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New England Patriots – For Dobson, Easley It Is Time To Step Up

Dobson
Wide Receiver Aaron Dobson is facing a likely make or break season for the Patriots in his third year. (SBalestrieri, Image)

With the 2015 NFL Draft just days away, the attention of fans and media is riveted on the prospects who will soon be vying for spots on professional teams for the first time. But for a couple of players on the Patriots, the second and possibly the third time may indeed be a charm.

Two players currently on the Patriots roster face key 2015 seasons as they return from injuries that limited their 2014 seasons. Aaron Dobson and Dominique Easley were expected to play key roles for the team when they were drafted and currently hold positions that the team is scouting heavily in this season’s draft. The time is now for each to step up and take on a role that was envisioned for them. Although at least in Easley’s case, the team knew that he probably wouldn’t be 100 percent physically ready in his rookie campaign.

Aaron Dobson was drafted out of Marshall with a second round draft pick (59th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft. A big, 6’3, 210 wide receiver with 4.42 speed and a 35 inch vertical jump, he was supposed to be that big possession receiver that had the ability to take the top off the defense as well.

He was thrust into a starting role as a rookie due to a huge turnover in the wide receiver position in 2013 and subsequently struggled. He was tentative and suffered from too many focus drops, something he wasn’t known for in his college days.

But as the season wore on, Dobson began to emerge slowly and finished with respectable numbers in his first pro season. While his numbers of 37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns aren’t eye popping, they reflect a steady growth and confidence within the system. He suffered a foot injury late in the season and missed three games going down the stretch.

Foot Surgery Derails 2014: It was initially hoped that rest would heal his foot injury but it didn’t prove to be the case and he finally had surgery to repair his ailment in April. As a result, he missed all of the OTAs and mini-camps and didn’t take the field in training camp until the final day.

Missing all of this valuable bonding time with QB Tom Brady was crucial as Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and newcomer Brandon LaFell worked their way into the offense and not only got their timing down with Brady but earned his trust in being in the right place at the right time.

Dobson’s foot injury was far from healed and he quickly disappeared in his second campaign, being a healthy scratch for eight of the team’s first twelve games. When he pulled his hamstring in the Green Bay game, the team placed him on IR, ending a nightmarish season where he caught only three passes for 38 yards in 2014.

Team Not Standing Pat: Reports have been surfacing that the team is heavily involved in working out the wide receiver prospects in this season’s draft. Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports posted a piece recently that both Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio were both taking a very active role in these workouts which led to speculation that the team would draft a WR early in the draft process.

With the top three WRs in place for 2015, that may not be the case, but the team will definitely be looking to augment the position and with Brian Tyms, newly signed Brandon Gibson and 2nd year player Jonathan Krause as well as fellow 2013 draftee Josh Boyce vying for that fourth wideout slot, the clock is ticking.

Dobson is certainly doing his part to prepare, back at the end of February, the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe penned a piece about how Dobson was fully committed to getting in the best shape of his life and was working out at the Fischer Institute in Phoenix.

Dobson is committed to making the 2015 season his best, working out in Arizona, getting healthy and stronger and ready to reclaim his position as one of Tom Brady’s go-to guys. For him the clock is ticking…

Easley drill
Dominique Easley was drafted to be a penetrating, disrupting interior DL, he should be fully healthy in 2015 more than a year removed from ACL surgery. (SBalestrieri, Image)

Dominique Easley was drafted in the first round with the 29th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft from Florida. A slightly undersized but explosive player at the defensive tackle position, Easley was supposed to provide the interior pocket push the team has been searching for but unable to find for quite a few seasons.

The Patriots took a calculated gamble on Easley as he has had not one but two ACL injuries to each knee and was coming off of one suffered in October of 2013 when he was drafted last April.

The Patriots long employed a 3-4 defense where the defensive line players were asked to two-gap allowing the linebackers to make plays. Anchored by NT Vince Wilfork, the Patriots had a superb run stuffing unit but at the price of the pass rush which has been inconsistent in recent years.

With the proclivity of the passing game in the NFL, Bill Belichick has morphed the defense into a more of a 4-3 style, but with all of the sub-package play of the Pats defense, they played more of a 4-2-5 for much of 2014.

Easley Drafting Marks Change in Scheme: Easley was drafted to be that interior pocket pusher, he’s not a two-gap monster but an explosive penetrator, a disruptor in the backfield that can blow up running plays before they get started and bring pressure on the quarterback.

