Good afternoon and welcome to today's chat. Just getting set up and we'll start in a few.
Estimated kickoff -- 12:05 p.m. ET
The draft is almost here ... thankfully. I'm all mocked out. Just tell me the picks and let's analyze them.
A couple of things I think about the Patriots: If they decide to trade up, I could see three possibilities: 1. S Mark Barron; 2. DL Michael Brockers; 3. DE/OLB Chandler Jones.
Was told by an NFL football decision-maker I respect that this first round is not as strong as some others in recent memory, and it is defined by all the edge guys. Each of the edge guys comes with an element of risk that can make teams uneasy.
In my final mock, I went the safe route and gave the Patriots Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith and Nebraska LB Lavonte David. The pick of David is a little bit off the board -- he'd be the smallest LB they ever took -- but it reflects in my view a changing NFL. This is a game played in space more than ever, and David is a very good player who has plus-intangibles.
hi mike, what are the chances of Harrison Smith being on the board at 31 if the Pats use 27 on somebody else??? Im thiking specifically of the Ravens
That was my thought, Marc. He could be a good fit for the Ravens at 29, and when you look at the overall safety class, it drops off considerably after Smith.
Hi Mike. Want to bet? Here's the proposition: You get all the guys who have been mocked to the Pats more than once in any of the mock drafts you've posted or linked to. I get the field. You win if you hit on even one guy. Seriously, which way would you bet on this prop?
Right on DJ. No one truly knows what Bill Belichick will do. I do think it is fun to try to project it.
What position groups should I target with the first round picks?Is David worth a first rounder?
Nick, you don't need my advice. You and your scouts have put in the work. See how the board falls for you. I'd advocate a trade-up for Barron or Brockers if you can pull it off and it's reasonable. I'm not a believer of moving Devin McCourty to safety full-time -- that moves has "panic" written on it to me -- so I'd pick safety if the right player is there and you have the choice.
Hi Mike, how's this for a prediction: not only will the Pats makes two picks in the first round tonight, they'll also move up a bit to make one of them. Surprise!
That would be fun, Neil. I like the idea of moving up, within reason. I'm sort of underwhelmed about their options if they stay put, based on what could happen in front of them.
Forgot to answer Nick Caserio's final question, "Is David worth a first-rounder." If he doesn't go in the first, it will only be because of his size. He is undersized for the position, but I had two people I respect tell me that he really is a solid player.
Hey Mike, I keep hearing Vinny Curry being brought up for the pats in mock drafts. Have the Pats shown a lot of interest in this guy and is he a McGinest type? (Wes Welker probably hates that idea lol) I'm excited for the draft tonight nothing like Christmas in April!!
Curry could potentially be a McGinest type player. On the surface, though, I think McGinest was a better athlete.
Mike, I am feeling the Pats using both their first round picks with a more likely trade coming in the second round. There seems to be too many similarly rated players in the middle to late first round into the early second. Other than the potential to draft Jenkins if he drops I am not terribly excited or attached to any of the late first round prospects. This will be an interesting first couple of rounds for fans of the draft to follow.
Ideally id love to see the pats trade 27 to the browns for their 2nd and either a first next year or more picks this year. Browns can trade back into first to guarantee a qb and pats have 3 picks nicely spread througout round 2. Grab a safety 5-tech pass rusher and best player available from there
Joe, the only thing about that trade with the Browns is that they already have two first-rounders (4 and 22). I have doubts they'd move back in for a third first-rounder.
Could Wes Walker have a impact on the Patriots draft plans?
Frank, the impact Welker would have is more 2013-based than anything. I think the Patriots feel like they have players on the roster who could fill that role (not as well, of course) in Julian Edelman and Anthony Gonzalez (assuming good health). But both of them also aren't committed to the team past 2012 at this point. So if they draft a receiver, I could see it with that in mind.
Could this be the year for the Patriots to finally add a dynamic presence in the front seven with one of their early picks?
Brockers is the choice, in my opinion, if they are thinking along those lines. It all depends on where he potentially falls, if he falls at all. I think anything after 10 is in play for a trade-up.
