Good afternoon and welcome to our "draft reaction" chat.
I thought I'd lead it off with a scouting report I was read on Nate Solder, the Patriots' pick at No. 17. This comes from a scout from another team: "Bends well. Great feet. Can cut off the backside. Great athlete for a tackle. Great range. Smart. Works hard. Some more power needed. Saw at the Senior Bowl that he got overpowered a bit. His punch is not great. Had a low bench [press] for an o-lineman."
I was told by a connected national media member that the Giants had designs on selecting Solder at 19 if he was available.
I thought the Solder pick was solid. I'm still wrapping my head around the trade at No. 28. I understand the value aspect of the trade. Guess I just want to see what they do with the 58th pick before making a judgment. Think this team needs pass rush help.
Let's go until about 12:50 today.
I am a believer in drafting for the current year so the product on the field is the best possible. The Patriots obviously don't have that philosophy. I expect them to do the same thing again withthe 33rd pick. A high pick next year plus a day three pick this year. The net result will be no impact defensive player from this year's draft.
Jim, I think they're flirting with trouble if they don't come out of this draft with pass-rush help. If they move down from 33, I don't think I'd go past 40, and it would have to include a 1 next year.
Mike:Love the Solder pick/good left tackles are hard to come by. Agree on the Sheard pick at 33. Not so convinced on Leshore. If you listened to RB Coach Fears last night, he was not very high on him and it did not sound like a smoke screen. He liked Ryan Williams better.
I might have missed the boat on Williams. At the combine, I was a little surprised to learn that he had just three pass protections. But maybe I ruled him out too quickly. Sheard -- as long as his elbow checks out, that's my guy. Instant help for the pass rush. To me, the most undersold pass-rusher entering this draft. Tough. Patriot type guy.
Mike,I'll avoid judging the pick either way. Instead, I'll just pass this question to you. How will Solder contribute in 2011?...In other words: Light, Vollmer, Solder Mankins....what's our starting line come opening day? It of course depends on signing Light and what happens to Mankins, but what do you think?
Tim, I think Solder will be the statring LT. Don't think you draft a player 17 and have him sit.
Frustrating. By trading into next year again, the Pats look like they consider the pass rush issue a luxury when most fans -- and the rest of the league -- can see it's a dire need. And to see so many highly-rated linemen go off the board! And let's face it, no way Bill stays pat at 33. Sorry Mike, you'll be watching Jabaal Sheard rushing the passer for the Bills or the Bengals next year.
David, when Belichick trades out like that, I view it as him looking at the board and seeing a cluster of players that he'd be happy with by the time his next pick rolls around. So I think it's important to see what they do with these next five picks.
I think you are wrong about judging the trade with New Orleans with how Ingram performs. The real judgement should be based on how M Wilkerson performs as I thought he should be the pick. Prior to the first round, you mentioned that he could be the pick at 17. Not only did we pass on him twice, the Jets pounced on him. If Wilkerson turns out the player I think he might be, he could be embarrassing Solder twice a year.
Fair point, Ross. There are many ways to analyze a trade and looking solely at Ingram is a narrow view.
Mike, I have to admit, with Cam Jordan and Mo Wilkerson on the board at 17, I was surprised to see Solder as the pick, but I have no issues with it at all. I think with Dante's coaching, the Pats have a pair of bookend tackles for 10 years. My question is this, is this a sign that the Pats are planning on moving forward without Matt Light? That perhaps they would use the money that they would spend on him elsewhere (Mankins perhaps?) since they wouldn't spend big money on Light as well as a 1st rounder would they? In theory, if they pay Kazur the 3.5 they owe him, that could be a lot cheaper than Light, and allow him to be the swing tackle and backup RT and move Vollmer to LT if Solder needs time to get up to speed. Have we seen the end of Light's days in NE?
Chris, it looks that way to me with Light, although I wouldn't be surprised if they kept the door open. can't imagine them signing Light to a 3-year, $21 million type deal after drafting Solder. Doesn't make much sense to me.
Mike, what are the upsides of OLB Jabaal Sheard, your 33rd pick?
From scouts who have worked on him: Tough kid. Leader. Team captain. Physical. Diverse pass rush moves. Potential three-down value.
