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April 7, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike Reiss

Mike Reiss
  (11:58 AM)

Good afternoon and welcome to today's Patriots chat. Thanks for joining in. One question that was tossed out this morning on our Patriots blog on ESPNBoston was "Where do you stand on a first-round RB?" Here were some responses before we get started.

Marcus (Ellington,CT)

Hi Mike, I'm completely against a first round back. This team has much more concerning issues and I view Ingram as a slight upgrade over BJGE. In my mind the best case scenario is that either Watt or Jordan are available at 17 and the main focus then becomes the offensive line. They need to come away with a tackle of the future and at least one interior lineman who will be ready to play on day one. I have a feeling Jermaine Cunningham is going to solve part of the pass rush problem without costing us a valuable pick.

Bob (@ work (shhhhhhh))

I firmly believe selecting a RB in rd1 would be a huge mistake. we have huge holes to fill on the OL & even DL

David B (New York)

Mike, not to state the obvious, but doesn't the early RB pick question hinge on whether they keep both 1's and the early 2? If that's the case, you would surely have the luxury of grabbing a back and still getting needed front seven help. But if they trade pick 28, wouldn't taking an early RB mean that once again the pass rush would not be addressed as thoroughly as it should?

Ben (Needham)

Hey Mike,I'm a huge Mark Ingram fan and think he would look great in a Pats uniform; however, as far as top needs and overall value, I would vote against picking him up with the 17th pick. In my personal mock, I have us trading away the 28th, but if we hold onto it, I can see Ingram there. I'm a much bigger fan of a Shane Vereen, or even a Mikel Leshoure, as they provide a solid 3rd presence at RB with a definite upside and won't cost us a first round pick or the money to go with it. If you had to predict a spot where we'd most likely pick up an RB, what pick would you choose?

Rob (Burbank, WA )

I feel as though we can get good value for one of our 3rd round picks with a RB. Go after a top tier RB next year after we fill the more glaring needs that we need for hopefully this coming season. I would like to state now that I would like to see LaMicheal James RB from Oregon and Justin Blackmon WR from OSU as possible targets for the 2012 draft. I am looking forward to seeing the Patriots soak the QB needy teams for picks when we trade either 28 or 33. Thanks for always making my workday go by quicker Mike.

Matt G. (Boston)

Hi Mike - my take on a RB in the first round is probably the same as most... Ingram if he's there, not at the expense of a DE/OLB who's rated higher. I strongly feel that as long as a DE/OLB or even OL are there at 17 and even 28, and they grade highly, those are stronger needs for the Pats. Talented RBs will be found in later rounds and could be gotten via FA, too.

Jon (Concord)

Drafting a running back in the first round just doesn't make that much sense to me. While Ingram would be nice to have as a back for the future, I don't see it as a pressing concern right now. Besides, a running back can't get anywhere if his offensive line doesn't open up the holes. I say draft a better center, because Koppen is getting to be a bit of a liability, or guard, if Mankins doesn't stick around. Do you agree?

Ben (Castle Rock, CO)

Hi Mike, I feel very strongly against drafting a running back or wide receiver with any picks in the 1st 2 rounds. Obviously there are defensive needs for some of those picks, but on the offensive side of the ball I feel like dominating the line of scrimmage should be the priority. Getting stronger on the O-line should improve the running game, sustain drives, win time of possesion, wear down defenses, and enhance play action. If you have dominant offensive linemen, then a 3rd or 4th round talent at RB can be just as productive as a 1st rounder, and giving TB12 more time to throw eliminates the need for the "stretch the field" type of receiver.

Chris (Poland)

There are more pressing needs than a RB in the first round. Perhaps targeting a RB with their second pick in the second round BB can still get good value at that spot. They have a much more pressing need to find a pass rusher and a stand out RDE. Additionally, they hopefully will target an guard or G/T type player with one of their first three picks. I would prefer them to go after a RB in free agency whenever that happens. We are not looking for the pass blocking third down option (Woodhead) or the grinder type which I think BJGE is. The need a faster back with a little bit of power. That can be addressed in late round 2 or rounds 3-4. The addition of Mark Ingram isn't going to help them get after the QB.

