I love how Bill Belichick wheels and deals on a draft day, but when he picks players, especially in the second round, I want to scream - WHY?!!! I wish I could see any logic for drafting some of these players who show little worth of such high selections. Do you?
I would say that like every other team the Patriots have had their ups and downs in the draft. Yes there have been some questionable second-round picks that haven't done much for the team like Ras-I Dowling, Cyrus Jones and Duke Dawson. But there have also been some very productive second-round picks like Rob Gronkowski, Matt Light and Patrick Chung. Lately, the draft as a whole hasn't been as strong as Belichick typically has enjoyed during his time in New England. But overall his track record has been exceptional and I believe there will be some more productive classes in the years ahead.
I read how hard the Patriots scouts work, and I am buffed why all that hard work did not translate into better picks especially in the second round in the last seven years or so? If he just took safe picks in the second round like a guard or tackle or even linebacker, they would likely stick. Can you explain why he reaches for suspect DB players over and over?
Another draft-related question criticizing the second-round picks. While I acknowledge some of the struggles, as mentioned above, I'm not sure I understand the philosophy of targeting "safe" players. In fact, I'm not really sure what a "safe" player in the draft is. Why is an offensive lineman considered "safer" than a defensive back? It's not like the rate of bust for linemen is less than DBs. Plenty of second-round picks don't necessarily work out and some of those in recent years have been offensive lineman. I think people don't look at them as busts as much as other spots because we don't really evaluate them with statistics as easily as other spots. So while the Giants took Will Hernandez in the second round in 2018, few rip the pick because he started as a rookie. But he received a lot of criticism in New York last year despite continuing to play every game. So, on the surface he sees plenty of action, but in reality he hasn't really played well. On the flip side the Patriots took Joejuan Williams last year and he saw only spot duty. Because he didn't crack the lineup he's viewed as another defensive back bust while Hernandez would be considered the "safe" pick. In reality neither guy has proven anything at this point, but I don't feel Belichick reached for Williams while ignoring players one might deem safer. There are obviously a ton of talented players that teams pass up in every round, every year and the Patriots have been guilty of that for sure. But I don't think it's due to poor philosophy or a desire to reach. In fact, I'm sure many would say the team reached for Rob Gronkowski in the second round many years ago because the tight end didn't play in his final year at Arizona. That risk paid off, and some others haven't, but it's all part of the business come draft time.
Just wondering if any of you have heard anything regarding the Pats new uniforms and when the announcement will be made? Also wonder which uniforms each of the cast likes most.
I have been hearing rumors about new uniforms for 2020. Is this true and if so, when will they be revealed?
The uniforms will be unveiled shortly before the draft and they will include just some subtle changes and ones that you are already familiar with. As for which of the many variations of Patriots uniforms are my favorites, I would say the red, white and blue of the late-1970s would be the winner. I love the red pants the team wore with the road white jerseys as well as the stripes on the sleeves for both the red and white tops. I know many fans love the nostalgia of the old Pat Patriot logo but truth be told I have no particular affinity for it, nor for the current flying Elvis for that matter. I'm not sure what my preference would be for a new logo and helmet, but unquestionably my favorite uniforms are those from the Chuck Fairbanks era teams of the late-70s for sure.
How have the Patriots gotten themselves in what seems to be a crippling cap space situation? The last big splash in the free agent market was the move to sign Stephon Gilmore. That turned out well but was not without growing pains. With all the free agent departures this year one would think there should be lots of cap space available. Can someone please explain to me how the team finds itself in this position?
I'm not really a big proponent of "crippling cap situations" and other such descriptions. Some teams have more cap space than others in any given year. In 2020 the Patriots are not blessed with a ton of extra room, but as the situation stands now they should be in line to have plenty of space in 2021. Neither case is really all that important. The actual money spent is the real factor – even in the case of Gilmore, who you admit was a big splash, the cap hit of his contract has been altered periodically in the short time he's been here – but the actual cash spent has not. So, creating space is not really the issue, but make no mistake all teams have budgets on the actual money they spend. But that's more of an administrative technicality and it really doesn't answer your question. Specifically, why do the Patriots have such a so little cap space? I'd say some recent missteps in the draft has caused the Patriots to hold on to more veterans than normal, and that has led to aging players making larger salaries than is normally the case. In many instances those players are still quite productive – players like Devin McCourty and Dont'a Hightower as examples. In a perfect world players like Cyrus Jones or Duke Dawson, two fairly recent second-round picks, would have developed enough to replace a quality veteran like McCourty for far less money. But instead those players never panned out and McCourty continued to produce and has been making money big money for several years. McCourty has played well, so he's kept his position. But the price for that, and many others similar, is the current cap situation. The Patriots have pushed a lot of money into future years, including Tom Brady, and now some of the bills have come due. It's not a huge issue, but it will require some creativity as the team rebuilds and finds its next course of action.
What do you think on who will be at quarterback, and why bring Brian Hoyer back?
My feeling is Jarrett Stidham will ultimately be the Patriots next starting quarterback. But he will need to win the job with a strong offseason and training camp first. I think Hoyer was brought back to provide some veteran leadership for Stidham to lean on as the youngster learns the ropes and goes through his first experiences playing in the NFL. And if he stumbles, then Hoyer will be capable of stepping in if needed. Stidham obviously needs some time to develop but he has some athleticism that should help and he showed flashes of ability during the preseason last summer. If that promise continues, I believe Belichick will give him every opportunity to develop.