I just feel like there are only two options for the patriots and its trading up and getting an impact player like barron or brockers or drafting both 27 and 31 i just dont think bb is going down this draft how about you
He might not go down in this year's draft, but I could see him going out altogether and pushing the chips to 2013. That would be Belichick-esque.
Mike, Some comments , then a question. I like your mock draft - Smith and David. Speed and athleticism. Both safe picks. Some questions. Do you think BB is having trouble finding someone who will give him a 2013 1st round pick for this year's 31st pick? I sense that the rest of the league has figured this move out. Also, although I am a big Wes Welker fan, realistically Mike, don't you think that BB might let Welker go for a high 2nd round pick? Five years for 50 million with 25 million guaranteed is just not going to happen. His pending holdout could be divisive. Rather then get nothing for him if they withdraw the tag or if he signs for one more year let's get some value now. Again, like your draft. And, the Pats will get two more players for depth in the 2nd round.
Thanks Speed. The David pick was a little bit outside of the box, especially given the prototype of their LBs -- big. I think he'd be a solid addition. As for Welker, i don't see a draft-day trade. A player has to be under contract to be traded, and Welker is not. There are no indications another club is interested in paying him what he is seeking, either.
Hi Mike. Congrats on your new addition. With two very young children myself, may I suggest you ask for a new coffee maker on Father's Day. The question I have is who of the possible Patriot targets offer the most versatility to the club? We know the Patriots love versatility. McCourty when drafted was touted as a "4 down" player, and last year Marcus Cannon was a possible projection at both Guard and Tackle. (Even Dowling was thought to be a potential safety at the time he was drafted due to his size). I think most experts find McClellan from Boise State to be the versatile player the Pats would tab, but if I had to guess, I'm thinking the safety spot which is a need for the Pats may be filled by a guy who's now considered a corner (I believe like you do that McCourty stays at Corner for now). Is there a Eugene Wilson 2.0 out there if Barron and Smith are off the board for the Pats when they pick? Thanks again for all of your hard work Mike!!!
Thanks Kevin. We have the Kuerig at home and that is getting a workout. Our little guy was born two weeks ago, and I feel like every day is like the day after a night game. Tough turnaround. I'll tip the helmet to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe on your question for pointing out Trumaine Johnson, a safety/corner from Montana. He has the type of versatility you are mentioning.
Why all the talk about drafting a DB in the first round? We've got some young talented corners and safeties who will benefit from an uninterrupted training camp. A top notch pass rusher will instantlymake the secondary better.
If the right pass rusher is there, I agree. Just not sure they will like too many of them (outside of Chandler Jones and possibly Shea McClellin, who are "safer" choices). If those two are gone, it could be tough.
Mike, With the word out of the Patriots possibly moving McCourty to free Safety, putting Chung back where he belongs at the Strong Safety position, but by doing that switch would that mean they are probably thinking of possibly moving up a couple of notches to say Cincy, to possibly attain Gilmore or is it that they maybe just go Trumaine Johnson later in the 2nd??
Eric, I'm not fully buying the McCourty to safety as a permanent decision at this point. I just don't think that's the way they operate. I think they probably have him working on both right now, to give themselves flexibility. But this guy was a Pro Bowl corner in 2010, and to move him to safety permanently strikes me as a panic move at this juncture. Maybe it happens, but I'd be surprised if the decision has been decisively made at this juncture.
Any concerns about Harrison Smith not recording any INT last year?
Shelly, that is a knock on his resume. He did have 7 INTs the year before.
What is your opinion on the draft being split into three days personally i would prefer it to be just one long day on the weekend but i guess its all about the money.
Matt, I love the draft, whether it was one day, two days, three days, or seven days. Just tell me where it is and I'll be there. I liked the old format best - two days over the weekend, but this is cool too.
Hey Mike, Hopefully the new cover two spread isn't wearing you and the mrs. down too much. I know there is a huge drop off after barron and Smith, but is Smith really a first round talent? Seems to me his stock has risen due to the position and not necessarily the player. I think Brockers will be there at 27 and they make that pick. They deal #31 to someone looking QB or possibly Fleener at TE for a late round and a #1 next year - Bill just loves leaving his options. If they can get Smith in round 2 I see them moving there, if not, they sign Yeremiah Bell. Thoughts?
