Good afternoon and welcome to today's chat. Exciting day.
Just a few thoughts to kick us off. Don't think the Patriots enter this draft coveting any specific player. Leads me to think they'd like to trade down, accumulate some more assets, and tap in to what some believe is the strength of this draft -- its depth into the second round.
I am personally fascinated by the WR possibility. Wrote on the topic for a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com. Team has struggled in terms of drafting and developing WRs.
Might not be in the first round, but somewhere early, they look primed to go in that direction. Have spent a lot of time with WRs compared to past years. Of their 30 in-house visits, about a quarter of them were WRs. It's always dangerous to read into pre-draft visits, but the volume at the position is telling to me. That's a lot of smoke.
Let's do this.
Mike, with the reports that teams have contacted NE about trading for Mallett, does that explain why we worked out Jordan/Ansah?
Matt, I just saw where Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe reported that teams have called the Patriots inquiring about Ryan Mallett's availability. Bedard reports that it is not known if the Patriots would trade him. To me, this one is simple: If there's a deal, it would be the Browns and would have to be for a first- or second-round pick. The Browns don't own a second, but if they could pick one up, I could see it. As for why the Patriots worked out Jordan/Ansah, I don't think it's connected to Mallett as much as the standard process of being thorough. They work out hundreds of players. That information is really valuable whether you take the player or not.
Hi Mike,Great work leading up to the draft as always. However, with all due respect, I have to disagree with you on the idea that the Patriots can replicate the success of drafting Deion Branch. First, the Pats need WR help now, not in 2014, and second Branch was straight up A-W-F-U-L his rookie year!!! Look at his numbers the last 7 weeks of the season. 6 Catches for 81 Yards and 0 TD?s. OVER 7 GAMES. He also chipped in 1 rush for minus 4 yards and a fumble. To make things worse his competition for playing time was the immortal Donald Hayes and Freddie Coleman. If recreating Deion Branchs 2002 performance is the best case scenario the Patriots better do the right thing and draft a defensive tackle.
Great passion, Joe. I remember it differently. In the 2002 preseason, Branch was lighting things up and I remember VP of Player Personnel Scott Pioli being interviewed on the sideline about the second-round pick from Louisville when he looked into the camera and said, "Let's not put him in Canton just yet." Branch might not have had the same production early in his career as he did later, but it was clear from the start it was only a matter of time before it all came together. ...
... As to your point about needing help now, rookies will naturally take a little time to develop. It seldom happens right away. But this is the situation they're in, and you try to make the best of it. Can't fill all the needs at once. When the Steelers drafted Mike Wallace in the 2009 third round, there were a lot of questions. Not so many questions any more. You draft them, you develop them, and you hope you have enough support around them to weather some of the early bumps until they hopefully hit their stride. That's the modern day NFL.
Mike,In your opinion, howmuch impact could Josh McDaniels have as far as input into decisions concerning which (if any) WRs the Pats might draft? He did fairly well when head coach of the Broncos, although he didn't hold that position long and his record there might have been a fluke.
Yes, I do think McDaniels will have his input and say. Good point. In the end, though, it's a BB call.
If you had to bet $1,000 on one player who the patriots will draft who would it be. Im saying WR. Allen, I'm really hopeing we get CB Rhodes in the first, WR. Allen in the second, and another WR in the third. I'm pretty sure we'll trade either up or down from the pats 29th pick. Thanks
Austin, one thing I heard on Allen that had me backing off slightly after he was picked in the ESPNBoston.com fourth-annual mock draft is questions about the off-field fit. That's a general statement, and I don't have more details, so part of me feels like it's unfair to pass along. But I generally think the Patriots lean "safe" with their top picks -- both from an on- and off-field perspective -- and I don't put Allen in the "safe" category. ... One player I think the Patriots will select: C/G Jeff Baca (UCLA).
Mike...are you working from the stadium today/tonight or at your office?
Dave, I will be at the stadium with Mike Rodak. That's where Bill Belichick and the staff works, then they phone in the pick to N.Y. Field Yates is in N.Y. helping out with ESPN's television coverage.
Here's a bold prediction: Cleveland trades back with someone in the 11-16 range picking up a 2nd or early 3rd in the process. They then flip that 2nd/3rd rounder to the Patriots for Ryan Mallett. Finally they take Sean Renfree from Duke in the 5th/6th round to replace Mallett as Brady's new heir-apparent. Calling it now.
