Taylor Price & the second-year guys

April, 8, 2011
4/08/11
12:00
PM ET
One trickle-down effect of the NFL's lockout is the impact it has on players entering their second season. Bill Belichick often says that a player's biggest jump comes between year one and year two, and in a piece now posted on Foxports.com, Brian Billick seems to agree.

"Going into their second year, players can start to actually grasp what they need to do on the football field," Billick writes. "This offseason is supposed to be spent with their position coaches, strength coaches, and trainers to fine tune and improve their overall game. Coming out of college they were working out to improve their performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. Now they work out to improve their performance on the field. It’s during this second year that they become consistent and accountable contributors to their teams."

The Patriots had a 12-member draft class in 2010, not including rookie free agents who emerged such as Dane Fletcher, Kyle Love and Sergio Brown.

Some draft picks contributed instantly in full-time roles (Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski), others were more in the "two-down"/specialist category (Jermaine Cunningham, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes, Zoltan Mesko, Brandon Deaderick), while some learned behind the scenes (Taylor Price).

I was thinking which 2010 draft pick this affected most for the Patriots, and Price (3rd round) was the first to come to mind.

He had a steeper-than-normal learning curve coming from a run-first offense at Ohio, had also missed Patriots spring camps last year because Ohio had yet to graduate, and now isn't able to capitalize on a full offseason.

With the lockout in mind, and considering other factors, arguably no Patriots draft pick from 2010 has faced as many obstacles as Price.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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