I don't think Brockers will be there, but if he is, that would be a coup in my opinion. As for Smith, he reminds me of Patrick Chung in 2009. Borderline first-rounder. Solid. Safe.
On Bell, I'm neutral. Don't feel that strongly about him.
Who is a potential UFA on your radar for us to be aware of early next week that the Pats would likely pursue who could make the team?
Not sure if we mean rookie or veterans, Brave, but I'd focus on the RBs. If they don't draft a RB, one from the group of Addai/Hightower/Grant could get the call. As for rookies not drafted, I'd just be throwing darts.
Do you think the Pats will have to trade-up to get Smith? The Jets might get him first.
I don't think so, Mark.
Mike when you at the combine which player did think might not be a good character guy and the Patriots should stay away from?
David, it's so hard to tell on that stuff. We get 15 minutes with the prospects and I'd like to think someone with character would realize that it's almost impossible to judge character in that short of a timeframe. I've probably fallen into that trap before, and I regret it.
I suspect we will draft a WR tonight. The only WRs on the roster signed for 2013 are Lloyd, Ocho and Edelman if I am correct. If we go that route, look for us to take Reuben Randle.
Sam, I could see a WR for that reason. I liked Randle as well.
Does Matt Light's retirement create any need for an early pick at tackle in the first 2 rounds? Or are the Pats set with Vollmer and Solder, and maybe grabbing a project later in the draft/free agency?
Jim, I think they are set in the short-term with Solder, Vollmer, Cannon and even Matt Kopa developing behind them. But if they draft a tackle, it could be with Vollmer in mind. He's also in the last year of his contract.
Let's stop kidding ourselves. Belichick is going to take some guy we've never heard of with one of his late 1st rounders and trade back into the 2nd round with the other. In fact, it wouldn't shock me to see him trade BOTH 1st rounders this year and load up on 2nd round picks and 2 1st rounders again for 2013. What do you think?
Jason, nothing surprises when it comes to Belichick.
Whitney Mercilus -- the next Jason Pierre-Paul or the next Vernon Gholston?
That's the tough one, Bunk. I think he'll be better than Gholston.
Can you see the Pats trading up both 1st rd picks to early 20's or late teens to get some solid pass rushers or db's? what would that cost?
Harry, the Patriots don't have much late-round capital to deal, which is something to keep in mind. They have the two 1s, two 2s, a 3 and 4. To move up to the low teens, you're probably looking at a 1 and a 3 or 4.
Mike, With BB having a, presumably, good relationship with Scott Pioli in KC and the Chiefs needing to fill a lot of holes, do you think there is a chance of these 2 teams making some sort of a trade with the Pats moving up to the Chiefs spot to grab their player? Who would the Pats value most if that did happen?
I do, Al. I think Scott Pioli will have his fair share of offers for No. 11. If the Patriots are moving up, it's the three names previously mentioned IMO: 1. Barron; 2. Brockers. 3. Chandler Jones.
What's the market for Nick Collins? If he decides to try to return, that is.
Joe, that's an injury situation. I think "buyer beware" for teams doing their due diligence.
I can't shake this feeling that the Patriots' telegraphing about front 7 guys is a ploy and they'll grab an OL or CB in the first round? I remember BB making a comment last year that the draft would be about who can evaluate the front 7 the best and then we picked solder and dowling while other teams picked the Jordans, Heywards, Wilkersons, etc.
Wouldn't be a surprise...anything is in play with Belichick. That's the way he likes it.
If the Shea McClellin comparisons to Mike Vrabel are true, I see it as a no brainer that he would be one of the choices in the 1st rd. We need to invest high picks in adding talent to the front 7. That would help the DB in their improvement and growth.
Was told this morning that McClellin is viewed as one of the "safer" picks at that position. Him and Chandler Jones. Not a lot of holes with either guy.
MIKE DO YOU THINK REYES WILL BE THERE IN THE 2ND ROUND
Ron, the word I got on Reyes is that there is some doubt from some teams about his ability to two-gap (which the Patriots generally like their linemen to do). I think he's a late first/early second player based on analysts' projections. I can't sit here and say I've evaluated him fully. I just haven't, so I have to defer to the Mayocks, Kipers, McShays etc.
