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March 31, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike Reiss

Mike Reiss
  (11:58 AM)

Good afternoon and welcome to today's Patriots chat. Thanks for participating. The team announced that Moses Cabrera has been tabbed as assistant strength coach. That's one bit of news to pass along. Otherwise, it's mostly draft-related prep work from here. I am calling around to scouts, re-watching some Patriots games from last year as a refresher, and taking the time to watch some of the rookies in this year's draft class.

Mike Reiss
  (12:00 PM)

One date to pass along is April 21. At 6:30 p.m. at the Patriots Hall of Fame, anyone is welcome to come and talk about the draft or sportswriting. You could also tour the Hall that night.

Mike Reiss
  (12:00 PM)

Here is a link to the Hall's website. http://www.thehallatpatriotplace.com/news-article/51/espnbostoncoms-reiss-to-talk-nfl-draft-at-the-hall/

Mike Reiss
  (12:00 PM)

Let's chat until 1 p.m. today.

Mike Reiss
  (12:00 PM)

This morning, the question was asked, "What would you be looking for in return for the No. 28 pick?" Here are some replies.

Dave Jeffrey (Ottawa Ontario)

In reply to your question this morning Mike like to see Patriots trade with Tennessee or Washington for their second round pick this year and in 2012 - like to see the Patriots continue the tradition of having four picks in the first two rounds next year as well - my question concerns your thoughts on if atriotsshould look at a LT prospect like Solder and thus keep Vollmer at right tackle - or draft a RT in the second round with the thought process of moving Vollmer to LT Thanks for all efforts

Andy (Boston)

Depending on who fell, if I were the Patriots, I would pursue a trade of three picks straight up with one team. For example, the Redskins. We give two first round picks (17, 28) and one third round pick (74) for their first round pick (10), second round pick (41) and their fifth round pick (143) (or a fourth round pick in the 2012 draft). Not only does it give us a top ten pick in the draft but it also gives us three picks in the second round.

John F (Walpole, Ma)

I have already written off the 28th pick as traded. Two options I like: a #1 next year that would project high teens/low 20's.Or a 2nd rounder this year in the 34-40 range and a 3 and 5 next year. They did very well with 2 pix at the top of rnd 2 when they got Volmer and Chung.

Rich (Wakefield)

I wouldn't trade the 28th pick. I would suggest trading the 17th, 33rd and 74th picks to the Begals four the number 4.Value chart shows pretty equal value. We have a chance for Von Miller then an DL/OL guy at 28. Pats would still have their own 2nd, 3rd and 4th to fill in.

Branden (Nashua)

Pats trade #28 and one of the 3rd rounders for a 2012 1st round pick and 2011 2nd round pick

Mike Reiss
  (12:03 PM)

Thanks for those responses. My feeling is that any trade of a first-round pick this year will have to include a first-rounder in 2012.

Neil (North Branch, MI)

Mike lots of fans realize Tom Brady is not going to be around forever and really would like to capitalize on the teams position in the draft this year to really "Go for it" whilst he is still the quality player he is. How much, if at all do you think that plays into the mindset of the organization?

Mike Reiss
  (12:05 PM)

I don't think it's a huge consideration, Neil. The Patriots take pride in not being a "window of opportunity" team. They believe the best approach is one in which the window remains open every year. So there might be a little push and pull on this in each direction annually, but I don't see the Patriots straying far from their core belief on this.

Kyle (Cranston, RI)

Mike, what is the buzz on Demarco Murray? He was super productive at OU, yet I don't see him in any mock drafts through round 2. Can you see the Pats considering him if they look to pick up a back in rounds 2 or 3?

Mike Reiss
  (12:06 PM)

Kyle, I think Murray probably helped himself as much as any back at the NFL Combine. One running backs coach pointed to his 40 time and said, "You know us running back coaches, we're all swept away by those sub-4.4 40s." I think Murray is right in that round 2/3 mix for teams looking for a back. I could see the Patriots considering him.

Radim (Czech republic(Europe))

I have one more question. What do you think about mock draft? It doesn't make a sense to me. Especially this year. Experts are predicting who will go at 17 and 28. But I don't think it is going to happen. Nobody knows if we will trade up or trade down but there will be some trade for sure. It's good to know which team needs improve on some positions but fill it with names...It just doesn't make a sense. One bad call and you can throw it away.

