So here’s the question…
Should the Patriots basically bow out of the 2011 draft, and deal away picks like they even they have never dealt them before, turning their eye and attention toward 2012?
Heresy you scream!!! Every Pats fan knows that Tom Terrrific isn’t getting any younger. We can sense that the end, albeit four or five years away, is drawing ever closer. Despite the guru that is the Hoodie and how well the Pats played in 2008 without Brady, in the back of our collective lizard brains we all know the true end of the Patriot’s dynasty will most like leave the Razor when the scrawny #199 pick of a decade ago calls it a career. The window is closing. The time is now.
Yet this year is frustratingly different than any other in recent memory. Listen to all of the NFL insiders and they tell you there will be no agreement until late summer, maybe even into September. No CBA means not free agency. More importantly, it means no training camp, no meeting with or signing draftees. It means a limited preseason, or no preseason at all. It could mean an abbreviated season, maybe 8 games, maybe 10. It could, in the worse instance, mean no season at all.
Below the jump is an argument for the Pats trading away some of the army of picks they have in 2011 and instead look to the future in 2012.
1) The Pats were pretty damn good to begin with in 2010, and they look to be better in 2011 even if the don’t add a thing. Even the much maligned defense was much more solid in the second half of the season. The concern over the Pats primarily has to do with just one game, the playoff loss to the Jets. The Pats failed to pressure the QB, keep pressure off Brady, or stretch the field. But it is important to remember that the Pats were plagued with injuries. Getting Mike Wright, Ty Warren, Bodden, Kuczer, McGowen and the rest of the injured Pats back could already be enough to push them over the top.
In addition, the team, especially on defense, was very young. Giving Price and Tate another year may give the Pats back their deep threat. Cunningham, McCourty, Spikes, Fletcher, Deaderick, Brace, Love, Brown and the other 1st and 2nd year players should all look to improve. Similarly Ninkovich, White, and Moore should all contribute more with a full year in the system under their belts.
2) The general consensus is that the Pats don’t have a lot of roster spots to fill. After a couple of drafts where they took a ton of picks, they are looking for one or two more players at select positions to push them over the edge. However, no CBA means no free agency, and that means there is no way to know what holes the Pats could fill through trading or signing free agents. Do we draft a running back, or could we pick up a Sproles or DeAngelo Williams, or Ronnie Brown? How about Cullen Jenkins at Defensive End? Or maybe pick up Mathias Kiwanuka from the Giants and try to convert him to an OLB? The list of possibilities goes on and on. The Pats could very well end up drafting for a position that they would have been better served filling through free agency, and without a lot of open roster spots this could be especially problematic.
3) The Pats run pretty sophisticated schemes both on offense and defense. With no training camps, no preseason, and maybe a limited season, the new draftees may not be able to contribute much to the 2011 season anyway. Asking new recruits to sign with the team and then play two weeks later with basically no practice or chance to learn the system doesn’t sound all that promising.
4) Consistancy may be the name of the game in 2011. With all the uncertainty and lack of prep time going into next season, the teams with the most consistency may be the teams that perform the best. It is possible that the Pats are better off in 2011 the less they change from 2010.
5) Tom Terrific ain’t dead yet! Sure he hits 34 next year, but he’s still the best QB in the game bar none, and great QBs can play a lot longer than average QBs. Don’t let the naysayers fool you, Tom’s playing until he’s 40. He just said last year he felt like he was just half way done with his career. And just like Farve, look for Tom to have some of his best seasons ever as he approaches the big 4 OH! The Pats can still afford another year to complete the puzzle. Remember, 2010 was a rebuilding year. If they had gone 9-7 like some predicted, we would all be salivating for the return to glory 2012 would surely bring.
6) The Pats could still have a very respectable draft, addressing the few areas they have needs! To prove the point, here is a very brief Mock Draft.
#17 (DE) Cameron Jordan, JJ Watt, Aldon Smith, Heyward
#28 Traded for 2012 1st and 2nd Round picks.
#33 Traded for 2012 1st and 3rd Round Picks.
#60 (OG) John Moffitt
#74 (OT) Marcus Gilbert
#92 (OLB) Greg Romeus
#126 (CB) Cortez Allen
#156 Trade for 2012 4th Round Pick
#186 Trade for 2012 5th Round Pick
7) Imagine the 2012 draft. Just Imagine It! .
So what do you all think? Let the “you’re a complete moron” remarks begin!