Jeff (Needham, MA)

Hey Mike, my thoughts on a 1st round running back...if the 28th pick is up, Ingram is available, there is no better player that fits the team, and we don't think we could get him at 33, then I'd say take him. Personally, I doubt Ingram lasts to 28, and even if he does, I don't know that he would be the best player available on Belichick's board. Factors to consider, though, are that he's coming from Nick Saban's program and passes the "eye test" as a great football player; he might fit the mold of someone the Patriots want to take.

Mike Reiss
  (12:05 PM)

Great stuff on these. A few thoughts from this end on the RB-in-the-first-round. I went back through Bill Belichick's drafting history in New England and Cleveland and he's done it twice (Tommy Vardell in 1992, Laurence Maroney in 2006) and those players were not hits. I don't think that would stop him from taking Mark Ingram if that opportunity was there, but it is something to consider. I think most are in agreement that the biggest thing this team needs in the draft is an improvement to the pass rush. So that should be priority No. 1, but if it's a force at No. 17, and Ingram is the best value/choice based on the scouting process, I'd make the pick knowing that pass-rush help is coming over the next few picks.

Mike Reiss
  (12:06 PM)

If not a RB in round 1, I think it's 2 or 3. I see this as the year the Patriots draft a running back for the first time since 2007.

Mike Reiss
  (12:06 PM)

That 2/3 area is where the depth/quality of this running back class is.

Mike Reiss
  (12:07 PM)

All right, let's plan on chatting until about 1 p.m. Not sure if you just caught Zoltan Mesko on ESPN's First Take, but it was a solid segment. We'll plan on posting the video on ESPNBoston when it becomes available.

Pete (Vermont)

Mike, Do you think it might be time to offer Brady in trade for a boatload of draft picks over the next few years from a team like the 49s or Arizona. It gets him closer to the west coast and it would turn somebody like S.F. an immediate Super Bowl contender. Turn the ball over to Hoyer and build a power running game and great defense

Mike Reiss
  (12:08 PM)

Pete, I wouldn't entertain that possibility. I think Brady is one of the elite QBs and you want him over the next 4-5 years because he gives you the best chance to win Super Bowls.

Pete (Central Vermont)

Any idea if any of the Patriots are working out as a group in the Boston area. The lockout would appear to hurt the second or third year players who are looking to make a big jump in playing time this year.

Mike Reiss
  (12:09 PM)

Pete, some players are working out together in the region, under the direction of a personal trainer. I agree that this lockout hurts the development of those second-year players who would benefit most from being in a voluntary offseason program.

Clark (San Diego)

If an elite pass rusher like robert quinn is there at 10 or 12, what do you think it would take for the pats to trade up and get him?

Mike Reiss
  (12:09 PM)

Clark, I think you're looking at No. 17 and a late second-rounder (60) to make that jump.

Steve (Millbury, MA)

A lot of writers now have the Pats taking Mark Ingram at 28. Do you think that BB will use a first rd pick on a RB? I would think more pressing needs can still easily be filled at OLB/DE and OL and they would be better off taking a RB in the middle rounds. With BJGE and Woodhead they already have 2 good RBs or we all missing something here?

Mike Reiss
  (12:11 PM)

Steve, the Patriots will end up keeping four running backs on the 2011 roster, most likely. So you have two spots there for the taking, which means in my view, a running back is a likelihood this year. The question is how high: I'd say within the first three rounds and if Ingram is there in the first and it's the best value, I'd make the move with the feeling I could address pass rush/other needs elsewhere.

Radim (Czech republic)

Hi Mike. I wanna ask you about RB and OL in the upcoming draft. I think we're not gonna take these position in the first round. At RB as you said the teams can find starters in late rounds or FA. But I am also sure that we will not pick OL in the first round. Because we will trade 17. or 28. pick and we don't need first round caliber OL to make NFL starter. We have one of the best OL coach so with him the second or third round is enough( Vollmer is great example). So in the first round we will pick just one player and it is going to be pass rusher. I would give it 99% that it will go this way. What do you think about my thought that we don't have to pick OL because of OL coach? In the end I want to thank to you for your an outstanding job.

