navy fullback Eric Kettani, Navy wide receiver Tyree Barnes, Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer and Arkansas cornerback Jamal Love. To reiterate, that's an unofficial list culled from various reports. It's likely incomplete and could be wrong. It's also possible that some of those players or others may be in mini-camp on a tryout basis rather than as undrafted free agent signings. The official roster for rookie mini-camp should be available later this week here on Patriots.com.
The most intriguing draft prospect in my mind is the Edelman pick. A QB in college that the Pats announce as a WR leads me to believe that he could be the Pats answer to the Wildcat. I thought Pat White going as high as he did in Round 2 was a bit rich for the Pats, so they drafted Edelman to toy with the Wildcat, without investing a top 2nd round pick in White. What are your thoughts on Edelman?
He's clearly a very athletic productive guy. Having never seen him play, it's hard to offer much more than that. At under 6-feet and less than 200 pounds he'd better be very athletic if he's going to take the pounding required of Wildcat players. I'll have a better assessment of Edelman and his long road to landing a roster or even practice squad spot in New England after seeing him workout in rookie mini-camp later this week.
With all the trading that went on it seems to me that BB was in planning for the future mode more than anything. From what I can tell most of the picks he made were prospects that will need much work before they ever hit the field! The 1 exception I see is Darius Butler, I think he will follow in the footsteps of Wheatley and Wilhite last year. So my questions would be, 1-are Bodden, Springs and those 3 enough corners to get thru a whole season? I think Hobbs was gone after this season anyway, maybe sooner so getting something for him was good. Also, considering we've got a new DB coach too! 2-Since there were several prominent linebackers within our reach in the draft and BB obviously didn't covet any of them, plus there was no trade with Carolina for Peppers, does that make it more likely Jason Taylor will be coming North? And finally, is it me or does Mike Mayock always talk like he's a Weather Channel correspondent standing at the tip of the Florida Keys in a hurricane? I believe he's a good talent evaluator, but does he have to yell every stat over the wind noise in his head??? Thanks for indulging me.Gary Abrams
First off, I'll refrain from taking any shots at Mayock. I am not his biggest fan, but I think he puts in a lot of work and does a decent job for NFL Network. In terms of pre-draft coverage and entertainment I prefer ESPN's tandem of Mel Kiper (does anyone give the camera the evil eye better than Mel?) and Todd McShay. But that's just one man's opinion. As for the draft class, I do think that Butler is going to compete for playing time right out of the gates. He's a great athlete who should also compete for return reps. In my opinion adding Butler to the veteran free agents and returning sophomores is a very competitive field at cornerback that should … should … produce enough cornerback talent to be more competitive early in the season than the team displayed a year ago. We all know how that can change when injuries hit the group, something that's happened all too often over the years in New England.
Hi guys, I'd just like to ask what are your thoughts on players the Pats picked on this year's draft. If any of the DT and OL perform at a high level to become as good as starters, would it mean that the Pats are ready to part ways with Wilfork and Mankins next year? I'd like them to stay on the team but that would be too expensive. Also, are there any of the lower-round DT capable of becoming a 3-4 DE? And lastly is Vollmer going to be groomed as a blocking TE? I'm not that knowledgeable with football business so forgive me if I'm way off on my questions. Keep up the good work guys.
I don't think any of the line prospects on either side of the ball are ready to come in and unseat current starters, save for maybe a long shot with Vollmer at right tackle. Brace is clearly insurance on some level for contract negotiations with Wilfork, but he's also the potential true backup nose tackle the Patriots have been unable to develop over the years. Do I think he's going to be the next Wilfork? Not in terms of physical ability and production, but it's nice to at least have a body to develop in the system for a year if Wilfork ends up leaving. I don't see any of the three defensive linemen – Brace, Myron Pryor or Darryl Richard – having the combination of height, girth and athleticism to develop into top-caliber 3-4 ends. Brace is the tallest, but is also less athletic and built like a NT. Pryor is more athletic but at barely over 6-0 doesn't have the height Belichick likes at the position. Richard is the most likely candidate of the three, but he's also less than ideal height (6-2 ½) and as a seventh-round pick is clearly a roll of the dice. Vollmer was drafted as a developmental tackle, likely for the right side. He played some tight end early in his career, but at this point he's a tackle. As a potential backup that could require him to serve as a blocking tight end on occasion, but that's not the focus of his development. His upside has starting right tackle written all over him.