What do you think of QB Nate Stanley as a comp-third round selection for the Pats to see if he can beat Stidham for the job, and if not be his backup?
I think Stanley could be a mid-to-late-round option as a potential backup down the road. I don't see him as being a viable starter coming out of Iowa at this point, but he could develop with some experience over time. He had some success under Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz, who is good friends with Belichick, and that might make him attractive to the Patriots. He played some under center and in an offense run by Brian Ferentz, who spent some time in New England on Belichick's staff so there would be some familiarity for him. But based on my admittedly limited look at Stanley, I feel he's destined to be a backup in the NFL.
Given 'hybrid' LBs/DBs are the rage today ie Patrick Queen, can't we use Obi Melifonwu in this role?
From the day Melifonwu arrived in New England it seems that fans believe he's capable of filling such a role in the Patriots secondary. But at this point the only reason to believe such a thing is possible is his size. At 6-4. 224, Melifonwu is an imposing presence. However, in his three seasons in the league he has yet to carve out any significant playing time let alone a role as a dynamic hybrid-type player capable to disrupting offenses both against the run and the pass. We'll see if there's any improvement this summer but at this stage I can't see him morphing into Tyrann Mathieu or another versatile jack-of-all-trades playmaking safety.
There is one more untold reason why Bill Belichick will not be tanking this season - he wants to prove that he can win without Brady, while TB12 wants to prove the same for him. Which team do you think may have the best record this season, Pats or TB?
In terms of overall talent I feel the Bucs probably have more established players in place than the Patriots currently do, and that's obviously especially true at quarterback. Given Brady's enormous edge over an untested youngster like Stidham, it's hard to imagine the Patriots winning more games in 2020 than New England. But as the saying goes, that's why they play the games.
I wanted to get your thoughts on this mock draft I came up with. I know I didn't draft any o-linemen because of David Andrews coming back and the two draft picks from a year ago.
1st rd- Ross Blacklock DL
3rd rd (87) Adam Trautman or Harrison Bryant TE
3rd rd. (98) Curtis Weaver Edge
3rd rd. (100) KJ Hamler WR
4th rd James Lynch DT
5th rd. James Morgan QB
6th rd. (195) Logan Wilson LB
6th rd. (204) Geno Stone S
6th rd. (212) Rodrigo Blankenship K
6th rd. (213) Dalton Keene TE
7th rd. (230) James Proche WR
7th rd. (241) Troy Dye LB
It's an almost impossible task to figure out which players the Patriots are interested in for the first round let alone all seven. I like some of the players you selected, like Blacklock and Hamler, and I like the idea of grabbing two tight ends to find some depth a position starving for it. I feel the Patriots will take a quarterback at some point but I'm not all that interested in waiting to the fifth round to grab Morgan. If they indeed like a quarterback in this class then my hope is that it would come sooner and represent a player who the team feels could one day take the controls. But overall I like your work and the positions you target mostly make sense, other than the lack of offensive linemen. The team needs some depth there badly so it can avoid a repeat of last fall when Belichick was forced to make several trades looking for options. Good stuff, Matt.
Hi guys. I love the show. I have a question for you. Which one would you like to draft if you have an opportunity? Justin Herbert this year or Trevor Lawrence next year? Huge fan from Bakersfield
It's always tough to look forward with certainty and decide a course of action. Looking at this year, no one would have predicted that Joe Burrow would emerge as the consensus No. 1 overall pick heading into last season. But I do think it's safe to say that Trevor Lawrence, if healthy, will be at or near the top of the list when it comes to the 2021 draft, and I feel he would be the better option over Herbert. I am intrigued with Herbert's skills but he hasn't really turned that ability into consistent production and that does concern me. I wouldn't upset if Herbert dropped in the draft and the Patriots grabbed him, but given the option between him and Lawrence, I'll be patient and wait till next year.
How do you see a player like N'Keal Harry and do you see him having a breakout season?
I like Harry's size and strength and but I'm less sold on his ability to separate and run routes. First and foremost he needs to stay healthy this summer and make it into the season operating at 100 percent. If that's the case then I feel he should be able to emerge as a starter on the outside and should be relied upon to make some plays for an offense that badly needs playmakers. I could see him developing into a solid receiver who might be dangerous in the red zone. I'm not sure if that qualifies as a breakout season but I expect him to start and contribute.
Joe Thuney and pick number 98 for Miami's 26 overall pick. I see this as a win for both sides. With Miami having three picks in the first round I feel like Thuney and the third hold enough value for Brian Flores to be OK with this. This would beef up Miami's line and still leave them with two picks in the first. This would then give the Patriots two firsts and then still leave them with a third to trade up into the second with. With Miami's cap space and the Belichick-Flores relationship I see this as a real possibility.
I see this as a huge win for the Patriots – not so much for the Dolphins. Joe Thuney and a late third-round pick for a first-rounder? I don't think guards have that kind of value in a trade, especially expensive guards and Thuney is under the franchise tag so he'd either make that in 2020 or the sides would have to agree to a lucrative extension. My guess is Flores would much rather have his three first-rounders than a starting guard and a late third. If Miami trades a first-round pick it would probably be to move up and grab a quarterback. But if this trade could be worked out, I'd be all for it.