Mike Reiss
  (12:13 PM)

Radim, I agree with the point that Dante Scarnecchia is one of the best line coaches in the business. I'd hesitate, though, to say that the team doesn't need to address that area with a top pick simply because of him. I think Scarnecchia himself would be the first to say a coach doesn't put on the pads and play. You still need talented players and while Scarnecchia often gets the most out of his linemen, we see the difference it makes when you have a Logan Mankins-type presence in there.

MarkJ (Japan)

Mike, suppose the Patriots end up with only one pick in each of the first two rounds, which position, or whom, would they try to draft?

Mike Reiss
  (12:14 PM)

I'd look at defensive line, where this draft is deep (Cameron Jordan, J.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward) and outside linebacker (Jabaal Sheard) as the top two areas, with interior offensive line (Mike Pouncey) on the on-deck circle.

Mike Reiss
  (12:15 PM)

Then I'd slide the running back, if Ingram is there, in the four-hole.

MarkJ (Japan)

Nolan Nawrocki's draft value chart was an excellent material to survey the 2011 draftees. I do not completely agree with him (e.g., Danny Watkins and Cam Newton could be lower), but, Mike, how about you? Could you name a couple of players whom you value more than Nawrocki?For your question, I believe Pats need a RB, but should rather sign a veteran FA RB.

Mike Reiss
  (12:15 PM)

I just included a few names in there, MarkJ. Heyward and Sheard are the two.

DJ (Ann Arbor)

Hi Mike. Here's an idea that I've been mulling over. Look how successful the Patriots' approach to the TE position was last year: they completely revamped the position and took it from a weakness to a strength. I'm thinking that this year's deep draft (plus the return of Ty Warren, who can play the Crumpler role) give the Pats the opportunity to do the same thing with DE. Suppose we've got the chance to draft Watt or Jordan at 17, and Heyward at 28. I know we've got other needs, but think about how that would solidify the D-line for years to come. Everyone always says you can't have too many D-linemen, and last year we were taking them in off the streets. What do you think? Synergy (like Gronk, Hernandez, Crumpler) or overkill? If we could get some help at OLB and OG in the second round, and pick up another rotational RB in the third, that seems like a great haul. (Of course BB probably isn't going to use all those picks, but let's pretend.)

Mike Reiss
  (12:16 PM)

I know what you are saying DJ, and I remember having a similar thought in 2007 with Jon Beason and David Harris as possibilities at LB. I'd still be surprised if they go that route.

Greg (Charlottesville VA)

If you were Bill B, and the Pats had the #1 overall pick, which player would you pick?

Mike Reiss
  (12:16 PM)

Greg, I'd go with Marcell Darius, the DL from Alabama.

Dennis (Chicago)

Forget the draft, lockout etc...I'm I can't wait to see The Brady 6 next Tuesday night! I got goosebumps watching the trailer. It makes me feel so lucky to have seen one of the greatest of all time play the game for US!! We are very lucky as patriot fans and this documentary reminds us of that!

Mike Reiss
  (12:17 PM)

Dennis, I had the opportunity to watch it in its entirety and I don't think you will be disappointed. It is extremely well done. Even my wife, who is not a big football fan, was drawn in by it.

Kyle (Cranston, RI)

Thanks for posting the value chart. Also, I love the point you emphasized last week that when the Pats trade down they pick up more assets without losing a top tier talent that they would have taken in the spot anyway. The question is this year is do they bring on too many guys and can't keep them all (like Ted Larson last year)?

Mike Reiss
  (12:19 PM)

Kyle, I think this is something to be careful with, but in the end, I could envision 7-8 of the 9 picks being made. I think you look at the roster and see that many spots up for grabs, so I don't think they'd necessarily be wasted picks. I'd also mention, on a guy like Ted Larsen, if you think he has future potential, you have to find a way to keep him on the roster (e.g. Tom Brady as the fourth QB in 2000). I don't think the Patriots regret letting Larsen go, but the way he went on to have success with the Buccaneers, it does make me wonder what their decision-making process/evaluation was with him.

Patsfaninny (U.S.A. : New York : New York)

Mike, what are your thoughts on how the lockout is impacting the Patriots off season strategy? Given how young the team is, I would think their preference would be to use some of their draft assets to trade for a few veterans (like they did for Moss and Welker) that could jump right in and be effective from day one. Do you think the inability to trade for players and the relative youth of the existing team will factor heavily into their draft strategy (e.g. more inclined to move up for a stud).

