Good afternoon and welcome to today's chat. Thanks for joining me in talking some Patriots.
I wanted to start out by pointing out Thursday, April 21. For those who are in the area, and might be able to carve out a few hours, I will be speaking at the Hall at Patriot Place (6:30 p.m.). The focus will be on the draft and sports media. Regular Hall admission gets you in, and I thought it would be a nice chance to get to meet some who contribute here on a daily basis.
Let's chat today until around 12:45.
By now every Patriots fan has seen Randy Moss' quote about his heart in New England. Do you think there is even a chance of him being signed assuming we have football this year?
Luis, I put it at 10 percent. If Moss agreed to a 1-year, minimum salary deal, and knew he was on a short leash in the sense that one wrong step and he's gone, I could envision the Patriots considering it. But in the end, if I had to predict right now, I'd say it won't happen. I think the Patriots probably feel it's time to move on.
Mike, the Pats are always looking for that "elephant" LB in the mold of Willie McGinest, and few exist. Do you think this year they go against the grain and go after a smaller fast guy off the edge. Many mock drafts have them going after Ayers. Do you think they are interested or are we going to see the usual pass on the LB prospects
SteveB, I have my doubts on Ayers for the Patriots. I think they go for both -- the elephant (earlier in draft) and the smaller guy off the edge (mid-to-late rounds). If I had to sum up my thoughts on this aspect of the draft, I think Bill Belichick would benefit from placing more value on his sub defense (57 percent of the snaps). So I'd suggest not focusing so heavily on how a player fits in the 3-4 scheme, but looking more at "How can this player help us in sub and on third down, where we ranked 32nd in the NFL last year?"
I am a out of state fan, so very hard for me to say what if(season ticket holder, local supporter), but what if EVERYONE said no, sent no money, no nfl network(I did cancel mine),no team gear purchased, just shut off the flow. This whole mess was never about the fans, but as a collective group we could sure make it so...
In theory, it would be a powerful statement Corky. I just don't see how it could be pulled off. Already, you have fans saying they hope some season-ticket holders don't renew so they can move off the waiting list.
Hi Mike. I think we should stop thinking about trade up for Quinn. It would be too expensive and there are a lot of other passruhers. And he has been suspended for year and that would says something about his character( maybe not). I just believe it's too risky I think that Ryan Kerrigan is perfect fit for our defense. And he is realistic pick with no big trade up. He has motor, which never stops. And we have had some problem with 4Q with Colts or Steelers. We need somebody who can finish a game. What do you think? Quinn or Kerrigan?
I like them both, but like you, feel Kerrigan is more realistic. He ties into that last point about the sub defense/third down. I view Kerrigan as someone who could contribute in that area immediately. Maybe he could eventually chip in as a 3-4 OLB. But even if he can't, a player with that motor and pass-rush get-up is exactly what I think the Patriots need. If Quinn drops in the 10-14 range, and the Patriots think he's the guy, that would also make sense because a trade-up wouldn't require too much (e.g. maybe a fourth-rounder as a sweetener).
Mike,Are we seeing the beginning of the end for professional football? The arrogance of both sides of the debate on dividing $10B along with the high cost of attendance, and the mounting issues of safety (Kevin Turner, Dave Duerson), appear to indicate that football is about to change. Will it be for the better, or worse?
I don't think we're seeing the end, Dave, but we're certainly seeing an ugly side of the game, aren't we? Makes me sick. I do believe, however, the game will make it through this and we'll be back to talking/analyzing about the things that draw us to the TV set each Sunday.
Hi Mike,I think that with all the Pats picks, they have to come away with three starters; ROLB, LDE, RG. Is it feasible to do all they can to trade up for Robert Quinn, while keeping pick 17 (Watt) and 33 (Pouncey, Moffit?) What do you think?
If you're trading up for Quinn, you're probably going to have to give up that No. 17 pick. Could make this scenario tricky.
