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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 23 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 28 - 11:55 AM

Patriots Unfiltered Q&A: Final pre-draft thoughts!

With just a couple days to go before the fun begins in Nashville, this week's mailbag is overflowing with questions about the Patriots approach to the 2019 NFL Draft.


Would you be impressed if Patriots draft QB Will Grier with their 32d pick? I won't. May be if they trade down a few spots, and use a 2d rounder on Grier, then ok, but not higher than that. Do you agree?

Stan C.

I do agree. West Virginia's Will Grier is an interesting prospect who spoke confidently of his own talents and his familiarity with the Patriots at the Combine. But, I don't think he's a worthy first-round prospect, and I'm not even sold that he's a guy New England is all that interested in. Unless the guy is a slam-dunk future star-ter, I don't think a QB at No. 32 is a good idea. There are too many other needs for Bill Belichick's squad as it tries to defend its title. Using one of the total dozen picks later in the draft on a developmental guy is fine, but taking a guy who's probably somewhat developmental at No. 32 just doesn't make sense.

Andy Hart

Who would you realistically move up to pick #18 for that could be there? TE? EDGE? WR? SS? Is Simmons worth going up to 26 or so? Do Fant's drops drop him in the Pats evaluation? Does BB with 12 choices already (Perhaps already 11 in 2020 counting potential compensatory picks) use some of this year's picks to try to pick up more choices for the 2020 draft? The Pats really have just 8 real picks as the 4 seventh rounders are nothing more than guaranteed FA post draft signings! You must be swamped with questions this week. Maybe each of you could answer some every day leading up to the draft. It would be interesting to see how the 3 of you differ. Being in Mexico for this month I really miss your TV shows at this time of year.

Dave Brown

If you really want us to all chime in on various pre-draft topics I would urge you to listen to our Patriots Unfiltered radio show/podcast, including the three live shows we will have over the course of draft weekend. But, I'll tackle some of the questions you sent in. I would trade up for T.J. Hockenson, although only to the late teens. He's probably going to be gone before that. I'm not sure there are too many other players I'd move up that high for, although I would move up a few spots from 32 if a certain player fell within a range of a few picks for a cheap deal. I'm not as high on Jeffery Simmons as some others and the fact that he's dealing with a torn ACL would eliminate me from trading up to get him. I do expect Belichick to trade, as he so often does. While we all generally pull for him to trade up it's probably more likely that he trades down a bit from 32 to say 40 to acquire more picks in a draft that many people believe is strongest in its depth in the middle rounds more than its limited top-end talent.

Andy Hart

How about Trace McSorley he is the perfect backup for Edelman don't you think?

Philip Ritter

Not sure if this is a joke or a real question. I assume we are talking about the Penn State quarterback who as far as I know is still pursuing his career at that position, and while clearly limited is more of a prospect as a passer than Edelman ever was coming out of Kent State. Either way, I don't want McSorley either as a passer or as a developmental slot receiver. No thanks.

Andy Hart

I think the Pats should select with the 32nd pick Irv Smith, I don't have any trust on the TEs we have right now on the roster; with the 56th pick Parris Campbell, give Brady another weapon; with the 64th pick Ryan Finley, I don't see Etling be our next QB; and with the 74, 97 and 101 select the best S, DT and LB available. Thoughts?

Julio Hernandez

I have many thoughts, more than even my oversized head can contain. But I assume you want my thoughts on your specific picks. I don't mind the Smith pick as one of the top few tight ends in the draft at a major position of need, although I don't think he'll ever be a guy to utilize as a blocker as well as a pass catcher. Campbell is an interesting option as more of an athlete/playmaker coming out of Ohio State than a true WR prospect. He's been compared to Percy Harvin, at guy the Patriots reportedly had interest in back in the day coming out of Urban Meyer's offense. He might take time to develop as a polished receiver, but Campbell can make plays. I don't like Finley and I'm not sure the Patriots do either. I would hate that pick, even though I agree that Danny Etling is not the post-Brady future for the Patriots at the position.

Andy Hart

Do you see a day 2 edge rusher in the draft able to set the edge, rush the QB and drop on the coverage? Or do you think that Hightower and/or Van Noy are better suited for this role?

