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Ask PFW: Drafting up a plan

The draft talk is really heating up. Who will the Patriots select? Will the team trade down from the seven spot? We tackle these questions and many more in this edition of Ask PFW.


Kansas cornerback Aquib Talib. AP Photo.

Do you think if Chris Johnson from East Carolina falls to the Patriots 63 pick? Will they take him?Mike Korol

I like Johnson but I'm not sure he's going to be an every-down back in the NFL. I think he has the speed and big-play ability to add a lot to a football team, I just don't see him getting 20 carries a game. I think Johnson is a little over-valued right now because I see him more as a third round pick and people are talking about Johnson going early in Round 2. However, if the Patriots were to take him at 63, I wouldn't have a problem with that. That's about where I think he should be drafted.
-Tom Casale

What a thought. Number 4 thinking of coming out of retirement. A tremendously talented backup to give Tom Brady's body a rest in games with big leads. No fear if tom gets a minor bruise that needs healing and a little time off. God, its like having three 20 game winners on a baseball team. Go get him.
Mark Borge

I believe you are referring to Brett Favre. I also believe you are crazy if you think Favre is going to sign with a team to be a backup. There is absolutely no way that will ever happen.
-Tom Casale

I do not know how everyone else feels about the Patriots last couple of seasons and 'DYNASTY" in general but I cannot deny that I feel that although the Patriots will be a playoff team probably for years to come, maybe our best days as a superior team are gone. Let's face it, every year the linebacking core and key offensive contributors get a little older and slower, a major injury to certain personnel (knock on wood) has been avoided, and the rest of the league will soon fix the riddle that scored the most points in NFL history. Moss and Brady will never have the same type of year they had in 2007, the added "help" New England coaches are used to will no longer be available. And ultimately there has not been an influx of young talent on this roster for quite some time. As Eastern philosophy teaches us; with everything there is a yang, for every day a night, perhaps for every last second super bowl winning kick, a heartbreaking ending to an otherwise successful season. If a team that breaks every offensive record imaginable and went undefeated all the way to the super bowl cannot capture the Lombardi trophy, how will the Pats of the next couple of years accomplish such a lofty goal? Winning a super bowl is a rare vent that takes not only great talent and coaching, but luck as well. I am scared that Belichick and company may be running out of. Your thoughts on why a dynasty cannot remain on top forever please.
Broc McGowan

Didn't the team just go 18-1? I know the Super Bowl loss was extremely disappointing but let's not start overreacting. How many teams can compete with the Patriots over a full season? Two? Three at the most? Sure, any team can beat them in a one-game situation but over 16 games and the playoffs, New England is still the most talented team in the NFL with the best coach and the top quarterback. That's going to go a long way. I don't know about this dynasty stuff. I mean, are their best days behind them? If you judge that by them winning three Super Bowl titles in four years, I would say yes. They probably won't ever do that again. However, right now the Patriots have a shot to win the Super Bowl every single year and the Colts are really the only other team that can make that claim at the moment. Perhaps neither team will win the Super Bowl but year in and year out, they start the season in the best position.
-Tom Casale

I was just wondering how you would feel if the Patriots picked up Owen Schmitt. Now I love Heath Evans but Schmitt brings such tenacity with each hit he brings on the defender its hard not to love him I also feel he could contribute just as much as Evans has on special teams was wondering if you feel it would be a good pick.
Chris Duffey

As I've said many times, I like Schmitt. He's a tough player and his strength is his blocking, something the Patriots really don't have at the running back position right now. It all depends on where he gets drafted. If New England can pick up Schmitt in Rounds 4 or 5, I think that would make sense. Anything earlier than that would be a little high for a blocking fullback in my opinion.
-Tom Casale

The draft can bring forth some strange outcomes. That being said can you see the PATS drafting Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis if either falls and a suitable trade is not available (and of course Gholston and Long are off the board)? I have read that Dorsey doesn't fit the 3-4 scheme but he could be the best available at that point.
Mike Anderson

I believe Ellis is the best player in this year's draft and because of that, I think the Patriots would have to consider him at seven if he's still on the board. However, I don't expect him to be there so we won't have to worry about it. I also believe that Dorsey can play the 3-4 nose tackle position. His power and quickness off the ball kind of reminds me of Vince Wilfork. Both of these players are studs so they would represent value at seven. What the Patriots have to decide is if they want to invest more money into a defensive line that already includes a lot of high-priced players.
-Tom Casale

A few months ago, in an Ask PFW article ("Arizona here we come!" posted 1/22/08) The first question was asking about Vernon Gholston. Tom Casale quotes "There is no way I would take Vernon Gholston with the seventh pick." LOL! I know everything changes after the combine, but I just thought it would be funny for everyone to hear that now. Especially because I think we would be extremely lucky to get Gholston with the #7 pick. Since this is supposed to be question and answer - I do have a question for you. Is there any way you can send a couple of tickets to Salt Lake City for a life long Patriots fan?...I'll take care of airfare! :)
Kevin Hahn

Kevin, I believe I said that because Gholston would be switching positions in the NFL and it would be too risky to draft him in the top 10. To be honest, in most any other year, I still wouldn't take him that high. While this draft is deep, it isn't very top heavy and because Gholston offers so much upside, he has to be considered that high. Also, virtually everyone thinks he'll be able to make the switch to outside linebacker in the 3-4, so the transition might not be as much of a problem as I first predicted. By the way, I will have extra tickets next year but you just joked your way right out of those didn't you funny man?
-Tom Casale

Is it conceivable that the Cowboys would trade both their first round picks, and Marion Barber if McFadden fell to #7?
Bella M.