Mike Reiss
  (12:07 PM)

Radim, my approach with mock drafts is that they are fun to learn more about the players, and some different scenarios that could potentially unfold. I wouldn't read anything more into them that that, because like you said, one trade and the whole mock is busted.

Mike C (Boston MA)

Mike,Correct me if I am wrong but is it true that the teams have a limited amount of private workouts each year leading up to the draft? If this is the case is there anywhere we can get a list of who they have had in for workouts in past years compared with how many of those people were drafted?I am just curious of how this affects their draft day strategy with the possibility of trading up or down.

Mike Reiss
  (12:11 PM)

Mike, teams can have as many workouts with players as they desire. The Patriots load them up in the 100-plus range. Where teams are limited is with the in-house visits to their facility/stadium -- only 30 of those are allowed. I think getting a list together is a good idea, although I'd caution that not all the information is 100 percent accurate, especially with the Patriots. One thing I've noticed is that some agents like to attach their prospects to the Patriots because the Patriots have a solid reputation in scouting circles. The thinking is that "If the Patriots are on to this prospect, maybe we should be?"

KTP (Chicxulub, MX)

Mike, We all know that the Patriots generally try to use "value" as a barometer in their drafting decisions. Do you have any idea how they approach trying to quantify "value." For instance do they give each prospect a number grade then simply select the highest number when it is their selection? Or do they have some sort of formula that says certain positional groupings are more valuable if the players available relatively equal? If you don't draft for need how do you decide between good players at different positions?

Mike Reiss
  (12:14 PM)

Great question, KTP. The Patriots stack their boards horizontally and vertically to account for both the rating of that individual position while also accounting for how that position rates against other positions in the draft. That's sort of a simple answer, but I'll try to dig some stuff up on that and pass it along in further detail on our blog in the coming days. Each prospect does receive an individual grade.

mark h. (concord, nh)

On the draft, the Patriots need a game changer on d; a player who can turn the corner consistantly and get after the passer. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem likely at 17. My ideal draft would be Watt or Jordan at 17. Watkins or Carimi(if he slides a few) at 28 Move 33 but only down 5-8 slots for an extra 2nd or 3rd in '12. Then target the best of Acho, Sheard(might have to get him at 28 if he keeps creeping up) or Brooks as your pass rusher. I like Acho myself and you might get him even at 60. Forget the prototype! It leads us to ignoring J. Harrison, Dumervil and L. Woodley. And, getting stuck with Shawn Crable.Would you be happy with soemthing along those lines? Who do you think is the best OLB candidate for the Pats?

Mike Reiss
  (12:17 PM)

I agree 100 percent with your thoughts on what the Patriots need most, Mark. I also like your scenario, although I think 28 for Watkins is a bit rich. I'd go Sheard there. I liked what I saw from Acho at the combine when considering a fall-back option after round 1 and early round 2.

Daniel Jacobson (Ann Arbor)

I love watching the draft, but it's hard to know what to root for as a Pats fan! I remember two years ago rooting for Clay Matthews (who we were supposedly high on) to fall to us....well, we know how that turned out. Then there was the McCourty episode, which sparked a small online riot but turned out well in the end. So this year, given that we really have no idea if the names mentioned (Watt, Ingram, the Jordans) are really in the Pats plans or not, what do we root for? A couple hyped QBs falling to 28, to give us trading options? No run on DEs in the first round? Any other ideas, Mike?

Mike Reiss
  (12:18 PM)

Daniel, the first thing I'd say is that Bill Belichick's track record is pretty good. So you can enter with some confidence in that regard. If I was "rooting" for the best Patriots draft, it would focus on improved pass rush and attitude at the line of scrimmage.

Jeff (Needham, MA)

Hey Mike, going over some of the less impressive offensive performances from last season, the offensive line was a major culprit in the lack of production. The Chargers game stands out as an example of our O-line simply not getting it done, unable to protect Brady or effectively block for the running backs. Light was terrorized by some no-name guy, Connolly got benched at the half, and Logan Mankins was sorely missed. How do you see the offensive line shaping up over this off season? In my opinion it is in need of a major overhaul, but do you think the coaches view the situation the same way?