I'm marking it down, Sean. To me, the Mallett interest would have to come from Cleveland. Who else could it be? A second-rounder might get it done. Patriots also have Mike Kafka on the roster at QB (fourth-round pick of Eagles in 2010). The risk you run if you're the Patriots is not having a solid enough insurance policy behind Brady, but I would still make that trade.
Mike, I have heard the rumors about teams looking to move back into the first round to get a QB, but unless Jacksonville, Philly, or maybe Arizona comes calling I'm not sure it's worth it for the Patriots. The only other team near the top of the second round that could be looking to get back in is the Bills and I don?t think BB wants to help them draft their QB of the future. IMO it's looking more and more like the Pats will take their first round pick.
Had a similar thought, Sean, although we are talking about a team that traded Drew Bledsoe within the division. If the Patriots think all the QBs aren't very good, maybe they don't hesitate. Just a thought.
Mike, thank you for the doing this chat for us. I always looks forward to reading it each and every week. My question is this: is there any reason you leave out J. Edelman whenever you list BB's history of drafting wideouts? I understand he was a QB when drafted, but was he not drafted for the purpose of converting to a WR? You've even gone as far as calling him "Welker-lite", which is a steal in the 7th round. On that same topic, any other interesting "conversion" prospects out there?
Justin, Edelman should definitely be in the WR discussion. I count him among the 10 WRs drafted in the Belichick era. As for conversion prospects, the one most talk about is Michigan's Denard Robinson. ...
In looking at the 10 WRs that BB has drafted, 3 are seventh-rounders (Ebert, Edelman, Givens) and 1 was really a special-teams only guy (Slater). Then you have three second-rounders (Jackson, Johnson, Branch), two third-rounders (Price, Tate) and a fifth-rounder (Sam).
To me, that's not a lot of swings at the plate when it comes to drafting and developing a WR. Maybe they take 2 this year. Would be consistent with what we saw at TE in 2010 and RB in 2011 after those positions weren't really addressed the three drafts prior.
Hi Mike: Can't see BB doing anything but doing a trade down, five picks must be driving him crazy.
BB usually a power player in the draft with all the draft picks. This year, he wears a pair of handcuffs. Not something he can feel great about and that's why I think he works hard to create some flexibility by trading down from 29.
How many carries will washington get? Can he be our 3rd down back or is one of the other 2 backs ready to be that everydown back?
Joseph, I think Vereen is more likely to assume those duties.
With all the success the Pats O had in the Brady to Moss era, why haven't they tried to duplicate that by going out and paying to get Brady the best weapon available to try and reproduce that success with the years he has left? The Brandon Marshalls and Mike Wallaces of the world. Note sure how aggressively they've pursued those top guys since Moss, but you don't need a dominant defense when you score 40 points a game.
Jeff, I have spoken with some personnel people from other teams who have asked me the same question, just based on this being the team I cover. They are curious why that is the case. The Patriots could have drafted Mike Wallace in 2009, but he was an unpolished product coming out of Mississippi. They took Brandon Tate instead. I thikn the idea is to draft and develop like the Steelers did with Wallace. If everyone knew what he would have become, he would have been a first-rounder.
Mike, one prevalent line of thinking is that BB will trade back from the no. 29 pick to get more picks in later rounds since the Pats don't have a pick in rounds 4-6. With the success BB has had with undrafted FAs, I don't like it unless he can get an extra 2nd, 3rd or two 4th rounders. Do you think they could get that?
I think he could get it depending on the team trading in, and if it's for a QB. It might be a little rich. The idea of trading back wouldn't be to replenish those picks, per se, as much as the idea that they think they could get the same rated player at 40/50 as they'd get at 29, and if they can pick up something else in the process it's good business (if you make the right picks, of course).
What ever happened with the Jonathan Fanene bonus? I know the Patriots won a judgement to get the money back, but did that ever happen? How does that affect the salary cap?
Still pending, as I understand it Tony. Patriots carry on business as usual until it is resolved.
Why if the Nfl's aim is to become more popular all around the world, the draft is scheduled a friday from 2AM to 6PM (madrid time)?
Jon, it's tied to prime-time TV in the U.S. and $$$$.
