Thanks to everyone for their patience. Got sidetracked with some work-based stuff. About 10 minutes away.
Just a few more...Will make up all time on the back end.
Was doing some work on the Patriots' rookie class and that is the reason for the delay.
Was doing some work on the Patriots' rookie class and that is the reason for the delay.
Felt like it was time worth spending, so I could be more informed in chatting with you. So let's get this started and hopefully that is the case.
Here at the stadium. At 3 p.m., we will have the annual rookie photo with the top draft pick and owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft. We are also scheduled to speak with Chandler Jones and Stevan Ridley.
Getting settled now and we'll go until 1:50 p.m. today. Thanks for the patience.
Mike,After the draft, in one of the press conferences, BB made a comment something to the effect of I don't know what any other teams draft boards look like. I believe he was commenting on having selected the Rutgers Safety higher than many projected.Isn't that an ommision of error? Shouldn't part of the draft be assessing what needs other teams have so that you can strategize about whether a particular player may be available later in the draft? Seems like focusing only on your board and ignoring others is not taking a macro perspective on possible opportunties.
I think that's a fair point, Matt. It reminds me of a story from 2006 when the Patriots drafted kicker Stephen Gostkowski in the fourth round. Part of the reason the Patriots made the pick at the time was that they had intel that some of the clubs picking behind them (or at least one of them) had spent considerable time with Gostkowski and were in need of a kicker. That is part of the strategy of the draft.
Hi Mike, While I'm excited by the addition of three young, fast and versatile wide receivers, I still think the Patriots will rise and fall based on their defence and in particular on the front seven. With that in mind, how big of an improvement do you think we will see in pressuring the opposing quarter-back this year? There looks (on paper at least) to be the potential there to get to the QB and keep the pressure off the defensive backs. Does BB have the players now to get more aggressive in getting after the opposing QB or will he still go with the 'bend don't break' philosophy?
Damian, I think you've captured the two main storylines from this draft to me. The first is the receivers and revamping that position. It's going to be fun to watch the young receivers and how quickly they can make a mark. But that shouldn't overlook the defense. I think they should be better, but I don't know how much the style of play will change at this point. The biggest thing to me is the projected improvement from Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower as it relates to the defense turning a more decisive corner. I think they could be special players, particularly Jones. On top of that, you have continuity on the back end, with Aqib Talib's return a key. To me, that's a nice place to start.
In saying all that, it's important context to note that the way the game is being played today, I'm not sure we'll see a truly dominant defense from start to finish. A lot of it is situational -- turnovers, red zone etc. That's not to say the Patriots can't get better on first-and-10 from the 20, and situations like that, but look at how that 49ers defense which looked so potent on Dec. 16 vs. the Patriots disintegrated when it counted. Don't mean to be dramatic, but it's a different game these days.
Do you see the Patriots signing any other veteran WR (maybe Randy Moss) before training camp begins?
Alec, I don't see it right now. My take would be that every ball which goes to a veteran WR is one less opportunity for development for the younger guys. They have enough bodies there now IMO.
Hi Mike, With the release of 6 team members this week. how many players are on what can be a 90 man roster?
They'll have 90, Dave. We should hear about the rookie free agents today, and if my math is correct, it should be about 18 signed. That's a big class. For comparison, I think last year was around 7.
Mike, in your blog entry Wednesday, you mentioned that Steve Gregory could be affected by the recent roster changes. I am guessing his status could be more secure than Tavon Wilson or Nate Ebner, given two DBs from Rutgers in the 3rd round are expected to contribute in the special team plays. I believe Gregory is a solid safety, and he could replace Devin McCourty as the defensive QB in case he is injured. Could Wilson make a second year jump? How the lower half of the depth chart for the safeties is shaping up in this summer sounds like an interesting story.
I think Ebner is safe as a core special teamer, MarkJ. And I'd be surprised if Tavon Wilson isn't on the roster. That would be a dramatic fall to go from 48th overall player selected in 2012 to out of a job. That's partially why I think Gregory is a candidate to be more affected by the changes. If the Patriots hadn't selected Duron Harmon in the third round (91st overall), I wouldn't have been as inclined to put him on that list. ...