Mike from all of the information you've gathered, how deep does the caliber of players the Patriots will have a shot at go? In other words, in the event that they elect to trade back (which is fine IMO) how far back will they be willing to go so they can still get a comparable talent?
Mike what would you say the over/under is on a good mock draft, 5 right? 7?
I think 7 is a good number, although every year is a bit different. Everyone is basically starting with a "2" this year with Luck and Griffin.
Mike,I can play tear it up at nearly any front-seven position, my motor is always running, I'll wind up making a ton of sacks for some NFL team, and I want to play for a winner. What are the chances of Belichick trading up for me. I think I would fit into his system perfectly!
I don't think he'd trade up for you, Melvin. Just a hunch.
Mike, is there any possibility that Pats ship a player for a pick?
We saw it with Ellis Hobbs a few years ago. I don't think we can rule it out.
Hey Mike, what happened to the Welker chat yesterday? It seemed like it was going to happen then just disappeared from the boards. I love the guy, but I'd hate to think that he flaked on that in light of the recent franchise tag drama. Any light you can shed on the situation?
Steve, I think the chat was Tuesday. He was at ESPN all day and that was part of his media responsibilities.
Are there any teams that Patriots will not trade with? I used to think the Jets and Colts were on that list. Now, I assume its just the Jets.
Jeff, I think the division teams are tough to deal with, although not impossible (e.g. Drew Bledsoe to Buffalo). Otherwise, I'd say everyone is in play.
Mike,Do you see NE targeting a "gadget player"/ kick returner on day 2 or 3? If so, what are some names that we should keep an eye on?
I do, Rob. Chris Rainey (Florida) is the one on my radar.
Mike, Kevin Faulk announced last week that he would return for a 14th season if the Patriots would have him. Is this a case of a player being reluctant to walk away from the game, perhaps hoping to end his career on a higher note than the past two seasons? Or might coaches have told him there is some chance, however small, that they could need him if the right circumstances fell into place?
I don't know the answer, Jim, but I'd lean toward the first part.
If Poe falls down to 27, do you think the Patriots would entertain the idea of drafting him? Having Wilfork and Poe in the middle of our front seven would be pretty devastating for opposing offenses. Both guys would often draw double teams in the middle freeing up our DEs and OLBs to get after the QB off the edge. And there would be no runs up the clogged middle. I doubt he'll make it to our pick, being the best NT prospect, but there's a chance he could slide. Just an idea, what do you think?
I do think there is a chance he could slide. I could envision that scenario if he is available.
Hi Mike. Why such love over Harrison Smith? The Patriots are in need of a coverage safety that can hang with slot receivers. Smith isn't the answer in my opinion. He will be a good player in this league but he' too similar to Pat Chung in terms of skill set. If the Patriots hang onto both 1st round picks, my sense is that they may go offensive line. It really isn't the strength that some feel it is. We have an inexperienced LT in Solder, Mankins may miss the start of the year, Koppen is in rapid decline and Connely is average, Waters may retire, and Vollmer is a 6' 8" man with chronic back issues. We have no quality depth on the line. That's a recipe for disaster in my book. Would you agree?
I think Smith is a solid player, Matt, but I also see your point about the OL. A lot of it depends how they view some of the young guys already on the roster - and I think they like the Nick McDonalds, Ryan Wendells etc. While Connolly might be average, they are paying him $3m per year, so to me, that tells me they view him a bit differently.
Mike, Do you envision any situation in which the Patriots offer either Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallet to a team, say Cleveland to move up or down this year or to obtain more picks ( I see they only have 5 picks next year)? Thanks again for all your hard work year round.
Jay, I think it would be only if a team came calling for them. I don't see the Patriots pushing the envelope there.
Mike, your choice of Lavonte David is interesting. Just wondering if Jeff Tarpinian is considered the same type of player?
Thanks Art. Tarpinian is similar in terms of style, but I'd say David has more upside. Also, Tarpinian's health situation is a bit of a mystery. He just sort of disappeared last year without much explanation, so until we have more information, I'm not sure we can definitively mark him into the mix.
