With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.
The Patriots have the oldest running backs in the league. As in the three oldest running backs in the league. Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris rank #1, #2 and #3 as the oldest backs in a league where most flame out before their 30th birthday. The Patriots run a committee style running approach, meaning that no single back will be asked to carry the load- each will be asked to play when called upon in certain situations. Faulk will be a receiving third round back, Taylor and Laurence Maroney will be asked to carry on first and second downs and Morris will be asked to receive on first and second downs. What happens when these football ancients are unable to carry the ball anymore? Who can the Patriots grab that will be able to improve our running game? Georgia Tech's Jonathan Dwyer may be the answer.
Dwyer is a great sized back who can hit the hole and make the yardage. He never fumbled in college and we know how much ball control is important to the coaches (right Maroney?). However, Dwyer comes from an option style offense, which means that he never was asked to run to the outside alone- lanes were often opened by mobile quarterbacks. Unfortunately, "mobile" is the last adjective to describe Tom Brady. Dwyer is able to run between the tackles, but it is unseen if he'll be able to run to the outside without option help. With this in mind, is Dwyer worth a 2nd round pick?
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.
Height: 5-11. Weight: 229.
Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
Combine 40 Time: 4.59.
Pro Day 40 Time: 4.52.
Big frame for a RB Great lower body strength and mass Makes quick decisions as a runner Nice traffic runner - shows poise in tight spaces Great quality of suddenness to his running style Willing blocker Takes care of the football Nice short area burst Hits hole quickly Patient back who will set up a lineman when given chance Can pound it between the tackles Intriguing upside if stars align (change of scheme and conditioning)
Looks overweight - conditioning may be an issue Just above average speed No second gear in open field Shys from contact Not as powerful a runner as you'd think Questionable receiver out of backfield Not a game-breaker in a pro scheme Unimpressive moves in space to make defenders miss Doesn't have much elusiveness Lacks experience in a more conventional running scheme Highly difficult evaluation
02/28/2010 - Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer thinks he has found his ideal playing weight. "Coach wanted me to gain some weight when the option offense came in," Dwyer said. "I realized after the season that my comfortable weight was between 225 and 230. I worked hard and lost some weight." Dwyer weighed-in at 229 pounds at the NFL scouting combine and was measured at 5-foot-11 1/2. Dwyer, who hopes to join his buddy, Clemson's C.J. Spiller, as a first-round pick, was set to meet with the New England Patriots. He had already completed interviews with St. Louis, San Diego and Denver. Dwyer has had to address how he can make the transition from Tech's option attack to a pro-styled NFL offense. At Tech, he played five yards off the ball. In a pro-style attack, running backs normally are seven yards deep. "That's just a question that is going to continuously be asked," Dwyer said. "But if they go back to the 2007 season when I was a true freshmen and played behind Tashard Choice...It's nothing new for me to be able to play seven yards deep. I'm just going out there to show them that I'm an athlete and that I have the ability to adjust to any kind of offense they throw at me." - D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Journal Constitution
Dwyer is a big, powerful ball carrier that has had a lot of production at Georgia Tech but some of the numbers could be inflated due to the style of offense the Yellow Jackets run. The triple option tends to put ball carriers in wide open run lanes that won’t always be available to the pro style attack. He is a one-cut ball carrier that will stick his foot in the ground and hit the seam at full speed. He shows good balance on contact, runs through his share of arm tackles and shows surprising speed for his size. He is the kind of back that most teams are looking for as a featured ball carrier but will need some work on the passing game as far as blocking or running routes out of the backfield.
Final word: Because he comes from a pure option offense, Dwyer is a little hard to grade. He shows good power and vision to work on the inside, his primary role in Tech's offense. Dwyer's size is also good, which helps his durability. Had some injury issues in 2009, including a shoulder stinger that limited him against Miami.
Where Dwyer needs to be questioned is in his ability to get around the edge quickly and move up field. Dwyer will also have to learn how to block and become more of a receiver.
Verdict: Sorry Dwyer, I can't see us grabbing you with a 2nd round pick. Selecting a player who is going to play under 50% of the position's snaps even at the player's peak in the 2nd round just isn't going to happen. That goes for all backs who aren't able to be an every down back, or a tandem back. Sorry Dwyer, I'm sure you'll find a perfect place (Miami Dolphins seem like an ideal situation with their option offense), but it won't be in New England.