No one has less respect for Jerry Jones as a GM than I do. However, not even Jones is stupid enough to trade two first rounders plus Marion Barber so he can draft Darren McFadden. No way the Cowboys trade Barber, so if you read a report that says otherwise, it isn't true. If the Cowboys trade Barber for any reason, I'll quit my job here with the Patriots. That's how sure I am that this is all a media creation based on nothing factual.
-Tom Casale

I was wondering your opinion on Jordy Nelson. I feel he would be an excellent mid-round pick up. The guy had a solid year, and consistently had good games no matter the competition. He had 116 and a TD in a win over Texas, 137 and a TD against Aqib Talib and Kansas. Not to mention he is 6'3 and 217 lbs.
Michael Maxey

I really have little use for Nelson. Don't get me wrong, he's one of those guys who could come into the NFL and surprise people but just looking on the surface, I don't see a lot that I like. The performance you pointed out against Talib tells me more about the Kansas corner than Nelson. It was that game where I really started to question Talib. Nelson wasn't even K-State's top receiver and he was burning Talib all over the field. I mean Nelson could be a decent late-round pick and that's about where I think Talib should be drafted as well. Anyone who watches film on this guy can't possibly think he's a first-round talent. I'm as down on Talib as I was Darnell Bing a couple of year ago. I said Bing would be out of the league in four years. I was wrong. It only took him two years.
-Tom Casale

Obviously, there are six called "Franchise" players in this draft, depending who you talk to or who your listening too. There's Chris Long, Jake Long, Vernon Gholston, Matt Ryan, Glen Dorsey & Darren McFadden. If the Patriots trade down and Gholston is not available, who should they draft? I've heard CB and LB from many Draft prognosticators, but not many have mentioned an offensive lineman. What about Ryan Clady? From everything that I've read, this guy is supposed to pretty good. What's more he plays left tackle, which would give the Pats some flexibility (he could start on the right side or they could move Light to the right side). Your thoughts?
Mike Allard

I like Clady and wouldn't be opposed to the Patriots drafting him. I believe he could end up being the best tackle to come out of this draft. However, the guy I've been on since the beginning of last football season is Antoine Cason. I believe he's one of the top defensive players in this draft and has the skills to be a Pro Bowl corner in the future. The thing I love about Cason is he has something you can't teach: instincts. Ty Law has them. Asante Samuel has them and I think Cason could be the next in a line of great Patriots corners. That's what Talib lacks. He has no instincts and I don't think you can play the corner position without it. If you compare Cason with Talib, it's not even close. Not even close. If the Patriots trade down, I think they should select Cason and going by the attention they've shown him so far, that's a distinct possibility.
-Tom Casale

If either Dorsey or Ellis falls to the Patriots at #7, do you see them possibly changing their philosophy to a 4-3 with the lack of depth at lb and the potential to have the best d-line in the NFL with four former 1st rounders?
David Lewis

The Patriots will never change their primary scheme away from a 3-4. That's what they do best and that's how they've assembled their team. We always get e-mails about this but let's put the speculation to rest right now. As long as Belichick is in New England, the 3-4 will be the Patriots base defensive scheme.
-Tom Casale

If there is a Falcons and Patriots connection, how about this? Falcons have 3 second round picks. Pats trade their 7th pick in the first round for 2 of the 3 second round picks of the Falcons. The Falcons can draft both DTs Dorsey and Ellis (the Patriot way inside/out) and be set for years. The Pats can draft back seven help with 3 second round picks. They should make a trade with he Falcons some where along the draft.
Jazz Payton

Are we being linked to or something? Last time I did Ask PFW someone wanted top trade the seventh pick for Michael Boley so the Falcons could draft Matt Ryan and Darren McFadden. Now you want to just give up a top ten pick for a couple of second rounders so Atlanta can draft two blue-chip defensive tackles? It's too bad for the Falcons that our readers aren't making the decisions for the Patriots or Atlanta would be a Super Bowl contender in the near future. I'm sorry but every trade we've received involving the Falcons makes no sense for the Patriots.
-Tom Casale

Hi PFW! Pats signed two linebackers this season. My guess is that Hobson may start at strong ILB next to Bruschi, who can alternate with Slaughter on run/pass plays. All is good. But, what do you think of Hobson and Slaughter as run stoppers?
Larry G

I like the Hobson signing. He's versatile and has the size to move inside. I actually thought the Jets made a mistake by keeping Hobson on the outside. I think he can help against the run. However, I think Slaughter will be lucky just to make the team. We are talking about two different players here in my opinion. Hobson is going to be a regular part of the linebacker rotation, while Slaughter is more of a special teams reserve guy.
-Tom Casale

After last season's draft I am unclear why the Patriots have not hired Tom Casale to help them with this year's draft. He nailed it with LaMarr Woodley and many others. Meanwhile the Pats made good trades but went 0-9 with the draft picks they actually used on college players. Why have the Patriots not made this obvious move?
Chris Noble

This is the most intelligent and well thought-out e-mail we've ever received here at Ask PFW. Chris, I couldn't agree more.
-Tom Casale, PFW Draft Expert

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