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April 21, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike Reiss

Mike Reiss
  (12:00 PM)

Welcome to today's Patriots chat. We're seven days away from the start of the NFL Draft. This is an exciting time in the team-building process.

Mike Reiss
  (12:01 PM)

One question that was asked today on our Patriots blog was whether it's time to start thinking about a backup plan for Tom Brady, as Brady will be 34 when the season starts and it signed through 2014.

corky decker (Destin Fl.)

Hi Mike: I'd really think we have a good back up in Brian, and think the top picks gotta be pass rush.

Steve (Westfield)

There is a lot of talk about drafting a QB to groom as Brady's successor. Could we already have this QB on the roster in Hoyer? He's looked solid in the opportunities he's had.

JT (Everett)

Hi Mike... Isn't Hoyer "Brady's Successor" as things stand now? Is the question, "do we need an upgrade and invest a premium draft pick on a QB of the future"? Seems like, so far, the Patriots organization see Hoyer as a viable option at QB should he be needed. I understand Hoyer may be a free agaent after next season but they may opt to re-sign him. Otherwise, they would have brought in either a vet or invested in a "high upside" younger QB. What do you think?

Pete (Washington DC)

The Patriots will do whatever is in the best interests of the football team. With this in mind, I do no feel the Pats need to draft a QB. Brady has more left in the tank and I believe him when he says he wants to play into his 40's. The state of the backup position is well kept by Brian Hoyer who comes from the Brady and Cassel cloth of being a low round/undrafted player who's had to earn his way on to the roster. If the rosters expand whenever a CBA is agreed to then I'd be all for adding a late round QB to compete for a roster spot which has given the Pats great results this last decade.

Elliot (Narragansett, RI)

I don't think this is the year to draft Tom Brady's replacement. Brady just had arguably his best season and he's only 33. I don't see why Brady can't play well enough to win this division 5 years from now. People need to stop worrying about what's going to happen with the Patriots once Brady is done. The real focus should be on how Belichick and the rest of the staff are going to surround him with supporting talent in these next few years. Besides, last I checked, Brian Hoyer isn't a scrub.

MarkJ (Japan)

You mean when you do you think the time is right to start grooming Tom Brady's successor? How old are you, and do you feel you are old?

Clark (Muncie, IN)

Mike Wouldn't the better question be, when is the time to think about when to replace Hoyer? Hoyer's contract ends at the end of this season. Would Hoyer resign as a back up or test the open market in hopes of competing for a starting job?

Bruce Mount (Cambridge, MA)

I think the real tension is: How long will a quality backup (think Aaron Rogers) wait behind the starter before they get antsy?" versus "How long does it take a new QB to learn your system?" I think most starter-caliber backups would not want to wait more than 2 years. If so, it's too soon to look for Brady's backup.

Jeff (Needham, MA)

Hey Mike, with regard to your question of the day: I don't think it's ever too soon. When you look at the way the front office has approached the quarterback position over the past decade or so, it appears as though they're always on the lookout for players who have the necessary traits to be successful (accuracy, intelligence, that perfectionist/"never good enough" mentality). They produced an NFL starter in Matt Cassel a few years ago and now we have Brian Hoyer who looks promising as well. Belichick & co. always seem to have a quality backup on board who they feel comfortable putting on the field should anything happen to Brady, and at some point that guy is going to be the next franchise QB when Brady's time here is complete.

Jason (Denver, CO)

Mike, I think when you have a talent like Brady you milk him for as long as you can. Players, especially quarterbacks, are able to extend their careers like never before. They take better care of their bodies, and medical care is better than ever. I think you let Brady's current contract get down to two years remaining, and then you patiently search for his successor. If there isn't a great talent at quarterback available than wait until the next draft. Brady said he wants to play until he is 40, and the team should plan accordingly. When his current contract expires I believe he will have at least one quality year left. After that you evaluate the talent on your roster and make a decision. The readiness of college quarterbacks is higher than ever, and the amount of time a player needs to sit behind a veteran has decreased significantly. The Patriots should also continue to follow their current strategy of drafting QBs late and attempting to develop them. Drafting a successor at QB too soon could potentially be more damaging than drafting one too late. I say give it two more years, and then take your time to make sure you get it right.

Jonathan (Concord)

In regards to drafting an heir to Brady, I think there are a couple of factors that should be looked at. The Patriots aren't going to let Brady walk at the end of his contract unless he has seriously injured himself in some way. I'd say that at the very least the Patriots will keep him around until he is 39 or so, and then every year from there offer him one year deals or something along those lines.That being said, another factor is the strength of college quarterbacks right now. While I don't follow college football, I know the Patriots do. They know which quarterbacks are likely to excel in future years and which ones aren't. So if there aren't any good quarterbacks next year, or potentially the year after that, it would make more sense to grab a good quarterback now, even if it is a little early. Ideally you'd want your heir apparent to learn for 3 years or so before taking over, and at this point that would bring us to the end of Brady's current contract. As stated earlier, I don't believe Brady will be gone in three years, so it wouldn't make sense to draft one now. Wait another 2 years or so, and draft one then.

Darnell Aie (Mount Pocono)

I don't believe that the patriots will select a qb in the first 3 rounds. with that said they could draft Tyrod Taylor. he is very moblie, athletic and has a good arm. And also don't forget who will be is mentor, Tom Brady. He kinda reminds me of Micheal Vick.

Miguel (Back Bay, Boston)

I don't think it matters how good Tom Brady and the offense is or if we need another QB right now, this team won't win again until it gets better of defense. All three levels have weakness and don't seem to play in concert well with each other. The balance of coverage and pass rush has been broken for 3 seasons now, when will this team address that issues? Thanks Mike and keep up the good work.

Eric (Burlington, MA)

As for the QB question, it is never too soon. That being said it seems foolish for the Pats to take a QB high. They seem to have a knack for targeting and developing QBs in the later rounds (Brady, Cassel, Hoyer) while wasting a pick on O'Connel. I say they should continue to monitor those late round prospects who they have the time to develop while being exposed to very little risk. Like you always say, developing QB's is good business. If they develop and there isn't a starting spot for them, you trade them. Lots of upside with very little downside and a proven track record. No brainer to me.