Better combination for Pats - first 2 picks pass rushers then O-line or best available at all 3 top picks ? Latest mock draft shows Watt and Kerrigan coming here and I don't think they could do better than that pairing if the cards fell that way. Thoughts ?
I liked that mock draft by Todd McShay of Scouts Inc., which gave the Patriots Watt and Kerrigan. I think that would be a bonanza, and it assumes the Patriots would have the benefit of a rookie cap/slotting system (that would be key in signing Watt, who is represnted by Tom Condon, who the Patriots haven't negotiated with since 2004).
One follow-up: My feeling is that you can seldom, if ever, go wrong taking the best player available. I think they did it last year with Devin McCourty. It wasn't a top need, but we see how that turned out.
Hi Mike,Wondering if perhaps you could do a piece on the Kraft's ownership of the club over time. I have seen you say on a few occasions that they made a few rookie mistakes in the early days, but have matured into good stable owners. I'm now wondering if theyre now on the downslope of complacency. There seem to be three big errors they've made recently (personal feelings over Mankins, calling out BB's playoff gameplan and the negotiations over the "lockout fund" TV deal), and I'm just wondering if these are one offs, or a sign of the Krafts becoming just like the majority of owners - focused only on their own needs/desires. Would be very interested to read your views on how they have matured over time and how they sit as part of the NFL owners club.
Thanks for the thought Adam. That will be taken into consideration.
Mike, I have two quick questions for you that I am eager to hear your opinion on. 1) Do you think adding Moss (with ego in check) makes this team better next season than the team without him last season??? 2) If you had to pick any running back (draft of FA) to join the pats next season (and will contribute) who is it??? Thanks, I really value your opinion on these things.
Thanks Greg. I wrestled with the Moss decision. At one point a month ago, I was on board. Now, I think it's time to move on. So I guess that means it's a good thing I'm not a GM. If only they had the ability to change their mind like that :)
On the running back, I'd go with Cal's Shane Vereen. I like his combination of running style, receiving ability, and pass-blocking experience. On the free-agent market, Ricky Williams is the player who stands out to me.
P.S. -- Mark Ingram would be the obvious one in the draft, but I don't think he'll be there at No. 17.
Mike Lombardi indicated last night the Redskins want to trade out of their first round spot to pick up extra picks in this year's draft. They have a lot of needs and few picks due to Donovan McNabb trade. He indicated that Shanahan wants to trade this before the draft to ensure he has more picks, rather than wait until day of draft. Given the Patriots picks and ability to fit all of them on roster, perhaps they could offer # 28 plus their 2nd and 3rd rounders for pick 10 in the first round. It would allow pats to draft a top player still available like Prince, Quinn, JJ Watt, or Julio Jones. With # 17 they could draft Pouncey, Cameron Jorden, or Gabe Camini. They still would have # 33 to use or trade for more picks. I think this year we need quality NOT quantity. Your thoughts?
Jim, that's a lot to give up to move up to No. 10. I hear what you're saying about not needing to make a lot of picks, but I think that's too rich unless the Patriots are confident they're getting the next Darrelle Revis or someone of that elite status.
Mike, if there is no football in 2011 (hope there is!), will there be a 2012 draft? Will the order be the same as this year's? Thanks, always enjoyed your columns.
Bruno, I don't know for sure, but I'd think there would be a lottery of some sort to determine the order in the 2012 draft, assuming there was no football in 2011.
Doesn't it seem a bit disingenuous for the temporarily defunct NFLPA to ask draftees to wave the union flag while signing off on the rookie wage scale? They are ruining a very big night for these kids and screwing the fans in the process.
I think it's a bad move by them, John. I think they've done an excellent job up to this point in terms of generating public support and strategizing in negotiations with the owners, but I believe this is a misstep.