... Safety depth chart IMO: 1. Devin McCourty; 2. Adrian Wilson; 3. Tavon Wilson; 4. Steve Gregory; 5. Duron Harmon; 6. Nate Ebner. Once you get to those 4-5-6 spots, special teams contributions can be critical. This assumes everyone is healthy.
Hi Mike: Well the draft worked out just as expected trade down and pick a guy no one has heard about in a higher round.now can any of the picks add anything to the team this year? who do you see starting?
Corky, I think all 5 of the top picks can contribute, with the seventh-rounders a tougher projection right now. LB Jamie Collins should be on the 46-man game-day roster, playing on special teams, and with his athleticism tapped somewhere in sub packages initially (and you see how he handles it and add on accordingly). Aaron Dobson could start immediately at receiver -- he's smart, has good size and good hands. Cornerback Logan Ryan is a depth option with good ball skills and toughness, and a sure contributor on special teams. Real solid pick IMO. Duron Harmon is a wild card; that's the head-scratcher. Not sure where he fits right now, and could be more of a Bequette-type developmental type initially, but time will tell. Josh Boyce, like Dobson, is smart, has good size and runs well. No reason to think he can't contribute immediately IMO.
Good afternoon Mike Reiss I just want to know am I reading into it too much If I think the patriots drafting Jamie Collins and the trade for Blount have to do with how disappointed the Patriots were in the suspensions with Jermain Cunningham and Bolden?
I don't think so, Shawn. More just seizing opportunities. A player like Collins is rare from an athletic standpoint. On Blount, worth a seventh-round flier, but not something I think they felt they had to do.
Hey Mike I want to know how much does Bill doubling down on 2 players at the same position (Steven Ridley,Shane Vareen) (Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez) have to do with an insurance policy if one of them don't work out or does it mean their intrigued by the idea of 2 different player types at the same position complimenting each other on the field and provides different matchup opportunities?
Eric, I think a lot of it is based on need and the cyclical nature of building a team. The best way to get younger at a position is draft and develop, and they hadn't really done that at WR from 2010-2012, so it was time. Likewise with TE in 2010 and RB in 2011. Those positions were older and at some point you have to make the decision to go younger. When doubling down, I do think there is something to picking players who have different type skill sets to complement each other. For example, I don't think the Patriots would have selected Tavon Austin this year because they have the slot WR already in Danny Amendola. I believe they were looking for a different type.
Hey Mike, Do you think it's a mere coincidence that the Patriots both signed and drafted a sturdy inside-outside combination receiver in Donald Jones and Josh Boyce and a longer, bigger, more typical x-receiver in Michael Jenkins and Aaron Dobson? If it is indeed part of a plan to revamp the receiving corps it should bode well for those two rookies, seeing that the coaching staff would seem to have roles in mind for them more quickly than we've seen with receivers they drafted in the past.
Lars, I think this is part of what is most fascinating to me about the WR "redo" -- the team has been more inclined in the past to rely on veterans to fill those roles, but now they're hoping it's youth. In a way, they've been "forced" into this situation. Interested to see how it plays out. Like Dobson and Boyce and some of their traits. Should be fun to watch.
Good afternoon Mike I want to know do you think the Patriots drafting Jamie Collins kills 2 birds with 1 stone by adding a compliment to Chandler Jones and also prepare them for the possibility of loosing Brandon Spikes.
Curtis, I'm not 100 percent that Collins will be a Chandler Jones type "edge" player for the Patriots. He's not as big at 250 pounds, so it's still possible he's more of an off-the-line player for the team. We really don't know, although my projection would be an "edge" type presence/sub-package "move-around" athlete right now. As for Spikes, I don't see a huge connection to Collins. Maybe if Spikes departs and they put Hightower in the middle, then Collins plays strong-side LB. That option is there for them, but I'd be slightly surprised if that was a big part of the team's thinking for drafting him.
Good morning Mike I just wanted to ask how come every news source I hear their criticizing the draft picks? They have yet to play a game and if you go by Bill's press conference they seem capable of picking up the offense fairly easily. So with that being said if our draft picks fill needs on the team and have upside why criticize them if they can contribute.