Hey guys. I'm sure you're getting bombarded with emails about the draft, but there's something I need to get off my chest. Belichick drafted a long snapper. A LONG SNAPPER! And why on God's green earth did he not pick Zack Follett? The guy played in a 3-4 scheme and is a perfect fit. You guys said it yourselves; he was possibly the best of the second tier of linebackers. And he lasted until the 7th round, going to Detroit to rot. This is an outrage. With so much talent on the current team, why did Belichick not trade up and get QUALITY guys instead of QUANTITY? They'd have a better shot at actually making the team!Hank B.
Wow, Hank, settle down for a minute. The Patriots had a dozen draft picks and lost their veteran long snapper in free agency. That's why they used a selection on Hawaii's Jake Ingram. He's considered the best in college football and the best to come along in a couple years. If he pans out, and spends the next 10 years as a solid force on special teams with perfect snaps I don't think anyone will worry about spending a sixth-round pick on him. At this point I have no idea why the Patriots didn't like Follett as much as we did. I think he showed a lot of skills that would have worked on the inside for the Patriots. But I'm also very happy with the McKenzie selection and I think he will bring every bit the ability and potential and more to inside linebacker in New England that Follett would have. Finally, the consensus seems to be that this draft was all about quantity and not quality. The elite, top-level talent wasn't as strong or plentiful as in other years. Belichick saw that and adjusted as best he saw fit. We'll see how the abundance of picks and potentially valuable depth players pan out.
You will probably hear this a lot, but why didn't the Pats take Rey Maualuga. They had three opportunities to get him, and he would have been a steal at 23 overall. Did BB just not like his playing style, because it seemed like he was a hard working guy on film.Dan DiSchino
Thanks again for all your hard work. I need some help as I'm sitting here scratching my head in wonder, watching the draft. Why did we pass up on Rey Maualuga, not once, but three times. I believe I saw him projected in the top 20, but then slid all the way back to the second round. I thought the Pats would of gotten him for a steal, but we kept passing him up! Please help my insanity by explaining why we would pass up an elite ILB who led USC's LB corps in tackles. I want Scott Pioli back!Andrew Lovgren
I like Maualuga. I think he's going to be a very productive pro. He and Keith Rivers give the Bengals a nice young core of linebackers. But he would not have been a steal at 23 considering he didn't get drafted until 38. Plenty of teams passed on him, so the consensus of all NFL teams was that he wasn't worth a first-round pick. The market sets the value. The market spoke. I also think that some off-field rumblings hurt Maualuga's stock. Not sure if they are true or not. He didn't have the great Combine numbers that a guy like Jerod Mayo did. His character and intangibles weren't as strong, either. That, in part, accounts for the discrepancy in their draft spots. But I repeat, I like Maualuga and think he will be a good NFL player.
Hey PFW........great job guys!!!...I think The Pats had a excellent draft considering what was out there. Do you foresee us making and trades before training camp? I was kind of surprised about Ellis Hobbs being traded...but Coach Belichick evidently knew something. Any chance of us getting either Jason Taylor and/or Julius Peppers? Also, what about an extra running back?...Thanks in advance for reading my question....and keep up the great work!Allan Beaulieu
Since the Patriots already traded a trio of starters this offseason – a huge number by NFL standards compared to offseason action in other sports – I don't expect any other trades to come down the road. I have pretty much given up on the idea of a Peppers deal, mostly due to the salary cap ramifications and difficulties New England would have clearing the room to land the pass rusher from Carolina. I have not, on the other hand, given up on signing Taylor. I actually think there is a very good chance he lands with the Patriots. It seems like it is between the Patriots and Dolphins. Maybe Taylor's previous inability to see eye to eye with Bill Parcells will help push him toward ending up with Belichick in New England. And while I'd never say never to adding talented depth at any position, I think the Patriots have a good stable of veteran running backs to work with this year and would be surprised if the team sought out another option at that spot.