Hi Mike, just wondering your thoughts on Brooks Reed from Arizona. Seems like a guy the Pats can get at 33, opening up the possibility of getting a top DE, OT or OG (or a combination of those) in the first round. Would Reed really be much of a step down from Kerrigan? Also, I find it highly unlikely they take 3 players within the first 45 picks of the draft.
Eric, I do envision the Patriots trading one of those top six picks, so the question would be "which one?" When it comes to Kerrigan vs. Reed, I think Kerrigan (6-3, 267) is a bit more of the NFL package than Reed (6-2, 255) at this point and that Kerrigan has had high production for a longer stretch of time. So I do see Kerrigan as being a cut above, but the question is how much above. I believe it's significant enough to go for Kerrigan instead.
Mike, I?d bring me back in a heartbeat! I?d also ask to do more than just run go routes every time??using me over the middle a little bit on quick slants and intermediate routes. I'd be cheap, i've been humbled, I would at least provide depth at WR, I still require some respect from safeties, etc?.At the end of the day, Tommy Boy only trust Welker and Braqnch in the WR corps...he needs that 3 WR he trust to be where he is supposed to be!
Do you really still require respect from safeties, Randy Moss? That's a question I have. I didn't see much of you after the trade, so I'd need to check on that. How much of your lack of production a result of poor QB play and learning 2 new systems?
Mike what are you thinking will be the priorities of the other teams in the division during the first round? If the Bills go w/ a QB, who do you think makes them the most competitive in the long term?
Kyle, I think the Bills need to come away with a QB in the first two rounds, and the Dolphins, who don't have a second-round pick, need one too. I don't see Jake Locker getting past No. 15, if he's even there. As for the Jets, I am focusing on the DL.
Mike--Have you heard if the Patriots are laying off any of their employees or cutting back on the salaries of their coaches to save money like other teams are doing?
Shane, at this time, it is my understanding that the Patriots are not planning to lay off any employees. As for the coaches and reduced salaries, I am not sure.
Here's conspiracy theory: a number of team would not draft Von Miller, even if they need OLB,because he's one of the plaintiffs in the antitrust lawsuit filed against the NFL,and owners do not like this lawsuit. How about it?
I'm not buying it, MarkJ, but I had thought about it as well.
Mike, I was interested to hear your discussion with Teddy regarding the Seymour trade and your retrospective analysis as to the benefit of that deal. It seems to me that in addition to Seymour's health concerns there was also the impending contract issue. With Wilfork's ongoing contract negotiations Seymour's often penchant for playing the locker room lawyer may not have helped that issue as well. Since we are all looking for SB's I don't know that given the pieces around him in 2009 the Pats were going to go the distance anyway and the likelihood of signing him to an extension into 2010 was slim. As the team stood I don't think we were one good, I believe no longer great, player away from the ultimate goal. This year's pick will be analyzed for years to come.
Great discussion, munchkin. That chat with Tedy Bruschi was on our podcast. There were a lot of factors in play with the Seymour decision, no doubt. It's a tough one. I think knowing what we know now -- mainly how the '09 season had locker-room issues and breakdowns on the DL, and how Seymour could have been kept in '10 with the franchise tag if a Wilfork extension had been worked out earlier -- it would have been a better course of action to keep him. The story isn't yet complete, though, as you make a good point of how this No. 17 pick will be used.
Mike,I am not in the group of people that think we need to get a RB early but how far would Ingram have to fall before you think BB would take him?
Mike, I think 14 is the number. If Belichick wants Ingram, he could go up to 14 and get him. The Dolphins, at 15, are a threat to nab him there if they can't get a QB.
Hi Mike, there are some OL prospects that I haven't heard tied to the Pats, but whom I think would be great fits in our scheme (and also good mid-round values). Any thoughts on Stephen Schilling of Michigan, Kristofer O'Dowd of USC, Andrew Jackson of Fresno State, and Willie Smith of East Carolina?
Matt, of the group, Jackson jumped out as he has modeled his game after Logan Mankins. Later rounds, good size, comes from a program where the Patriots have had some success.