Bijon, just a general observation: It's usually easier to praise a team that trades up for a player than a club that trades out of the first round. Since the Patriots fall into the second category, I'm not surprised that some analysts might be offering up a sharper critque of their moves. In the end, let's be honest, it really doesn't matter. Patriots should be in the hunt. A lot of good players on this team. And good coaching, too.
Why would a " now " team like the Pats trade down? There's a good chance the 2013 draft will yield no starters. In the past Bill b has been lauded for trading down and acquiring picks, however upon further investigation here are some of the players picked in the spot the Pats traded down from. Michael Oher, Clay Matthews. Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Mark Ingram and Doug Martin. Your thoughts?
Tom, in this particular year, the Patriots didn't see any sure-fire difference-makers at No. 29. Time will tell if they are proven correct. They looked at this draft and felt the strength was in its depth from the late first-round to the top of the fourth-round. So by adding 2 picks, in the third and fourth rounds, they felt they hit the sweet spot in the draft. In other words, the player they felt like they would get at 29 wasn't that far off, if at all, from what they were picking at 52 -- and then they added a 3, 4, and 7 to move down.
Hi Mike. Abraham? Is it going to happen?
As we know, he's going to Tennessee for a visit. Maybe that will spark some action on the Patriots' front. Just a hunch from here, an educated guess, but I'd say the selection of Collins might lead the Patriots to pass.
Re: Tom's question. The Pats were also widely criticized for passing on Sergio Kindle and Jerry Hughes. How'd that work out?
Sure, Ted. We can come up with examples that support both sides of the argument. At the end of the day, I come back to the idea that the Patriots spent hundreds of millions of dollars on scouting and while no team gets it right all the time, they have put in the work to make these decisions that they feel are right for the team.
You recently spent time with Adrian Wilson. Harrison type impact possible?
Eric, I think he brings the type of physical edge that Harrison did, but that's asking a lot to say Wilson will provide the same type of impact.
What are the chances that Tebow lands with the Pats after rookie minicamp? Seems its a good fit for all parties.
Chris, my take on Tebow is that it can't be ruled out. I think BB and Josh McDaniels like him personally. If they think they have a football-specific role for him, I could envision them seeing value in adding him to the overall program. Reminds me of Doug Flutie in 2005 -- more from a presence standpoint than a football-specific standpoint.
Mike - how important are Wonderlic scores to BB? Reason I ask - we often hear how "complex" the offense is, yet the drafting of WR's tend to score low on this test. While Dobson sounds great athletically, he scored fairly low on this test; and the drafting history of WR has not been great. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Todd, I think it's a small part of the puzzle. The Patriots are always trying to measure football intelligence, and the Wonderlic is one measure to do so. In terms of Dobson, I'd put it this way: I don't think smarts will be an issue here. If I'm not mistaken, he graduated from Marshall in 3.5 years.
The Patriots spent 'hundreds of millions' of dollars on scouting?
Maybe I went a little high there, Derek. But when you consider that they personally work out hundreds of players, sending scouts across the country, visiting with prospects year-round, I would imagine it's a very significant number. This is big business.
Hi Mike, Do you see anyone stepping up to assume the nickel corner role from Arrington or is he a lock as the third man in?
Gregory, I'd say he's the favorite for the job. Solid player in that role.
Hi Mike, What role do you foresee for Logan Ryan in 2013? ST only, or could he be ready to fill in if one of the top 3 CBs were injured?
Like him a lot. Maybe their most underrated pick from this viewpoint. Real smart. Tough. Good ball skills. I think he's on the 46-man game-day roster as the No. 4-5 CB and a special teamer. One injury and he could be on the field more regularly on defense in sub (57 percent of the snaps last year). As I say this, let's also respect the fact that competition will dictate. No one is given anything.
Mike - How important is this weekend for the rookies? You would think it was relatively insignificant, but I remember you being on the Aaron Hernandez train just from a "This guy's obviously clicking" perspective from day 1.
Nick, always best to be careful on this stuff. I might have hit on Hernandez, but I'm fairly sure I said the same thing about Chad Jackson. The main thing for the rookies this weekend is to start the process of getting up to speed with the veterans. These veterans have been here and have a big head start. The idea is for the rookies to work their tails off to close that gap. They are behind. So from a coaching perspective, it's about teaching more than evaluating.
In your opinion, how come players such as Abraham and Freeney have not been signed by the Pats or any other teams ? They could probably be signed for less than 1 mil. Why not take a chance on one ?