Hello Mike, Lars from Sweden. We all knew the local medias would focus obsessively and excessively on the wide receiver position and dramatise it to an unnecessary extent. Not surprised same every year. This year I see them drafting two DLs and Matt Elam. The DL position because the staff is looking to beef up the D-line, add starters, power and and versatility (playing the 3-4, 4-3). Elam simply because the front office has let it heard about their interest and he certainly fits logically along with the rest of the defense: good vision, awareness, football IQ, and guys like Spikes, Mayo, Hightower, strong tacklers. Thoughts ?
Lars, the one thought on adding Elam is that it would be an acknowledgment that Tavon Wilson wasn't a good pick and I don't think they believe that. He's a good player, but I think they can draft a similarly rated player at a spot where there is more of a need. ...
On the WR stuff, I find it most fascinating. At the same time, I will cut and paste something from the piece I wrote here: "Which receiver fits best? This is part of the intrigue because if the Patriots don't come away from the draft with a young target, they run the risk of short-changing one of their best assets, quarterback Tom Brady. Make no mistake, they would still be a contender, but the offense could be easier to defend than Belichick desires. Yes, they could delve into free agency if all else fails, but based on what's available, the draft represents a better chance to land a top receiver if they can make the right projection."
I think that context is important. If they don't draft a receiver, is it a disaster? No. They would still be a contender. But I do believe they'd be making life harder for themselves than it otherwise could be with a high-upside prospect at WR.
Hi Mike, European fan of your work here! What do you think about the theory proposed by the guys of ColdHardFootballFacts (and supported by the epic fail of the Wide Receiver draft class of 2012) stating that WRs are just "Shiny Hood Ornaments" thus not worth being drafted in the early rounds?
I didn't see it, but I do subscribe to the idea of "positional value" and how some positions are better to pick early than others (WR is lower in my view). That said, I wouldn't pass if Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Julio Jones etc. were available. Those players are difference-makers.
Defense wins championships! Nothing has changed. It has and always will be the case. A receiver is only a luxury and without drafting one we will still have a top 5 offense.
Branden, like the thoughts on defense. For all the talk about WR, it shouldn't come at the expense of improving the defense. And I don't think it has to. Why not target both? I think calling another WR a luxury is a bit off, only because I don't subscribe to the theory that Tom Brady can make anyone look good. I think that's putting way too much on Brady.
Percentages on what the Pats do with their first pick: 50% trade down, 30% stay put, 20% they move up. What so you think?
MSF, I'd say 60 percent trade down, 35 percent make the pick, 5 percent trade up.
Let's not forget cut down day...we can fill depth needs with players that are cut from rosters in July & August...We need to draft 2 WR's and a Corner this weekend!
Yes, Jack, like they did with Rob Ninkovich in August of 2009. But I think the key is that you don't want to rely on that, as much as have that be an added bonus.
Is there a possibility that Patriots ship out a player or two for draft pick this year?
Always possible, MarkJ. Maybe Jeff Demps?
Not sure what he would bring back, but maybe a 7.
The more I read about this draft, the more I hear how average it is. My question then is ,Why trade down into a mediocre draft? And if there is a player that the Pats want later, what would D. Fells bring in a trade?. I like 1. Jamar Taylor 2. Markus Wheaton 3. Aaron Dobson. Any thoughts?
Pat, really like the three prospects you mentioned. Wheaton, in particular, is my favorite receiver because he is fast. I like the speed. As for the draft, I don't think it's a bad one. It just doesn't have a lot of stars. There is some quality at DB, DL, OL, WR. You can find good players. The strength of the draft is in the depth and the more swings you get at the plate, the better chance you have of getting a hit - I think that's why you think about trading down. ... Don't see Fells having trade value.
Let's assume BB is not able to trade down, and makes picks where they are currently slotted. Any reason why this would make it less likely that he would double-dip at WR?
I don't think so. I also don't think he would hesitate to draft a WR in the first round if it represented the best value based on how things fell on the board. We know he hasn't drafted a WR in the first round since coming to the Patriots (2000-present), but he did trade up to the high second round 36 to take Chad Jackson in 2006. That is seven picks away from where he is currently selecting at 29. So the whole "first round" and "second round" argument, based on history, doesn't really apply IMO.
Speaking of Bledsoe, he was drafted exactly 20 years ago today. Time flies...
One of the great days. Was finishing up my senior year of high school. Hadn't been a huge Patriots fan, but I became one on that day. First Parcells, then Bledsoe. Franchise-changers.
