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Ask PFW Part II: Tebow talk and more!

Based on the emails it seems at least a few Patriots fans got some sort of joy in watching Peyton Manning and the Colts crash and burn in the Super Bowl.


I think it would be a very smart idea to pick up Tim Tebow. He would do well under the best quarterback in the NFL. Under Tom Brady, Tebow would learn a lot.
Rick Fisher

THERE ARE A LOAD OF TALENT ON THE DEFENSIVE SIDE OF THE BALL in the first round AND LORD ONLY KNOWS WE NEED IT.A team leader like Tebow only comes around once in a lifetime. SHOW US SOME WILDCAT. Bill is going to be the best coach/defensive coordinator this year we have ever seen.
Randy Wingate

How does Mike Wright believe the Patriots will draft Tim Tebow in the first round let alone the 6th round? He must be joking. Is he serious?Mark Hadfield

In all seriousness, why would the Pats draft Tebow? He wants to be a QB and there are enough teams that could use a half-decent one like himself; what good would he be warming the bench for the next 5 - 7 years for the Patriots? Aren't there far more pressing issues at hand, like drafting a pass-rusher or a receiver or a running back maybe? Why do analysts predict him as a Pats draft choice? What's the advantage?Kristen Woodson

I personally see Tim Tebow as a great acquisition, I mean look at Brady's numbers. He takes what, 76% of his snaps in shotgun, and Tim Tebow in shotgun is a great deal really. But as bad as our defense is i have no idea if its worth it.Codie Kiser

Tim Tebow will be the most analyzed, debated and discussed prospect in this year's draft – both in New England and nationally. First off, don't ever compare him to Brady as a passer. Brady has one of the most technically sound throwing motions and greatest accuracy in NFL history. Tebow is a mechanical train wreck when it comes to throwing the football. He's one of the greatest college players of all time. He's supposedly a great leader and winner. But what will he be in the NFL? Can he play quarterback or move to some other position to take advantage of his combination of skills? My opinion is that he has no chance of becoming an every-down NFL quarterback. I think his best chance is as an H-back and jack-of-all-trades. But I'm not sure he's fast and athletic enough to excel at that. I think he's fine as a guy to take in the third round or later. No higher, please! And just to clarify, Scott Wright is the one who's draft site had Tebow going to the Patriots in the first round. It's not Mike Wright, New England's backup defensive lineman.
Andy Hart

Hello PFW, A long time Canadian fan here, and I just wanted to set the record straight with all the fans who feel tom favoured Welker and Moss too often. They were obviously his biggest playmakers, so their efforts will be noticed the most, but if you do the math based on Tom's completions vs. Welker and Moss's receptions, he threw 54% of his receptions to those two. By comparison, Peyton Manning threw approximately 51% of his completions to Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, Tony Romo threw approximately 51% of his completions to Miles Austin and Jason Witten. While I know this simple math doesn't take into account the amount of attempts to go their direction is demonstrates that the difference between these teams and the Pats throwing game is that they had a third option that was a threat, whereas the remaining 46% of Tom's completions were spread out quite significantly, it wasn't that he favoured Moss and Welker. Now, I apologize for the opening rant, down to business here, what's your thoughts on Brandon Graham? He's definitely who I'd like to see sliding into the 22nd overall pick this year.
Dan Cochrane

I'll trust your numbers, and I love how you add the "u" to favor. As for Graham, he clearly had a great Senior Bowl. His stock is on the rise. He's drawn comparisons to LaMarr Woodley, who's had success in Pittsburgh. Given the Patriots need off the edge I wouldn't mind seeing him in New England, although I liked him more as a second-round pick. Not sure he's pure value at No. 22.
Andy Hart

I think we should trade AD to the Jets straight up for Vernon Gholston. Now before you laugh at this notion let me explain. The Jets fall under the final 4 FA rules, right? So if we cut AD and they sign him that's all they would be able to do in FA. If we make the trade they still get him but would still be able to sign a FA. We get a young physically talented linebacker in a year where BB is going to takeover the D. Plus, it's better than just cutting Thomas. What do you think?
Jae DeLuca

