I was successful in my 2011 draft predictions. This can mean only one thing. I have zero chance of getting one right this year. Regardless, I push forward with the usual bucket of draft day cliches. Warning you that last year I had 1st round O line, Mallett "maybe" in the 3rd and the 1st round trade out last year (like that was a surprise).
Be advised, Belichick is predictable. He is a value freak. He digs the SEC like a beagle. He doesn't care if the guy is hurt. He likes guys from football families. If the entire team consisted of tight ends whose father played football that would be aok with the coach. Small schools? Loves'em. Hofstra, Howard, Montana State? Bring'em on.
Belichick doesn't try and rescue his teams with draft picks...he builds it with draft picks. Belichick does not play fantasy football. He doesn't fall in love with players....except for veteran FA defensive linemen from the SEC who were picked in the first round (look it up, it's almost scary).
Value is king. So you gonna disagree with me?
All three were, at some point, projected "first rounders"...all three dropped like rocks...right onto the Patriot's roster.
In interviews, when speaking of players that he has picked Belichick will mention COMPETITION. This explains the list of Patriots players below.
What do the following large (some former), front 7 guys have in common?
Deaderick, Ellis, Love, Cunningham, Mayo, Warren, Anderson, Pryor, Carter and Spikes.
Times up...they all played in the SEC. Belichick likes big defensive guys from the SEC. You like a big D lineman later in the draft? If he is from an SEC school, you may be right. If he is a veteran FA....you may be even righter.
THE LAST 6 YEARS OF PATRIOT'S DRAFTS AND HOW THEY WILL DRAFT THIS YEAR
I have broken down the last 6 years of Patriots drafts. (please remember this before you start whining about players that I have missed '05 back). I have dropped kickers and QB's from the stat sheet.
Once we have completed the statistical portion of this post, my blind, fumbling attempt at predicting 2012 DRAFT will begin.
2006-2011 54 total picks
5 first rounders
24 fifth-seventh rounds
Averaging 9 picks a year. Coach likes to wheel and deal his way to add a couple more picks...like 12 more in 6 years.
The coach is a second round picking machine. He'd give up Bon Jovi tix for a second rounder.
WHAT HE DID WITH THE PICKS (AVG. = starters/number drafted)
Coach Belichick is not the most efficient evaluator of collegiate defensive backs.
Defensive backs - In six years, coach has invested a 24, 27, 33, 34, 41, 62, 129, 202, 219, 229 on defensive backs, for ten total picks. He has spent more high picks on this position than anywhere else. We are left with Chung and McCourty both solid starters with Dowling in the wings?
Offense TE/WR/RB - 21, 36, 42, 56,73, 83, 90, 106, 113, 153, 159, 208, 232 on this group. 14 picks in all. Edelman, Slater, Hernandez, Gronk, Ridley, Vereen remain. I will call it 3 starters.
Offensive line - 17,58,123,136,138,170,171,198,205,205,208,209,247. The coach likes to pick O line late, But, his starters were not picked late. Vollmer, Solder remain as "starters" out of 13 picks. Cannon will change this in 2012? Remember. We are talking '06 and up.
Linebackers - 10,53,62,78,97,180,191,197,211. Nine picks have left us with Spikes and Mayo. Those FA's and assorted undrafted players are always present in the Belichick Linebacker mix.
Defensive line - 40,127,199,206,207,234,247,248. Bill Belichick has picked eight defensive linemen in the last six drafts. Seven remain on roster (+Vinny '05). Love, Deaderick almost have have starter counts. Notice he doesn't pick high....ever.
In six years we have 5 first round picks Mayo, Solder, Maroney, Merriweather, McCourty.
Overall 54 picks = 12 starters (From what I have read, this is about average for the NFL)
BELICHICK TENDENCY TIME:
Picks defensive backs high and then, cuts them...all righty then.
Picks his offensive specialists almost as high...and IS the greatest tight end drafting dog of the era.
He has picked 11 out of 13 O - linemen #123 and below and only Cannon remains. Someone tell him to cut it the f out. Stick with he first two rounds, OK?
Linebackers...he likes them too much. He's never happy...he's too picky...Seau is still retired.
D Line...He just plain doesn't pick D linemen high. Brace #40...(How's that one working out?) is the only one in the last 6 years.
He will trade up this year. He has few needs, a lot of picks and the CBA is 1st round friendly. This time praying for a defensive play maker might pay off.
I say he trades up for Richardson (I know it will never happen, ok? I got that, Trent goes top 5. Read about it, but I can dream and I am so sick of these trade down and away drafts I want action for a freakin' change and Trent is the action/if he drops in any way shape or form and I mean #11/12 Belichick will get him. Everyone said the same thing about my Mallett "prediction" last year...the lucky thing was he dropped..like a Buick full of cement in the local river...Richardson won't.)
Names? Are you kidding me? With Belichick we can only go with the occasional tendency. In the defensive play maker category I will offer these trade up possibilities relative to Belichick with the following proviso...he has picked Mayo as his only first round defensive front seven pick in the last 6 years. We are living in long shot city here and the rent is due.
#5 Brockers...Yes, he is an LSU guy...no he won't drop
#6 Ingram SC...he loves this guy? Crazy for this guy? You sure?
#7 Poe Memphis...trade up for Memphis?
#8 Coples NC..no, he is not an SEC guy...no value here..at #18? maybe.
#9 Mercilus..Illinois...call me after you transfer to the SEC....or drop to #19
#10 Still Penn. St..with all we know, is coach gonna trade up for a Penn State guy?
#11 Cox MSU...if he likes him...a lot...if he drops too.
#12 Upshaw..Bama...wouldn't you like to know what Saban said to Bill?
Any of these guys drop into the "value wheelhouse"?
This is what will probably happen and it really, really sux.
27th Best value - Off line/D Back
2nd round Off line/D Back or some guy who "shoulda" been picked around #20...you know clearance rack...scratch and dent....open box.
Odds of trading up for a defensive play maker? Low.
Is he due to trade up in the first? Big time.
Are the #4 through #12 picks available? Yes.
Can Belichick get there? Somehow? For any one? Not really, the two first rounders get him what...#16? I mean how many 20 something picks would Jacksonville want?
Surprise? If Upshaw drops a little...maybe., with this thought...Belichick is a linebacker guy. Mayo is referred to as "Belichick's other son Gerard..." He starts to openly sob when talking about Teddy B...he coached LT. Need I say more? He is very selective with linebackers, so don't freak out when he doesn't pick a linebacker till the second...like he always does.