Mike,I recently saw that Mayo has a younger brother in the draft this year. He's small (5'11 229) for a LB/DE but he's fast 4.37 and supposed to have done more on bench press than Jerod. He's currently projected a later round pick.Do you think that Bill would be more likely to take a shot at him knowing how well Jerod has taken to the system and his work ethic. Sounds like there is some potential for special teams or maybe that SS ILB hybrid he likes to play with. The high end could be a great pass rusher after all Elvis Dumervil is only 5'11 too.
Mike, the difference between Dumervil and Deron Mayo is more in the weight category. Dumervil is 250, maybe a bit more. At 229 pounds, Deron Mayo is going to have a tough time going against 300-plus pound tackles. I don't envision him as a DE in the NFL, more as a special teamer playing off the line of scrimmage on defense. I could see the Patriots taking a stab late, but he would face long odds to earn a roster spot.
Hi Mike. Who do you have in your championship game for March madness? And who do you have winning it all?
Got to pull for the locals, right?
Seriously, I don't fill out a bracket. It affects my enjoyment of the games, because I'm competitive and would care more about my bracket than the games themselves. This allows me to just sit back and enjoy the games -- Tru TV on now. First time I've ever watched it.
Hey again Mike! I know you have mentioned previously about the Pats making a push for Steve Smith. Can you confirm any interest from the team in him? If you had to give a percentage, what would you put it at for us acquiring him? Thanks
I can't confirm any interest Johnny. I think it's a longer shot at this point, because there are no trades allowed. Smith would also have to restructure his contract, like Deion Branch did. I'd say 15 percent.
Hi Mike, Is there was a stat for almost getting a sack, not quarterback hurries, it seemed like Jermaine Cunningham would have lead the league in that category. He had the quarterback in his grasp 5 or 6 times and pushed the QB into a teammate for them to get the sack at least another 2 or 3 times. My point is for a rookie LB in Bill's system that played as much as he did after missing the entire preseason and time in camp then being nicked up at the end of the year with that calf injury. It didn't show on the stat sheet but he could have easily had 7-8 sacks, held up well against the run and he seems to be a player that could make that jump from his rookie year to his second year that you often reference. If the Patriots draft him some help up front and on the other side at LB like we all think they will what are your thought on his upside?
Good stuff, Dave. I think Cunningham is a player to watch in terms of making that Year 1 to Year 2 jump. I like him. But as a family member said to me this morning, "Let's hope you're a bit more accurate on that one than you were with Darius Butler."
Hey Mike,How good is this Mikel LeShoure, and what do you think are chances of getting Ingram are. In our history we have never really had a star back. It's pretty sad that Curtis Martin is our third leading rusher all-time and he was only with us for three years. I think if we get Mark Ingram it would take a lot of pressure off Brady.Thanks
Leshoure is a good player, but Ingram, to me, is in a whole different category. If not Ingram, I'd wait until the early third round and look at someone like Cal's Shane Vereen.
Hey Mike, I could see Randy Moss being an excellent (re-)add to the team for $2M or less and if he knows his role. His role at this point would have to be to be a tool in the offensive machine. Not a feature of it. Some games he might play every offensive snap and others, he may play next to none. His snap count would be completely dependent on the other team's defensive game plan (and his own effectiveness). If he complains or agitates, he's out. If he had this spelled out to him do you think he signs that deal (at $2M or less) AND do you think he goes all year without complaining or agitating?
That's the tantalizing part of the possibility, Dave, but the more I've thought about it the more it's probably time for the team to move on.
There was recent news that two of the Pats military/reserve roster players, Barnes and Kettani, might be available in May. Is there any word about Shun White? He seemed like he had a ton of potential as a RB or WR.
White has more time left on this commitment, Ken. Both Tyree Barnes and Eric Kettani are done in May.
