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Ask PFW: The draft talk never sleeps

I don't believe I've seen anyone address this question. The Patriots are carrying two QB's on their roster. Yet there is no talk of picking one up in the draft. Do you think they'll simply wait until cut time comes around and pick up another journeyman? That seems to be the model for most teams: one number one guy, one journeyman, and one developmental player. What are your thoughts on this?Barry Garceau

Holding four sixth round selections and one in the seventh round as well, I think there is a very good chance the Patriots select another young quarterback. Some guys who should still be around in Round 6 and beyond to keep an eye on are Jeff Rowe (Nevada), Tyler Palko (Pitt), Toby Korrodi (Central Missouri State) and Matt Gutierrez (Idaho State). Either way, expect the Patriots to select a quarterback with one of their 10 picks in this draft.
-Tom Casale

David Harris from Michigan is a great athlete but his knock is that he's an unproven run stopper but great in coverage. Do you think that the Pats would consider converting him to strong safety?Morgan Groff

No, at 240 pounds, Harris can't play safety. He's fast for a linebacker but would be slow if he had to play safety and cover deeper areas of the field. However, I do disagree with your knock on Harris. While, it's true that Harris is very good in coverage, he's no slouch against the run either. I think he's a very solid inside linebacker prospect and I wouldn't have any problem at all if the Patriots selected Harris late in the first round.
-Tom Casale

Since free agency started there have been a lot of running backs moving on. But, where is Corey Dillon going, what are the chances of him playing for our division rival Buffalo? Also, I was wondering. I know Sammy Morris isn't Dillon's replacement, but what role do you think he will play on the field? Are we going to see the same 1-2 punch we saw last year?Jason Smestad

Morris is a pure backup in my opinion Jason. I think the 1-2 punch we saw last year will be a haymaker from Maroney and a jab thrown in every now and then from Morris. There's no question the Patriots are expecting Maroney to take the next step and be the man this year. I don't think the team would have drafted him in the first round if they didn't believe he could be an every-down back in the NFL. As for Morris, he's only had more than 100 carries and 500 yards in a season once during his career. He'll do some things for New England on offense but as long as he's healthy, expect Maroney to get a majority of the carries in 2007.
-Tom Casale

I keep hearing the Patriots are interested in Jon I'm no professional scout but I can honestly say from what I've seen, heard, and read, he is by no means the ideal linebacker for the Patriots system. I honestly believe he is too small to play inside linebacker on this team, Patrick Willis is the better choice by far, if the Pats want a player like Beason so badly they should've gone after Cato June (who I also don't feel would fit right in the Pats defense). Why have we heard nothing about the Pats being interested in Willis? (aside from what you gentlemen at PFW have mentioned) Its driving me nuts waiting for the draft, I just want the Pats to take both of their first round picks trade up for like the 10th pick and draft Willis. Then take their third round and try to get Jason Hill, then Brian Leonard with their 4th round, and possibly Zak DeOssie with one of their 5th round picks. Call me nuts but I think that if the Pats did that it would help fill a few needs, linebacker being the biggest.Wesley Nickle

The Patriots have shown interest in Beason but that doesn't mean they will draft him. And I'm sure they're very interested in Willis as well. If he starts to slip a little on draft day, don't be surprised to see the Patriots trade up and get him. Although, I don't think they will move up as high as 11. It would have to be around 16 or 17 in my opinion. Also, Beason is a much more physical player than June and would be a better fit in the Patriots 3-4 defense.

I love Jason Hill. I think he's one of the top receivers in the draft and my guess is after watching film on him that he'll go early in Round 2. Also, Leonard and DeOssie will most likely go higher than you have them projected but if the draft did turn out that way, I don't think you would hear very many complaints.
-Tom Casale

With Laurence Maroney having injury issues, it looks like Sammy Morris will get a lot of carries. But Morris isn't exactly Barry Sanders. His career yards per carry is under 4, and has never carried the ball more than 150 times in a season. And Faulk is more of a receiver than a runner. Do you agree with this assessment? And if so, what should the Patriots do in free agency/draft.Chris Tansey