Mike Reiss
  (12:21 PM)

That's a point that Tedy Bruschi made on sports radio WEEI the other day, Patsfaninny. I do think this handcuffs them a bit. It's not ideal and takes an option away from them. But I disagree that they could become become too young with all these picks. I think they can still make the picks, and if they do a good job, they will still have the opportunity to complement the roster when free agency ultimately does begin.

Austin (Maryland)

Hey Mike, Do you know what the ESPN Documentary about Tom Brady airing on April 12, at 8 p.m. is mostly about?

Mike Reiss
  (12:22 PM)

Austin, it's the story of how Brady fell to the 199th pick in the 2000 draft, and it highlights his rise as well as the lives/careers of the six quarterbacks selected before him.

Jonathan (Hudson NY)

Mike, love the Chats. Wouldn't it be in the owners best interest for the judge to grant a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout. This way the owners could operate under last years agreement, thus allowing trades during the draft, then their appeal could go through after the draft to extend the lockout and continue their bargaining position.

Mike Reiss
  (12:24 PM)

Jonathan, so many twists and turns on this, but I would expect a quick appeal on any decision which further puts the situation in limbo and clouds the picture. I guess what I'm saying is that regardless of the decision, I think we're entering a draft without trades.

Tore (New Jersey)

Hi Mike. I am really hoping the Pats go OL with one of their two second round picks. Could you give me two names on the OL you like in the second round.

Mike Reiss
  (12:26 PM)

I think the area to focus is in the interior. It might be a little high for him, but Wisconsin's John Moffitt is a strong player who I think could be a good fit in the third-round range.

Mike Reiss
  (12:26 PM)

Clint Boling, if he checks out off the field, could be another to keep an eye on.

Eric (MA)

I?ve written to you many times (and probably too many) about my hopes of the Patriots trading up to take Robert Quinn but you are very diplomatic in your answer. I?m looking for a definitive answer from you (you say things like I?d consider it). Would you rather have the Patriots stand pat at pick 17 and let the chips fall where they may or would you rather see them aggressively move up to pick Quinn if he fell to pick 10. According to the draft value chart, the Patriots would need to give picks 17, 60 & 124 to Washington for the 10. Is that too rich for you or would you do it?

Mike Reiss
  (12:27 PM)

Eric, I'd say go get him. Make that trade. I think the Patriots might be able to keep that 124.

KTP (Akumal, MX)

Mike - Why can't Tom Brady get over being drafted in the 6th round? Is that really what motivates him after all these years? I mean Peyton Manning works really hard and was drated first. Do you think the Brady stuff is just marketing spin to increase his "brand." Seems like TB12 is concentrating a bit more on endorsements lately (UGGS, Under Armor, Ect...)

Mike Reiss
  (12:28 PM)

I don't think so at all. I'm quite certain the Brady documentary wasn't his idea. My sense is that he was approached by ESPN/NFL Films to do it, and agreed.

Johnny (Billerica)

Ok so with the draft approaching, I keep telling myself this will be the year the Pats trade up to get an immediate impact player. There is a reason BB got all these extra picks for this draft, because he knew there was going to be a rookie pay scale. With that being said, I would LOVE to see us move up and get Robert Quinn. Was watching some highlights of him going up against Costanzo, and he just made him look silly. We need that dynamic pass rusher, a nasty guy like Terrel Suggs! Thanks!

Mike Reiss
  (12:29 PM)

Johnny, thanks for bringing the energy. If there is one thought from me on this draft from the Patriots, it's the pass rush. They were 32nd in the league last year on third down and I think it's going to be hard to call this draft a success if they don't improve the rush in some form. If Quinn is there at 10, I think you have to strike it if he checks out off the field/medically.

David (geology lecture)

Greg Salas... More than a slot guy? I think so. I see a big bodied possession guy who can line up inside outside and backwards. why not spend a late mid rounder on this guy. he seems to fit the mold of a pats reciever, only difference is that he isnt a dwarf.

Mike Reiss
  (12:30 PM)

David, I think they like Salas. I know they've spent some time with him. He's on the short list of WRs I think they'd consider. One question is when he's lined up outside, is he fast enough? It looks to me like he plays faster than his timed speed.