Mike - It seems that a high percentage of draft prospects that are expected to be pass rush specialists turn out to be busts once they start to compete against NFL quality tackles. Why is it so hard to predict the ability to rush the passer in the NFL? Also, which of this years draft class, would you predict will have the most sacks three years from now?
Great point, KTP. I think this would be a solid topic for an expanded piece. Pass rushers and receivers are the two biggies that you see the most volatility with. I think the strength and size of the offensive linemen is part of it, for sure. It's a whole different ballgame in the NFL. Also, sometimes you can get by with one or two moves in college. In the NFL, it's going to take a lot more than that, and often times, teams have to project whether that skill will develop.
Hi Mike, What are the chances that Jordan is available at 17 ? I think best case scenario would be Watt or Jordan at 17, Pouncey slips to 28 and one of the blue chips tackles is around at 33. Given the reshuffling of draft boards after round one, will the Pats be able to resist the urge to trade out of that 33rd pick ?
Bonanza if it unfolds that way. Yes, I do think the Patriots could resist the urge. Bill Belichick, in my view, is as disciplined as they come.
Mike, how many questions about Randy Moss have you received during this chat? Noticed the comments section in your Blog/Report had well over 200 overnight. Where you happy to see Moss go when he was traded last year, especially after his horrible press conference just after the first win last season. I just cannot see Moss changing or Bill taking a chance with the locker room again.
Maybe 1 out of every 5 is Moss related.
I gotta tell you Mike, the one pick I'm really excited about because of this new draft setup (just the 1st rd Thurs, then 2 days off 2nd & 3rd on Sat), is that 1st pick of the 2nd rd. If I can recall last year teams were going CRAZY for that pick from St.L after having 2 days to hash out what is left on the table. I could see some team offering their 1st for that pick Mike.
Could be, Castanza, but Peter King of Sports Illustrated had previously noted that the Rams were a little surprised they weren't offered more for that No. 33 spot last year. They ended up with Rodger Saffold, a solid OT.
Hi MikeDo you feel Adrian Peterson's "Slavery" statement and the reported NFLPA suggestion for players to skip the draft are eroding goodwill with the fans?
Greetings in Islington, Rich. I'm right down the road. Not so much the Peterson comments, but yes, I think the suggestion to skip the draft is misguided.
Mike, How long do you think the Lockout will go for and do see a senario where there is no NFLPA of five years like in the Last major spat between the owners and players
Good question, Gary. I think April 6 is the next big date. It's anyone's guess after that, but I am optimistic that we'll have football in 2011 and that's what I'm focusing on.
Let's go for another 5...
Mike, if kickoffs are changed, do you think the Pats are confident in Brandon Tate as a go to receiver or would they look for someone in the draft?
I think they'll give him every chance to succeed, Chris. I don't think they'll go with a WR high in this draft.
Mike, What do you think of the secondary situation as it relates to Leigh Bodden's return and Brandon Merriweather's status with the team? Can you see the Patriots picking up another corner via the draft or free agency? How about Saftey?
I think they'll stick with Meriweather as long as his off-field involvement in a shooting clears his name. I also think the team is excited about Bodden's return. They like him. All that said, I expect them to draft one corner. Safety, I lean toward no.
Hey Mike, A few years back, I was a HUGE proponent of Vernon Ghoulston. I was totally convinced that he was the guy the Patriots needed to bring an outside pass rush. In retrospect, of course, me and the Jets were both quite wrong. This year, as I've written to you before, I am a big Kerrigan guy. How do I know I'm not falling for the same hype?
Every scout gets it wrong once in a while, Zack. My advice would be "trust your eyes." If you believe in Kerrigan, stick with it.
in the past you have expressed interest in tradin the 33rd pick to carolina for steve smith. do you think smith is just another 5'9" receiver that we already have, or is he a difference maker???
I still see him as a difference maker who would see a major spike in production with a quarterback like Tom Brady throwing him the ball.