Mike,I could see some teams being interested in the Patriots 33rd pick for Dalton (outside chance for Mallett). IF the Patriots trade that pick, what would they look for in return? I have a hard time believing they'd be interested in a 2012 1st rounder at all, considering they have 2 already.
I think a 2012 or 2013 first-rounder would have to be part of it. Not worth moving it in my view if we're not talking about a 1.
Hey Mike, a little disappointed we didn't address defense in the 1st round. I really think Justin Houston is a possibility. I know you have been advocating for Sheard. Convince me that you are right.
Byron, I made a mistake in my second-round mock draft today, putting Houston to the Browns early. I think he's going to fall hard. Off-field stuff. He's not a Patriot. Just a hunch, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's not even on their board.
What the heck is BB thinking??? He passed on a vital need for the PAtriots...Even John Elway relaized that Pass Rushers were important!! Instead we trade away Richard Seymour to only trade away the first round for next years first round and an extra second round this year. We have the first pick in the second round, but our other two picks in the second round are much deeper. I would of gone after Denver and traded up giving them the 17th and 28th for Von Miller! Didn't we learn from passing on Clay Mathews??
Rick, I understand the frustration. I think it's only fair to wait for the next couple of rounds before we make a final call. It's hard to judge a draft after just one round. LaMarr Woodley one example of a prime pass-rusher coming from the second round.
Name one player if you had to guess the pats draft tonight?
Tim, I feel like I'm beating it into the ground, but I believe in Jabaal Sheard. He got about 1/1,000 of the hype of Brooks Reed leading into the draft, but I believe he's their type of guy, and like how he could fit into this locker room/defense/program.
Do The patriota trade or keep The 33rd pick?
The smart money says they trade it. If they trade it, I think the only way it's worth it is if there is a first-round pick coming back in some form, and you don't have to drop too low in the second round.
With Jets and Steelers picking the 3-4 DE many fans wanted , I am sure BB is going to tell us how great these playerss are when we play them for many years to come.Do you feel any emotion when in a post game and he tells you how great the player you wanted them to pick played for the other team?
Not at all satish. These teams invest millions and millions of dollars to come to an informed opinion on things. I invest $19.99 for the Pro Football Draft Preview and talk to as many scouts as possible. I would trust the teams' evaluation a lot more than mine.
Do you see any way the pats don't draft a pass rusher?
Vic, Belichick always unpredictable. Think it would be a mistake if he doesn't. Some good rushers available here at the top of the second. Pass on these guys and I think he's flirting with some trouble.
As a Pats fan I am intrigued now by the Bills draft. they got a top flight D lineman and can now come back in the second round and either get a QB of the future (Dalton, if the Pats don't trade out in front of them) or their choice of the pass rushers (Bowers, Reed, Sheard, Houston etc.) are we looking at a watershed draft for the Bills?
Mike, I think watershed is a little strong, but I like the draft. I think the AFC East got bigger and tougher over the last 18 hours, starting in Buffalo. They were 32nd against the run last year. Dareus should help.
Solder probaly solid and Light probably gone. Again no play-maker. Lack of a pass rush allowed Sanchez to work without any pressure and no deep threat (Tait is a failure) allowed the Jets to focus on the inside. Without playmakers playoff failures will continue. Any help in sight? Also, if they were going to trade the 28th why to a team like NO who will get them only a low first rounder next year and a ow 2nd this year? All in all not a great first day. Without playmakers history set to repeat and the clock ticks on for Brady.
Carl, that was my reservation on the Saints' trade. I understand the value of picking up the second-rounder and adding the 1 next year -- which is likely to be in the back half of the round. I want to see how it plays out, but I'm not sold. Also think we need to see what playmakers they come away with in second round.
Mike, like everyone else, I was hoping for a big D-lineman in the 1st round, but the Solder pick and the trade got me thinking, what does this say about the D-linemen that BB said were so crucial to this draft that he traded out instead of picking them at 28 and picked a "developmental" LT over them at 17? Was he messing with everyone? Does he like someone in the 2nd round more? or were they simply in love with Solder and didn't think Wilkerson or Heyward were worth 28?
Mike, I think it's all about scenarios. The one that unfolded led them to Solder. Had the Lions picked Solder, for example, he might have backed up from 17 and picked one of those DL. I don't think it's that he didn't like them, but that the way the draft fell, Solder was the right choice.