Brian (CT)

Regarding IR's column from the Herald, I'm sticking to my guns here on the Tom Brady replacement. Draft Cam Newton if he drops to 17! Mike laughed at this idea but BB knows better besides this Cam Newton is a '4' down player....

farn (Nova Scotia)

Every year is "the year" to find a replacement for Brady... keep drafting mid-round picks or signing undrafted free agents and hope one of them turns into something special... You may not find Tom Brady, but you could stumble upon Trent Dilfer or Jeff Garcia (which might be enough if your team is strong elsewhere).

Mike Reiss
  (12:07 PM)

Great stuff and I appreciate all of your insight. My opinion is that any time before the third round is too early to draft a quarterback this year. I think they have a solid No. 2 in Brian Hoyer. It's good business to draft and develop quarterbacks, but my focus would be on the mid to late rounds with players like Ricky Stanzi (Iowa) and Greg McElroy (Alabama). Also, it's not like Brady is at the end of the line. The guy is coming off an MVP season. There are no signs of him slowing down.

Mike Reiss
  (12:07 PM)

Let's plan on chatting until 1 p.m.

Shane providence, ri [via mobile]

Wouldn't it be a great move if the pats moved up to get Patrick Peterson to help out our defense?

Mike Reiss
  (12:08 PM)

Shane, I think we'll see Peterson go in the top 7. I don't think it would be smart business for the Patriots to give up the assets it would take to move up there. I think they can invest more wisely in a different way.

Steve (Boston)

Hi Mike, question about the draft. If Patrick Peterson somehow manages to drop to 10, do you think that the Patriots would consider moving up to get him. I have heard that if QB's go early, he could possibly drop.

Mike Reiss
  (12:09 PM)

Steve, I've targeted Robert Quinn, the DE/OLB from North Carolina, as the target if he slips to 10. That would probably require a first- and third-round pick, or possibly a second-rounder. For Quinn, I'd do it. For Peterson, I'm not sure I would.

TheDehule (Boston)

Mike: Thinking back to last year's draft, one of main things I recall Bill Belichick say about drafting Devin McCourty was that he is a four down player. With this in mind I was wondering if you had any data on the frequency of McCourty's involvement in the various special teams areas? Just because he was capable of playing 4 downs - did that actually translate into regular special teams PT?

Mike Reiss
  (12:10 PM)

Absolutely and a great observation. McCourty finished with 12 special teams tackles on coverage units, tied for the fourth highest total on the club. So he was a presence on punt and kickoff return units.

David B (New York)

Hey MikeWhile I loved the 4-headed mock draft of the 1st round, the 2nd round version felt like overkill to me -- almost like it's taking so long for the draft to get here that we're looking for anything to fill in the space. Everything's already been said, I feel. Are you in favor of moving the draft up to an earlier date?

Mike Reiss
  (12:11 PM)

Fair thought, David. I wondered that myself about the second-round mock, but with the Patriots having the top pick of the round, and then the 60th overall, I figured 'Let's let it rip.' As for moving the draft up, I like it where it is. Otherwise, it might interfere with my wedding anniversary :)

Mike C (Boston MA)

Mike,As a fan during this labor dispute I can't help but feel like a little kid stuck between his parents fighting through a divorce. It seems like both sides are being overly greedy and ignoring the entire fan base.Neither group seems to care that through tough economic times a fan has to spend over 100 bucks to go to a game, between ticket, parking, food etc...Why can't they just implement a rookie wage scale(that helps all players vs some 1st round players each year) and add more health benefits for current and retired players. Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:13 PM)

Mike, I share some of those thoughts. Similar to a nasty divorce, this has seemingly brought out the worst in both sides. It's ugly for me to watch. As for your solution, it's just like negotiating a player contract. We say, "Why can't they just sign Player X?" It takes both sides to be committed and give a little bit.

Chris (New York)

Hey Mike, the other day at the movies, I saw a preview with a short clip of that squirrel from ice age, and in the credits for that clip, it said Mike Reiss. Are you involved in that?

Mike Reiss
  (12:13 PM)

I wish I was that "Mike Reiss", who I believe was also the head writer for the Simpsons. I might be closer to a lucrative retirement if that was me :)

Sunshine (Florida)

I have seen a couple of "draft value charts" that show what draft picks a team would have to trade in order to move up or down in the current draft. But, I have not seen anything that converts a current-year pick to a future-year pick. It seems common for a team to trade a 2nd round pick this year for a 1st round pick next year, but is there a "value chart" which addresses this. Thanks.

Mike Reiss
  (12:14 PM)

The general rule is that by waiting a year, you bump up a round. So if I was trading you a second-round pick this year, it wouldn't be out of line to ask you for a first-round pick next year.

Jim (NH)

If there is so much "value" in the mid rounds this year, why won't the Pats trade two of the first three picks? I'm convinced they will - I think they do much in those rounds anyway.

Mike Reiss
  (12:16 PM)

Jim, I remember listening to Charley Casserly at this time last year and he rattled off some statistics on the probability of finding starters in the draft, and they were the highest in the first round, and dropped with each round. So I think that's the battle you weigh with dropping back -- are you sacrificing too much quality? I think the Clay Matthews example from 2009 is a good one to consider on this issue. If the Patriots knew then what they know now, I find it hard to believe they would have traded back from 26 and let Matthews get away.

David (North Attleboro,Ma)

Mike, I just think it is a disgrace that the players and the owners aren't going to meet again until May 16. I am particular upset with Roger Goodell when he said this yesterday. "We're planning on playing a full season. And we're going to negotiate as hard as we can to get that done." He seems to be saying one thing and doing another. Your thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:16 PM)

David, at this time, if I understand it correctly, it's all in the hands of the court system.

Steve (Boston)

I don't see the Patriots trading pick 33 unless the get blown away with an offer. This seems like a great place for Belichick to draft since he has the night to think it over and he is getting first round talent with a 2nd round contract. Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:17 PM)

Steve, I don't think we can say one way or another at this point. If I had to guess, that pick gets dealt if there is anything close to an acceptable offer.