Gregorio Ladeira

I'm not sure I see a guy on Friday who'd unseat either Dont'a Hightower or Kyle Van Noy for 2019, but there are some interesting options. A lot of people have tried to connect Michigan's Chase Winovich to that type of role in New England and I wouldn't mind him as a third- or fourth-round type. Another developmental guy in that role I'd like is Oregon's Jalen Jelks. Old Dominion's Oshane Ximines also has a lot to like.

Andy Hart

I am concerned as to the condition of Josh Gordon. I believe all of Patriots Nation hope that he recovers from his last setback. Is it at all possible that Goodell will allow him to play this year? Thank you.

John Lynch

It's certainly possible that the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell could allow Gordon to play in 2019, but I'm not sure the process toward that goal has yet begun. Reports over the winter indicated that the NFLPA could pursue the process for a possible Gordon reinstatement – as well as one for similarly suspended former Steelers and Raiders wide receiver Martavis Bryant – in May. Obviously that means we could hear some news in that area in the coming weeks. Gordon continues to deal with his off field issues, but also proved last fall that he can be a very productive NFL receiver. Given the Patriots limited talent at the position it will be interesting to see if he's welcomed back and counted on in Foxborough if he is indeed reinstated by the league.

Andy Hart

I suspect lots of Patriots fans would like to see Pats draft QB Finley, but I would prefer Stidham. I think he has more upside. Your choice between the two?

Ken K.

In a choice between the two I would take Auburn's Jarrett Stidham every time. Though I'm concerned by his regression in his final college season, I think he has far more NFL upside than Finley. Both are developmental guys, but I think Stidham has some upside as a possible starter whereas I can't see Finley as anything more than an NFL backup. The real question is which one Belichick and the Patriots prefer. Maybe, just maybe, we'll find out later this week.

Andy Hart

What are the different salaries for a player drafted at the end of the first round and a player in the beginning of the second round? From a salary cap management perspective, does this influence the Patriots approach to the draft and trading out of the first round, especially the upcoming draft where the experts believe there is a lot of value in the second and third rounds?

Geoff Moore

Most NFL contracts for draft picks are essentially slotted these days. Looking back at last year's draft, Ravens quarterback (quarterback contracts admittedly muddy the water sometimes) Lamar Jackson got a four-year deal worth just under $9.5 that includes reportedly just over $8 million guaranteed and a signing bonus just under $5 million. As a first-round pick, though, the Ravens do have a fifth-year option for Jackson. The 33rd pick, Browns center Austin Corbett, got a reported four-year contract worth just more than $7.5 million with $5.6 in guarantees and a signing bonus of a little more than $3.5 million. While it's clearly cheaper to sign a guy lower in the draft, sometimes the value of the fifth-year option very much outweighs the savings. And I don't think money will be the deciding factor for the Patriots to trade down, it will be more about true draft value, grades and the ability to add other picks.

Andy Hart

Hello from Germany. I think No. 1 target in the draft should be T.J. Hockenson. If he is available at No. 12, here is my offer for the Packers: Picks 32, 56 and G Joe Thuney for Pick 12. I think this would be a good deal for both teams. The Pats can draft Hockenson and Thuney is a free agent after 2019 and I doubt the will pay him like Mason, so he is likely gone next year. To replace Thuney the can draft a guard and let him compete with Karras/Schwenke. Or the draft a tackle and move Wynn to LG. Is this a reasonable plan or look I'm like a fool now?

Stefan Berger

I would never say you look like a fool, but I think this trade very much favors the Patriots. I can't see the Packers even thinking about this deal. Thuney is a good not great player and set to hit free agency so doesn't offer a ton of value to the trade. The picks you suggest might get the Patriots from 32 to 20 but not to 12. This would be a terrible trade for Green Bay. All that said, I do still have my fingers crossed and hope that the Patriots find a way to get Hockenson, who I think is an absolute stud. It's pretty unlikely, but keep the dream alive!

Andy Hart

Are the Pats looking at Josh Rosen? He would be a great pick-up.