Donny, my guess is that neither is willing to sign for less than $1 million.
I am wondering if you could provide any additional insight into the drafting of Duron Harmon in Round 3. We know the mantra of the Patriots is to draft for "value" so if they really liked Harmon and knew that he was not highly regarded, why not draft someone else in Round 3 and take Harmon later in the draft (e.g., 4th or 7th or if worried about him lasting until 7th, package two 7's to trade up a bit)? That would be the value maximization strategy. Now BB
Luther, I think the point is a fair one and we touched on it earlier in the chat. Like you, I see a flaw in the explanation. Specific to Harmon, here is what I think the Patriots liked: 1. Comes from a program that they are comfortable with because it reflects their program in many ways; 2. Smart; 3. Strong communicator; 4. Top-level character.
The lingering question, and I think it's a fair one, is if Harmon has the physical traits to warrant being selected 91st overall. I can't say I've studied tape of him to the level they have, so I'll just relay that the people I spoke with from other teams pointed to that pick as one that surprised them based on where their team had Harmon rated.
With the Jamie Collins pick, who do you see losing a spot? It's possible he's there to take over for Rob Ninkovich at RE. However, I see him bumping Brandon Spikes to the sideline. We need more speed in our linebacker corps and Collins is just the guy to do it. I see Spikes as being a guy to be brought in for goal line situations and 3rd/4th and short.
I'm not sure Collins is a Day 1 starter, so I don't know if anyone loses a spot, Squiggy. But it would be a disappointment if Collins isn't at least involved in sub packages in some form, and we know the Patriots were in sub 57 percent of the time last season.
Hey Mike!As always, I hope you and the family are well! The Demps/Blount trade is so interesting to me. I am an Oregon alum and wanted the Pats to sign Blount as an RFA. Then he tore it up with Tampa Bay his rookie season. Demps, on the other hand, had this tremendous potential, yet, as we have discussed, has made clear that football is not his number one priority. I think it's a great trade and that Blount will be a strong contributor in NE. What are you overall thoughts on the trade and do you know how it came together? I wonder why a hard-nosed coach like Schiano would take on Demps. It just seems like a few hard hits and he could decide the heck with football, since that could jeopardize track. Thanks! Shimon
Shimon, my first thought is that the Patriots had to be disappointed with Demps. After guaranteeing him $211,000 as part of his rookie free-agent deal, I think it's fair to say they expected more. They were ready to move on. From the Buccaneers' view, they essentially said Demps was a throw-in and they were simply looking to move Blount, who had been passed by Doug Martin on the depth chart. As a bigger back who had some production, the Patriots figured Blount was worth a flier with a seventh-round pick they acquired from the Vikings. My expectations are low on the overall trade.
The other point is that Blount's on- and off-field altercations can't be overlooked. There is an element of risk in taking on the player, but I assume BB received some level of assurance from Greg Schiano, similar to Aqib Talib, and that led to a greater comfort level in making the deal.
So in the end, the Patriots traded the No. 29 pick (WR Cordarrelle Patterson) for No. 52 (LB Jamie Collins), No. 83 (CB Logan Ryan), No. 102 (WR Josh Boyce) and No. 229 (traded for Blount).
Time will tell if they passed on a top-notch player at 29 -- they hope for no Clay Matthews-type scenario -- but right now this looks like a solid deal to me.
Mike, Great job as always..There have been a few rumblings about the possibility that the Pats might go back to more of a 3-4 base look on defense this season...what do you think?
They certainly have the flexibility to do so. I'm not sure it really matters. To me, the key is the sub defense anyway. They're playing that the majority of snaps, and they should be more athletic and disruptive. If they aren't, it would be a disappointment based on the resources devoted to defense in recent years.
Not a single defensive tackle taken in the higher rounds? If VW goes down, the Pats defense will be the worst in the NFL.
Rohan! In signing veteran Tommy Kelly in free agency, and essentially "drafting" highly touted Armond Armstead (formerly of the CFL), it's not like they've completely overlooked the position.
Are you on a gag order from Belichick not to answer questions about Brandon Lloyd? I have submitted questions for weeks now and you never mention him.