Marcus (Ellington,CT)

Hi Mike, I would like to see the Pats spin either the 28th or 33rd from this year into an extra #1 for 2012 and use that pick to try and grab Matt Barkley. I love the idea of him sitting behind Brady for 2-3 years and learning the system withour being thrown to the wolves. Besides, I think Hoyer has proven to be a solid backup plan for this year so its not yet a pressing need.

Mike Reiss
  (12:18 PM)

Marcus, I am going to go Ed Hochuli on everyone here and throw a flag on all this QB talk. I think we're 2-3 years away from any thoughts on a high-round pick for a Brady replacement.

Aaron (Brooklyn)

Mike, What s the insider information on Phil Taylor. If he is a standout NT, then i could easily see the Patriots targeting him and moving Big Vince around to fill holes. Most mock drafts have the Pats taking Watt or Jordan, guys who can "rush the passer," but i think that's inconsistent with the approach of the 3-4 scheme because it's the OLB who are meant to get after the passer in that scheme, not the DEs.Someone like Taylor could fill a need in backup NT and provide strength/size on the defensive line. As an aside, I think the Pats' top need is on the O-line.

Mike Reiss
  (12:20 PM)

Taylor is a big guy, Aaron, and that possibility has been dissected in some mock drafts. To me, Wilfork is best on the nose. I think moving him around last year was to fill other needs, but to me, I like keeping him over the center. Now it's possible Taylor could project to end, and if the Patriots feel that way, I could see him on the radar. Same with someone like Marvin Austin, the big DT from North Carolina. To me, those players are only an option if the team views them as possibilities at end. If they are pure NTs, I don't think it's a great fit for them.

James (My internship desk.)

Mike, I've been dissapointed in some of ESPN's positional Power Rankings. I know Jerod Mayo was 6th, but two panelists didn't even consider him in their vote. McCourty behind Tramon Williams who isn't even the best corner in his defensive secondary? Behind Asante "I try for every INT and get a couple but proceedingly get burned 17 times a game" Samuel? Are the Patriots being penalized for being more "solid" and less "playmaker"?

Mike Reiss
  (12:21 PM)

I'm not too sure on this one, James. I think it's just a matter of opinion with those on the panel. To me, that's a challenging task, to rank all those players.

mark h. (concord nh)

The more I think about it, my dream draft starts with JJ Watt, even if we have to move up a bit. A "Relentless Motor" is irreplaceable and covers alot of faults. Add Brooks Reed to that for the same reason. Imagine our defense with two ferocious, relentless guys side by side. Use the 2nd rd picks on tough O-lineman and maybe a RB. It is also eminently doable if the Pats choose. What do you think?

Mike Reiss
  (12:22 PM)

I think that would be strong, Mark. Brooks Reed generates some debate. Some feel he's a bit overhyped in that first-round range. Then again, the Patriots came out of nowhere to pick Logan Mankins at 32 in 2005, and some viewed that as a reach.

Brian (CT)

Hi MikeTerrance Cody dropped down draft boards with character/effort issues last year. After watching him have a pretty stellar rookie season on the Ravens D-line I really hope the PATS can draft Taylor from Baylor. Not sure if we can draw any connections between these two. It would be pretty nice to have another big body in the trenches with Vince.

Mike Reiss
  (12:22 PM)

Interesting thought, Brian. You're right on Cody. He looks like he's going to be a good one.

James (My internship desk.)

Mike, Da'Quan Bowers has been rated as high as one overall in previous mock drafts. His stock is falling due to the knee concerns but if he is slipping all the way into the early teens, how can the Patriots not try to make a move to get him? He is an elite pass rushing talent and maybe this year's draft is our time to move up and go get somebody.

Mike Reiss
  (12:23 PM)

If the Patriots think he can play on his feet as an OLB, or if they seem that pass rush valuable enough in sub packages (57 percent of the time in 2010), I say go for it if the knee checks out. To me, that's the bottom line in this draft: Pats need to come away with something to help that pass rush.

Dan (Leominster)

Mike, I'm going to ask the same question I asked last year at this time. How does Houston Antwine get in to the Pats Hall? It's impossible for the old timers to compete with modern day players. Not enough people remember how good they were! Even Parcells made a point to mention him. I'm voting for Antwine again this year, but it's a wasted vote. It's like voting for a Republican in Massachusetts! Maybe he'll pull a "Brownie"!

Mike Reiss
  (12:24 PM)

Like how you weaved that one in there, Dan. Houston Antwine faces an uphill battle against Bledsoe and Parcells, but that's why the Patriots have introduced a Senior Committee. I think that's how Antwine will ultimately get in. Perhaps next year.

Peter (miami)

Why is it everyone keep talking about New England's need a LT. Currently, the RT is a very good LT so why is he not being considered!

Mike Reiss
  (12:25 PM)

Peter, Sebastian Vollmer should be considered, but if you slide him over, you might still need a right tackle. No guarantee that Nick Kaczur returns after missing 2010 from back surgery, and then you have reserves Mark LeVoir and Steve Maneri. I could see the Patriots taking a tackle.

Ben (Needham)

Hey Mike,After watching Jon Gruden's QB camp with Ryan Mallett, I was very very impressed. I knew he was a big guy but when he stood up I was shocked. Not only is his size impressive, but his lightning fast ability to draw up a play on the white board and without hesitation describe a pro-style pass play with deep, intermediate and short routes, while pointing out his hots and blitz reads had me thinking if all QBs in this draft could do what he did with such speed and poise. Any insight into if Mallett is anything special or if I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill?

Mike Reiss
  (12:25 PM)

Ben, I don't have much on Mallett other than the same stuff you read out there-- tremendous talent, some off-field questions.

Jeff (ohio)

Hi Mike, loved the mock drafts. One question, you know that Belichick loves to go against the grain and popular opinions of the media when drafting. With that in mind, and you being BB for the moment, could you name one or two players that the Pats might draft in the first few rounds that nobody saw coming? Thanks for all the draft info!

Mike Reiss
  (12:26 PM)

Jeff, maybe Marvin Austin, the DT from North Carolina. Didn't play in 2010.