Mike Reiss
  (12:19 PM)

Jeff, I think we'll see some significant changes on the offensive line. I do believe the coaches would like to see Matt Light return at LT, but I imagine they'll be looking to bolster the interior. I'm targeting that area in the second/third round area. I also wouldn't be surprised if we see multiple picks at that spot in this draft.

Andy (Lowell)

Hey Mike, how far up do you think the Patriots would go to ensure they got someone akin to Watt or Kerrigan? Maybe they move into the 13 spot and give the Lions 17 and their 5th or 6th round pick?

Mike Reiss
  (12:20 PM)

Andy, I think 10 is the marker. If Robert Quinn is there, and you believe he's the type of guy that can improve your pass rush, I think that's a consideration that will draw some attention from the Patriots.

Mike Reiss
  (12:20 PM)

Kerrigan and Watt are probably in that same category of players who project to have grades in that area.

Nick (Work)

The Pats have the ammo to do this, so could they consider trading up with SF if Patrick Peterson is still there? Just seems like pairing him with McCourty would be a dynamic pair for years to come.

Mike Reiss
  (12:21 PM)

I don't see the big move coming at that position, Nick. I think they are sitll high on Leigh Bodden.

Chris (Orlando)

Mike, the general thoughts regarding the Pats is that they will be trading once more into the future. While, they may indeed do that (if they get a sweetheart deal for 28 or 33 they almost have to), at some point doesn't all of the trading into the future have to actually be used? Now, Tedy says they can't make all the picks because they would be too young and don't have enough openings, but with no free agency to pad the roster, don't they almost have to make more of these top picks? We currently have 2-3 openings on the OL (with Mankins, Light and Neal gone until free agency at the least - but Kazur potentially back), they still need a starter at at DE and OLB, depth at RB (if not a work horse) a developmental QB and a speed receiver. Now, in a normal year at least some of those would already have been adressed with some mid teir free agents, but that option may not be available until much later depending on the CBA and court cases. If that is the case, would it be more prudent to have the draft picks in hand, without worrying about other methods to fill those positions?

Mike Reiss
  (12:22 PM)

Chris, I'd say of the 9 picks, making 7-8 sounds right, while trying to push one into the next year.

Kevin F. (Framingham,MA)

Hi Mike. Because the draft is the only NFL related off season activity right now, we are focusing on how the Patriots will meet their short and long term needs via the draft. Although we won't know what system will be in place when a CBA is finally agreed upon, I'm guessing the hundreds of NFL free agents will still be available to sign with other teams. Maybe as a supplimental exercise Mike, you can list some of the potential NFL free agent targets in need positions for the Patriots. That way we can analyze if a good free agent is or isn't out there for a need position and if the Pats should use the Draft or Free Agency to fill it. I know the analysis will not be complete as we won't know if there is or isn't a salary cap and how high it may be, but it will paint a complete offseason picture (Free Agency) of how the Patriots can get better. Enjoy your work as always!!!

Mike Reiss
  (12:23 PM)

Great thought Kevin. On our Patriots blog, Mike Rodak put together a "free-agent fit" series earlier this offseason with all that information. If you visit the blog and go the categories and hit "free agency" it should take you there.

Damian Moran (Tullamore, Ireland)

Hi Mike. The general opinion seems to be that the Patriots will trade one of their top three picks hoping to get a first round pick next year and a third/fourth round pick this year. While it is great to be going into the draft with two first round picks, at some point surely these picks have to be used. Considering this draft is strong where we are weak, surely this is the year to cash in the chips rather than rtrading down or into next year.

Mike Reiss
  (12:24 PM)

I think you hit on a key point, Damian. It's easy to assume the Patriots will trade the picks, but let's say the time comes to select and the Patriots see a player available who they feel real strongly about, would it really be surprising if they just keep the pick? I don't think so. So the biggest thing is just studying the draft and understanding what opportunities are available to you. I think that's something the Patriots do very well.

Jason (Denver, CO)

Mike, Belichick does extensive scouting at this time of year. Oftentimes it is of players that he doesn't even seem to be considering. I know you have said that visits don't indicate interest just unanswered questions, but couldn't another component be scouting future opponents? This is the last time before these kids become NFL players that Belichick will have an opportunity to gather some direct information. Once on another team the only information to be gathered is from game film. If these players end up on a team on this seasons schedule even the game film will be limited.