Hey guys, at first I was thinking why the heck did we trade Hobbs, then I thought why not. We are pretty much set at good depth at CB, Wheatley and Wilhite have year in the system and I like the Chung and Butler picks to add to the other guys we have in the secondary. We had so many picks we didn't know what to do with them. How much cap space did the Hobbs trade open up? And do you really think we'll sign all those draft picks? I think I like the offensive linemen picks because we have the best O-Line coach in the league, but I didn't think we needed to pick three defensive tackles. Thanks for reading and hopefully answering my questions. Super Bowl 44 here we come, go Pats!!!Mike Duran
I pretty much agree with you on the Hobbs trade. I think the area in which he'll be missed most is in the kick return game. But seeing as the deal reportedly saved the Patriots in the range of $2.5 million on the cap, his return skills probably aren't enough to warrant such a cap hit. Some of that space will indeed be used to sign the picks and I do expect the team will sign all 12 players heading toward training camp. That doesn't mean they'll all be here after camp, just that they'll get a chance to show their stuff this July and August. The first two offensive line picks – T Sebastian Vollmer and G/C Rich Ohrnberger are very interesting. I could see both or either starting if needed down the road with a year working in the system. They are developmental guys at this point, but from what I'm hearing they both have interesting upsides.
While watching the draft this weekend, this question struck me, what other opportunities do undrafted players have? Can they go back to college and file for the draft the next year, or was that their only chance?
Once players declare for the NFL draft, they lose their NCAA eligibility. So going back is not an option. If they don't like where they get drafted, they don't have to sign with the team. They can sit out the entire season and re-enter the draft the following year. A famous example of this is Bo Jackson. He didn't want to sign with Tampa Bay when the team drafted him No. 1 overall in 1986, played baseball instead and then was drafted by the Raiders in the fifth round a year later. Undrafted players, on the other hand, immediately become free agents and can sign with any team they want at any time. They are free to do whatever they want.
Bad draft but BB made the best of it. Drafting Chung, Butler and trading Hobbs was great. And with drafting one only OLB do you think will get Peppers?John Pearson
Hey PFW! Seeing as that the Patriots didn't select an OLB (which was their biggest need) until the third round when they grabbed Tyrone McKenzie, I was wondering about the possibility of a trade for Julius Peppers. The Pats got two 2nd-rounders for next year from two 3rd-rounders this year, and I think it would be a smart trade to send one or both of those picks to the Panthers for Peppers, which would definitely solidify the Pats' defense. It would be a smart move because they would essentially be getting Peppers for one or two third round picks. Let me know what you think!David Hessel
Hi guys, So the Pats just traded the 83rd pick for a third 2nd round pick next year and I am wondering if maybe the Pats are setting themselves up to make a trade for Julius Peppers? Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I thought that pass rush was supposed to be their top priority and they haven't addressed it yet. That is the only reason that I am asking this question. If not Peppers, do you think that they may already have something worked out with Jason Taylor?John Maconi
I don't think the Peppers deal has much of a chance of happening. I think the Patriots have the draft-pick ammo to do it. I just don't think it will work out on the cap. Trading for Peppers would require the team to either trade for his $16 million tender or do a sign-and-trade in which they acquire a big-money extension that he agrees to with the Panthers that is then sent to New England. Both would require big cap hits as any extension would likely include $20-plus million in bonus and $50 million-plus in total value. It would not be impossible but it would require some serious work on the cap that could include losing a handful of key contributors either via trade or cut. I just don't think it's going to happen. Taylor on the other hand, as I said earlier, seems to make a lot of sense. He's played linebacker before in a similar system. He's a free agent. He's going to get good but not great money. He's friendly with Tom Brady. It makes sense on so many levels that I've kind of talked myself into thinking it's going to happen. Will it? Time will tell. I hope so.
All right, the draft is now over and thank God for that. I for one have always trusted BB and company when it comes to the draft, but I felt like they missed the gun with not picking Donald Brown in the first round. Personally I felt as if it was a need, Morris, Taylor and Faulk are all good backs, but they are all up in age. Maroney to me is a bust the guy hasn't been that health and isn't the RB I thought he would have been coming out of college. Overall I was rather disappointed in the draft this year. Here's to hoping everything pans out all right.