Mike, Theres alot of talk of the Patriots selecting a WR or Cornerback in the first round of the draft. But if we've learned anything from years past, Belicheck never picks what everyone else is thinking. With this, I'll bet that the Patriots first pick in the draft will be a CENTER. Which centers do you think are first round quality?
Jonathan, no centers are up that high. If they do look toward an OL, consider tackle/guard Justin Pugh from Syracuse as a possibility. I think they were really high on what Ryan Wendell did at center for them last year. He is entering the final year of his contract, though, so some future planning always something to keep in mind.
HinMike I like the idea of drafting a CB if they don't trade down. What are your thoughts on Michael Robey and darius Slay? Thanks Joe
Joe, from my amateur scouting perspective, I personally like the UConn corner, Blidi Wreh-Wilson.
Is it me or do the Mallett questions reek of the Hoyer questions from a year or two ago?
David, I can't really figure it out. But hey, if another team is willing to give up a 1 or a 2, I don't think you hesitate if you're the Patriots.
While I understand people's concerns over only having 5 draft picks, I think it's somewhat unwarranted. At the start of last season, the Patriots were the 9th youngest team having had so many draft picks in the past few years. The Pats also added Armstead (22) and Vega (25), a fact forgotten (or unknown) by many fans. If these two players were in this draft, what rounds would you project them in? Considering them as "draft picks", and the possible trade of the 1st for a 2nd and 4th/5th seems to put the Pats at 8 picks, which is about where I feel they should be. This could also allow them to be agressive on the Rookie FA market.
Very good point. I think the main area where the lack of draft picks hurts is flexibility within the draft to seize unexpected opportunities that present themselves (e.g. a trade up). Also, we know they drafted 33 players from 2009-2011. You can have a lean year within the ever-evolving team-building process. You just don't want to be like this every year.
Mike, can we get a Gronk injury update?
Last I heard was that they were letting some time pass to see if the infection cleared. Not sure where we stand at this time.
Mike, I'm feeling better and better about you owing me lunch after Pats pick either Tank Carradine or Datone Jones in first round. Only thing that could likely get in the way would be a trade down to accumulate picks, which I think is very likely.
Do I get to pick the restaurant?
I am not a fan of this one round only on Thursday night deal. Give me a whole day of draft!
Rohan! Feel the same. The weekend deal was preferred.
Hope all is well with you Mike. Haven't been following the blog the last 10 days or so, due to last week's attack and the aftermath so I didn't get a chance to hear your thoughts on the Pats losing out on Emmanuel Sanders. I apologize if this is old news but it would be a fresh take to me. Where did you fall on this? I think it really limits their options for the first round pick and to me it's a certainty now that they are going to be taking a top flight WR with that pick. However if they had just ponied up a little more dough and actually paid enough to ensure that they would get Sanders, then I think they would be in a position to trade down and scoop up the 2nd and 3rd round "value" picks they covet so much. Thoughts?
Rob, I thought the offer sheet was "conservative yet strategic" -- enough to make the Steelers consider not matching it, but also protecting themselves if Sanders didn't pan out. The way it turned out, it makes one wonder if they should have offered more, but they basically doubled what the Steelers had offered. So it's an easy second guess. I think it is one of the reasons they are likely to pick a WR in this draft.
Apparently, Miami is trying to trade WR Bess. Think the Pats might have interest there?
Steve, I don't think Miami would trade him here. I do think the Patriots have always had a liking for Bess.
Mike,In your educated opinion, what means more to the Patriots in this draft: Having an extra year of control over a 1st rounder or having more picks in the middle rounds? These are two things that independently are very important to their organizational strategy but tonight they must prioritize one or the other seemingly. Is it as simple as if the right player falls they'd want the extra year of control and otherwise they'd take the extra picks?
More early-to-middle rounders. Don't think the extra year is that big of a deal.
Mike, seems like McD likes Glennon. Maybe a 3rd or 4th?
My sense is that the Patriots aren't high on this QB class. Maybe it gets to the point where one QB represents too good of a value and they pounce (e.g. Mallett in 2011), but I don't feel like that's necessarily big on their radar.
Mike - My question is more internal team and draft prep operation in nature. Any idea how many Patriots staffers are involved in gathering amateur/college player information leading up to the draft and how many are actually involved in the roundtable discussions on potential draftees and selection trades besides Bill and Nick? I would think those two would want to hold their cards close even with internal staffers leading up to the draft.