Mike, I really like Greg McElroy. Thoughts?
Me too, Arjuna, in the later rounds. I see the Patriots coming out of this draft with a QB.
Hey Mike, what do you think about the proposed "safety" rules? It seems to me that they water down the game a bit. Gostkowski kicking from the 35 seems like it would be instant touchback the majority of the time.
Andy, I would like to see the injury-bsaed stats on the kickoff returns to have a better feel for it. At first glance, I was disappointed by the discussion to change the rule.
Mike - I want Marcell Dareus for the Pats and I would trade 17 & 28 to move up and get him. He projects to be the most dominant and versatile DL in the draft and he can play either DE or DT. Hw would imporove the pass rush simply by his ability to push the pocket and they can still get an OLB or OL in Round 2. What do you think - would you do it if the chance was there?
Stewart, we could be talking about a move to the Top 2. It would probably take more than 17 and 28 to do that. Too rich for me.
I don't really love the Patriots that much. I'm a businessman and I realize I have limited options right now. Time for me to make a sales pitch.
Happy St. Patty's Mike!!! That being said, I've always been a big 'smash-mouth' football fan. I like what the Law Firm did for us last year. I feel that bringing in a Leshoure or an Ingram makes Green-Ellis a bit on the expendable side. I feel that the Pats would be better served keeping the status quo and bringing in a free agent (Ricky Williams, Brandon Jackson) while also keeping Sammy Morris, who was huge as a FB and special teams contributor. This would allow the Pats to stay somewhere around the Jordan/Watts/Kerrigan pick at 17 and go OL (I'll be the first to admit it's not an exciting pick, but a needed one) at 28. Your thoughts on this?
Morris looked like he slowed down a bit to me, Josh, but I like the idea of waiting until a bit later in the draft for a RB, and also adding Williams in free agency, to bolster that position while allowing you to focus on the DL, OLB and OL spots early in the draft.
The Giants aren't asking season-ticket holders to pay by March 31, just credit card info to hold their tickets until the CBA is resolved. Why won't Kraft do this also?
Bob, that is a great gesture by the Giants. I believe they are the only team to do it. The Krafts could have generated some goodwill by delaying payment, however, one thing to keep in mind is that the Giants have the benefit of having PSL (personal seat license) money while the Patriots don't. Each franchise has different dynamics in play.
I keep reading that the Pats are likely to take a DE/OLB with their first pick and a WR with their next. With the depth at DE/OLB this year, though, isn't it a better bet to get Carimi/Castonzo/Solder with the first pick and the best available DE/OLB with the next? There's not success if they can't protect Brady.
Bill, I do think they need to come away with some OL help early, and I focus more on the interior than at OT. I think the best approach is to take the best player regardless of position.
Hi Mike, with the plethora of mock drafts being released one common name I have seen at the 17th pick is J.J. Watt. I saw some of his games and he looks like a big time threat of the DE spot. What do you think his chances are of being there for the Pats. Also with Coach B making his annual Florida trip do you think the chances of Mike Pouncey being picked are increasing given the school's recent history of players being drafted by the Pats?
Ben, I like both players a lot for the Patriots. I don't think Pouncey will be there at No. 28, however.
Mike, in the 'March 15' mailbag from the other day your answer included the following: "Another e-mailer had asked how that 57-percent clip compares with past Patriots teams, and my numbers only go back a few years. It's easily the highest in the last few years." Open up your books, I don't want to have to boycott your mail bag and chats. I know you have an archive from your days at the Globe/B.com Not sure if you or any of your other readers picked that up....
Awesome Brian. Should we go to a lockout here on the chat? I didn't start charting sub vs. base defense until a few years ago. So I don't have any books to open :)
Let's end on this one. Thanks to everyone for chatting. We'll do it again next Thursday and should have some more material to digest after speaking with Bill Belichick at the NFL's annual meeting in New Orleans next Tuesday.