Hi Mike - There are some interesting pass-rush OLB's still on the board heading into the second round (Reed, Sheard, maybe Bailey) - given that the team has three picks, what do you think the chances are that they double up on the pass rush position the same way they did at the TE position in last year's draft? If they can get two solid pass rushing prospects then it gives the team a lot of good options on 3rd downs. Does that seem realistic?
Possible, Rob, but I see more of an OLB/DE, RB and trade troika coming up in this round.
I was really hoping to see the pats stockpaile front 7 defensive players with both 1st round picks. When they passed on Cam Jordan, and Wilkerson and Heyword twice I was dissipointed. I thought Prince would have been the value choice after he dropped so much. I agree getting line help for Brady was very important but feel it is easier to find good OL in the 2nd round then DL in the second round - especially after 12 DL prospects were taken in the first. I get the feeling that Bill just can't make himself take the obvious choice. your thoughts?
Jake, in this draft, the tackle crop fell off considerably after the top guys. I think there is more DL depth. So I liked the pick based on that aspect of this year's draft.
Whatever happens, Mike, in Belichik we trust.
The track record is proven, Mike.
Mike,I'm probably in the minority, but I LOVE this pick as well as the Saints trade. Looking back on the playoff losses, starting with the SB loss to the Giants, it has not been the defense that has been the problem, it has been the pressure disrupting Brady's play on offense. You keep pointing out that the Pats ranked 32nd on 3rd down last year; true, but the important stat is POINTS and they were very competitive in that category last year. The other point is that their OL is in shambles at the moment - no RG, questionable contract situations for LG & LT, and they don't have a lot of quality depth and youth. They infused a lot of youth on D last year and have a decent amount of depth; BB is in the best position to evaluate it and if they make improvements from last year then they should be pretty good. Pushing #28 into '12 will allow them to work the Draft next year and they should still be able to make a good pickup @ 56. I'll go with solid depth because injuries arise every year and it's the quality depth that prevents them from collapsing down the stretch. Plus, projecting DEs and OLBs is a risky business - remember all the cries to pick Gholston???Joseph
We're balancing it off here with a positive perspective. Thanks Joseph.
Mike thanks for everything. It has been great knowing you.
Matt, Tom Brady paid you a high compliment today: "There is nobody I love more than Matt Light. He's an incredible player, he's tough, hard-nosed, a three-time Super Bowl champ."
Why is everyone so down? So we didn't get a pass rusher, but at least we have someone to protect Brady. There are still great Defensive options left out there. I would trust Coach Belichick and have faith in that he knows the right players for the system. Just think back to Devin McCourty last year. That worked out very well!
The positive vibes are breaking through, like the sun and warm temps here in New England.
I love the Solder pick. Our O-line now has the Twin Towers!! We have plenty of picks left to address our defensive needs tonight. I like that we have an extra pick next year also. It will be just another bargaining chill for the Mighty Belichick!! Tonight I would love to see Hankerson or Reed at 33 then guard/center and DE with the other two 2nd rounders. In the third I think there is value at RB and DB. For those upset with the Mighty Belichick lets wait to see how tonight pans out. In
Now I'm REALLY distressed. You convince me we should take Wilkerson, and we let him slip to our arch enemy? Next years NO's pick isn't likely to be much better than 28 and all we got is a pick at the end of the 2nd? Our second round hit rate is barely 50% as it is (see Brace, Jackson, Bethel J., Wheatley, Butler). And, not one gamechanger in the rest. I like Atl's bold approach. Why not jump up a few and grab Jordan, Prince A. or take Wilkerson? Doesn't the D need a game changer? Please don't tell me that total underachiever Bailey is one.
I thought Atlanta was a little too aggressive for my liking, Mark. I do think Solder was a good pick for the Patriots. The key, though, is what they do with these next 5. I think there are some real good players who can help coming up over the next 60 picks or so.
Hey Mike, I was wondering what effect you think the lockout had on the Pats pick of Solder. I just wonder had FA begun and the Pats been able to resign Light and knew he was back, if the pick would have changed based on need. What do you think?
Mike, I do think there is something there.