MarkJ (Japan)

Mike, when The Patriots draft a pass rusher or two, do they take into consideration who the offensive tackles are in the AFC east teams? For example, if these OTs have weakness against quick pass rusher, do the Pats try to draft speedy guys? How much do they optimize their roster against the division opponents?

Mike Reiss
  (12:26 PM)

MarkJ, I think they are aware of it, but they don't pick specifically because of it. So much changes from year to year.

Jake Locker (Washington )

Hey Mike,Is there a realistic shot come draft day that I am wearing a Patriots jersey? As much as I would love to start, I can not think of a better opportunity then sitting behind and learning from Tom Brady. What are you thoughts? Could this really happen?

Mike Reiss
  (12:27 PM)

I don't see it Jake. But I hope you enjoyed your visit here. Did you get the Tim Tebow treatment in the North End?

Matt (Nashua)

Mikel Leshoure weaknesses: "Will spend too much time dancing in the backfield. Lacks the top-end speed to get the seam and go for six. Needs to improve his route-running and do a better job catching away from body. Pass-blocking technique needs improvement. "Sounds like Maroney to me, at best no better than BJGE. He doesnt provide anything we do not already have. Whats with all the hype?

Mike Reiss
  (12:28 PM)

Matt, I think with Leshoure, you start with the production. It's hard to argue with that. Then it's potential. He's a young back and you're projecting what he can become. Good size there, so he's a bit unique in that regard.

David (North Attleboro,Ma)

Mike, do you think the Patriots could get first round pick for next year for this years #33? I think the Patriots are still trying to get two picks in a draft that has a rookie salary wage cap. Do you think the getting another first round pick next year is a major goal for the Patriots in this years draft?

Mike Reiss
  (12:28 PM)

Absolutely I think that's possible David. One thing, though, I do believe these 2011 picks will ultimately be under some type of rookie wage scale/slotting system.

Anthony Powell (Boynton Beach, Florida)

Mike What would it take for the New England Patriots to Get Larry Fitzgerald A First Round Pick and a Second Round Pick?

Mike Reiss
  (12:29 PM)

Anthony, no trades are allowed at this time because of the CBA. As a hypothetical, if I'm Arizona, it's two first-round picks at a minimum.

Glen (Glendale, AZ)

Mike, Does Gillette Stadium offer public tours? I did the Fenway tour a few years back and it was a fantastic experience. I think it would be equally fantastic to tour Gillette. Thanks.

Mike Reiss
  (12:29 PM)

I don't believe they do, Glen, but it would be a great idea. Let me check and we'll revisit next week.

Eric (Burlington, MA)

Hi Mike, It seems like one of the least talked about players who appears to be coming off the board in the middle of the first round is Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan. I think he would be a great fit for the Pats with his size and playmaking ability. Although he isn't the most athletic player in the draft he seems to be a fairly safe pick who can get after the QB and be stout against the run. I know there is some question to his ability to drop into coverage but I would love to see him in a Pats uniform. Do you see him being able to play OLB for the Pats?

Mike Reiss
  (12:31 PM)

Eric, when I put my amateur scouting hat on, Kerrigan looks a little stiff to me when he's playing on two feet, moving backwards. But it's hard not to appreciate what he does when he's playing forward, harassing the quarterback. I think he could make an instant impact in sub packages (57 percent of the time in 2010), and that alone is worthy of consideration in my view.

DirtyAutomatik (Stamford, CT)

It seems that none of the OLB prospects are perfect matches for the Pats. Do we trade #17 if Cam Jordan, Watt, and Pouncey are all gone there? That's gotta be the case. Then we can trade down to the end of the 1st and add a 3rd and pick up my guy DeMarco Murray! Sound like a plan? Great!

Mike Reiss
  (12:31 PM)

I like Cameron Heyward as a possibility at 17 too, Dirty. Murray is very fast. Just doesn't always look like a pure RB to me.

Eric (MA)

The more I think about this draft the more I think that Quinn will be picked pretty early (before 10) so I am expecting the Pats to trade down out of 17 and eventually pick Cam Heyward. I would be satified with that pick too. However, if they pick him in the first round (and I believe the 28th & 33rd will be traded due to a mad QB run), I really hope they draft Sheard or Reed in the early 2nd round. Vereen in the 3rd. That would be a very good draft in my eyes.

Mike Reiss
  (12:32 PM)

Eric, all the players you mentioned have caught my eye as good possibilities for the Patriots.

Darryl (Vermont)

Much has been made about the Patriots hosting some of the top QB prospects in the draft. While I agree in part with some of the prevailing theories on these moves (due diligence in the event that one of them falls, identifying strengths and weaknesses to prepare to face them in the future, smokescreening interest to bolster trade interest), I have another theory. I think by bringing in these QBs, the Patriots can get a better sense of when they might be drafted. They can find any hidden injury concerns by using their own in-house medical staff (which other QB-needy teams would probably know about too) and therefore know that the player will likely fall. If all these QBs check out medically, BB will know that they will go higher, and the Pats should have plenty of good players available when they're on the clock. If they uncover concerns, the Pats will know that they may need to potentially move up in order to get those same players. What do you think?

Mike Reiss
  (12:33 PM)

Darryl, when those QBs come to town, I would assume the Patriots are asking them which teams they've visited and who has shown the most interest. That alone helps the Patriots know -- as the draft is unfolding -- who might be hot for those QBs. They are like reporters in that sense, looking for the most accurate information.

Maurizio Feoli (Costa Rica)

When do you think the lockout is going to end?

Mike Reiss
  (12:34 PM)

I think by the end of July at the latest. I'm hopeful that prediction comes true so we can have a full season of football.

Paul (Worcester)

Is it worth staying up until 10 PM on draft day, Thursday, knowing that Belichick will trade the pick at 17 and 28 and we will all go to bed angry and frustrated? Or should we just read the paper on Friday morning and accept whatever? Maybe there is no season anyway.

Mike Reiss
  (12:35 PM)

Paul, I'd stay up. Just because the Patriots trade the pick doesn't mean it's a bad thing. After all, they did it twice last year and ended up with Devin McCourty. Hard not to view that as brilliant at this point.