Mike Reiss
  (12:25 PM)

I don't think that is necessarily the intent, Jason, but it is a residual benefit of the process.

Brady K (Beaver Falls, PA)

Mike, if the Pats had the first pick in the draft, and you are making the call, who do you select?

Mike Reiss
  (12:26 PM)

I'd go with Marcell Dareus.

Vincent (Middleboro)

Mike, Where does the lockout stand now? What are we waiting for to happen next? Or I guess the better question is, whose move is it?

Mike Reiss
  (12:27 PM)

Vincent, the next key date is April 6, which is the court hearing with Judge Susan Nelson. The results/appeals of that will dictate the next step. Disappointing on many levels.

Brad (Boston)

The Patriots have been looking for a big time receiver to stretch the field. How about Sidney Rice? Yes, it is a lot of money but I don't see why Steve Smith is the better option. Smith is old and still has a lot of money left on his contract (It would take about the same amount of money to sign Rice). Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:28 PM)

Brad, Tedy Bruschi is also thinking along these lines. He wants Rice. I don't think it's economically feasible. To a lesser degree, there is also the development of younger receivers to consider.

Hoogie (Lexington)

Hi Mike, if Daquan Bowers isn't 100% after his injury, and he falls out of the top ten, do you think BB could make a move to grab him? Is that even possible?

Mike Reiss
  (12:29 PM)

I'd be slightly surprised at this one, Hoogie. While I think the Patriots are going to put themselves in the mix for some 4-3 end types -- they might be thinking a bit outside the box this year -- it's just a hunch that Bowers isn't one of their targets, even if he falls.

MarkJ (Japan)

Who do think is the best draft pick in BB's era, considering the "value"?

Mike Reiss
  (12:30 PM)

Hard not to say Tom Brady, right?

Eric (MA)

The more I think about the draft the more I feel that the Patriots will make surprise sleeper picks after the 17th pick. I think that 17th will be a DE pass-rusher (Watt, Jordan or Heyward) and then it will be a wheel-and-deal mania and out of it, I predict that the they will pick Chykie Brown, Tex CB; S. Vereen RB & A. Jackson Fresno G in the later rounds. Got a good feeling about those players.

Mike Reiss
  (12:31 PM)

Thanks for the thoughts Eric. I like all three of those DEs, who I think are the top players for 3-4 defenses looking for that position.

Pat (New York)

Hey Mike,I'm starting to think the Patriots trade down from 17 and maybe even 28,come out of the 1st round with Costanza or Carimi,add a pick or two to next year and grab a mixture of Martez Wilson, Jabaal Sheard,Mikel Leshoure,and Kendrick Ellis over the next 2-3 rounds.What are your thoughts about any of these players and how they might fit with the Pats?

Mike Reiss
  (12:33 PM)

Pat, both Castonzo and Carimi are more tackle types and I view their target as more of a center/guard type. While they could still develop a tackle, and this is a deep class, I don't feel as strongly about that spot. Of the players mentioned, Sheard is the one for me. He had one off-field incident but one scout told me that doesn't reflect the type of player/person he is off the field. If that checks out, I think he's an exciting OLB/DE tweener to work with. Good pass rusher. Coached well at Pitt.

corky (Destin Fl.)

Hi Mike: I'm a bit confused on some of the articles I have been seeing on NFL.COM; sample: Kolb getting 1st round consideration from other teams. I thought all this was taboo with the lock out- is there talks behind closed doors for deals or is this just a case of reporters needing something to write about in these messed up times?Cheers

Mike Reiss
  (12:34 PM)

Corky, no trades can be made until there is a new CBA. So it might be a bit premature to be linking Kolb to another team, but I think it's something that could happen fast once that option is open to teams.

Shaun (Quincy)

Hey Mike,I've been saying all along we have solid depth, we need an impact pass rusher more than anything. I think most people agree, with Bill's penchance to shock everyone I think a move up is more probable than anyone thinks. Can you run through some possible scenarios? For instance, what would it take to move up to number 5 to get Von Miller?