Eric (Burlington, MA)

Hi Mike, I have the feeling that many Pats fans will be very disappointed with this draft. First of all many of the first round players appear to be more risky than usual and others are tough to project how they would fit in the Pats scheme (DE and OLB in particular). This alone with the fact there could be a very limited training camp/off season makes it tougher for these rookies to have an impact, making trading into next year an even better move than usual. It really wouldn't surprise me if they didn't make a single pick in the first round. What do you think?

Mike Reiss
  (12:32 PM)

Eric, what would we write about on Thursday, April 28? Just kidding. I would be surprised if they trade out of the first round completely. I think the strength of this draft -- DL/OT -- fits nicely into what could help the Patriots.

Pat (New York)

There are no sure fire studs in this years draft at running back, so I hope the Patriots don't draft one.They also don't need developmental players having just developed one in BJGE,and also having clayton.What they need is Faulk back to continue to mentor and back up at special team spots as well as Woodhead(do we really think he'll go the whole season without getting injured).Then find a veteran who's a hard runner as a free agent.Your thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:33 PM)

Pat, I envision the Patriots drafting a running back and then signing a veteran in free agency to fill out the ranks. Faulk is going to be interesting because he might duplicate what you already have in Danny Woodhead, and doesn't give you any special-teams value outside of "safe" punt rteurns. If I had to guess, I'd say Woodhead bumps Faulk off the roster.

Matt G. (Boston)

Hi Mike- thanks for posting the NFL Coaching Power Rankings. I don't know if there would be much argument in these parts about Belichick's greatness... Who would you think would be in line for the gig in the future, if/when Coach B calls it quits in New England? Do you get the sense the Krafts would promote from within? Look outside, but still within the Belichick/Parcells tree? Or start all-new? Thanks!

Mike Reiss
  (12:34 PM)

Matt, let's say it's in five years, I look at someone like Josh McDaniels possibly getting a look. Much like Belichick, it would be his second time around, he'd have learned from the first experience, and he'd be able to keep the system pretty much intact with one of his best friends as personnel chief (Nick Caserio).

Jonathan (Neipris)

Hey Mike, who do you see breaking out next year in their sophomore campaign? Also, who could you see enduring a sophomore slump? Thanks man

Mike Reiss
  (12:36 PM)

Jonathan, I've been focusing on Jermaine Cunningham as a second-year player who could build on his 50-percent playtime and possibly become more of a true three-down player. On the flip side, Devin McCourty has set the bar awfully high. I'm not sure it's fair to say he'd be slumping, but that's asking a lot for him to turn in a similar season.

West (Stamford, CT)

Hi Mike. Is Coach Belichick being his usual inscrutable self or do you have the impression that the subject of the lockout/work stoppage/ interruption of FOOTBALL is an emotional one for him? I know he's all business in his day-to-day dealings with players, coaches, and the media... but I think his attachment to the game is much more passionate than general perception. His reaction to the proposed changes to the kickoff rules was on the emotional side, for instance. Have any insight into how he's dealing with the labor situation?

Mike Reiss
  (12:36 PM)

I think he's passionate about it, West, but he's also disciplined in focusing on what he can control. With that, he's locked into draft prep.

farn (Nova Scotia)

If NE were to trade #28, do you believe it would necessarily be for a 2012 #1 or could you see a scenario were they'd be willing to trade it for a 2nd rounder this year and another lower pick in either '11 or '12 ?

Mike Reiss
  (12:37 PM)

Farn, I think it would have to include a future 1.

Nate (Andover)

What do you think of Daniel Thomas?

Mike Reiss
  (12:39 PM)

Nate, Thomas is a bigger back who looks to be solid from an all-around perspective. He's not a burner, so he's not necessarily a breakaway type of threat, but I think he'd be a nice complement to Green-Ellis, Woodhead and another runner.

Austin (Maryland)

Do you think the patriots will end up trading their 17th pick and a 3rd or 4th rounder to go up to number 10 if robert Quinn is still available?

Mike Reiss
  (12:40 PM)

I think it would be a great move, Austin. But Quinn might not be there. If filling out a mock draft, I could see him at 3 (Bills), 5 (Arizona), 6 (Browns) and a few other spots before we get there.

