Thursday Thoughts - Five thoughts on pick number 17.

With the lack of anything going on in the football scene, I decided to focus a little bit on our first draft pick and what kind of players we might pick with it.  While I always prefer BPA when drafting, I'm listing these by greatest need.

1) Offensive Tackle  - Matt Light is a free agent and a players representative who has called out Robert Kraft for not attending CBA meetings.  He's also turned into somewhat of a turnstile in big games.  While I believe the Pats will resign him, the ugliness that was Logan Mankins' situation last year makes that anything but a sure thing.  

Nick Kaczur was injured most of last year, having lost the right tackle position to young stud Sebastian "Sea Bass" Vollmer.  He's still under contract, but he had moved to left guard after Mankins decided to sit out.  In addition, Kaczur's back injury was the same one that got him addicted to pain killers a few years ago.  Going forward, Kaczur is likely to either play guard or sub in at tackle if needed.  His days as a starter on the outside are past, I believe. 

We also have on the roster UFA Mark LeVoir who hasn't cracked the starting lineup in five years.  Quinn Ojinnaka, from the Falcons, was added for depth and has never played a regular season game in six years as a pro.

That leaves us with a need, as I see it, at OT.  Since Vollmer is a swing tackle (and great fun at parties, I'm told), we're not targeting either a left tackle or a right tackle, just another quality tackle to keep Brady upright.

2) Defensive End - The 17th pick comes from Oakland in a trade for Richard Seymour.  It seems only fitting to finally replace him with this pick.  With all of the injuries on the defensive line last year, we have many bodies on the roster.  Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren (IR), Ron Brace (IR), Gerrard Warren, Brandon Deaderick, Mike Wright (IR), Darryl Richard (IR), Kyle Love, Myron Pryor, Kade Weston, Landon Cohen, Marlon Favorite, and Marcus Stroud (just signed) are potentially available this year. 

Out of that list though, only Big Vince demands double teams.  When both Wilfork and Seymour were on the line, Ty Warren was left single covered more often than not.  We have lots bodies and some guys that MAY make the jump, but we've yet to replace Seymour on the right side of the line.  Could Seymour's trade pick go toward finding his replacement?

3) Outside Linebacker - On the roster is Jermaine Cunningham, that is developing, but can't really drop into coverage.  Rob Ninkovich has surprised at times and looked Vrabelesque sporting number 50, but is more often than not a step short in pass rushing and run coverage.  Tully Banta-Cain is a one trick pony when it comes to rushing the passer.  Eric Moore picked up a couple sacks on the year.  Marques Murrell had one tackle in one game this year.  What we have at OLB is a bunch of role-players, but nobody who is the total package.

This pick has several caveats.  In order to justify a pick this high, this guy is going to have to be able to rush the passer, set the edge for the run, and be able to drop into coverage.  If the guy can't do all of that, we'd be better using the pick elsewhere.  We have role players already, and single dimensional guys will be available in later rounds.

4) Corner back - With the emergence of McCourty and the return of Bodden, you'd think that we'd be set at corner back.  Yes and no.  FIrst of all, Bodden is coming off of injury and may take awhile to come back.  Second, an injury to either Bodden or McCourty pushes Darius Butler, Kyle Arrington, or Jonathan Wilhite up against a top tier receiver.  Third, we play Indianapolis every stinking year and they, as well as many other teams, enjoy the spread.  Fourth, for many teams, there's not a lot of drop off between their second and third receivers.

Tight coverage in the secondary goes hand in glove with pressure from the front seven.  To give guys time to get to the QB, they other team's receivers need to be covered.  To keep the receivers from breaking free and running the "scramble drill", the guys up front need to get to the QB.  I look at it by seconds.  If the pass is completed in under 3 seconds the secondary is generally to blame.  If the pass is completed in over 6 seconds (about when the "scramble drill" kicks in), the front seven is to blame.  In between, they share blame.

5) Wide receiver - With this pick, I'm looking at a guy that can create seperation either through size and strength (like Megatron), or through speed.  I'm not necessarily looking for a field stretcher, but if the play calls for him to stretch the field, he should be able to do that.  I'm looking for someone that can run all the routes, but more importantly the middle and deep routes where we are inconsistent.  Brandon Tate may grow into the role, but he has a long way to go.  Taylor Price may be the guy, but we've yet to see it.

That's my wish list, and I've avoided discussing specific players.  Feel free to share your wishes in the comments.

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