Hi Mike - Congrats on your move to the Cover-2. It's a tough defense to learn but I think you'll find it's much more fun to play! I have a prediction for the Pats in this year's draft. I think that BB will "double up" at one position this year like he has in the last two drafts (TE in 2010 and RB in 2011). My best guess is that he will double up at the Safety position. Any thoughts? Enjoy the draft!
I like it, Rob. I could see that. Keep an eye on UCLA's Tony Dye in the middle-to-later rounds.
I believe that Belichick when it comes to what his is looking for in an OLB/DE and his extremely high standard prevents him from picking a guy like Upshaw whose game tape shows he can do it all... but he's not as athletic or fast enough and has short arms... all that crossed him off of my list (if I'm thinking like Bill of course)
Eric, I think he'd take Upshaw if the other options he liked weren't there, and he couldn't move the pick.
Morning Mike,I know it's draft day, but what's your stance on Matt Light? How do you view him in terms of being a Patriot's HOF and do you think he was underrated around the league? Also, it looks like Solder is working hard to fill that spot. Gotta love that. Thanks, Mike.
Trip, I do think Light is a Patriots Hall of Famer. Very solid career here. I think he was respected around the league. There is an element of having Brady and his ability to get rid of the ball that helps the OL, but I thought Light played his role very well.
Mike, I was interested in your comment in your mock draft that "it seems unlikely" that BB will make both first round picks. I have a slightly different perspective. As you know, with the new rookie pay scale, having 2 first round picks has much less financial/cap impact than it used to. I agree that is is unlikely that the Patriots package picks to move up, but I think this year, more than any other, the Pats are likely to make both first round picks. What I do suspect will happen is that one of the second round picks will be traded for a first rounder next year. However, I keep hearing that the picks value chart from years past is obsolete now. My question for you is whether the picks value chart is still consistent with this? In years past, this year's second round pick was worth a first rounder next year. Is that still the case?
That's still the case, Neil. The idea is that by waiting one year, you improve a round.
Hey Mike, big fan of your work. At the end of last year our defence started coming together and playing pretty good. I understand we need to add a S and a pass rusher, but with the retirement of Light and Vollmers back issues, how much importance will be put on our OL? Can we expect BB to draft an OL in the first 2 rounds? Last year proved that with a below average D, we can still compete for a Championship as long as Brady is healthy. How nuch consideration is placed in each years draft about winning now, (While Brady is still playing at a high level) versus building for the future?
Thanks Clayton. It's always a balance. In 2005, I don't think the Patriots wanted to draft a guard at No. 32. But there was a big run on defense and it led them to Mankins. They made the best of a less than ideal situation. If the same situation unfolds this year, they could do it again.
Up, back or stay put? If they do trade up is it for Barron?
It all depends if one of their targets slides within range.
7th rounder too much to give up for asante samuel? I think 31 other nfl teams missed on this one, falcons got a player with alot left in tank.
I love the move for the Falcons, but one thing to note, it wasn't just the seventh-rounder. It was also the $5m per year salary.
Hey mike happy draft! Any chance we see patriots trade for anyone by the weeks end? Maybe picks for Dwight Freeney or Osi umenyiora?
Just a guess, Craig, but I'd say they filled up with their vets in free agency.
Hey Mike,Harrison Smith has grown on me in the past couple weeks. From what I've seen and heard, he has good size, plus tackler, can get in the backfield, and is a great worker and kid. I really think this kid will be there at 27, and perhaps slipping to 31, so I'd much prefer grabbing him and (hopefully) a guy to help the pass rush rather than gamble, move up, give up a good pick(s) for Barron because I'm not sold Barron is leaps and bounds above Smith. What side are you on?
I think you win either way, Tim, by decisively filling that position without moving Devin McCourty fromn a position where he played at a Pro Bowl level in 2010.
Not a lot has been mentioned about Joe Adams lately. Is he still on the radar or has his stock just stagnated?
I like him, Matt, as a post-round 1 option.