Mike Reiss
  (12:36 PM)

Great thought, Shaun. Von Miller is probably the best pass rusher in the draft. Explosive first step. I don't think he's an option because I believe he'll be off the board in the Top 5 and it's just too much to move up there. So I think you then start looking at the 10 range as an area to move. Names like Quinn, Kerrigan, Smith are possible pass rushers who could be targets if you're thinking in that direction. I think you could trade 17 and a third-rounder to get up to that 10-12 range.

rick (CT)

Mike, enjoy your look at the draft picks at the slots Pats have this year. It really points out what a crap shoot the draft really is. While I agree with you that the Pats needs are first and foremost pass rusher and OL, I don't think BB will go that way. I think he goes skill positions (RB,WR or CB) with his first two picks. I definitely think he goes for Ingram, Torrey Smith or Aaron Williams am I way of base?

Mike Reiss
  (12:38 PM)

Rick, you can't be off base, because you're simply stating your opinion. I could see the RB, but I'd personally be surprised at a WR in the first 33 picks. I'm more open on the CB possibility if the right fit is there (Brandon Harris?). I like Ingram and think he's instant impact at 17 if available.

Corey (D.C.)

Will you please tell everyone up front that the Patriots will not take Randy Moss back, will not trade their two 1st round picks to get AJ Green, and will not draft Marc Ingram in the 1st round? That will save having to answer a bunch of questions later.

Mike Reiss
  (12:38 PM)

Why no Ingram, Corey? I wouldn't be surprised at that.

Michael (Napa, CA)

Down with moving down. Lets move up with both first. We have enough ammo to move up to the 10-14 and the 20-24 range. Take 2 studs and still have the 2nd rounders to play around with. Why not?

Mike Reiss
  (12:39 PM)

Michael, if you feel strongly enough about the idea that you're getting "studs", go for it.

madison lynn (orlando)

do you think college football players will be affected greatly by the NFL issues that are taking place

Mike Reiss
  (12:39 PM)

I do, Madison. The longer it goes, the tougher it is going to be for those rookies to get up to speed and make an impact.

Sean (Arkansas)

Patriots tend to trade down to get added value while still getting their guy. In order to do this, they must have a general feeling for those teams directly ahead of them in the draft. Do you think they spend a substantial amount of time studying the teams around them in the draft order and analyzing their needs in addition to the needs of the Patriots?Also, when teams trade draft picks...do they ask them who they will draft in the newly acquired spot? Is this a gentleman's agreement of sorts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:41 PM)

Absolutely, Sean, when it comes to studying other teams. Last year, for example, when the Patriots moved from 24 to 27, they had strong intel that Devin McCourty wasn't of interest to the Cowboys (24), Broncos (25) and Cardinals (26). So they felt comfortable making that deal. In terms of asking other teams who they are picking, I think it all depends on the relationship of the people involved. More often than not, I'd say it's a "no". You are more trusting your research.

Paul (Watertown)

Mike, you always say a players biggest improvement comes in year two. With the lack of a CBA hurt this process? Also, what happens to the draft picks this year after the draft? Aren't they immediately locked out?

Mike Reiss
  (12:42 PM)

I do think those Year 1 to Year 2 players take a hit here, Paul. Also, rookies are immediately locked out once the draft ends.

Charles Bennett (Georgia)

On a number of occasions you have suggested that Rickey Williams would be the best choice for signing a free agent running back.Are you expecting the Pats to open up a weed dispensary in Patriots Place to keep him happy?

Mike Reiss
  (12:42 PM)

Tough one, Charles.

Eric (MA)

There seem to be some exciting sleeper picks in this year?s draft. I predict that Chykie Brown, Tex CB, Andrew Jackson G Fresno and Shane Vereen, RB Cal will be picked by the Patriots. Who do you predict?

Mike Reiss
  (12:43 PM)

I like Vereen as well, Eric. I also have Greg McElroy as a QB option that I think would be a good "sleeper"-type fit for the Patriots as a developmental type.

Ben (Needham)

Hey Mike, 3 quick questions for you today.First off, can teams trade draft picks for players during the draft this year? Secondly, after having watched some tape on both Jabaal Sheard and Shane Vereen, I'm very impressed. How far do you think both of them will fall, and what's the likelihood of the Pats picking one or both of them up? Also, what are your thoughts on Jermaine Kearse out of Washington. On tape he plays big but also has great speed. Could he be a late round steal?

