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Ask PFW II: See ya Seymour

Steve Burton has been on Ch. 4 stating that Ron Burton was the team's first draft choice. I don't disagree. I'm having a debate with friends over who was the very first draft choice? I say Gerhardt Schwedes of Syracuse but he didn't sign so Ron Burton (2nd round) was first to sign/play. Am I correct?
Paul Doherty

Well Paul, I'm not sure who's going to wind up winning your debate because there's an element of truth for everyone. Burton was indeed the Patriots first ever draft pick while Schwedes was the team's first territorial draft pick. Both were selected on Nov. 22, 1959. About a month later, Clemson quarterback Harvey White became the first player to sign a contract with the Boston Patriots, agreeing to a deal Dec. 20, 1959.
Paul Perillo

What, if anything, would you offer the Chargers for Shawne Merriman? Seems logical to move Burgess to DE and fill the OLB spot with Merriman. The Pats could probably get him on the cheap side (a 3rd or 4th). as long as he is healthy I can't see anything wrong with this.Keith Henderson

Sign me up … and third- or fourth-round pick? Where do I sign? I don't see the Chargers dealing Merriman at all, and I definitely don't see them trading him for a mid-round pick. He's a Pro Bowl caliber player, and even though he's entering a contract year, he's still worth more than that. I wouldn't really be interested in acquiring him, though, and that's because of his contract status. I'd want to have him signed long term before picking him up and that wouldn't be easy to do. And I also don't necessarily think he'd be a perfect fit for the Patriots defense. He can rush the passer but I haven't seen him succeed doing a lot of the other things Belichick likes to see his outside linebackers do. In that regard, I feel DeMarcus Ware, who was chosen just ahead of him in the first round a few years ago, is a much more well-rounded player. Thanks but no thanks on Merriman … but if San Diego wants to give him away I'd have to listen.
Paul Perillo

We all new someone big was going to be gone at the end of the year, it just happened now with a first-round pick. I just find it interesting that the Raiders would just give a first rounder for one of the best D-line players in the league only at age 29. How did we not get a third rounder or something else? There is hardly any chance (1 out of 100) to get a player that will be as dominant as Seymour is with just that pick. The Raiders throw money around like it grows on trees and we ended up with little in my opinion.Tom Bergin III

I have to say that you're in quite a minority on this one. I was completely stunned by the trade so I don't want to seem like I saw it coming. I didn't – and no one else did either or they would have been writing/talking about it. But how can you say the Patriots should have gotten more than a first-round pick for a soon-to-be 30-year-old defensive lineman who's battled injuries in recent years and is in the final year of his contract? That's a real tough argument to make. The Raiders could be looking at losing a first-round pick for a guy that plays one season for them. How do you think you'd feel as a Raiders fan if that were to happen? Would you still think you got a steal? Getting a first-round pick is maximizing value for a player in the last year of his deal.
Paul Perillo I

How does building the practice squad exactly work, with all of the NFL teams doing the same thing at the same time? It must be more stressing for each team than picking draft choices.John Moore

Putting together a practice squad is nothing like preparing for the draft, but it is an important element of team building. Most teams, the Patriots included, tend to keep players that have already been working in their system so the transition time is minimal. The Patriots have usually tried to keep a couple of linemen on each side of the ball (they currently have three defensive linemen and one offensive lineman), receivers and defensive backs. The skilled position types are generally versatile enough to simulate virtually anything in the practice setting so they can help with your team's preparation for the next opponent. Belichick has also occasionally had a punter and this year a developmental quarterback in Isaiah Stanback. Teams have to scan through the waiver wire to see if there are any potential candidates elsewhere that might fill these roles, which the Patriots have four currently. It's not an easy process but the best teams utilize the resource to their advantage.
Paul Perillo

With only five wide receivers on the roster do you think it's possible we see less five-receiver sets this year or will the Pats put a TE or someone like Kevin Faulk out wide?
Pearce Bennett

Rarely have the Patriots ever put five actual wide receivers on the field together as part of their five-receiver sets. Usually, either a tight end or running back – sometimes both – are part of those packages and I'd expect that to be the case again this year. Faulk, Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney have all seen time split out wide in those formations, so the fact that the team doesn't have a lot of depth at wide receiver won't prevent them from using that set.
Paul Perillo

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