Gearing Up Towards the Draft: New England Patriots Style.
We're about at the halfway mark of the offseason, in fact team voluntary workouts have already commenced. New faces are going to start popping up left and right with the veteran editions of Joey Galloway, Shawn Springs, Leigh Bodden, Greg Lewis and not to mention the expected return of Tom Brady.
The Pats were recently given three compensatory draft picks and now have six picks in the top 100, with Bill Belichick at the helm I fully expect him to turn at least three of those players into key contributors virtually right away, the question is where does he go with those picks. With the departure of Vrabel and the addition of Springs and Bodden to their secondary the obvious pick is at outside linebacker, the second half of the first round is very deep at this position.
I doubt Maybin will fall to 23 but if he does you can be sure that the Pats will jump on him, he fits the 3-4 defence that they run absolutely perfectly! In the likely case that he doesn’t fall to the 23rd pick there are a few other more than suitable replacements.
Brian Cushing (USC) is a smart BB type player who may be available at number 23, he is a big physically gifted athlete who can step in right away and do almost anything asked of him, although he doesn’t fair too well when dropping back in coverage.
Clay Matthew another USC outside backer, he started as a walk-on for the Trojans and turned himself into a certain first rounder, he was a part of one of the best defences that the NCAA has ever seen. He comes from a huge football family and would fit in nicely with the Patriots.
Larry English (Northern Illinois) a DE/OLB and he a preeminent pass rusher, exactly what the pats are looking for.
If they don’t feel that the value at outside linebacker is left on the board I fully expect them to look at corner where either Malcolm Jenkins (OSU),Vontae Davis (Illinois), and Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest) would fit in nicely with Hobbs, Springs and Bodden. Jenkins and Davis would both have to fall considerably to be an option, they would both be considered steals at this point in the draft, and Smith has size issues, but he is a real player, his 21 college interceptions cannot be overlooked!
I don't think there are any safeties to be had in the first round but with three more picks in the second round surely one of them will be used to replace Harrison.
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