Is it possible BB thinks he has his OLBs in Cunningham, Moore and Ninkovich? It was Ninkovich's first year as a starter, and he made some big plays, Moore spent only a few weeks in the system and showed promise and Cunningham looked good until he got hurt. It might not be the most exciting assesment, but BB could think that these guys just needed a year to mature and get healthy. Am I crazy or are they all viewed this positivley inside the front office?
Mike, Bill Belichick knows a lot more football than I will ever know ... but my feeling is that I might be able to make up some ground if he's thinking along those lines.
Trading out of the first round is a losing strategy. The Jets don't do it and their draft record is known to be better than ours. And trading for a first with the Saints is essentially just postponing our first until next year for a low second round pick, along with giving away Mark Ingram who is a sure Emmett Smith of the future. That is just stupid and stubborn and the reason why we have been knocked out of the playoffs the last two years. I'm not going to watch the draft again while Belichick is there. I know he doesn't know what he is doing and when he speaks about it, his reasoning shows that he doesn't know what he is doing.
Paul, I think Belichick's track record is quite good. I understand how the trade-downs can be frustrating at times, and he doesn't always make the right decision, but the draft is more than just the first 32 picks. I'd encourage you to hang in there a bit longer.
Mike it's just like always, a non-sexy first round, but we get a very good player. Now I assume we're set at tackle for almost the next ten years? I am very curious about the 33 pick. Is there any chance they take bowers or does he not really fit their 34 defense. Lastly do you think they skipped* on ingram because they didn't like him, felt like they didn't need running back. Or they know/feel like they can get a guy like mikel leshoure or ryan williams later on? Thanks
Mike, the Solder pick reminds me of what last year's Super Bowl teams (Steelers, Packers) did in last year's draft -- both picked OL. On Bowers, I don't think they view him as a three-down player in their scheme, but maybe the pass-rush explosion is enough to take the plunge at 33. His knee, which is a concern to some teams, would also have to check out. As for Ingram, to me that's all about the board. They must not have a big difference between Ingram and the other backs, or they must see great depth at the position.
Hi Mike, I like the Solder pick, but I'm not sure about trading out of 28, especially considering that Wilkerson and Heyward were picked right after that. Do you think that The Hoodie was hoping he would still be able to get one of them at 33 and misjudged what the other teams would do, or do we assume that he knew what he was doing and never intended to draft either of those guys? With all the hype around the DE depth in this draft, I thought we'd pick one for sure, and those 2 guys were at the top of my list. Thanks!
Nate, my hunch is that Belichick looked at 29, 30, 31, 32 and probably had a cluster of 4-5 players that he'd feel good about picking at 33. I bet Heyward and Wilkerson were in that cluster, but I'd think there are others too.
Hi Mike, watching the draft last night, I was moderately surprised but also liked the Nate Solder pick. I watched some film on him from games and his pro day and the image that stands out is him running over the scout at his pro day. I think with the coaching staff that the Pats have he could develop into a top tier LT.
Ben, I don't think too many people are going to have to worry about Solder. It's what comes next that is the key in my opinion.
Hey Mike,I think I'm in the minority, but I'm pretty happy with the Pats draft last night. We've lost our past three playoff games at the line of scrimmage, so it's nice to get some beef up front. I also like continuing to have flexibility in the future. My favorite part though, is that so many Pats fans hated it. Whenever we hate a Pats first round people don't like (Logan Mankins, Ty Warren, Devin McCourty, etc.) it tends to work out really well. When Pats fans love a Belichick draft (the only time I can remember this happening is 2006 with Laurence Maroney and Chad Jackson) it hasn't been such a good thing. With a solid, slightly, first round pick at 17 and another first-round pick next year, I'm pretty happy. In Belichick we trust.
Thanks for sharing the thoughts, Jeff.
Hey Mike, thanks for the Friday chat. As I had said in an earlier chat I had a sinking feeling the Pats wouldn't get a pass rusher in the 1st round. Should I be nervous that we came away with an OT and some picks, or should I just trust that BB and co. know a lot more than me about drafting?
Andy, I'd say it's a mix. Have to trust the hundreds of millions of dollars the Patriots have poured into this scouting process. At the same time, the one worry I think could be warranted is someone to challenge Belichick and say 'Maybe we hold on to this one and make the pick.' Think a dissenting voice could be a good thing.