John MacDougall

All depends on who you believe. There are some reporting that the Patriots are one of the possible finalists to trade for Rosen, under the assumption that the Cardinals are going to take Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick. Rosen is a talented guy and would probably be great value for a second-round pick. But would he be happy backing up Brady for the next year, two or three after having already tasted action as a starter last year? If Brady plays until he's 45, then Rosen's contract would also run out. Honestly, I don't really know what to make of all the Rosen talk and the Cardinals plans leading up to the first pick.

Andy Hart

Let's say that Brady decides to say stop after he had been in the league for 20 years (god forbid that he does), who do you see as the best option around the league to take over? Here I am thinking of current active QBs that the Patriots could make a trade for. I know they could still try and make trade for Rosen, but there might a better option in case that they can't aquire Rosen and build him up. At a Danish NFL talk site I liked the idea of getting Baker Mayfield in as Brady's successor, but that was just me liking his playstyle.

Morten Hansen

Since Mayfield is not available, I take it we are just playing a hypothetical here with no limitations. If that's the case, I would take Andrew Luck in a heartbeat. Now that he's healthy again I think his skills, work ethic and attitude would be a perfect fit for Belichick and the Patriots. Of course that's never going to happen. So it's back to talking about guys like Rosen or future "bridge QB" options, which admittedly isn't nearly has fun.

Andy Hart

I think the Patriots are going to invest in one of the top linebackers in the first round. This will be Hightower's last year. They need a new captain for the middle of the defense. They will draft linebacker, tight end, receiver, in that order, unless a great value falls in their lap, such as a top DT or OT.

David LeBlanc

I think it would be surprising if the Patriots invested in the top linebackers in the draft, a group that many think includes only two guys, possible top-10 picks in LSU's Devin White and Michigan's Devin Bush, although maybe Alabama's Mack Wilson is in mix too. While it wouldn't stun me if this were Hightower's last season in New England, I'm not sure that makes it the biggest need. I think we need to remember that the team liked 2018 fifth-round pick Ja'Whaun Bentley so much that he started two of the first three games of his rookie season before landing on injured reserve. He's an impressive young player in many ways and could be a major part of the linebacker position in the future. Is linebacker a future need? Sure. But there are much more pressing needs at this point and not a lot of off-the-ball options worthy of a high selection in this year's crop.

Andy Hart

Do you think that BB has any interest in WR Stanley Morgan Jr. (no relation to our great)? He was a 70 rec 1004-yard receiver who at 6 foot can catch in traffic and above corners very good hands and excellent route runner?

James Reppucci

The biggest reason to tie Morgan to the Patriots is his name, which many assumed had him related to the Patriots all-time great. While I don't pretend to say who Belichick likes, I was not impressed watching some tape on Morgan. I don't see anything that he did at an elite level in college that would lead me to believe he can be a high-end NFL receiver.

Andy Hart

Do you think the Patriots regret not signing Trey Flowers to a Shaq Mason type deal last year? Do you think the team miscalculated what his worth would be on the open market?

Ken Andsager

I think the Patriots would probably have loved to have signed Flowers to a team-friendly deal last year, but they didn't and that probably had something to do with the defensive end's willingness to sign such a deal. I think they very much knew he was going to get paid big money on the open market, though the lack of other edge options when free agency hit probably drove the price even higher. Those team-friendly deals are easy to do when the player wants to do them. Not so much when guys are interested in finding out what's out there in free agency or maximizing their earnings. It always takes two sides to strike a deal.

Andy Hart

Demaryius Thomas for a season for less than $3mil seems like a bargain if he can produce anywhere close to what he was. He's 31 so a year with around 75 catches, 800 yds and a half dozen TDs would be awesome. Bringing in aging WRs has had limited success, though. You can get a Randy Moss and look like a genius, or you can get an Ochocinco or worse yet, a Torry Holt and get pretty much nothing too. Obviously we won't know much until the late summer when he will either have picked up the offense and be contributing or maybe he'll be playing Fall golf somewhere. What's your prediction for Thomas?