DJ, no gag order from BB. On Lloyd, I don't see him returning. There had been talk that the club was willing to bring him back at a reduced salary, but I have some doubts that was even the case.
Now that they've drafted Dobson/Boyce, I think we can close the door on Lloyd.
More impressive: Collins' broad jump or the picture of him jumping for a FG block?
I'm going to go broad jump because it highlights the progression of the explosion better. He is really rising high on the FG block, but it almost doesn't seem real because you're only seeing him at the high point.
Who will return punts in 2013?
Kay, I would think that's Julian Edelman's job to lose.
Hi Mike, Has Dowling spent all his "high round pick goodwill" is he a bubble player going into this season?
Gregory, I say "bubble." Reminds me of 2008 second-round pick Terrence Wheatley in 2010. Had a couple of injury-filled seasons to begin with and then it's make-or-break entering Year 3. He didn't last long. Maybe Dowling can reverse that trend.
How come Greg Schiano didn't draft anyone from Rutgers?
Good question, Scarlet Knight, and I think I know the answer. They got the CB in the second round (Johnthan Banks) so that took Logan Ryan out of the mix. Then in the third round, they went with QB Mike Glennon because that's a signifcant issue for them (is Josh Freeman the answer?). At that point, you already have two Rutgers players off the board (Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon). Then it's just a question of why he didn't take LB Steve Beauharnais (seventh round). Considering the Buccaneers didn't take a LB in the draft, maybe they were focusing on other needs.
I wouldn't read too much into it what Schiano's lack of selecting a Rutgers player means for the Patriots. So much of the draft is circumstantial.
I'll try and get one answered quick since you gave me no love Mike. Ultimately will the starting WR's be dictated by chemistry with Tom and playbook knowledge or will the size take over. In other words is there a chance we'd see Edelman and Amendola (Gulp)
Alex, I love everyone. I try to get to as many questions as possible, but there are more than 400 in here. Impossible to do so. I could see an Amendola/Edelman combination at times, especially specific to a certain game-plan. But if Dobson and Boyce aren't contributing in some form along the way, that would be a disappointment.
Let's go for another 5.
Not sure if it's been asked yet, but I'm curious about the impact Armond Armstead could make on the D line. Your thoughts?
Sean, interior penetrator is my sense. Going to push Kyle Love/Brandon Deaderick for some time next to Vince Wilfork. Anxious to see if that read is correct.
As a SC native I was pulling for Marcus Lattimore to be a Patriot, but could he have landed in a better situation than what he will have in San Fran?
I thought Lattimore could have been a smart pick for the Patriots 91st overall. That's the type of forward thinking that has served them well in the past. Great spot for him in SF. Hard not to look at the 49ers and think they really have it going right now.
I hear a lot of people are hihg on undrafted free agent TJ Moe, what impact would he have on the team?
Mark, Moe is a fun prospect to follow. I asked a scout about him and he said it's similar to Welker in the role he played at Missouri. Slot guy. Quick. Good change of direction. Not the best straight-line speed, which is probably why he went undrafted.
Mike,Do feel that Bill is comfortable with players that have troubles in their past?Possible because he's more secure with his team and his confidence as a coach as opposed to say newer hard coaches (Schiano, etc...)
I'm not sure it's a huge change from earlier in his tenure (e.g. Corey Dillon in 2004), but I do think he's comfortable with his program and leadership of top players to take some "risks" along those lines. The idea is that everyone gets a clean slate when they are here. Let's see what they do with it.
Mike- Do you see our current lb core as an attempt to re-create our lb core during the dynasty days? Mayo-bruschi, spikes-johnson, collins-colvin, nink-vrabel, hightower-mcginest. These guys match up in body type and playing style in my opinion
Interesting thought, Justin. Perhaps that's the case, but the thought I keep coming back to is how different the game is played these days. So much more in space.
Hey, Mike, thanks for keeping the offseason interesting. Is it possible that Belichick saw this bad draft coming, and was more willing to cash in last year (trading up instead of out, and giving up a fourth for Talib)?
I don't think so, Jason. Maybe more than that, it's just the idea that 4-5-6th round players aren't even sure things to make the roster. They've stocked it up pretty good, unlike 2000 when he first came here and really had to build up that talent base.