Mike Reiss
  (12:44 PM)

Ben, teams can not trade draft picks for players this year. I'm with you on Vereen and Sheard. I envision Sheard off the board first, possibly as early as the late first-round. Vereen is going to be more in the 3 range, I believe. As for Kearse, I don't know much. Apologies there.

Chris (Cape Cod)

Mike, My opinion is for the patriots to either trade up for an elite talent or keep all of their high picks. The patriots need to maximize the years left they have with Tom Brady and if they keep trading picks into the following years draft, than that does nothing to help us in 2011-2012 ( if there is a season). I say we keep our top 4 picks to add talent for this year's team instead of the future years unless we get a ridiculous offer for one of those picks because our time to win a super bowl is now!

Mike Reiss
  (12:45 PM)

Thanks Chris.

Sam (Wolverhampton, England)

Who in your opinion should be the other player selected in the Patriots Hall of Fame. I go with Drew Bledsoe because he was the Pats in the 90's.

Mike Reiss
  (12:45 PM)

Sam, I think it's Bledsoe, without question.

Mike C (Boston MA)

Mike,There has been some talk about the Pats possibly trading up to get a top pick this year with all the ammo they have. I was looking at the draft pick value chart and I was curious if there was a chart or method they use to calculate value of future picks.One scenario I thought of was if 28, next years 1st and say maybe 74th overall this year to move up to get someone like Von Miller or Patrick Peterson if they fell past the Bills at 3?

Mike Reiss
  (12:46 PM)

Mike, in all of Bill Belichick's 11 drafts with the Patriots, one thing he has never done during the draft is trade a future pick. I'd be shocked if that happens this year. He alwaays likes to keep that flexibility.

Mike Detata (Lakewood NJ)

Mike, do you see Steven Gostkowski as being back to 100% this year ?? If so - seems to me like he will be a huge weapon for the Patriots with his long leg after the new rule changes for kickoffs. Your thoughts ?

Mike Reiss
  (12:47 PM)

Mike, all signs are positive with Gostkowski. From what he's said, there is no reason, at this point, to think he won't be 100 percent. Agree that he will be a big weapon this year with the new kickoff rules.

Jeff (California)

Mike, I know that many people have been talking about the draft and some are complaining and saying that Bill should just take his picks where they are, or trade up, but I look at it this way...if BB does end up trading the 28th pick this year, and there's no one there worth the pick, we could end up with another high 1st next year. Imagine a team like the Pats doing this every year and getting a top 10 pick every year for the rest of Brady's career! How can people think this is bad??? Am I the only one seeing this great opportunity?

Mike Reiss
  (12:48 PM)

Jeff, I think Belichick's approach is sound. Those who might view it differently might make the case that you can't keep "postponing" your pick if you are letting impact talent go. It's a balance. But I think Belichick's approach, when matched against his peers, has proven to work.

Eric (MA)

I find it extremely hard to believe that the Pats will spend a 1st round draft pick on a 26 yr old guard like some project. That doesn?t scream ?value? in my eyes. It?s not going to happen. If Danny Watkins falls into the 2nd round, maybe, but still the age is a huge factor and I don't see it happening

Mike Reiss
  (12:49 PM)

Eric, I feel the same way you do.

John (Paterson NJ)

Mike, do you feel the Patriots will look to unload Brandon Merriweather prior to the season due to his off field troubles and inconsistent on field performance ?

Mike Reiss
  (12:50 PM)

I don't, John. I could be way off, but I think Bill Belichick likes Brandon Meriweather as a player and wants to keep working with him.

Shaun (Quincy)

Theoretically, wouldn't rookies be allowed to work out with teams prior to signing their contracts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:51 PM)

Shaun, that is not allowed this year, given the current situation.

Harry Slimm (Vineland NJ)

Mike, how much of an impact do you see Taylor Price making with the team this year ??

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

Harry, I think he probably gets hurt most of all the Year 2 players by this lockout. I see him competing for more playing time. His best option is going to be making his mark on special teams, a la David Givens in 2002.

Pete (Boston MA)

Mike, do you sense that the Patriots lost any confidence in Aaron Hernandez towards the end of last year and what do you expect his contribution to the team to be this year ?

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

I don't, Pete. More than anything with Hernandez, I think it's just tidying up some of the minor details. One false step on a route makes a big difference.