At first I was dissapointed that the Pats did not pick Mark Ingram with the 28th pick, but then after thinking about it some more I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized that by trading the pick into next year (and then repeating that process year after year) you get a "free" second round pick every year forever. In my mind that is worth more than any one player. Now, I wouldn't mind seeing the team do the same with the 33 pick and get two "free" second rounders every year (assuming other teams are willing to trade). Thoughts?
I think that's exactly what Belichck is thinking, Brian. I'd say it varies based on what's on the board, so each situation is a bit different.
With a top 20 pick, that player should contribute from day 1. Solder may be great one day, but the Pats could have traded back and got him at 23,24,25 or maybe stayed at 28 and got him. When you overpay for something, no matter how great it is, it isn't a value. No matter how good Solder becomes he blows up your whole 'Bill drafts for value' argument when you try to explain why Bill passed on someone else.
John, I was told the Giants were ready to grab Solder at 19. He wasn't getting far.
Hi Mike, Hope all is well on this beautiful day. I would bet the farm Belligenius trades that number 56 for a first rounder next year. What are your thoughts. Where he has number 60 I really think he will still get whomever he is targeting. Enjoy your weekend!
If he can keep 33 and get a pass rusher, trade 58 for a 1st round, and then draft a RB with 60, I see some strong pieces in place.
Mike, you must be psyched: just over 6 hrs until the Pats take your boy Sheard! My question is whether you sense the Pats are concerned at all about the possibility there is no draft going forward? Obviously they aren't that worried, or they wouldn't have made the N.O. trade, but do you get the sense they have any concern or no concern?
I don't sense any concern, Brad.
Hey Mike, there's been a lot of talk about value in the middle rounds this year, so are we missing the bigger picture from yesterday? The Patriots have 5 picks tonight and could really do some damage, especially if they follow Belichick's drafting template of going for value. It seems like our reservations from yesterday could very quickly disappear tonight.
Good point, Andy. Don't think they'll make all 5, but maybe 4 of them. Big day for the team today.
Hey Mike, Im with you on Jabaal Sheard, I want him on the Pats bad. I dont remember seeing any reports of us bringing him for a visit or really showing much interest in him. Did I miss that?
It's been very quiet, Mark, but I feel confident he's on their radar as long as they feel OK with his elbow.
Am I the only one who looks at the second round and see three picks a a very good spot to be in. If we walk out of the second round with a OLB, OG and RB I will think this was a great draft
I don't really understand why another first-round pick next year is such good value. Belichick is unlikely to use both first-round picks next year; he didn't this year, after all. He'll probably trade one of them for a first-round pick in 2013. Wouldn't it have been better to have used the pick this year to get Wilkerson or Heyward?
Fair point, Mason. I think you can make a strong case that making the pick would have been good value, too.
Would taking Jabaal Sheard at #33 as you have mocked be an admission by the Patriots that they aren't happy with the progress of Jermaine Cunningham?
I don't view it that way, Gator Mike. They could play opposite each other.
Well at least they didn't draft a tight end.Even though we didn't get Kerrigan,I love the pick.The Pats have hit on every o-lineman they have selected in the 1st 2 rounds.We have Vollmer,Solder,and Kaczur at tackle,the money we save resigning Light we can give to Mankins to go with Connely,and a 2nd rounder today(Boling,Rackley,or Moffit).Maybe add Fusco later in the draft to groom to replace Koppen. Oh yeah and the Pats already have 2 1st rounders next year. Not bad, now go get Sheard or Romeus.What do you think?
I like it, Pat, especially the part about Mankins. I think that would be a great move -- take this opportunity to start over and strike a deal.
Hi Mike, I am fine with the Solder pick and the philosophy of keeping an eye to future draft. Having said that, I look at the Saints as a team built to win now and I think; "wow, they got two impact players on an already very good team." I think that's where some fan's frustration is coming in, becuase people wanted to wake up today saying that about the Pats.
Ben, that is completely fair. I read some newspaper articles down there and the fans are pumped. Rightfully so. It's exciting.
I appreciate Belichick's mastery of acquiring draft picks, but he has to realize at some point that quality outweighs quantity. I don't understand why everyone gets so enamored with these 2nd and 3rd round picks. Belichick's percentage has been 50/50 at best in these rounds. For every Gronkowski, Vollmer, and Chung, there have been guys like Butler, Brace, Crable, McKenzie, Wheatley, Tate, Chad Jackson, etc who have been major disappointments up to this point. With all the ammo Belichick usually has, he needs to use it to go up and get some elite talent. Trading down and taking guys like Sheard in the 2nd instead of trading up and taking guys like Orakpo or Quinn is why the pass rush is in such poor shape at the moment.