But his ACL surgery caused him to miss nearly all of the OTAs, mini-camps and much of the 2014 training camp. His typical explosion at the line was largely missing, which was not surprising as it normally takes a good 10 months to a year for a player to get back to where he’s fully healthy.

The Patriots tried him in a variety of positions in his rookie season; as a defensive tackle, a two-gapping experiment in Miami in Week 1 was not pretty. But it was at defensive end when Chandler Jones went down with a hip injury during the mid season that Easley showed glimpses of what he is capable of.

Against the Bears and Colts, he displayed some of that trademark explosiveness and he disrupted plays in the backfield as well as showed some very good push in his pass rush. But his knee was still not close to 100 percent and he was shut down.

For the season Easley appeared in 11 games with two starts and logged nine tackles, one sack and one interception while playing in 261 defensive snaps, around the 25th percentile of the Patriots total for the season.

Healthy in 2015: Reports are that Easley will be ready to take part in everything this pre-season, the off-season conditioning workouts, the OTAs, mini-camps and be a “full-go” for training camp. That is great news for both the player and the team.

With Wilfork now a member of the Texans, Easley won’t be that big two-gap run stuffer given that Sealver Siliga and Alan Branch back in the fold and the team supposedly is looking for a big tackle in the draft.

The Patriots will be expecting Easley to be that disruptor, the penetrating tackle who can collapse the pocket. That will give DEs Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones and Jabaal Sheard a clearer shot at the quarterback who won’t be able to step up in the pocket. His career path may mirror Jamie Collins who played in only about a quarter of the defensive snaps in rookie season to play a pivotal role in his sophomore season.

With the departure of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, the Patriots will move from a defense that relies on coverage to shut down opponents to one based on pressuring the quarterback. Having good rotational pressure from the edge as well as interior pocket pressure will be imperative. Easley is slated to be a big, big, part of that.

With a healthy return of both Dobson and Easley, the Patriots not only have nine draft picks this spring but two potentially big pieces of the overall puzzle in its team building. They are expecting a lot out of both, but the jury is still out on them. Now it is their turn to step up.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at stevebpatsfans@gmail.com

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

New England Patriots Possible Target in the 2015 NFL Draft – Phillip Dorsett, WR Miami

Phillip Dorsett Miami
Wide Receiver Phillip Dorsett from Miami is a big play maker averaging 24.2 yards per reception in 2014 and is one of the fastest receivers in the NFL Draft. (USA Today, Image)

As the 2015 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar. Some of these players have already been linked to New England as possible targets others, we feel would be a great fit.

Check out our earlier 2015 NFL Draft profiles on PatsFans.com:

DE/OLB Nate Orchard from Utah
WR Tyrell Williams from Western Oregon
DT Jordan Phillips from Oklahoma
DT Carl Davis from Iowa
RB David Johnson from Northern Iowa
CB Steven Nelson from Oregon State
OLB Zack Hodges from Harvard
CB Ronald Darby from FSU
WR Devin Funchess from Michigan
OG A.J. Cann from South Carolina
RB Mike Davis from South Carolina
ILB Benadrick McKinney from Mississippi State
OLB Hau’oli Kikaha from Washington
T Jeremiah Poutasi from Utah
OLB Kyle Emanuel from North Dakota State
RB Jay Ajayi from Boise State
WR Jamison Crowder from Duke
CB Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest
DT Eddie Goldman from Florida State
LB Shaq Thompson from Washington
OG Tre Jackson from Florida State
CB Marcus Peters from Washington
CB Eric Rowe from Utah
RB Jeremy Langford from Michigan State

For a team that has one of the most explosive offense’s in the NFL the past several years, the Patriots have had a pretty poor record at developing wide receivers. Maybe this season will be the year that they strike gold in what is a deep class of talented wideouts.

The Patriots don’t really have a burning need at wide receiver, having all three top WRs return for 2015. Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola aren’t the most talented trio in the NFL, but they certainly got the job done in 2015.

With Brian Tyms re-signed, Brandon Gibson and Kevin Dorsey brought in as well as the return of a healthy Aaron Dobson, they have a solid group. If there was one element missing it may be a burner on the outside that can stretch the defense vertically as well as horizontally and open things up underneath.

Phillip Dorsett from Miami is a burner in every sense of the word, being a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Dorsett played four years at Miami, appearing in 45 games with 30 starts and had 121 catches for 2132 yards for a 17.6 yard per reception average and 17 touchdowns. After missing some time in 2013 with a partially torn MCL, Dorsett returned in 2014 with a bang, catching 36 passes for 871 yards for a ridiculous 24.2 yard average and 10 touchdowns for the Hurricanes.