Jae (or Joe if that was just a typo in your email), there are two problems with your trade idea. First, players who are cut by other teams do not fall under the final 4/8 rules in regards to free agency in the uncapped year. Only unrestricted free agents – players whose contract with their previous team expired and have at least six years of service – fall under those special rules. So if the Patriots cut Thomas all teams would be free to sign him at any time. Second, I'm not sure a team would be willing to trade for Thomas' $4-plus million salary at this point. That's a lot to pay for an outspoken outside linebacker who was a healthy scratch on two occasions for a team that struggled at outside linebacker last season. Maybe a team looking to unload its own bad salary would do such a deal, but I doubt it.
Andy Hart

Just like to say I am a huge patriots fan and i was wondering what the chances are that L.T or Peppers coming to New England. I know we could use some pass offense and a run game. So what are the chances of picking up one of these two?Dylan Johnson

Hi Guys, I was just wondering since there seems to be trouble between L.T. and the Charges any chance the patriots could pick him up?Andrew Lake

As I said earlier, I don't have much interest in adding L.T. to the aging New England backfield and don't really think it's a possibility the team would have any reason to explore. Peppers is a much more interesting topic. He fills a huge need. It looks like he's going to be an unrestricted free agent and may not get franchised. But his emotional/motivational side worries me. On paper I'd sign him in a heartbeat. But the childish games and different things he's said in regards to the Panthers over the last year worry me. He also seems to take plays and games off at times. I don't love that. He's an elite talent, there is no questioning that. But he seems to be the linebacker equivalent of Jay Cutler at this point. He has all the tools, but I'm not sure he'll ever be a truly elite, championship player. I'm torn on this one. I'd probably shy away from signing him, but at the same time would love to see what he'd do in a Patriots uniform. Could someone please pull the fence out of my butt and help me make a decision?
Andy Hart

I see that Antonio Bryant is a free agent. All I know about him is that his injury this past season made him a big letdown on my fantasy team. Is there any chance the Patriots try to bring him in? What are the other free agent wide receivers the Patriots might be interested in?Jeff Dickson

Bryant is interesting. He is going to be an unrestricted free agent. He had a great 2008 season with 83 catches for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. He was slapped with the franchise tag and caught just 39 passes and four scores last year for a Bucs team that struggled at quarterback. He's a big-play guy who's never put it all together with much consistency at the pro level. I'd love to get him on a prove-it deal, kind of like the one the Patriots gave Donte Stallworth a few years back -- one that would come with a sizeable roster bonus in the second year. If he shows he can play in the offense, work with Brady and make plays opposite Moss then you give him his money. If not, you walk away. The only question is whether Bryant would sign such a deal. I doubt it. Other receivers I'd look at would be Stallworth, Malcolm Floyd, Chris Chambers or Anquan Boldin. Floyd is restricted, but might be worth an offer sheet depending on his tender. Chambers is a lower-cost veteran option. And I'm not sold that the Boldin idea is simply pie in the sky. It's a long shot, but who knows?
Andy Hart

How well do you think Golden Tate would fit in the Pats offense. I know he's not very tall, but at ND he was Clausen's go-to-guy down field and he showed some versatility running some end-arounds...and I know versatility is something BB likes in his players.Nolan Michalski

As I've said previously, I'm still in the early stages of all my draft research and prospect work. (I guess that kind of puts me neck-and-neck with the Bengals at this point!) I think Tate would make some sense. He caught a lot of passes last fall and made some big plays. The production came in Charlie Weis' Patriots-like Notre Dame offense. That should help him in the transition to New England. I don't think size is a huge issue, as we've seen in the past with plenty of Pats receivers. He also looks to be a potential second round pick, something that might fall in line with New England's needs given the team has three selections in that round.
Andy Hart

So everyone knows Vince Wilfork is a priority to re-sign this year, but do you think that if they do re-sign him that it will hurt the Patriots in next year's offseason? I mean Tom Brady and Randy Moss' contracts both expire at the end of next season and everyone knows that they are really important to the offense. So do you think the Patriots will save money this year to re-sign Brady and Moss next year or try to spend big money this year?Will Kirchgasser

You are right in looking ahead to the big contracts on the horizon, especially Brady's. The only thing I'd question is including Moss. I'm of the opinion that Moss is nearing the end of the line as an elite receiver and could be very well heading into his final season, both in New England and maybe in the NFL altogether. So I think you have the money, if you so choose, to keep both Wilfork and Brady. But clearly the focus should be on the latter. Brady is going to command a huge deal. He also must be re-signed for this team to remain the yearly championship contender that we've come to expect. So I'd start my budget with room for a huge deal for Brady and then go from there. I wouldn't make a single decision, a single signing, that would in any way limit my ability to keep Brady in the fold. I think the team will likely approach things with a similar mindset.
Andy Hart

