Moss Trade Opens Day Two
Quick Comments on First Four Sunday Picks
The New England Patriots continued making headlines to open Day Two of the 2007 NFL Draft, trading the No. 110 pick of the draft (4th round) to the Oakland Raiders for gifted by troubled wide receiver Randy Moss.
Rumors of the trade surfaced several days before the draft and finally came to fruition Sunday morning moments before the opening of the fourth round. Moss was on a plan overnight, landing in New England early Sunday morning for a physical. Just moments before New England was to make pick No. 110, the trade became official, and Oakland selected cornerback John Bowie of Cincinnati.
More on Moss later.
New England eight picks on Day Two, five in the last two rounds.
After the trade, the Patriots used the fourth-round pick (No. 127) they received in Saturday's trade that sent New England's second first-round pick (No. 28) to San Francisco for the 49ers first-round pick in 2008, choosing defensive tackle Kareem Brown, a teammate of the Patriots top grab Brandon Meriweather at the University of Miami.
New England followed with the selection of offensive tackle Clint Oldenburg of Colorado State in the fifth round (No. 171) and four picks in Round 6: outside linebacker Justin Rogers of SMU (No. 180), cornerback Mike Richardson of SMU (No. 202), running back Justise Hairston of Central Connecticut State (No. 208) and offensive tackle Corey Hilliard of Oklahoma State (N. 209).
Brown is an odd pick, to me. I figured if the Patriots would be taking a defensive lineman, it would be in the 6th or 7th round. And despite having a statistically solid career at Miami, scouting reports don't sound too impressive: classroom smart, but will struggle to track the ball .. slow off the snap .. gets too tall in his stance .. gets pushed around too much .. susceptible to cut blocks .. outside of an effective rip move, he lacks the technique or array of moves you expect in a pass rusher.
At the combine, after participating in the vertical jump and broad jump, he decline to participate further.
On the other hand, he's known as a nearly fanatical worker. He is more a run-stopper than pass-rusher, can occupy multiple blockers, and can influence the movement of a scrum. Scouts say Brown has shown solid and consistent improvement, and if he isn't pressuring the quarterback himself, he's making it easier for other players to do so.
Brown (6-foot-4, 290 pounds) has been compared to Vonnie Holliday of Miami, but his good points make him sound like a potential Richard Seymour (6-6, 310).
He has been injury free during his college career.
Oldenburg is more the kind of player I expected to see earlier, but for all the trades. Like Ben Grubbs, who I took at No. 28 in the SB Nation Mock Draft, Oldenburg was a tight end and a defensive lineman before switching to offensive tackle and guard.
Oldenburg might be something of a long-term project, though. He played most of 2006 with a left wrist injury that required surgery just after Christmas. That surgery has prevented him from lifting, and that will set him back in preparation for camp and the season. He also endured an 11-game pelvic injury in 2003 and a one-game neck stinger in 2004.
Scouts expect him to be better suited to guard in the NFL because he works well within a unit, but he will get beaten by speedier defensive ends. At 6-6, 300, he still has room to put on some weight without losing quickness, but he has show a propensity to be pushed back, especially against the pass rush. His technique has been critiqued, and it sounds like Patriots coaches have their work cut out.
This pick really confused me, especially after signing Adalius Thomas. Rodgers is a defensive end / outside linebacker, and scouts peg him as an strong-side outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense, just about the last position I expected New England to draft.
As he played end throughout his college career, it's hard to diagnose his potential as a linebacker. I haven't read much to convince me he fits into the Patriots' scheme, but then again I didn't know anything about Tedy Bruschi 11 years ago.
Rogers is 6-3, 262, and he's missed on a couple games due to minor injuries.
There's a good chance Richardson came highly recommended by former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, now head coach at Notre Dame. Richardson is the kind of guy you hope you can groom to settle into a leadership role in the defensive backfield, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let's just say I like what I've read, especially for a 6th-round pick.
At 5-11, 188, he can bulk up a bit without losing speed. He's quick, smart and has excellent tackling technique, but he's often overmatched in man coverage, more comfortable in zone. That's not acceptable at the pro level, and he'll have to improve a good deal if he wants to survive at the next level. On the bright side, he was often assigned to the opponent's top receiver and accumulated some decent stats doing so.
Richardson has special teams potential, but competition there is really heating up in New England. Richardson is already branded "not a shutdown corner." But that's what they used to say about Asante Saumel.
Richarson was injury-free in college.
We'll look at the final four picks tomorrow.
The New England Patriots draft Day 2 grade is:
This poll is closed
A+: Outstanding! I'm thinking "juggernaut"
A: Excellent! Big trade and 8 solid draftees
B: Good. They've plugged the few holes.
C: Average. Meh. I could have done better.
D: Fair: It was a weak draft, and these are weak picks.
F: Horrible! The magic is gone! The dynasty is dead!