He’s a track star on the field, following up an excellent time of 4.33 in the 40 at the NFL Combine with a blazing 4.28 at Miami’s Pro Day. Dorsett also ran a 6.70 in the Three-Cone Drill at the combine.

Very quick off the line with the burst to leave defenders in the dust once he gains a step on them, Dorsett can stretch the defense and has good ball skills once the pass in the air.  Has good moves and is slippery in space, Dorsett isn’t afraid to work the middle of the field despite his small size (5’9, 185), and catches the ball with his hands away from his body.

Dorsett is a willing blocker but his lack of size/bulk make him only so-so in that regard. Not a good route-runner, he wins with speed, rounding off his routes and has had too many focus drops. Limited vision in the return game has left him with modest production in punt returns (5.4 yd avg) and Kickoffs (19.1 avg), despite his blistering speed.

However with some coaching at the next level, that could be a nice niche for him to earn reps in the NFL.

Pros:

– Speed, speed, and more speed 4.28 at his Pro Day makes him one of the fastest WRs

– Creates big plays after the catch, with a 24.2 average per reception

– Excellent leadership and work ethic, one of the hardest workers on his team

Cons:

– Size and strength is an issue for the NFL, can win with speed only

– Durability may be an issue at the next level

– Must improve route running and ball security

Where can the Patriots can get him?: The Patriots already have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL, how could a player like Dorsett help? Getting him the ball in space is a big play waiting to happen and with the Patriots’ Tom Brady already having the big targets of being Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, Dorsett would see a lot of single coverage.

With some coaching at the next level, Dorsett on the Patriots could be not only a big play producer in the offense but on special teams as well where his speed would make him a very dangerous man in space.

But NFL teams love speed and with his performances at the NFL Combine and his Pro Day, his stock right now is at his highest and may probably go in the first round of the Draft.  A couple of notable national writers have him going as high as the Top 20 which would take the Patriots right out of the equation.

Although undersized and may have some durability issues, he’s a bit like the Colts T.Y. Hilton, once he gets the ball in his hands anything can happen. It would be a surprise if the Patriots took a shot at him in Round 1 but stranger things have happened. Dorsett will be a fun player to watch in the coming season.

Here is a highlight film of Dorsett at Miami:

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at stevebpatsfans@gmail.com

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

New England Patriots – Mock Draft 6.0

AJ Cann

Lots of movement at the top

With the 2015 NFL Draft just a little more than a week away, there has been a lot of movement at the top of the draft. Some players are shooting up draft boards as a result of particularly prolific performances at school’s Pro Days. In my opinion here, the tape doesn’t always play that out. Once again this was a pretty balanced mock with five picks on the defensive side and four on the offensive side of the ball.

There is a fascinating tool to use for doing a mock draft made possible by the guys over at Fanspeak.com that we touted last year and is even more fun to use in 2015.
In their “On the Clock” simulator, you are the GM for any NFL team. You can choose how many rounds you’d like to draft for (1-7), and pick one of nine different big boards to choose from.

All of the big boards differ and the site has a random selection process that picks for the other 31 teams based upon the best player available and team needs that are constantly updated until it is your time to pick.

Here is our previous mock from last week – Mock Draft 5.0:

For this opening mock draft, I used the big board of NDT Scouting

Here is our Patriots Mock Draft 6.0:

Round 1, Pick #32 – Kevin Johnson, CB Wake Forest:
Johnson is a tall, athletic corner back with 41 career starts for the Demon Deacons. He’s a tad on the lean side at 6’0, 175, but he has the agility and ball skills to be a solid starting corner in the NFL.

Johnson is adept at playing both press and off-man coverage and is a natural athlete that can turn and run with receivers in man and has good closing speed when the ball is in the air. He can be overaggressive downfield and drew some flags and isn’t a fierce tackler but is willing to be physical in run support.

Round 2, Pick #64 – A.J. Cann, G South Carolina:
Cann is a four-year starter at guard for the Gamecocks and was extremely durable missing only one game in his time at Columbia.

Cann has good size at 6’3, 311 and is a big, powerful force, a road-grader in the running game. He was a first team, All-SEC in 2014 and is arguably the best pass blocking guard in the draft.