JP, I think it's a mix. No one is perfect in the draft. I do think the point is a fair one.
What was the rational on passing on the meat of this draft with those DEs?
I think it was the idea of getting the "free" second round pick while pushing the 1 to next year. So it's the idea of 2 players are better than 1.
Big day Mike, thanks for chatting with us today. I envision a trade where the Bengals come up to 33 and we move down 2 slots. What would this accrue the Pats in terms of picks considering its for a QB? A first rounder next yr in addition to the pick #35? I appreciate you being objective when so many of us are losing our minds.
To move down 2 spots, I think the Patriots should ask for a 2 next year. I don't know if I would do that because the Bills -- with former Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt now on staff -- might take my target Jabaal Sheard at 34.
Let's go for another 5 here...
Are we really going to trust Tom Brady's blindside to a rookie tackle? Why not swing Vollmer over and let the rookie get his feet wet at RT?
William, it was interesting to me to hear Belichick say he played left tackle and that's where he would line up. I'm sure they'll get him some work on the right side to build some flexibility, but it sounds like it's similar to Light in 2001 -- lock him in on the left.
Mike-I,m perplexed to say the least, Solder makes sense but the trade? when all the ranked DE's are still there other than Watt...help me understan the thinking on the Pats side...as well as I comment I hear often that the pats defensive scheme is complicated and difficult to learn...from every game I saw last year, the only complicated thing to me was a total lack of pass rush....this isnt rocket science, its football!
Andrew, your thoughts have been echoed by others. I think the Patriots feel they can still get some good ones here in the upcoming rounds.
I thought the draft was going to come down the the evaluations of the DE position then we pass on all the top rated DEs. What gives? Why do we always trade away picks into oblivion? How could we pass of Jordan and Heyward and Wilkerson?
Jim, it still could. There are still some strong DEs still on the board.
Having two first-round draft picks is an advantage no other team has. Continually trading down keeps this advantage with the Pats. Why isn't this clear to everyone?Even if BB is 50/50 on a 2nd rounder, that pick is "free" and might be a hit. And at no cost!Your thoughts, Mike?
Thanks Sean. The extra first is almost like a "Get out of Jail" free card in monopoly. Always good to have in your back pocket. But I think sometimes there is a balance when you want to strike those picks.
I totally agree that Sheard could be the guy, having said that i was totally sure that Jordan would be the pick at 17, whats to say they dont shock us again?
Joe, I think they liked Jordan and that if Solder wasn't there, he might have drawn serious consideration. I had my doubts on that one.
It's a shame that we never get good draft picks after the first round. I mean Gronk, Hernandez, Cunningham, and Spikes were just downright awful last year!
I sense sarcasm, Aaron.
Can we get your thoughts on Bowers now that his is slipping. Would you take him and when would you pull the trigger?
Too risky for me, Branden.
Mike: I would respond to JP (FL), above, by saying that his point - that drafting in the late 1st thru 3rd rounds is a 50/50 proposition - is EXACTLY why they try to accumulate so many picks.
I don't get the quality argument. It's all about who you draft. There are only so many players in a draft that you think can help your team. The players likely going earlier aren't necessarily the best for your team. If you have the ability to move back, get more picks, and come away with the same player you want or equivalent player, that's still the same quality you would have gotten but you also get the chance of having more contributors.
It's a good philosophical discussion.
I thought this was the year to grab the talent to push Brady to a couple more Championships before he leaves. It looks like New Orleans did that instead for Drew. Fans down there should be celebrating. Hopefully tonight will change that perception in the Pats favor.
Let's end on this one, Bill. I think that complete context is important. I don't think it's a good idea to judge a draft after 32 picks. While those picks might have the highest percentage of starters, a lot of good players can be found over the next 90-plus picks. Let's see how it plays out and revisit again next week.
Thanks to all for filling up the chat like I have never seen before. There were hundreds and hundreds of submissions. Thanks for checking us out on ESPNBoston.com and we'll chat again next week.