Clark (Muncie,IN)

Hi Mike. I know you have been critical of DE Adrian Clayborn following the scouting combine. Is it simply his personality you don't see as a fit? I like his game, but he seems to have some red flags with his personality (ie cab driver.). I guess my question is, is the zero chance for Adrian Clayborn to be a Patriot? If not zero, what % would you suggest?

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

I wouldn't rule it out Clark. Clayborn said something at the Combine that didn't sound Patriot-like, but I wouldn't hold that against him. I probably jumped the gun on that one a little bit.

John (Paterson NJ)

Mike, any word on Tom Brady's recovery from his foot surgery and should we expect Tom to be ready to go if and when training camp begins ??

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

John, from what I understans, everything remains on schedule for Brady to be ready to go come training camp.

Shane (Boston)

How will the new kickoff rule change how the Patriots draft special team players?

Mike Reiss
  (12:54 PM)

I don't see it having that much impact, Shane.

mike (boston)

Mike, in all of the mock drafts that have been coming out, we have identified a number of prospects in relation to our current posistions. If the patriots decided to move up the draft board from 17, who would do you think they would most likely go after, besides ingram

Mike Reiss
  (12:54 PM)

Mike, players like Robert Quinn, Aldon Smith and Cameron Jordan, perhaps.

Brian (Mansfield)

What would the Patriots likely have to give up to trade up for Von Miller (Top 5?)? #17

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

Brian, it would take a lot more than that. Probably 17, 28 and the third-rounder. Maybe even a pick next year.

Shane (Costa Rica)

Greeting from south of the border, Mike. Quick question: If you had to bet on the Patriots either trading up in the draft (1st round) or down...which would you choose....Please say up for my sanity

Mike Reiss
  (12:56 PM)

Shane, considering Belichick has made 25 trades down and 15 trades up during drafts with the Patriots, I'll play the odds and say down.

Jeff (California)

In response to the question about the 28th pick Mike, I think I'd be looking for either a pair of 2nd rounders and a lower round pick at WORST, but prefer a 2012 1st and 2011 3rd.I look at a team like Arizona, with Wisenhunt possibly on the hot seat, as a possible suiter for getting back into the 1st round. That could potentially net us a top 5 pick next year if they bomb.

Mike Reiss
  (12:56 PM)

Thanks Jeff.

Mike Reiss
  (12:56 PM)

Let's go for another 5 or so.

Al (Natick )

Since FA's aren't likely to be available before the draft, I see the Patriots as having a lot of needs in this draft (which is scary since the team philosophy is not to draft based on need). Can the they be a championship level team next season without drafting any OLBs? Could a significant upgrade at DE (where there is strength in the draft) make up for the deficiencies at OLB?

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

I really like this point, Al. I think a strong 3-4 DE like Cameron Jordan, J.J. Watt or Cameron Heyward would improve the pass rush. So yes, I think they can potentially come out of this draft without an OLB and still improve the pass rush. It's not ideal, but not out of the question.

Phil (7'th Floor, First Cube on the Left)

Hey Mike, thanks for still doing these chats during what should be your offseason. Am I the only one that thinks that these new rule changes for kickoffs will be counter-productve to preventing injuries? I imagine that with a shorter field to work with, kickers will try to get more air under the kicks, and the ballls witll have more hang time, like a punt. Thus, the gunners will be able to work up a full head of steam, and create even more violent collisions. Am I misguided?

Mike Reiss
  (12:58 PM)

Another good point, Phil. Some coaches have mentioned the same thing. This could promote more of those high-arcing, pin-you-in-deep kickoffs that could potentially lead to more injuries.

Matt (NH)

There is all this talk about Von Miller being the top DE/OLB in the draft and I have seen/heard ppl wanting to trade up to get him (I doubt we would). On the other side I have heard that there is questions with him holding up against the run. If he is strictly a pass rusher or may not be able to hold the edge against the run game, how can he be considered a top 10 prospect. What are your thoughts on Miller?

Mike Reiss
  (12:59 PM)

For the right scheme, Matt, I think Miller is a Top 5 guy. If looking at the Patriots' traditional 3-4 alignment, Miller probably isn't the right fit, but he'd be an instant upgrade in the sub defense/third down, which is where the Patriots struggled last year (57 percent of the snaps).