Reliable, coachable and has a great attitude, Cann was named a permanent captain by his teammates. He’ll come in and start from Day 1. With the movement of Cameron Fleming to guard this off-season, the Patriots may be set at the position now.

Round 3, Pick #96 – Kenny Bell, WR Nebraska:
Bell is a bit thin at 6’1, 185 but is deceptively tough and besides being the all-time leading receiver in Nebraska history in receptions (181), and  receiving yards (2689), he’s a very good blocker.

Bell has very good speed and excellent agility, being able to turn and accelerate quickly. Has that extra gear when the ball is in the air. Has good recognition and is adept at breaking off routes and working underneath in zone coverage.

Bell has a high football IQ and has very good special teams value in returning kicks as well as the coverage units.

*Round 3, Pick #97 – Taiwan Jones, ILB Michigan State: **Compensatory Pick
With so many guys being a tad undersized at the linebacker position, Jones is a big guy at 6’3, 260 who is a thumper in the run game similar to Brandon Spikes.

Jones plays downhill with quick inside moves and hits a ton. He’s a football junkie and studies his playbook and the opponent hard…a Belichick type favorite. He had a very productive final season with 60 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, two passes defensed, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Jones can be overaggressive at times and may struggle in coverage a bit with more athletic tight ends but played safety before moving to ILB and should be a solid addition to the defense.

Round 4, Pick #101 – Grady Jarrett, DT Clemson:
Jarrett is a slightly undersized defensive tackle at 6’0, 304 and built like a fire plug but was arguably the glue for the Clemson defense. Played in 48 games with 37 starts,

Jarrett has the quickness to penetrate and disrupt plays in the backfield and plays with a very low pad level which gives him very good leverage. While very strong, his size allows him to be double-teamed, however as a rotational one-gap guy in passing situations, he should be able to shoot the gaps and bring some pressure.

Highly motivated, non-stop player, works out and practices hard. Comes from a football background, his father Jesse Tuggle was a linebacker for the Falcons.

Round 4, Pick #131 – Jeremy Langford, RB Michigan State:
Langford is a big back, 6’0, 211 who runs low to the ground and has good vision and balance in the running game. He finished his college career with 10-straight 100-yard games for the Spartans.

He may be an underrated pass catcher out of the backfield as we pointed out in his draft profile.

Round 6, Pick #177– Markus Golden, DE Missouri:
Still on the board in Round 6, Golden is an intriguing pass rusher that plays with a relentless motor. Has a quick counter move to the inside to defeat blockers and is very good at deflecting passes at the line of scrimmage.

Doesn’t have the length that teams covet in edge rushers and while not thought to have enough speed to beat tackles on the edge, he turned heads at his Pro-Day with a 4.67 time in the 40 which may change a few minds.

Round 7, Pick #219 – Bo Wallace, QB Ole Miss:
The Patriots frequently add QBs late in the draft and as UDFAs and Wallace is a guy that could play his way on to the practice squad in 2015.

Good size at 6’4, 217, Wallace has good mobility with the arm strength to throw the ball downfield. He can put the ball in tight windows but has had some questionable decision making as well as sloppy mechanics.

He is fearless in the pocket and will hold onto the ball to make plays but has been a little slow to diagnose the defense.

*Round 7, Pick #253 – Deiontrez Mount, OLB Louisville:
Mount has the length (6’5), and speed (4.71), teams are looking for in edge rushers at the NFL level. Mount has versatility and has lined up as a DE and as an OLB for the Cardinals.

Light at 245, Mount will have to beef up some and get stronger but has shown the ability to set the edge as well as drop into coverage a bit. He has a good initial burst and is able to beat blockers to the edge.

Mount would project to be primarily a sub-package edge rusher as either a DE or as an OLB.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at stevebpatsfans@gmail.com

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

NFL, Patriots Announce 2015 Regular Season Schedule

Helmets

The NFL has released the 2015 regular season schedule and the Patriots will open against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football to kick-off the season.  One interesting aspect is the team will not be making the usual early September trek to Miami but finish there on Week 17. Here is the Patriots schedule for 2015.