Drew (Medway, MA)

Mike,With Brady turning 34 this year, do you think th Pats will alter their draft strategy from a "plan for the future" to a "win now" mentality? Also, because of the lack of free agency, do you think they will draft for need as opposed to taking the best player available regardless of need.

Mike Reiss
  (12:36 PM)

Drew, I don't see the philosophy changing to a "win now" mentality. I think part of what has made the Patriots a success is balancing a short- and long-term focus. There might be some push and pull with that in different years, but it doesn't sway to extremes like we see with other "window of opportunity" teams.

Dr. Hot Lunch (Pennsylvania)

With 3 draft picks in the top 33, do you think it's pretty much a given that the Patriots trade at LEAST one of those picks? It seems like they love acquiring multiple 1st and 2nd rounders year after year.

Mike Reiss
  (12:36 PM)

Agree, Dr. Hot Lunch.

Brad (RI)

Do you see the Patriots drafting at 28 or trading the pick to a QB-needy team? Is there a certain player the Patriots could be targeting at 28 (i.e Mark Ingram) that would dictate whether or not the Patriots draft there? If they do trade that pick could it be for a player and/or a Draft pick(s)? What could that trade possibly look like?

Mike Reiss
  (12:37 PM)

Brad, if the Patriots can acquire a 2012 first-round pick, and a 2011 mid-round pick, I think they deal No. 28 unless there is a player that clearly stands out on their board that they feel they have to have.

Joe (Novato, CA)

Good afternoon Mr. Reiss and all Patriot fans, I know the Patriots need to get more pressure on the QB so drafting a RDE and a OLB makes alot of sense, but I would love to see the Patriots move up to get Julio Jones!! Having seen alot of mock drafts, the range that he comes of the board has been as early as 6 to the Browns or as late as 14 to the Rams. Humor me if you would, IF Jones fell past the Redskins at 10, the next spot I could see him getting picked would be at 14. What would it take for the Patriots to move up 4 spots to grab him???? I was thinking it would take the 17 and the 92??? If that was all the Patriots had to give up to grab one of the best offensive players in the draft, would it be worth it??They would still have the 28,33,60,74, and all remaining picks to address the rest of the teams needs. What do you think???

Mike Reiss
  (12:38 PM)

Joe, I'm not that big on the WR spot in the first round. I'd focus on defense, but the counter to that is picks 28/33/60 can be used there. So it's a scenario to consider if it unfolds that way. I think a late 3 to move up three spots would get it done. You might get away with even less.

boomdizzle (Quincy)

Hey Mike, seeing how there are so many question marks surrounding the offensive line, and there's many things that could happen...I was wondering if you think Light could play G?

Mike Reiss
  (12:38 PM)

He probably could, Boom, but I think his best position is left tackle.

Kyle (Cranston, RI)

Mike, I feel as if the Lockout and the lack of free agency has spoiled what should have been an ideal drafting situation. OT is a perfect example. If we had clarity with Light we'd have a better game plan for attacking the first two rounds with respect to need and value. If we definitely had two starters returning at OT, I wouldn't want them to consider tackle until at least 4th pick, but now who knows?

Mike Reiss
  (12:38 PM)

Couldn't agree with you more, Kyle. I think you make a great point.

Robert (Vermont)

Can you see the patriots possibly trading 28th and 60th pick in the draft to division rival dolphins for the 15th pick. Dolphins pick up a second rounder and can draft a quality qb. The Patriots then draft Pouncey and a pass rusher. how does that scenario sound mike?

Mike Reiss
  (12:39 PM)

Robert, I'd hold off on that. Giving up 28 and a second-rounder to trade up for a guard who might be able to play center doesn't seem like great value to me.

Jeremy2007 (Boston)

I think that the Patriots really need to take a running back in the first or second round. While BenJarvus Green-Ellis's had a good season last year, he was running behind one of the best offensive lines in football and was terrible in pass protection. We often struggled to run defenses out of nickel defensive packages using BJGE at RB. Of the RBs in the draft, which do you see the Patriots as the most likely to draft? I think that we should go with a physical RB that can draw defenders toward the line and that can pick up a pass rusher.

Mike Reiss
  (12:40 PM)

I agree Jeremy2007. Like Kyle said about the OT position, I think this RB position is one the Patriots will be targeting in this draft because they haven't had free agency to address the need. Ingram, Leshoure and Vereen are the top 3 I like for the Patriots.

David (RI)

Mike, two points (1) I don't see how the Pats pick a QB this year (unless its in the rounds 5-7) They are all about value and with all the teams needing QB, teams are going to be reaching for QBs more than ever, resulting in a QB never being a "value" pick when the Pats are on the clock. (2) I know we have McCourty and Bodden, but any chance that Pats pick up a CB with upside with their late first or early second rounder. It seems that there are a few have some have stated having a chance to be the best CBs in the draft being picked in that range. Do you agree with both of these?

Mike Reiss
  (12:41 PM)

I agree with both, David. I might reach up in the late third or fourth round for a QB, just because I think it's good business to draft and develop them.

Andrew (sarasota FL)

Mike, hello from sunny FL...everything is draft related now and with no CBA and with the huge drop off in WR talent after Green and Jones, I gotta bring up Randy...it seems to me that after his disaster of a season last year his suitors will be limited to say the least and for all he has done-no ring, couldnt this be a win win for both him and the Pats? Pats get the deep threat for cheap and Randy gets his last chance for the ring. I know you think the ship has sailed but would the lack of a WR drafted put Moss back on the table?

Mike Reiss
  (12:42 PM)

I suppose it could, Andrew, but my sense is that the Patriots have moved on. Maybe there is a change in the months to come based on what happens in the draft.

Pat (N.Y.)

I have a couple thoughts; the first is instead of replacing Brady they need to maximize his longevity.Changing the offense back to its earlier form of short passes and smash mouth running will help reduce hits in the pocket.But they have to upgrade the line. My second thought is if Hoyer was in the draft today where would he go,they might already have his replacement, acouple more seasons of grooming and learning and maybe he's ready.