Gary Abrams

I don't have high hopes for Thomas. Not only is he an aging, fading talent, but he's coming off a torn Achilles that could very much limit his ability to get on the field this spring and summer to learn the offense. If he put up a year anything like Brandon LaFell did in New England in 2014 – 74 catches for 953 with seven touchdowns – it would be a huge boon for the offense. I don't like the chances of that happening. I always had questions about his hands and his ability to come up big in big spots. Now, he's older and coming off another major injury and won't have the luxury to work with Tom Brady throughout passing camps and OTAs. Feels like a longshot, but New England didn't/doesn't have a lot of other options, either.

Andy Hart

We all know that Bill likes to Zig when everyone is Zagging and with the NFL seemingly heading into an offense showcase, I wouldn't be shocked to see his first two selections in this year's draft being defensive players. In my mock draft I've got the Pats taking Jerry Tillery (DL) out of Norte Dame , what are your thoughts?

Greg Robson

I wouldn't be stunned to see the defense get some attention early in the draft. Many have the defensive line as a top-3 need for New England. The other two are tight end and wide receiver. The top two or three tight ends could very well be off the board before the Patriots pick, eliminating that position as an option until later. The wide receiver group is very deep and varied, with value being in the eye of the beholder. That could mean the defensive line is a top option, although tackle and maybe even an aging safety spot could also be a consideration. Safety is a sneaky need given the age of guys like Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, both of whom could easily be playing their final season in New England. A year ago we all wanted defense and the first two picks came on offense. This year we all want offense and I leave the possibility open for defense to dominate the early part of the Patriots draft. And depending on how it plays out, could very well be the smart play. For what it's worth, I think Tillery is a versatile guy with major NFL upside on a team like the Patriots.

Andy Hart

If Hockenson starts falling in the draft what would the Patriots have to potentially trade to move up in the range of 15-25?

Thomas O'Hern

Although it's dated, I'll use to the old Jimmy Johnson trade value chart to answer. The Patriots have the 32nd pick, which has a value of 590 points. The 15th pick is worth 1,050 points while the 25th pick is worth 720 points. To get to No. 15 the Patriots would need to deal picks worth 460 points, along with No. 32, which is equal to the 44th pick in the draft or a combination of picks to reach that value. For example, with this year's picks New England could send the No. 56 pick (340 points) and No. 97 (112 points), along with No. 32, and be close to 460 points to move up to 15. To get to 25, New England would "only" need to trade 130 points, which is the value of about the 92nd pick. So, New England could send No. 32, No. 97 (112 points) and No. 205 (9 points) to get in range of a deal for No. 25. Now, there is room for negotiation in all this and obviously it's possible to include players in the deal, but this is a rough estimate of possible trade values.

Andy Hart

Long time Patriots fan. Do you see the Patriots selecting a QB on day 2 or 3 of the draft? And if yes who and what Round and Selection? Thank you for your time.

Larry Pearce

Thanks for the support over the years! This is a very specific query, but I'll try. I'm going to guess that the Patriots use their compensatory pick after the third round, No. 101 overall, on a quarterback. That will be used to get someone like Finley, Stidham or Tyree Jackson. If I get this right, I'm buying myself a drink on Friday night!

Andy Hart

Would Randy Moss be considered a HOF if he had not played for the Patriots?

Juzar Shakir

Short answer, yes. But the discussion may have been a longer debate among the voters and it may have even taken him longer to get in. Moss topped 1,000 yards in seven of his first eight NFL seasons. He was a dominant freak to open his career in Minnesota, where he had double-digit touchdowns in six of seven years, leading the league three times including his 17 touchdowns as a rookie in 1998. Moss was a dominant talent and consistent playmaker long before he ever got to New England but his record 23 touchdowns in 2007 and 50 touchdowns over three-plus years in Foxborough sealed him as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, which he might have been either way.

Andy Hart

What is your opinion of the 2018 7th round pick Danny Etling? Do you think he has potential to be a starting quarterback with the Patriots or another organization?

Joe Daly

While I'm always hesitant to make reactionary, premature assessments…who am I kidding, no I'm not. I do not think Etling has a future as a starter in the NFL, although I am interested to see if he looks any different this summer and preseason. I just don't think he's accurate enough as a passer. He clearly has some intangibles to like and might be able to carve out a career as a backup, but I just don't see the upside in his reads, accuracy or timing to be a starter in the pass-happy world we live in these days.

Andy Hart

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