Shawn (Delaware)

Mike, I think I speak for many Pats fan when I say the pass rush needs to be address NOW. I believe we can grab a few "stud" rushers without giving up a lot of picks. I think we rely on Brady & Belechick too much. The offense can be fixed (late round, free agency). I just think it's time for the defense to make some noise next year. your thoughts.

Mike Reiss
  (12:59 PM)

I concur, Shawn.

mike (lynn)

Mike, If Cam Jordan, JJ Watt, or Ryan Kerrigan are sitting there at 17 which I think atleast 2 of the three names will be, who do you think the patriots take and why?

Mike Reiss
  (1:01 PM)

I don't think Watt will be there, Mike, but I view him as the best player of the three. I really like Kerrigan's explosiveness, but think Jordan is the pick because he projects to more of a three-down value than Kerrigan, who might be only a one-down player for you (albeit on third down, which is the crucial down the Patriots struggled on). That's the dilemma.

grandjordanian (San Diego, CA)

Mike, what's with all this talk about drafting a wide receiver? Isn't it folly to waste a pick on this (knowing how much we need OL/DL/OLB help) when we've got Tate developing and, maybe more importantly, Price on the bench?

Mike Reiss
  (1:02 PM)

That's my take as well. To me, Price is almost like another draft pick this year.

Jaycee (Texas)

Mike...are you concerned that older players coming back from injuries like Ty Warren or Leigh Bodden are going to be held back or limited because of the lack of on hands re-hab by the team? Could they not be ready for camp because of it?

Mike Reiss
  (1:04 PM)

If they put in their time, they should be ready Jaycee. Logan Mankins proved last year that he could miss half the season, work out on his own, and come in and play at an All-Pro level. I know it's slightly different, but I don't see any reason Bodden and Warren won't be ready if they're putting in the time and effort.

Pierce (Brighton)

Hey Mike, my question is about replacing tom brady. If you could choose one prospect in this years draft or next years draft as someone who could step in and "try and fill his shoes", who would it be?

Mike Reiss
  (1:05 PM)

Pierce, I like Brian Hoyer, the current backup. But in this draft, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi and Alabama's Greg McElroy are two developmental types I think could be good fits.

Mile High Pats Fan (Denver)

Hey Mike, is this the year that QB-needy teams "reach" a bit to make sure they end up with one of the top prospects at that position? The Panthers, Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, 49ers, Titans, Redskins, Vikings, Dolphins, Seahawks, and possibly the Jaguars, who all need QBs. That's 11 teams fighting over 5 or 6 guys. What do you think happens here?

Mike Reiss
  (1:06 PM)

Fascinating stuff, Mile High, and something I believe benefits the Patriots greatly. I wouldn't be surprised if 4 QBs ultimately go in the first round.

Kyle (Key West)

Mike...why is it now a popular opinion that you can just plug in any running back that's decent and get by with it. Why not find an Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson and open up your attack? Wouldn't Tom Brady be that much more dangerous if he was more balanced on offense?

Mike Reiss
  (1:07 PM)

Kyle, I think part of the thinking is look at players like Arian Foster (undrafted), who wind up leading the league in rushing. That said, I agree with you that if you have the chance to add a Mark Ingram, that would add a dynamic element to the Patriots' offense.

matt (upton)

Hey Mike--You used to answer the phones at the MetroWest when I called in HS baseball scores, so congrats to you on your success. My question is about Marcus Stroud. I noticed his comments about how the Pats are the ideal fit for veterans like him, and wanted to see what you thought his overall role might be. Also, will they re-sign Gerard Warren? Thanks!

Mike Reiss
  (1:10 PM)

Let's end on this one, Matt. Thanks for the thoughts and if I remember correctly, I was usually taking in winning box scores from your games. The Patriots generally do a very good with veterans at the end of their careers. I envision Stroud playing a similar role as Gerard Warren did last year. It would vary from game to game, but primarily, he'd be a first and second down player. As for Warren, I could see it going either way, but if I had to guess today I'd say he won't be back because they added Stroud.

Mike Reiss
  (1:10 PM)

Thanks to everyone for chatting today. There were more questions than I anticipated. I will attempt to answer some more in the coming days on our blog. Let's chat again next Thursday.