Rob (Dorchester)

Mike, it seems like DE is an obvious need and 1st projections seem to go from JJ Watt or Cameron Jordan. Do you see a big drop off between the 2? What about with Wilkerson?

Mike Reiss
  (12:42 PM)

I think Watt is a better fit -- a bit longer and sturdier -- while Jordan offers more from a "move" perspective (making him maybe a better fit for a 3-4 scheme like the Packers, Steelers or Chargers). I like Wilkerson, but not as much as Ohio State's Cameron Heyward.

Will (Pittsburgh )

Don't you think it would be a waste to use a first or even second round draft pick on a running back (even Mark Ingram) given how badly the Patriots need a game changing pass rusher, D line help, and someone to protect Brady after our line is gutted by free agency? Especially considering we got 1,500 yards and all those touchdowns out of two undrafted free agents that seem more than capable of handling the job.

Mike Reiss
  (12:46 PM)

Will, I agree on the need to improve that pass rush. When looking at the draft, I think you can do that with a DE and OLB, and maybe the combination comes with a DE in the first round, and OLB in either the late first/early second. I think the Patriots would be doing well with someone like Jabaal Sheard, in your backyard at Pitt, to improve the pass rush and he might be there in the 28/33 slots. So I'd lean there if all things are equal. But if the Patriots don't see the fit at those DE/OLB spots, I don't believe in "forcing the need". Usually that means you're back in the same spot the next year, with the same need.

Jason Beisiegel (Denver, CO)

Mike, by all reports it looks like Judge Susan Nelson is leaning toward lifting the lockout and refusing to grant the owners a stay during their appeal. In the event that she accomplishes all of this before the draft, and it seems that she will, who will be the free agent that the Patriots bring in first? I know they will devote considerable effort to resigning some of their own players, but with such a short window before the draft I have to believe they will aggressively pursue the players they want to fill holes in the roster. I am personally hoping for a day one visit from Sidney Rice, concluding with a godfather deal. What you got?

Mike Reiss
  (12:47 PM)

Jason, I'm still not buying that free agency would happen before the draft. In the event it does, I wonder if there would be a delay on free agency until after the draft. But let's just say there is free agency before the draft, I could see the Patriots looking at a running back (e.g. Ricky Williams) to give them more flexibility in the draft.

Stephen Smith (Florida)

Read a report that Seattle was the only team to see Greg McElroy at his Pro Day. The Pats Scouted him earlier. What does this mean that they received enough info during that scouting process and didn't need to attend or during that process they found out enough to say they are no longer interested

Mike Reiss
  (12:48 PM)

Stephen, it could mean all of the above. I think it's dangerous to read too much into teams' intentions on these workouts.

Drew (Fort Lauderdale)

Mike, The obvious choices for the first round are DE, OL, and OLB. Seeing as that they are obvious, we know BB is not going to take any of these positions. What do you see Belichick doing that none of us are currently talking about, as is his style?

Mike Reiss
  (12:49 PM)

If those spots aren't in play, I'd say RB with Mark Ingram. I'd be surprised at a CB at No. 17.

Nate (Andover)

Hi, Mike. I know you have mentioned targeting a G like Pouncey in the first round, but it seems to me like that is a very deep position in this draft. We could add someone like Danny Watkins, Rodney Hudson, Stefen Wisniewski, Benjamin Ijalana, Marcus Cannon, Orlando Franklyn, Clint Boling, Will Rackley, or Steve Schilling in the 2nd or 3rd round, all of which would be capable of starting day 1 since it's a strong draft class. Tackle seems to make more sense where there is a far more significant drop off between Sherrod/Solder/Carimi and Carpenter/Barksdale/Gilbert.

Mike Reiss
  (12:50 PM)

Good point, Nate. There is a dropoff after the top tackles, while the depth of the guard/center class could possibly yield a statrer/top backup into the middle rounds.

Brady (Back Back)

Hi Mike, What do you think of Allen Bailey? Can he play RDE or LDE in our sytem?

Mike Reiss
  (12:51 PM)

Belichick spent time with him at Miami. I think they like him. Second-round DE possibility, and cross-train him at both spots, but likely fits on the right side in my view.