Mike Reiss
  (12:43 PM)

Pat, like the thoughts. The exact question you asked on Hoyer is what teams like the Patriots discuss internally, as I understand it. You look at where Hoyer would go based on his file coming out of Michigan State, and then where he would fit based on where he is now. I think it would be in the first half of the draft.

farn (Nova Scotia)

Since free agency is not going ahead as planned, do you think teams will actually draft out of need more often this year, rather than jump on the best available talent ? If so, could this play into BB's hand ?

Mike Reiss
  (12:43 PM)

I do, farn. This dynamic is one that I think could be one of the defining aspects of the draft.

Pete (IL)

Mike, I think 2 years from now would be the time to draft Brady's replacement. That would let the kid learn through the end of Brady's current deal and if Brady still wanted to play at the end, they could keep him on a Kurt Warner style 1-2 year extension.

Mike Reiss
  (12:43 PM)

Thanks Pete.

Borg (S Fla)

I see Delone Carter as a good fit for the 2011 Pats. I expect Faulk to rejoin the Patriots on a 1 year deal as the veteran jack of all trades back. He can back Woodhead on 3rd down and grab some 1st and 2nd down carries from BJGE. That leaves a need for a rookie bruiser. Delone Carter has the frame...5'9" 224lbs...a bowling ball with a butchers knife...has a knack for the endzone on short yardage and the combine measuables to show an elite athlete. And best of all, the kid knows how to secure the ball. Mark my words, Carter will be a Patriot.

Mike Reiss
  (12:44 PM)

Get the draft card ready!

Mike Reiss
  (12:44 PM)

Interesting thought on Faulk coming back. As a third or fourth back on the roster, special teams contributions are important. I wonder if Faulk gives you enough in that area to warrant a roster spot. Will be interesting to see, assuming he's healthy.

Jim (Winchester, MA)

I know you have stated that you believe the Patriots will draft between 7-8 this year. That would only push 1-2 to next season's draft.With the anticipated later in the year addition of the rookies, so less melding with the team and no definition of a rookie pay scale, why would they not want to push more to 2012?

Mike Reiss
  (12:46 PM)

Jim, the main reason is passing on quality available in this draft. OL, RB, OLB, DL are four areas I think they could use help, and in some cases, with multiple picks (OL). Maybe even a long snapper late. So I add that up, and factor in general value and not reaching for need, it put me in that 7-8 range. It's also possible they could produce more picks through trades, push more picks to 2012, and still come away with 7-8 players. With Trader Bill, those picks seem to come out of thin air at times.

Chris (Orlando)

Mike, with Hoyer on the team already, I'm not too sure we need to groom Brady's successor just yet. However, I do think it would be a good idea to groom Hoyer's. If Hoyer continues to do well in the preseason, or if he gets extende mop up duty at the end of the season, he could be a valuable trade commodity, and allow us to get something in return for him. That would allow us to use a later round pick (Stanzi? McElroy?) as his successor in the 2012 season. Are either of them Tom's fill in later on in life? Who knows, but then we said the same thing about Houyer and Cassel.

Mike Reiss
  (12:47 PM)

I think that's smart, Chris.

John (Shelton CT)

I know that players currently cannot be traded and draft picks can. At what point during the draft does a draft pick become a player? Say the Pats draft Locker with pick 28. Can they trade his rights for picks or is he now considered a player. I guess the question is can we have any Manning - Rivers trades during the draft? Thanks Mike

Mike Reiss
  (12:47 PM)

John, I'd say once he's drafted, he can't be traded. You can trade rights to the pick, but not rights to the player.

Nate (Woburn, MA)

Mike, although the team has brought it some QBs that look to be for one of their top 3 picks, I was wondering, have you heard anything about the QB from Nevada, Kapernick?

Mike Reiss
  (12:47 PM)

Not much from a Patriots perspective, Nate. I think the Raiders like him.

Nikki (Toronto)

Mike, I am terrified of Peter King's prediction that the Patriots are going to draft Mike Pouncey at #17 and then trade out of the first and miss out on the really prime DE's and OLB's that could be available. I understand protecting Brady is a priority, but come on. That defense was laughable last year. I don't think even Belichick could sell not addressing the D in the first round. What say you?

Mike Reiss
  (12:48 PM)

Nikki, I think the key will be looking at the entire draft in its context. They could pick up some quality defensive players in the second round.

Lloyd Braun (Fredericton, NB, Canada)

Prediction: 17. Watt 28. Heyward 33. trade down and during day 2 they add Ingram, Watkins and an OT.

Mike Reiss
  (12:48 PM)

Thanks Lloyd.

Paul (Worcester)

Why does everyone talk about the Patriot's "brilliance" at drafting when there sits Clay Mathews, the Patriot's biggest blunder of all time?

Mike Reiss
  (12:49 PM)

Paul, not every team hits them all. I think the Patriots, when compared to their competition, rank as a Top 10 drafting team in Bill Belichick's tenure.

Henry (Copenhagen )

Mr Reiss, This team needs WRs. I like who currently fill out the roster but Patriots must continue to build and improve the position. Welker and Branch and Tate all had knee injuries at least three years ago. Welker and Branch are both in final years of contracts. Price hasn't shown he's able to compete at pro level yet. So why are so many fans content with the talent on the roster today? I'm not and hope Patriots keep building. Two straight years of WR in 3rd round, is this a third?

Mike Reiss
  (12:50 PM)

Henry, I think some fans aren't content (see Julio Jones comment earlier in the chat). To me, that decision will all come down to how the team views Taylor Price. If they think he has promise, he's like another draft pick this year in the sense that he didn't play much last year (1 game) and is on the development track.

Marc (Malden, MA)

This is the first year we'll have free agency after the draft. Which way do you think Belichick prefers?

Mike Reiss
  (12:50 PM)

I think Belichick likes FA before the draft so he can fill needs and create more flexibility on draft day.

@WAD1980 (Charlestown, MA)

MikeThis thought just came to me. Most mock drafts have the Bengals taking Georgia WR AJ Green. The dilemma for the Bengals is WR or QB especially with Carson Palmer asking out? Could the Bengals be the perfect candidate to trade back into Round 1 with the Patriots (No. 28) and get their WR and QB? My thought is the Patriots could also work Chad Ochocinco in as part of the compensation they would receive once the NFL Lockout is ended with a wink wink deal?