Week 1 Sept. 10 vs Pittsburgh at 8:30 p.m. on NBC Thursday Night Football

Week 2 Sept. 20 at Buffalo at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 3 Sept. 27 vs Jacksonville at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 4 Bye Week

Week 5 Oct. 11 at Dallas at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Week 6 Oct. 18 at Indianapolis at 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sunday Night Football

Week 7 Oct. 25 vs NY Jets at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 8 Oct. 29 vs Miami at 8:30 p.m. on NFL Network Thursday Night Football

Week 9 Nov. 8 vs Washington at 1:00 p.m. on Fox

Week 10 Nov. 15 at NY Giants at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Week 11 Nov. 23 vs Buffalo at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN Monday Night Football

Week 12 Nov. 29 at Denver at 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sunday Night Football

Week 13 Dec. 6 vs Philadelphia at 4:25 p.m. on Fox

Week 14 Dec. 13 at Houston at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 15 Dec. 20 vs Tennessee at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 16 Dec. 27 at NY Jets at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 17 Jan. 03 at Miami at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

After opening at home against Pittsburgh the Pats will travel for three of the next four weeks including back-to-back road games against Dallas and Indianapolis. And they’ll be on national television two weeks in a row with a Monday Night Football matchup with Rex Ryan and the Bills followed six days later with a Sunday Night Football matchup with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos

Jeremy-Langford-Michigan-State-Spartans
Running back Jeremy Langford from Michigan State could be a nice addition in the middle rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft. (USA Today, Image)

As the 2015 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar. Some of these players have already been linked to New England as possible targets others, we feel would be a great fit.

Check out our earlier 2015 NFL Draft profiles on PatsFans.com:

DE/OLB Nate Orchard from Utah
WR Tyrell Williams from Western Oregon
DT Jordan Phillips from Oklahoma
DT Carl Davis from Iowa
RB David Johnson from Northern Iowa
CB Steven Nelson from Oregon State
OLB Zack Hodges from Harvard
CB Ronald Darby from FSU
WR Devin Funchess from Michigan
OG A.J. Cann from South Carolina
RB Mike Davis from South Carolina
ILB Benadrick McKinney from Mississippi State
OLB Hau’oli Kikaha from Washington
T Jeremiah Poutasi from Utah
OLB Kyle Emanuel from North Dakota State
RB Jay Ajayi from Boise State
WR Jamison Crowder from Duke
CB Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest
DT Eddie Goldman from Florida State
LB Shaq Thompson from Washington
OG Tre Jackson from Florida State
CB Marcus Peters from Washington
CB Eric Rowe from Utah

The Patriots have lost two of their best running backs in Free Agency and may still target a running back earlier rather than later in the 2015 NFL Draft. With Shane Vereen signing with the Giants and Stevan Ridley now a tattooed member of the Jets, the team lost some big production in both the running game and passing game out of the backfield.

The Patriots currently have LaGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, Brandon Bolden, James White, Tyler Gaffney and Dion Lewis on the roster.  The team signed pass catching Travaris Cadet from the New Orleans Saints to help ease the loss of Vereen and he, second-year player White, Bolden and Lewis will compete for reps as the third down back.

But in the middle rounds of the draft, they could still add a quality running back and not only help ease the loss of Ridley carrying the ball on early downs but by adding something on third down as well. Besides Blount, there are some question marks as the big body running back. Bolden has been mainly a core special teamer and just a spot starter thus far in his career. Gray had that one bright shining moment in Indianapolis, and then promptly was banished to bench, barely seeing the field down the stretch.

The team is very high on Gaffney but he’s yet to take the field after suffering an injury in his rookie season. While the potential is there to once again use a running back by committee, the team may opt to draft a work horse type back in Day 2-3 of the draft.

Jeremy Langford from Michigan State was a two-year starter for the Spartans and finished his college career with 10-straight 100-yard games. Langford is one of those workhorse type backs who gets better as the game goes on and runs low with a very good pad level and solid power.

Possessing good size at 6’0, 211, Langford ran an impressive 4.42 at the NFL Combine but doesn’t play quite as fast as his timed speed. He ran for 1522 yards and 22 touchdowns with a 5.9 yard average as a senior. His production in the passing game was only a pedestrian 11 catches for 62 yards, but did catch 28 as a junior.

His vision improved in his senior year and he was able to hit holes and see openings better to extend plays. But Langford doesn’t always show the ability to break tackles inside after contact.

Pros:

– Runs low to the ground with excellent pad level

– Good vision and balance

– Very good pass blocker and may be an underrated receiver

Cons:

– Not a great between the tackles runner

– Isn’t an elusive runner and will lower his shoulder rather than try to evade tacklers

– Still looks to bounce outside too much

Where can the Patriots can get him?: The Patriots may opt to look at a player like Langford in Rounds 4-6 in the NFL Draft. He’s a no-nonsense type runner who will get what the offensive line can give him but he does get stronger as the game goes on.

