Patriots have done an excellent jobs addressing the needs coming into the 2012 season signing WR Brandon Lloyd (3-Yrs, $12M), WR Anthony Gonzalez (tbd), S Steve Gregory (3-yrs, $8.5M), DE/OLB Trevor Scott (1-yr, $unknown), and DT/DE Jonathan Fanene (3-yrs, $12M).
- Lloyd is the missing outside WR they lacked since 2010 that can make plays in the 15-25 yd range and can run short and deep routes. Has good hands and works well with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels (the only reason he came for cheap). Should be an instant starter and be a solid contributor as the #2 option at WR
- Anthony Gonzalez is an interesting case who when on the field. He has only been able to see the field and contribute in 1 game since the start of 2009 (4 catches, 55 yds in a game where Pollard cheap-shotted him and blew out his knee). He is insurance for Welker and is an upgrade from Julian Edelman when healthy. Definitely puts himself and Edelman on the bubble.
- Steve Gregory should start at FS in base defense and will see a lot of snaps due to the fact the Patriots are in sub packages for more than 60% of the snaps. He was the starting SS for the Chargers when they were the #1 defense in total yards and passing yards in 2010.
- Trevor Scott is another player recovering from a knee injury suffered in the 2010 season. He is a solid and underrated DE who can play DE and OLB in 4-3 like Ninkovich. He can play ST and should make a roster as one of those under the radar signings that will work out like Carter and Anderson. He certainly will push Jermaine Cunningham for snaps in pre-season and could bypass him on the depth chart soon.
- Jonathan Fanene has played DE and DT for the Bengals in 7 seasons until playing a reduced role in 2011 as a situational DE. Has the size to play DE in 3-4 and kick it inside for passing downs. He is a good defender against the run and could be a 3-down player. Best value signing of the offseason (barely edging out Lloyd) IMO.
New England has traded the 31st overall pick to the St. Louis Rams (Rams chose Coby Fleener). (Patriots get 2012 2nd rd pick (38th pick) and 2013 1st)
With the 38th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft- The New England Patriots select Cordy Glenn, Offensive Lineman, Georgia. This pick is an eye opener- but Glenn could play as a G/T player and provide an interesting option at RG if Cannon takes the RT should Sebastian Vollmer pursue LT money. Most of you would wonder why I would pick another Marcus Cannon sized player, but you can never have enough good OL (Remember that against Miami in Week 16 only Waters was the only starter that played the whole game and we should never be in that deep crap in a game). Glenn moves well for his size and is a powerful run blocker. Combine #'s: 6'5" 345, 5.15 40-yd dash, 31 bench press reps, 23.5" Vertical, 93.0" Broad jump, 8.13 3-cone drill, 5.00 20-yd shuttle. Highlights [Back up picks (Hill, Smith, Gilmore)]
New England has traded the 48th overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs (Chiefs choose Ben Jones). (Patriots get 2012 3rd (75th), 5th (11th pick in 5th), and 7th (11th pick in 7th)).
With the 63rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft- The New England Patriots select Trumaine Johnson, Defensive Back, Montana. You wonder why I'm doubling up at CB aren't you? The Patriots will move Johnson to Safety immediately after the draft if they pick this guy like Eugene Wilson. With McCourty, Dowling, Arrington, and Moore at CB- the snaps for him at CB would be limited early and could make a longer term impact at the safety spot. He also offers injury insurance in case injuries start to become the norm for Ras-I Dowling. Picking the bigger Trumaine Johnson will leave DMC and RaID at CB long term. Combine #'s: 6'2" 204, 4.61 40-yd dash, 19 bench press reps, 35.5" Vertical, 122.0" Broad jump, 7.20 3-cone drill, 4.15 20-yd shuttle, 11.68 60-yd TD shuttle Highlights [Back up picks (Criner, Adams, Molk)]
With the 75th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft- The New England Patriots select Marvin Jones, Wide Receiver, California. Marvin Jones is a decent possession type receiver who has a quick release off the line of scrimmage, good speed, and good catching ability. There are questions about his ability to separate from top CB's, but otherwise is very quick and adjusts to the ball nicely. This pick would be excellent value for a 3rd rd pick based off his abilities and could be a potential outside threat for the future. Lloyd signing a 3-year deal should allow the Patriots to be patient to see if there are any signs of improvement every year. Shane Vereen may have some inside info on the play of Marvin Jones to contribute as well. 2011 Stats: 62 Rec, 846 yds, 3 TD. Combine #'s: 6'2" 199, 4.46 40-yd dash, 22 bench press reps, 33.0" vertical, 112.0" Broad Jump, 6.81 3-cone drill, 4.11 20-yd shuttle, 11.47 60-yd TD shuttle. Highlights [Back up picks (Brewster, Streeter, Quick)]