Mike-one thing to keep in mind for the draft, I think Will Allen is going to outperform people's expectation ala Anderson and Carter. We'll have much more depth at the corner position then we historically allowing us to only take a corner if that person doubles as the kick returner
Could be true, but just seems risky to me to be banking on that.
how many more years will Brady play
Assuming good healthy, I see no reason to think it won't be at least 5 more years.
Big Syracuse fan here - I've watched Chandler Jones play for 3 years now and I'm not sure what the hype is. Good college player, good character kid, but not athletically explosive enough to be an elite pass rusher, and not strong enough to consistently hold the edge. Needs to put on 20-30 lbs...2-3 year project imo.
It's real interesting Mike. I talked to a scout who graded him as a third-rounder. But I think what happens is that as you get closer to the draft, you look at players with holes, and there are just a few who really don't have any. Jones is pretty "clean" in that regard and that has improved his stock with some clubs. Has the good size, which helps too. I sort of lean toward your line of thinking, while adding that I haven't seen enough of him to have a real strong opinion.
Another Patriots possibility? Andre Branch, I think he could be a dynamic hybrid OLB/DE edge rusher. If Jones, Brockers, and Upshaw are gone, He could be someone to keep an eye on.
I could see Branch and his Clemson teammate Brandon Thompson (DT) as players that would interest the Patriots.
Let's go for another 5...
How about giving Indy the 3rd for Freeney?
I'd have to look closer at his salary. Seems that would be a holdup. Can't assume too much $$$ there.
Mike, last year I killed two trees printing research on players, best players available per position, mock drafts, etc, etc, etc. I even took my daughter to your draft conversation at the Hall of Fame. This year, just buying a 30 pack and seeing what happens. I feel like the Superbowl and last night Bruins game has prepared me for this years draft!
Nice, Dan. LOL.
You might not be buying the McCourty move to safety but this draft is weak for safety. It's not the Pats MO to overpay (draft too early) or trade 2 very valuable picks for a college player when the Pats know that have a current guy on their roster they can move to safety in a pinch.
Eric, one thing I agree on is that the Patriots won't overpay. The player and fit has to be right.
Mike,Now that we see how Assante Samuel adjusted his deal, how do you think those numbers would have fit for the Patriots?
Paul, don't think they would have wanted to do that.
Mike, will I fit in better with Tom and the offense in year two? Or are my days numbered in Foxboro with me being lucky to make the opening day roster?
I think the odds are stacked against you, Ocho. But respect for chopping the salary.
There is a good amount of talk that this draft class - outside the first 5 picks or so - is a weaker class. You would think that falls right into Bill's draft approach in trading picks. That said, is there already a sense of 2013's draft class strength - is it projected better right now than 2012?
I think it's too early for that, Todd. If you push the chips to 2013, there is an element of the unknown there, similar to last year with the trade to New Orleans (No. 28 for No. 56 and a 2012 first-rounder).
Any chance David can be used as a safety since he is small for a LB?
I'd lean against it. I think David's strengths are closer to the line of scrimmage. Has a lot of good traits, with the size the one thing holding him back.
Hey mike, any chance the patriots go running back with the 48th pick? Possibly a David Wilson? He's got 4.3 speed and could make up lost yardage in the special teams.
I don't see it, Austin, especially after they drafted Vereen and Ridley -- 2nd/3rd -- last year. It would have to be a case of the value just being too good to pass up.
Why cant people get over with asante? We lost a superbowl because of his drop.
Might be tied to missing that playmaking presence on a consistent basis back there. He might not support the run very well, but he has plus instincts and anticipation.
How about Brandon Boykin in the 2nd round? Fills the CB role and can be the KO returner?
Could see it, Todd. Similar to David, the question is how concerned is the team on his size (5-9 1/2, 182).
mike, i think the odds are pretty good that bb will draft someone in the first round no one expected/heard of. but guess what? he's a great guy and you would definately want him to marry your daughter!
LOL. And let's end on that one.
That sort of sums up my feelings. I try to talk to people around the league, familiarize myself on needs and prospects, but the truth is that it's a lot of guesswork. I enjoy it, with the hope of maybe hitting a pick or two one of these days.
Thanks to everyone for chatting. Enjoy the rest of the day and check out our blog on ESPNBoston.com tonight throughout the draft. Should be fun.