Jay (Raleigh)

Mike love this chat thank you from a displaced Pats fan.I have been a Pats fan since the early 70's and my take is that we can win right now provided we protect Brady. If we score 30-35 our existing defense will prevail (with a little help) so shouldn't we get the players to protect Tom NOW so he won't be creamed come playoff time?Just a thought.

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

Thanks Jay. I think that's the argument to select a player like Mike Pouncey, the guard/center from Florida, at No. 17. One of the safest picks in the draft. Safe isn't always best, but I think you know you're getting a 16-game starter from Day 1. Also, it's worth noting that the Packers (Bryan Bulaga) and Steelers (Maurkice Pouncey) -- this year's Super Bowl teams -- drafted OL in the first round last year.

Dominic (Denver)

As someone stated in the chat a few weeks back, with so much agreement among us fans on what the Pats need to do, look for Bill to draft a RB, TE, and CB with the first three picks. But what I'd like is DE, OLB, and two interior OL with the first four picks, assuming relative value is there at those picks. Then do whatever with subsequent picks; RB, CB, WR. Also hoping the injunction happens and we trade Mankins for addtl 1st rounder.

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

Belichick has us all psyched out :)

spencer (Denver)

I saw a trade senario that had the pats moving way up for Von Miller. Any thoughts on that?

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

I don't see it, Spencer. Too high to go.

Matt (Elon NC)

Assuming (as is likely) that the Patriots draft a pass rusher in the first round, how will the depth chart look for the D-line and linebackers?

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

Matt, I think the key thing to look at more than the depth chart is third-down defense. Whoever the Patriots draft needs to play on third down, where the Patriots ranked 32nd in the NFL last year. A big part of that was a lack of a pass rush. The Patriots were in their sub defense 57 percent of the time last season and, at the least, that first-round pass rusher -- assuming that's the pick -- will be counted on to fill that void.

Andy (Cape Town, South Africa)

Mike, huge Pats fan in South Africa...If there is ONE player the Pats move up for in the draft, who would it be?

Mike Reiss
  (12:56 PM)

Andy, I don't envision the Patriots being able to move up past 10. Given the need for the pass rush help, if Robert Quinn is there, I'd say it's him.

Gregg (Scottsdale, AZ)

Mike, I am intrigued by to linebackers that are never associated with the Pats in mock drafts, Bruce Carter of North Carolina and Martez Wilson of Illinois. Carter was a monster before he hurt his knee and could be a steal in the second or third rounds and Wilson is an inside linebacker who has played outside so he has the kind of versatility BB relishes plus he was incredibly productive. Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

Gregg, I don't see the Patriots going for an off-the-line linebacker unless it represents true value and they aren't forcing a need elsewhere. They are pretty stocked there with Mayo, Spikes, Guyton and Fletcher. So I see this is a longer shot.

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

Let's go for another 5...

Walter (NY, NY)

Mike, do you think that the team will actually use all of its picks this year? If so, with the lockout, do you think there will be significant problems integrating them into the system this year? The team will not have the off-season to train them. Do you think that this will set the team back?

Mike Reiss
  (12:58 PM)

Walter, I could see 7-8 of the 9 picks being used. That said, I do think there will be big challenges integrating them into the systemn if we're still in a lockout. Every team is in the same boat, but that's a real issue.

Zain (Chicago)

The widespread need for qbs seems to be driving up where the second tier qbs get drafted in mock drafts. When does the last second tier qb (Dalton, locker, kapernick, mallet, ponder) get drafted?

Mike Reiss
  (12:58 PM)

Zain, this is all guesswork on my part, but I wouldn't be surprised if they sneak into the back half of the first round.

spencer (Denver)

Could you see cam jordan with 1st pick and Justin Houston with the second 1st rounder?

Mike Reiss
  (12:59 PM)

Spencer, I'm not a big Houston guy. Looks a bit stiff to me and one scout mentioned to me that he sometimes looks like a first-rounder and other time like a seventh-rounder. I think he might be best as a pure 4-3 end, too.

Serena (Newport)

Mike, I want Kerrigan and I want him bad. What are the odds my wish comes true at pick #17? Do you think Kerrigan would be a fit for the Pats?