Jack, great to connect with the hometown of Framingham. I can get you a full breakdown of the scouting staff, which when the college and pro side is put together is around 15-deep. The coaches add their input later in the process. As for the draft room tonight, it's small -- BB, his assistant, director of player personnel Nick Caserio, football research director Ernie Adams, director of college scouting Job Robinson, another high-level scout/director Monti Ossenfort, Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft. Maybe a few more, but the Patriots generally have one of the smallest draft rooms in the league.
Mike,Thanks for all your hard work on all things Patriots. It can be tough to get good info on the team here in Utah. My question is this, How do you determine value for a first round pick? If the Patriots trade their 1st round pick, what would they be looking for in return?
Josh, I think the first way to determine value is to assess the players available at the time you're picking. If Chandler Jones is sitting there at 29 this year, you're going to need more in return than maybe another year. Other years, the quality of the player you might be picking isn't at the same level, so you might be willing to take a little less. General terms: A mid-round pick this year and a first-rounder next year would be ideal.
Hey Mike, thanks for all the insight from the ESPNBoston team on the Patriots draft. I'm excited for tonight even though I hope the Pats trade back. If they keep the pick, though, I think it needs to be WR. As you've said before, I keep thinking back to the Belichick documentary where he is complaining about how easy it is to shut down the offense. I think that will be the case this year without a WR draft pick or two. So time for my question... Do you think Brady has any inputs on which WRs in the draft he thinks he would work better with? I know that Belichick has final say, but with the lack of success Brady has had working with recent WR draft picks, I would think he would have some thoughts on the WRs getting drafted.
I don't think so, Robert, but it's a good question. I'll have to dig into that one a little more.
Hi Mike, what player if unexpectantly still on the board at 29 do you think would make the Pats not trade the pick and not select a WR. Sort of like when unexpectantly Wilfork fell to them at 21.
I like that one, Nick. Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, Dee Milliner, Dion Jordan a few that come to mind. But honestly, not many IMO. I don't think they really covet anyone in this class.
Hey, Mike, no BS assessment here. Forget who we SHOULD go after, who do you think is the most likely to be available based on the Patriots' needs? Do you think we should go after the Honey Badger?
Charlie, the 1-2 punch that I think could be great for the Patriots would be a slight down to pick up additoinal pick(s) and then grab CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson and WR Markus Wheaton in the second round. The thing that excites me about that, based on the "limited" time I spent watching them and other prospects is that they have physical traits that are unique and they are both strong players from an intangibles perspective. They also project to the 45-man game-day roster at positions that could use a boost.
Mike, great work. I think the Patriots do one of the following: 1) trade down/back round 1 pick for more picks; 2) trade back round 2 pick for more picks; 3) generally just move around the board to acquire a few more picks (like 2012) because of other teams' interest in certain available players and the Patriots' need for more picks; or 4) keep all current picks because of no or few other viable trade options. Hence, the sentiment for more chips in the draft. BASED ON THE DEPTH AND VALUE ("the draft top to bottom") of the draft, I think that in whichever scenario above the Patriots draft: DL, DB, WR, and then other variegated picks remaining. In that order, based on the draft. With the remaining picks probably focusing on OL, WR, DB, depending on the varying levels of value and availability in the lower rounds. I could see them going WR or DB in the early rounds if someone quite unexpectedly is still on the board (such as possibly Hunter, WR) that they value. Your thoughts? The scenarios listed above factor in multiple intangibles. Your thoughts?
I'd guess option No. 1, with DB, WR, OL and DL.
What are the chances that the patriots take a shot on Tyrann Mathieu?
Just a hunch, Austin, but I'll guess no.
Hi Mike, thanks for being so consistent with blog posts, even on slow news days. Here's a question not related to tonight's draft: can you describe for us the steps that the organization might take when looking for a replacement for Brady? And when does that process begin? Thanks, go Pats!
Jason, I think it's ever-evolving. When the Patriots selected Ryan Mallett in the 2011 third round, the idea was making sure they had insurance. Mallett has two years left on his contract and they will continue to layer the position depending on what opportunities present themselves. The idea is that drafting and developing QBs is good business, whether they play for you or someone else. As we see with the Mallett chatter today, QBs draw attention. I don't think we're at the point that the Packers were with Aaron Rodgers/Brett Favre when they selected Rodgers in the 2005 first round, though. That's something altogether different.
First timer. Am I the only one thinking that the Patriots will trade out of the first round? Not even based on history, but just looking at the talent in this particular first round. There isn't any stand out player in the first round that we couldn't draft in the second if we're thinking of a WR. But it always comes down to a trading partner.