With the 95th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft- The New England Patriots select Michael Brewster, Offensive Lineman, Ohio State. Brewster is good at making the calls at the line, which is important for pass protection for pocket passers Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett in the future. He does a good job of going into the second level and picking up linebackers in space. He has been a long time and very dependable starter for Ohio State for 4 years. Could be another Dan Koppen type player. He does have issues with very quick DT's due to pre-snap reads. He is not very quick coming off the ball and can get pushed back at times. Even with these shortcomings, I believe OL Coach Dante Scarnecchia should help fix those problems and Brewster could challenge Connolly, Wendell, and McDonald for the starting center job in a couple years. Combine #'s: 6'2" 312, 5.35 40-yd dash, 29 bench press reps, 25.0" Vertical, 96.0" Broad Jump, 7.73 3-cone drill, 4.60 20-yd shuttle. Highlights [Back up picks (Cam Johnson, Ladarius Green)]
With the 127th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft- The New England Patriots select Derek Wolfe, Defensive Lineman, Cincinnati. Remember the last guy who was a DT out of Cincinnati (if you chose Mike Wright, you are correct)? Wolfe has a similar build and skill set as Mike Wright. He does a good job of diagnosing plays (big bonus for BB) and gets into position to make the play. He has issues with double teams and overanalyzes plays to the point where he can get blocked out of the play. He would fit in as a DE in a 3 man front and play inside in sub packages. In a 2-gap read and react system, it is good that he can analyze and diagnose plays, but needs to react quicker to be a good DL. He is a good project player worth developing into the future like Brandon Deaderick and Myron Pryor have been. 2011 stats: Combine #'s: 6'5" 295, 5.01 40-yd dash, 33 bench press reps, 33.5" Vertical, 108.0" Broad jump, 7.26 3-cone drill, 4.44 20-yd shuttle. Highlights [Back up picks (McCray, Goode)]
With the (can't determine the # yet) overall pick (5th rd from Chiefs)- The New England Patriots select Kelcie McCray, Defensive Back, Arkansas State. McCray is certainly an interesting prospect. While I don't think he will make the roster, he may be pushed onto the practice squad his rookie year before trying to make another shot at a spot on the roster in 2013. He is big and fast enough to cover TE and should be an interesting prospect to look at coming forward. Although he has size and speed, there are some strength and vertical jump issues coming from a combine. Combine #'s: 6'2" 202, 4.54 40-yd dash, 12 Bench Press reps, 30.5" Vertical, 122.0" Broad jump, 7.00 3-cone drill, 4.29 20-yd shuttle, 11.56 60-yd TD shuttle. Highlights [Back up picks (Goode, Akiem Hicks (pun for Giants WR Hakeem Nicks), Brazill)]
With the (7th rd pick from Chiefs)- The New England Patriots select Cory Harkey, Tight End, UCLA. He is a run blocking type TE that the Patriots could go after in the draft. He isn't known as a pass catcher as a TE like Gronk, Hernandez, or Daniel Fells (coming to visit Patriots Monday and would be a good sign). His lack of speed is an issue for running routes as a pass catcher as safeties can run circles around him. Could either be a tackle prospect or just a run blocking specialist in the NFL. He would not make the roster at all if Smith and Yeatman did not this year. Since he shows no promise as a pass catcher, he should make the practice squad. A close comparison would be Carson Butler, who has not seen 1 NFL snap in 2 years. Combine #'s: 6'4" 260, 5.11 40-yd dash, 13 Bench press reps, 26.5" Vertical, 109.0" Broad jump, 7.40 3-cone drill, 4.69 20-yd shuttle, 12.75 60-yd TD shuttle. Highlight [Back up picks irrelevant]- Please note that there are no good highlights of this player due to the fact he does not pass catch as a TE, thank you for your understanding.
Not a flashy draft- but certainly adds some depth coming into training camp at certain positions. I'd rate it as a B myself. Vote in the poll and voice your opinion in the comment sections. Next mock draft 4.0 will be April 25th, day before the draft starts.