With the success on offense this year will Julius Peppers(if he becomes a free agent and decides to come to New England) help out the Pats tremendously on Defense or should we stick with our guy Vince Wilfork which would have better value for us?
Bryan Albuja

If not for my newly resurgent concerns about Peppers' drive and work ethic, I'd say I'd go with Peppers. Wilfork was about as good as you could expect in 2009 and the defense still struggled at times as a whole. When the game was on the line, more often than not, it wasn't good enough. I think an elite edge pass rusher -- like Peppers when he's on top of his game -- can truly control a football game, especially in the passing world that is the modern NFL. But the two players are pretty far apart on the work ethic spectrum. If I signed Wilfork I'd have no doubt I'd get his best every day he came to work. He's proven that to me. Not sure I can say the same about Peppers. So I value the elite pass rusher more than the elite nose tackle. I'm just not sure if I value Peppers over Wilfork. Make sense?
Andy Hart

What do you think the chances are at grabbing Taylor Mays from USC? Our d-backfield needs a hard hitter. No QB or WR this year was scared to throw over the middle. He is a fast, hard hitter -- someone that would fit in very well.
Shane Rios

Mays' stock has fallen since going back for his senior season. He's now seen as a bit stiff and lacking some of the fluid athleticism that it takes to play safety in the NFL. He's so big that I think some will consider him as a hybrid safety/linebacker. He's going to be an interesting guy to watch in this whole pre-draft process. Given the team's depth at safety at this point I'm not sure it's the biggest need, but I certainly wouldn't mind seeing what Belichick could do with a big, fast, young safety like Mays. I bet he could put his skills to use in some way as a disruptive defensive force.
Andy Hart

Hi PFW, thanks for a great column that I follow every week! You guys are the best! I have been thinking a little about the schedule for next season which I think is very difficult. We are to play the Chargers, Colts, Bengals, Ravens, Vikings (difficult if they have at least an average QB), Steelers, Packers and then our own little AFC East of course - just to mention a few. Is this a concern for you guys, or am I just too pessimistic? Thanks again! Go Pats!
Jannik Vestergaard

We all know it's hard to assess a schedule at this early point in the process. But on paper (or at least on my computer screen) that is a pretty formidable list of opponents. We have every reason to believe that the Chargers, Colts, Bengals, Ravens, Steelers, Packers, Jets and Dolphins will be as good or better next fall. And in the Ravens, Steelers and Jets you get some pretty physical games. I do think it's a challenging schedule. But check back with me in August after the Patriots – and all the other teams – have made their respective offseason moves. Either way, it won't be a cakewalk to the postseason in 2010. But when is it?
Andy Hart

For the past couple years I felt like the Patriots have been very skeptical of drafting people in the first round? Why is that? Last year at 23, the Patriots had the opportunity to grab Clay Matthews, knowing their situation at linebacker they chose to opt out of the first round and didn't pick a LB until the third round. Looking at teams like the Colts and the Steelers, since (2001/03 respectively), all of these players are still with the team and excelling for that matter. Do you think that the Patriots need to invest more in the first rounds?
Clarens Jarbath

Hello, Clarens! (Said in a crazy, cannibal voice!) The Patriots draft efforts – moving up, trading down or staying put – are all about value. It will always be that way. But I do wish they'd stay put and use their earlier selections a bit more often. Sure all the trading around can net you an extra pick or two in the later rounds, but do you miss out on some very good football players in the process? Lately it seems like that has been the case. My general philosophy is that I'd like to see Belichick picking from the best pool of talent possible. That occurs the higher up you are in the draft. So I would like to see them trade down a bit less and take the player they like the most, even if it is 3.5 draft slots higher than they think he should be valued at. I trust their ability to pick players more than I trust their ability to predict how the draft will play out and who will be available further down the selection process. I know you can miss on first-round picks, but I also think you can hit home runs in the first round as well. I'd like more draft day home runs and less tries for ground rule doubles. You know what I mean?
Andy Hart

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