Seems like a pretty consistent opinion, Jared. The key is that you don't pass on a good player, though. In 2009, they traded out twice and there were some good players that they could have had (e.g. Clay Matthews). They ended up with Patrick Chung as their top pick that year. So while the intent was good, the execution was a little off.
A number of Pats DTs are in the last year of their contract. Could that drive their 1st rd pick?
Certainly could, Link. You have Vince Wilfork (2014) and Tommy Kelly (2014) with two years left, and then Kyle Love (2013) and Brandon Deaderick (2013) entering their final years.
Let's go go for another 5...
Mike, It appears that the one position that the Pats must upgrade before the beginning of the season is Wide receiver who can split out wide. Since only Allen or Woods would probably be available when the Pats pick. What do you think the chances are of moving up to get Austin if he starts to slide past 15. Also could solve return problems.
I don't see that, Bob. Not enough draft capital to move up past 20 unless you start dealing future picks, and I think that's off limits for BB.
Draft fact: In draft day trades, BB has never traded a future pick for a present-day pick.
Hey Mike, After watching a sound bite of Bill (2009 i think) He was saying that if a good defense could focus on Moss and Welker and contain them Brady has no one else to throw too, he said if that happens were bleeped!! No running game played a big part that year but i sense a little deja vu, if Gronk or Hernandez get injured the remaining 2 threats will be shut down much easier, yes we can run but it didn't help us score in the afc championship game last year (13 points) I think we have to get 2 receivers this draft or the biggest wr threat available which I think is Justin Hunter. I can see why the 2 TE package was created (more weapons) we just never developed a single wr in 6 years.
I buy it, Jon. Not sure it has to be 2, but do see that as an area of need.
And I like the 2009 documentary as a good example why, from BB's own words.
Hello Mike. Hearing that a favorite player is 31 (Mankins) really reminds me how fast the seasons go by. Given this, and presumed self-awareness by the Patriots regarding their trouble drafting receivers, do you think the first pick could be a guard? Or, would that represent too much investment in the o-line relative to the rest of the team?
MG, if that's what it is, I think they'd be "settling", sort of like they did with Mankins (they wanted to go D, but the board was picked clean that year). Syracuse's Justin Pugh would be the choice in that scenario. Wouldn't be a shocker, but probably not their first choice IMO.
Mike, Love the work keep it up ... your thoughts on Armstead? seems like fans forget with got him he is sure to start on the d-line... or at worst bring situational pass rush.. graded a first or second rounder and we got him before the draft... lets focus on other needs please ...
Intrigued by him, but don't know much more. Have to see him on the field. Could be a real find for them.
I understand why the NFL changed the draft to the 3 day, primetime format but do you think coaches/personnel people prefer the current structure over the old way or vice versa?
I could be wrong on this, Shane, but I think they like the breaks in between the days to recalibrate. Adds another element of strategy.
Mike, Won't even try to make a prediction other than best available defensive player. Pats are returning essentially the same team plus a servicable replacement of welker. Having signed only two defensive FA's and looking at the final defensive statistics, I believe it would be sacreligious to draft an offensive player unless it's off the charts value. Thoughts? Thanks, CJ
Let's end with this, CJ. I think, in the end, you have to trust that the Patriots, Bill Belichick and the scouts have done the work to make an educated selection. If it's offense, it could be that the best value on D isn't there (e.g. Mankins in 2005). This is such an extensive process, and they have so much more information than we do. They spend millions and millions of dollars on this. I'll be honest, the majority of my opinions are formed by analysts like Mike Mayock, Todd McShay, Nolan Nawrocki etc who have the time/job that puts them in position to study these players over a longer period of time. I watch a bit of the prospects, but hardly enough to "pound the table" for a prospect (a favorite Mayock line). I think there needs to be a certain respect for the process and how extensive it is...
... This is part of the fun. I don't pretend to be a scout, but I like to gather information, watch the prospects, and attempt to be as educated as possible (within reason). In the end, the pick will be made, it will be analyzed, and the real verdict will be decided a few years down the line. I think of all the Bill Belichick drafts, if we look at the press clippings, he probably received the most right-after-the-draft praise for 2006. Three years later, that draft didn't look so hot.
This should be fun tonight. Let's enjoy it. Thanks to everyone for chatting and we'll do it again next Thursday.