As I stated above Chris, Morris is a marginal back who is best suited as a reserve. I'm not too concerned with Maroney's shoulder. I talked to a source close to him and he says it's absolutely nothing to worry about and that Maroney is ready to explode this year, so take that for what it's worth. I do think the Patriots will select a running back in this year's draft. I prefer Penn State's Tony Hunt. I think he's one of the most underrated players in the draft but the Patriots probably won't be in position to get him. Look for possibly Notre Dame's Darius Walker in Round 5. He can do a lot of the same things that Kevin Faulk does and could turn into a solid second running back in the NFL. Fresno State bulldozer Dwayne Wright is another possibility later in the draft. This is a very weak running back class, so it's doubtful that any back the Patriots select after the third round will be much of a difference maker as a rookie.
-Tom Casale

Who was your idol when you were kids and why?Morgan Antaramian

My idol was Andre Tippett. And no, my answer has nothing to do with the fact that he's standing over me right now with his rather large hand on my shoulder. To be honest, if I had to pick an athlete to be my idol it would be Warrick Dunn. Not only has he proven critics wrong by having a great career, the stuff he does off the field is even more impressive. Dunn grew up with a single mom. He now takes some of the money he's made over the years and builds homes for single mothers and stocks them with food. At last count, I think he had built around 50 houses for single mothers. That's a real American Idol right there.
-Tom Casale

"Black is supposed to be this fast linebacker who gets to the quarterback, right? If that's the case how do you explain his whopping 1.5 sacks in 36 games at New Mexico?" That description was applied last year to Thomas Howard, another fast weakside linebacker who does not sack the quarterback. As a result, he fell to the second round. Howard then had a terrific first pro season, ranking sixth in tackles among all rookies. Think the Pats would like to have him?Janice Meminger

You are referring to my assessment of New Mexico linebacker Quincy Black. To answer your question, no, I don't think the Patriots would want Thomas Howard, even now. First of all, you said Howard "slipped" to the second round. He was actually the 38th overall selection, so it's not like he was some kind of steal for the Raiders. Howard was a highly regarded player who was expected to be drafted near the end of the first round, exactly where he was taken. On the other hand, Black is a marginal prospect expected to go in the middle rounds of this year's draft, so it's like comparing apples to oranges.

The reason New England wouldn't want Howard is because he weighs 227 pounds. As we wrote last year, Howard played like a safety in college and was arguably the best coverage linebacker in the draft. However, he would be a terrible fit in New England because he's tall and has a slender build. Howard is never really going to get much thicker. He just doesn't have the frame for it. On the other hand, Black is 240 pounds and if he's going to play linebacker in the 3-4 – like some have suggested – I would question that logic because he only had 1.5 sacks in college, despite playing in 36 games.

So again, I don't think the Patriots would want Howard, even though he did have a productive rookie season. Howard is similar to Cato June, a player the Patriots showed no interest in this offseason. These linebackers that are built like safeties just can't play in New England because they have to take on 300-pound guards instead of running free in space, where they're most effective.
-Tom Casale

Hi Guys, love the work you do. Why is there so little talk about the possible loss of Troy Brown? I understand it is not the most glamorous topic, everyone would rather discuss free agency and the draft, But Patriot Nation should be more concerned with the status of what has been a big part of the heart of this football team. It is a scary prospect that we would let a "team" player like this finish his career elsewhere.R. Caramanica

The reason it hasn't been talked about a lot is because there just hasn't been that much to discuss. We are all waiting on Troy's decision and hope he returns for another season. There were some encouraging signs last week when Brown said he wanted to end his career with the Patriots and Bill Belichick followed up by saying there's still a role on the team for him. I'm pretty sure all Patriots fans are nervously waiting for Troy to make a decision but in my opinion, he'll be back for one more year. Now, if he doesn't return, then it will be big news but my guess is No. 80 will be wearing a Patriots uniform in 2007.
-Tom Casale

I am a Patriots fan from England. My understanding is that only 53 players are allowed onto the roster at the start of the season. Based on existing players, our free agency signings and potential draft picks that number will be far exceeded, what happens to contracted players who are not allocated to the roster?Lenny Ryan

In training camp, a team is allowed to have a total of 80 players and that doesn't include the exemptions from guys that participated in NFL Europe. Then for the regular season, a team is allowed to have 53 roster players and eight more on the practice squad. The players in training camp that have contracts, just end up getting cut, so they're no longer the financial obligation of New England and can sign with any other team that's interested in them.
-Tom Casale

How come the Pats only got sixth and seventh rounders (point being LOW) from the league to compensate for the loss of free agents? I remember a few years ago, the Jets had a third round comp-pick and didn't lose anyone REALLY significant. Definitely not the caliber of a Willie McGinest or David Givens, or even Vinatieri. I know the NFL has a complex formula, but I don't think those picks come anywhere near that value of the FAs lost.Andrew N.