Mike Reiss
  (12:51 PM)

I think 28 is too far to drop when you're sitting at 4, WAD. As for Ochocinco, are you collecting commission :)

Stu (Middleborough)

Hi Mike, Thanks for staying away from the labor dispute as much as you can. It is much better to read about football than read about lawyers. My question touches on that but in the draft sense. When can teams sign drafted players? What rules, if any, are in place? If the union is decertified, there is no union for a draftee to join and no collective bargaining to govern a contract--and certainly no rookie salary scale. So as I see it, all draftees are just in limbo until a deal is reached. Is that right?

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

Correct, Stu.

Eric (Boston)

I read that Tom Condon is agent for JJ Watts, and that Bellichek doesn't like him. Do you think this would keep Pats from selecting Watts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

I do think "signability" is a consideration, Eric. But one factor that could make that a moot point is a rookie wage scale/slotting system.

Chris (Bryant)

Hey Mike,I was thinking last night about the pats and all the trades they make on Draft Day. Is it a distinct strategy to not trade within the division? Obviously, if the Jets want to move up and take your pick, they have a player in mind, so it would make sense to sort of 'block' them. Seems pretty straight forward, but can you think of any times in the past where the pats have traded picks within the division?

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

Chris, it all depends on the trade. They dealt with the Dolphins in 2007 for Wes Welker. I think the approach is to generally avoid it, but if you feel the terms truly help you, Belichick isn't afraid to strike it.

Paul (DC)

I am really frustrated with mock drafts that have both our 1st round picks going towards offensive players. I'll be flabbergasted if we dont address the defense with one (or both) of those picks.

Mike Reiss
  (12:54 PM)

Fair, Paul, although I think it's important to view the complete picture before making a final judgment. Good defensive players can be found in round 2.

Buffalo rider (Denver)

The best value in the 1st round maybe Jimmy Smith. Talkings heads say he is a top ten talent but should drop in the 1st because of multiple red flags. The kid is tall but said to be the best press man to man CB in the draft.Could BB surprise his disciples and go CB at #17? And would BB ever draft a corner 6'2"?

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

That would be a surprise to me. Some off-field questions with Smith, but wouldn't that be a typical Belichick deceptive move?

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

Let's go for another five...

Branden (NH)

I do not think they need to draft a QB to start grooming yet. I think there is another 2-3 years before we have to start grooming a QB as long as Brady stays healthy. If the time was now we already have Hoyer who is only going into his third year. I think the best approach is the one the Broncos took when they had Elway and TD. Get an elite RB to take the pressure off of Brady in order to extend his career

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

Thanks Branden.

Logzta (Orange and Blue land)

What position do you think the patriots will draft in the 1st round?

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

Defensive line is my best guess right now.

Mark (Washington, DC)

With so much speculation about the upcoming draft I've heard rumors the patriots might trade down since they have 3 early picks. Why do the Patriots always do this? Why not get three solid players off the board early instead of 4 or 5 possible stars later? I understand Tom Brady situations can occur and the team could get a steal in the later rounds, but thats not the norm. What is your take on this?

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

Mark, I recommend Michael Lombardi's piece on NFL.com, which is linked in our Patriots blog. It further dissects this topic. Basically, the Patriots usually have a cluster of players with the same grade and they feel they can trade back and select a "same-graded" player while also acquiring other assets. Sometimes it works (e.g. Devin McCourty). Sometimes it backfires (e.g. Clay Matthews).

Marc (Malden, MA)

I think it all depends on whether or not you think there's a good QB available. I mean, if Andrew Luck was available at 17, you take him in a heartbeat, but if Locker is there at 33 and you don't like him, don't take him.

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

Thanks Marc.

Bill L. (Fort Collins, CO)

Hey Mike! I think this is the year and now is the time, if BB and the staff think Von Miller is a complete difference maker, to trade up and get him. We have needs (OL, DL, OLB), but if we can use some of our picks to get a pass rushing difference maker, let's move up and get him. This year we have a glaring need and extra picks, so now is the time. What do you think? Thanks Mike

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

Bill, I think we're talking top 5 for Miller. I just don't see the Patriots going there.

Paul (DC)

People forget we got the 33rd pick this year by trading away the 89th pick last year. That was a move of 56 spots! Almost 2 full rounds! There's no way we trade the 33rd pick for a 2012 1st rounder straight out, we would have to also get a late 2nd or early 3rd. If not, we're only moving up between 1-32 spots.

Mike Reiss
  (12:58 PM)

Great trade last year -- the third-round pick to Carolina for the 2011 second-rounder. A steal. One of Bill Belichick's best, assuming he nails that 33rd pick.

Rod (Springfield)

Value, value, value! Hasn't anyone heard the expression: "Cheap is dear?" I wish Belichick could understand that. After Clay Mathews you would think he learned something. But probably not.

Mike Reiss
  (12:59 PM)

But Rod, the next year he traded down twice and still landed Devin McCourty. I think you have to account for the fact that no team is perfect. The Patriots missed it on Matthews. They would probably admit that. A lot of other teams did, too.

Roberto (Freddy Beach, Canada)

Herzlich...the perfect Patriot. or what?

Mike Reiss
  (1:00 PM)

I think he'd be a great fit.

Bill L. (Fort Collins, CO)

Hey Mike... prediction time... I predict one we will pick either at 17 or 28, one of the guys rumored to have injury issues (Ingram, Bowers, etc.) I also predict Belichick will state the phrase 'he was very productive in college' 17 times during his post draft interviews about our draftees :)

Mike Reiss
  (1:00 PM)

Thanks Bill.

Rick (Pelham, NH)

You don't draft Brady's replacement now. Everyone seems to agree he'll play 4-5 more years for sure, and maybe even longer. If you draft a 22 year old QB now, and he sits behind brady for 5 years, he'll gain experience, but he'll be a 27 year old guy starting for the first time...you're basically cutting his career in half. It makes more sense to draft a guy 2-3 years out, not 5-7.

Mike Reiss
  (1:00 PM)

Appreciate the thoughts, Rick.

