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Patriots Talk: Should We Draft Potential or Proven Players?

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Over at Patriots.com, there's a debate over the type of players we should be looking into and drafting. The position of concern is OLB.

Head coach Bill Belichick has made no secret of his desire to have players at outside linebacker in his 3-4 defense that are, ideally, 6-4 and run a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.

That said, there are few prospects who meet these requirements, and even fewer who have consistently proven themselves over their college careers. There ARE, however, players who are "undersized" at 6-1 and 6-2 who have done extremely well at the college level.

One argument for Potential is our current weakness against the run- if the player is smaller than 6-4, they could be a liability in the running game, despite their pass rushing skills. The players on our defense need to be versatile and able to play every facet of the defensive game. Example Player: Ricky Sapp

The other argument for Proven is the slightly higher guarantee of player success in the NFL. If they've done it in college and have the ability to do the same in college, they have a better chance of success than those players who did not have as great of a college output. Example Players: Brandon Graham, Eric Norwood

So the question is: Do you draft players based upon their size and potential, or upon their college success?