I think Brown will be a good pro.. Not great, but good with the added benefit of playing in the Colts offense. I don't think there was a need for that type of player, at that position, at first-round money for the Patriots this year. Sure the backfield is currently made up of three aging guys, a former first-round pick living more off his potential than his production and an undrafted free agent. But I feel like you can always get a productive running back. That's sort of how it's worked out with guys like Morris and Taylor. Even in this very draft I thought there were running backs available later in the draft that could be projected to be NFL contributors in the future. I don't think Brown was enough of a sure-thing, franchise running back to be good value for the Patriots in the first round.
Do you think with drafting all these DT we could be looking at life without Wilfork after this season?
The fact that the Patriots traded up to select Ron Brace makes me wonder if he is simply a backup for Vince Wilfork or his eventual replacement. Do you think this is Wilfork's last year as a Patriot?Jaime O.
It could be Wilfork's last season in New England, but not because the team drafted some DTs. The fact remains is that he's a Pro Bowl/All-Pro talent reaching the end of his rookie contract. He's going to be looking for a very lucrative contract. Any time that's the case and the team can't reach an extension well in advance there comes a very good chance the player could hit the open market and move on. There is still a long way to go before we reach that point and the franchise tag may also be an option. At the very least the team took a step toward insuring itself against Wilfork's loss by drafting a true nose tackle type in Ron Brace.
Dear PFW: Can you help me understand the Patriots draft strategy? Why pass on Vontae Davis at 23 in round 1? Is Vontae Davis (5'11", 204 lbs., 4.42) a Ty Law clone? Would Vontae Davis replace Ellis Hobbs on day one? Were the Patriots concerned he may be a primadona like his brother in San Fran.? Would his rookie salary have surpassed that of the other CBs on the team? Give me something. Will Darius Butler (183 lbs.) like Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite be oft-injured because he is too lightweight to play in the NFL? I am trying to imagine Darius Butler tackling Brandon Jacobs. If Butler, Wheatley and Wilhite gang tackle Jacobs, they will about match his weight. I am exaggerating, but can you tell me how these guys can lay the lumber?William Newton Wellesley
Are you William in Newton Wellesley? William Newton in Wellesley? Or is your name really William Newton Wellesley? Boy, that's a little confusing. Do you work in a hospital? Just wondering. Anyway, Billy my boy, size isn't the end-all, be-all. A lot goes into playing cornerback in the NFL and in the Patriots system. I liked Davis and think he will be a stud in the NFL, maybe the top cornerback to come out of this draft. But I also like Butler. He's an elite athlete and very good cover corner who comes from a very well respected defensive coach at UConn. I also don't remember Wilhite, or the similarly small Ellis Hobbs, missing all that much time last season. Injuries are a part of the game for big and small players alike. I don't draft my corners so they can tackle big-bodied running backs one on one. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer my corners to be fast, quick, change of direction athletes who can cover opposing receivers down the field. Hobbs didn't do a good enough job of that at times in his career in New England. But I don't think it was solely because of his size.
I know you get this question a lot with all the free agent players, but, do you see the Patriots getting Leroy Hill, He would be the pass rusher the Patriots need, and, would be cheaper then Peppers or Taylor, and since we didn't get a pass rusher in the draft it makes a lot of sense.John Jones
It's been a long week, I'm tired and cranky. So I'm going to rip you, John. This move would make no sense. (Therefore, with my luck, I await the press release announcing it!) Belichick apparently didn't have much interest in a lot of the pass rushers in this draft because they were too short for his liking. Why would he then sign a guy looking for big money who is 6-1, 238 pounds? Doesn't seem to make sense. Combine that with Hill's 13.5 career sacks over four seasons and I just don't get it. What are you seeing that I'm not? Plus I don't think he'd be less expensive than signing the proven veteran Taylor. Hill may be a good NFL linebacker, but he's not a fit as a pass rusher in New England's 3-4 front. Sorry.
In the pool of recent, talented additions, where do you see the fiercest competition for roster spots? Thanks, looking forward to Monday Night!James Siegel
As the roster stands today I think the battles in the defensive backfield will be fierce this summer in Foxborough. Considering the Patriots returning young players, draft picks and free agent additions the group is as potentially talented as it is numerically stocked. Add in the fact that they'll be battling for playing time and roster spots by practicing against the likes of Randy Moss, Wes Welker in Tom Brady-led passing attack and the corners and safeties will be a 12-round heavyweight fight for their lives this August. It should be fun to watch.