Mike B (Boston)

Last season Green-Ellis and Woodhead had 326 carries for 1555 yards and 18 touchdowns. Plus 46 receptions for 464 yards and 1 touchdown. Both players are under 25 and have very little wear and tear on the bodies. It seems stupid to me to justify talking a RB before the third round when there are much more pressing needs.

Mike Reiss
  (1:02 PM)

Mike, the way I look at it is that you're going to have a minimum of four RBs on your 53-man roster, and at least three are going to be on the 45-man game-day roster. To me, that's an impact position to be drafting because of the composition of that 45-man game-day roster. I don't think two backs are enough and that's why I feel strongly that the Patriots will work hard to come out of this draft with a RB early.

Ty Warren (the outs ?)

Should I be worried about my roster spot in the fall ?

Mike Reiss
  (1:02 PM)

I don't think so, Ty. If you show the same commitment and performance of past years, you should be fine.

Josh (Deerfield)

Hey Mike! Congrats on the anniversary! Quick question regarding two players in general, those being Akeem Ayers and Aldon Smith. I've heard you say that you didn't feel Smith was a fit at OLB in the 3/4 and I myself don't believe that Ayers has the strength to do it. Yet I'm constantly hearing that these two are 'prototype' patriots. Any insight on this? Thanks!

Mike Reiss
  (1:03 PM)

Josh, I'm down on Ayers (not physical enough from what I've seen) and intrigued by Smith. The concern with Smith is limited production (2 years).

Mega Swisher (Dirty Bit)

Isn't it amazing the most teams will work their standard 1 pick per round draft while the Patriots will be able to add double the impact players than most any other teams. We Pats fans are spoiled considering the 14-2 record, and the glaring holes we see on the roster can be filled in 10 days. Think about the awful teams and their two or three picks....Wow are the Patriots fortunate to have Belichick at the helm

Mike Reiss
  (1:03 PM)

I can't imagine there being a better person to run the show for the Patriots. Robert Kraft surely knows this team is in good hands.

Jim (Oregon)

Who is the Julian Edelman in this draft for the Patriots?

Mike Reiss
  (1:05 PM)

Marc Schiechl, DE, Colorado School of Mines. An outside linebacker convert.

Mike Reiss
  (1:06 PM)

Let's end on that one. I'm going to sift through the 250-plus entries and see if I missed any QB stuff and will post those before wrapping up...

Ed Hochuli (Chat Ref)

Mike, I throw the flags here.

Mike Reiss
  (1:07 PM)

:) Had to toss that in here.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Are you excited about UMass going D-1A and playing home games at Gilette?

Mike Reiss
  (1:07 PM)

This one too ... Absolutely excited. I live right down the road.

Brian (Mansfield)

Any thoughts on the topics that will be discussed at your event tonight?

Mike Reiss
  (1:08 PM)

Thanks for mentioning it, Brian. I will be at the Patriots Hall tonight (6:30 p.m.). All discussions on the table. Going to talk briefly about my career and then open it up to questions in an interactive format.

Arjuna Ramgopal (Derry, NH)

Mike, excited for your draft talk at Gillette today. Will be there!

Mike Reiss
  (1:09 PM)

Thanks Arjuna. Looking forward to meeting you.

Nate (Andover)

chinese or italian?

Mike Reiss
  (1:09 PM)

Chinese (can I get some sushi too?).

Rick (Pelham, NH)

One thing to consider with QB prospects is that BB is always looking to draft the best available player, period. With so many "good, but not great" QB's this year, the projections are all over the place. There are 5-6 guys that could go anywhere from top 15 to late 2nd round. If they think Mallett, or any one of the prospects is worthy of a top 15 pick, and he slips into the 2nd round, which is very possible, I could see the Pats taking him. They have taken guys like Wheatley in the 2nd, so a guy they consider to be a top end QB isn't that far off.

Jason (Denver, CO)

Hey, Mike, good to hear from you as always. About a month ago I suggested that part of the reason for the Patriots large number of incoming player visits might be for the purposes of evaluation of future opponents. You seemed to dismiss the idea, and yet this week you made the same point in regard to Jake Locker and Ryan Mallet. I never meant this was a reason for a large portion of these visits only that some of the visits could be motivated by this aspect. Have you come around?

Mike Reiss
  (1:11 PM)

I think it's part of it, Jason. Not the main reason for most prospects, but a significant part of it for QBs.

Eric G. (Hudson)

Mike, Do you have any update as to Ty Warren's injury?? I think his recovery from his IR stint last year factors greatly on who we draft in the 1st round....

Mike Reiss
  (1:11 PM)

Everything is on course Eric.

kevin (on a train)

Mike, everyone keeps talking about how Hoyer is such a good back up. He made a great pass vs the Dolphins last year but how valuable do you think he is? What kind of value do you think Hoyer has to offer in exchange?

Mike Reiss
  (1:12 PM)

I think with a solid preseason, he could be in a Kevin Kolb type situation next year.

Dan (Leominster)

Mike, To go Ed Hochuli on us, you'll need to get in the weight room. Sorry.

Mike Reiss
  (1:12 PM)

And maybe lengthen out my responses, right?

Shaun (Quincy)

Mike just to clarify WAD's comments I think he meant the Bungals pick at 4, take green, then try to move to 28 to get their QB... thoughts???

Mike Reiss
  (1:13 PM)

My bad. Makes complete sense.

Andy (Lowell)

Hey Mike, is there any thought to pushing next week's chat to Friday? It'll let us see the first round and plenty to talk about at #33 (assuming they still have that pick)

Mike Reiss
  (1:14 PM)

Andy, will discuss the possibility of a Friday chat. Good idea.

Gary (San Diego)

WOW five questions submitted Zero answered....Did i get blacklisted

Mike Reiss
  (1:14 PM)

Never, Gary. Just can't get to them all.

Mike Reiss (Bristol)

Will I be having another chat before the draft? There may be something of interest before then.

Mike Reiss
  (1:15 PM)

Yes, Mike, we'll do it again next Thursday :) And possibly Friday too.

Mike Reiss
  (1:16 PM)

Thanks to everyone for chatting. Very enjoyable. If you have time to make it to the Hall tonight (6:30 p.m.), it would be great to meet you.