Mike Reiss
  (1:00 PM)

Serena, I think Kerrigan would be a great addition. Few defenders in this draft are more disruptive. I have my doubts the Patriots will pick him, though, because I believe they will view him as to one-dimensional (pass rush). The intrigue to me is that the one dimension is exactly what they need.

Nick (Memphis)

Mike, can you explain why this Brady documentary is being made? Hasn't this storyline been beaten to death already? Whatever critics Brady had were silenced literally a decade ago. I've been a Pats fan all my life, but it's time to shine the spotlight on other quarterbacks. I'm exhausted of this tired storyline. As an ESPN guy, do you have any insight on what the motivation was behind the film?

Mike Reiss
  (1:01 PM)

Good question, Nick. ESPN has dubbed 2011 the "year of the quarterback" so it might be tied to that, but not entirely sure of that.

cory (medford)

mike,do you think mark ingram is someone teams will have to game plan around? i think people are putting too much stock into his injury ridden year last year and forget that the guy won the heisman. id love to see the pats steal him at 28

Mike Reiss
  (1:02 PM)

I think it would be a steal, too, Cory. I just don't think he'll be there at 28.

Ryan (Bridgewater)

Hey Mike, I know that many people don't think that the Patriots should go for a receiver early in the draft, but what do you think about drafting Greg Little out of North Carolina in the later rounds? He looks like a beast on tape and he is a big, physical receiver which the Patriots could use with both Welker and Branch's contracts ending soon. He also started out at UNC as a running back and has some versatility.

Mike Reiss
  (1:04 PM)

Ryan, if he checks out off the field, I think he could bring a lot to the team with his versatility. The first thought I had was like another Brad Smith.

Scott (UMASS)

Mike, I think the Pats defense needs to be more physical. Could you see the Pats taking two defensive players with their first two picks and then try to build their OL by using one of their second and/or third round picks?

Mike Reiss
  (1:05 PM)

I could, Scott, with a possible DE and OLB combination. I think they could solidify their front seven with a Cameron Heyward/Jabaal Sheard combination. Two big, tough players who would contribute to the Bill Parcells/Bill Belichick "built to last" type formula.

Ben (LA)

Hi Mike! I've read some mocks that project Ingram available at pick 28. Sounds like a good deal. But why not wait until 33? It seems like the only other team that might be interested in him is GB... Would you take this gamble?

Mike Reiss
  (1:06 PM)

That's an interesting scenario, Ben, as you always have to be aware of teams trading in. I would think Green Bay might pounce. I'm more of a play-it-safe guy and I'd take him if he was the highest rated player on the board.

Vikram (Boston)

@Mike - Why Marcel Darius and not Von Miller or Patrick Peterson?

Mike Reiss
  (1:07 PM)

I think those bigger, athletic d-linemen are tougher to find. When you have a chance to get one, it's most often a sound investment.

Chris (Poland)

Besides depth, what role would this new RB play? Isn't the first and second round where you should be getting impact players and not depth players?

Mike Reiss
  (1:08 PM)

Chris, I look at it like this, that RB is going to be on the 45-man game-day roster, likely contributing on special teams and sharing carries with Green-Ellis and Woodhead. I think that is impact.

John (DC)

Mikeeeeee, regarding the draft- what is to stop BB and another coach from agreeing in principle to trade a player and then have one team make the other team's picks, and then just execute it and complete the trade once the new CBA is in place?

Mike Reiss
  (1:09 PM)

John, I think the leauge will be watching this one closely. Too risky to play with fire and try to pull something off like that.

Dave (Charlotte)

Who is your pick for the Masters?

Mike Reiss
  (1:11 PM)

Good one, Dave. Let's end on this one. As a lefty golfer myself, I'm tempted to lean toward Phil Mickelson, but that's a boring choice. Let's go with Matt Kuchar, but only after the Georgia Tech grad asks Gary Guyton to come along for the final round and celebratory walk up 18.

Mike Reiss
  (1:12 PM)

Thanks to everyone for chatting today. Ended up with more than 200 questions in the bin. I tried to spead them around a bit. A lot of great insight and I appreciated you sharing it. Enjoy the rest of the day and let's plan on another chat next Thursday.