Hi Mike,Tavon Wilson had 4 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 6 passes defended and you mentioned in the mailbag this week that you felt it was a disappointing season for him, can you let me know what numbers you expected? His numbers were all better than Adian Wilson's last year too. Thank you.
Jay, it wasn't so much the numbers on Wilson as it was the "error repeating" which Tedy Bruschi often talks about. If there is one thing Bill Belichick has a tough time with, and these are Tedy Bruschi-type words, it's a player that makes the same mistake twice. Wilson was involved in two mistakes last year that contributed to big-play TDs -- vs. Seattle, vs. St. Louis -- and it was almost the same play. That's the type of thing I had in mind, and then he basically didn't play much in the base defense once Devin McCourty moved to safety. I think he has to earn the confidence of the coaching staff in those situations. Not saying he can't, but that's the position he finds himself from this view.
Do you think the team might still move Mallet? And if so, when would be the likeliest time?
Paul, unless Mike Kafka outperforms him in training camp, I don't see it. Has more value as a backup right now, unless a team is willing to give up a 2 or a 1, which I see as unlikely.
Hey Mike. First time long time. What happens if injury prone Aqib Talib or Dennard get hurt? I can't help but want to spare myself the misery every time I see Arrington line up on the outside. I may be in the minority but spending that much for a slot corner (who never turns his head around!) just is not worth it to me and it could have really hurt us if Talib wanted a big deal With Talib being injury prone and perhaps Dennard not being in game shape due to his off the field issues, do you think the Pats would trade for a vet CB or even bring in another one by camp? They cannot expect Logan Ryan to step up right away.
Brendan, why not on Ryan? But if that doesn't appeal, could always turn back to McCourty at CB and fill in at safety.
BB seems to rely a lot on personal connections when he selects players in the draft. It seems that this can work both ways. Sure he gets inside info on players, but it also seems that this might lead him to overlook other "consensus" prospects. What do you think?
A fair point, Paul, and one that I think we could look closer at -- perhaps that was part of the issue with the Chad Jackson pick in 2006 (Florida/Urban Meyer).
Mike - While our secondary is looking good, our LBs struggled in coverage quite a bit last year. Long term, does the team want to get a faster set of 3 LBs in the base? And with Mayo & Hightower locked in longer, does that leave the run-stuffing Spikes out?
That could potentially be where Collins fits, in that coverage type role. I still see the Hightower/Spikes/Mayo base for now.
I know what you think about Lloyd, I want to know why though. He was a top 25 guy in the league for yards and catches and was a proven commodity in the Pats' offense. Why would you let that go if he is so cheap?
DJ, one of the things that BB once said is that he values consistency and knowing what he's going to get every day. If a player is a "7" every day, that is preferred to a player who might be a "10" one day but a "3" the next because you don't know what you are going to get -- on and off the field. My guess is that Lloyd might have been that "3"/"10" guy instead of the steady "7" and that is part of the decision-making. Part of that is off the field and in the meeting room/locker room.
GREAT QUESTION ABOUT SCHIANO AND RUTGERS!
Schiano has several Rutgers players at the Bucs.. The idea that the Pats erred in taking RU players bc their own coach didnt want them is flawed. Schiano does value RU players with his NFL team. Proof is in the pudding.
Lot of interest in the Patriots/Rutgers connection. Outside of the Duron Harmon pick, I don't see the big deal. That was one outlier. McCourty/Ryan good players who were drafted right around where they were supposed to. I'd put Beauharnais in the same category -- a seventh-rounder picked around the area he was expected. Justin Francis made the club as a rookie free agent. So really, Harmon, to me, is the one outlier. I'm interested to see what he can do.
A number of "pundits" thought the Patriots whiffed by not taking Matt Elam at 29th. Your thoughts?
Didn't feel that strongly about it. Wouldn't be surprised if he is very good, though, as that is a great spot for him in Baltimore.
Which undrafted free agent do you think will make the team this year? My guess is Matt Stankiewitch.
Let's end on this one. Always fun to predict. A lot of hype around Missouri WR T.J. Moe, so I'll go with him for now. But always good to wait until practice until making those calls.
Thanks to everyone for chatting. Some great questions -- more than 450 of them. Great passion, and much appreciated from here.
We'll do it again next Thursday.