I'm a very intelligent man Andrew but I don't pretend to know the awarding habits of the NFL. My only answer is I don't have the slightest idea and I've talked to a lot of people who work in and follow the NFL and they have don't know either. Apparently this formula is locked in some safe with four federal marshals guarding it at all times. Here at PFW we all thought the Patriots would get at least as high as a fourth round selection for compensation but again, that was a guess because none of us know the method the NFL uses to award these picks. Some fans claim to know the formula but they don't. I have talked with many people around the league much higher up on the food chain than I am and while they have theories on how the compensatory selections are given out, no one really knows for sure.
-Tom Casale

Any chance of bringing Corey Dillon back for one more year? Sounds like he's willing to take 10-12 snaps a game.Jim Slate

He got 10-12 carries last year Jim. I'm not sure why you say it sounds like he's willing to do that. Dillon has been talking with various teams and is reportedly visiting Tennessee this week. It's obvious that he still wants to play and reports of his retirement were a bit premature. On the other hand, if Dillon thinks he's going to get 20-25 carries a game somewhere, either he or the team that allows that to happen is delusional. Dillon had trouble staying on the field for two consecutive plays last year, how in the world is he going to carry the ball five times in a row? I think there's a good chance Dillon plays somewhere in the NFL this year, although I seriously doubt that place will be New England.
-Tom Casale

Any interest in Ricky Williams or are his days done? He would have to renegotiate for a bargain price- and he can always be cut. I would have to think the fish are done with him.J Brooks

I would rather have Terrell Owens to be honest with you. Seriously, why wouldn't Miami be done with this chump? And why would you ever want the Patriots to bring him in? Williams flushed his NFL career down the toilet so he could sit on his couch and puff his brains out. I don't have any respect for someone who quits on his teammates and himself so he can "explore alternative medications." This guy is an absolute disgrace in my opinion. I seriously doubt the Patriots would waste their time on him, nor should they.
-Tom Casale

What do you think of safety Brandon Meriweather from Miami? I haven't watched many Miami games, but from what I hear about him and from the interest portrayed by the Patriots in Jon Beason, there could be a "Hurricane" in New England.Dru N.

I like Meriweather but not as much as Michael Griffin from Texas. I certainly wouldn't mind the Patriots getting Meriweather late in the first round. He's an aggressive player who would be a good fit in this defense. However, if I had my druthers and Meriweather and Griffin are both on the board when the Patriots select, I would go with Griffin. I think he's a better overall player and arguably the best safety in the draft after LaRon Landry, of course.
-Tom Casale

Hey PFW you guys are the best, with that being said I was wondering the status of Ellis Hobbs after his wrist surgery? I think he was hampered with it more then he let on. Look for a big year from him in 2007. Also what do you guys think of Michigan cornerback Leon Hall? I think he would be a nice fit, the last Michigan cornerback New England drafted worked out don't you think?Michael Purdy

Hobbs really came on at the end of the year and started showing why some people (me) were touting him as the Patriots next great corner. I'm not sure if Hobbs will ever be a Pro Bowl-caliber player like I once predicted but I still think he can be a very good starting corner in the NFL. If he can build on his late-season success and keep improving this year, the Patriots will have two very good starting corners to matchup with opposing receivers.

I'm not as high on Hall as most people. I don't hate him but I don't love him either. Right now, I have him ranked behind Chris Houston, Darrelle Revis and Aaron Ross as the fourth best cornerback in the draft. I see some places have Hall going in the top 15 and that's just crazy in my opinion. No way is he worth taking that high. If you look at last season, Houston and Revis shutdown virtually every top receiver they faced. Meanwhile, Ted Ginn and Dwayne Jarrett abused Hall at the end of the year. It's worth noting that those were the only two games last year the Wolverines defensive front didn't dominate in, so that's something to be concerned about. Hall is a decent prospect but if the Patriots decide to go cornerback in the first round, I would prefer one of the three players mentioned above to Hall.
-Tom Casale

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