He may be best suited to a role as change of pace guy in a running back by committee, which is a perfect fit for the Patriots. He’s already a very good pass blocker and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield may be a hidden talent. Both Rob Rang and Dane Brugler from NFLDraftScout.com both reported that during his Pro Day at Lansing, he showed impressive skills catching the ball and that scouts in attendance were impressed.

He can be a solid rotational guy who can carve out a niche as a bigger bodied runner and receiver in New England if the Patriots are interested.

Here is a highlight film of Langford at Michigan State:

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at stevebpatsfans@gmail.com

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

New England Patriots Possible Target in the 2015 NFL Draft – Eric Rowe, CB Utah

Eric Rowe
Eric Rowe from Utah is an intriguing prospect who started three years at safety before moving over to cornerback in 2014. He is one of the more versatile DBs in the draft. (USA Today, Image)

As the 2015 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar. Some of these players have already been linked to New England as possible targets others, we feel would be a great fit.

Check out our earlier 2015 NFL Draft profiles on PatsFans.com:

DE/OLB Nate Orchard from Utah
WR Tyrell Williams from Western Oregon
DT Jordan Phillips from Oklahoma
DT Carl Davis from Iowa
RB David Johnson from Northern Iowa
CB Steven Nelson from Oregon State
OLB Zack Hodges from Harvard
CB Ronald Darby from FSU
WR Devin Funchess from Michigan
OG A.J. Cann from South Carolina
RB Mike Davis from South Carolina
ILB Benadrick McKinney from Mississippi State
OLB Hau’oli Kikaha from Washington
T Jeremiah Poutasi from Utah
OLB Kyle Emanuel from North Dakota State
RB Jay Ajayi from Boise State
WR Jamison Crowder from Duke
CB Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest
DT Eddie Goldman from Florida State
LB Shaq Thompson from Washington
OG Tre Jackson from Florida State
CB Marcus Peters from Washington

The Patriots must have some holes to fill an in the secondary, most especially the cornerback position that they’ll need help. Both starting corners, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner have left via free agency. Revis’ ability to cover on an island transformed the way the defense played and he had a major factor in their success in 2014. Browner had the size and physicality that the team has lacked in recent years.

It worked perfectly; Browner or Kyle Arrington would cover the opponent’s #1 threat with over the top safety help. Revis would shadow the #2 receiver alone. The Patriots have solid depth but lack anyone with neither the technical skills of Revis nor the size/physicality of Browner. Currently the team has Malcolm Butler, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard and Justin Green on the roster. During free agency, the team added Bradley Fletcher, Robert McClain and Chimdi Chekwa.

They have hopes that a fresh start will ignite Fletcher and Butler can improve upon a stellar ending of 2014 into continued progression. They’ll also look to the draft for improved depth and production.

Eric Rowe from Utah was a three-year starter and All-Conference at safety before moving outside to cornerback in 2014. He was productive for the Utes, in his four-year career he had 261 tackles, 34 passes defensed, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries in 45 games.

He followed that up with an impressive performance at the NFL Combine, where he ran a 4.45 in the 40, had a vertical leap of 39 inches, 125 inch broad jump and 6.70 time in the three-cone drill. As a result, the 6’1, 205 Rowe started shooting up draft boards.

Rowe is tall, long and built well with good straight line speed. He is a smart, physical corner who can jam wide receivers and disrupt them at the line of scrimmage. Utah ran a heavy man coverage scheme but Rowe, after playing at free safety for three years is at his best with the play unfolding in front of him. So he may be best suited for a zone coverage scheme with over the top safety help.

He has very good ball skills and is instinctive especially in zone coverage. He’s very good in run support and is a sure, physical tackler. He has had trouble with changing direction and like many taller corners, is susceptible to the double-move. Hands are an issue, as he has dropped several possible interceptions.

Pros:

– Good size for an NFL corner at 6’1, 205 and versatile, can play both CB and Safety

– Physical, sure tackler, reads the play in front of him very well

– Good ball skills, will break quickly and disrupt plays

Cons:

– May not have the speed to keep up with top WRs without safety help over the top

– Has played corner only one season and may need more time to get his game together

– Is he better suited as a free safety or CB?

Where can the Patriots can get him?: Rowe is one of those guys who is being perhaps over-scouted and now draft pundits are possibly over-inflating his position after a very good Combine performance. Where he was seen as 3rd-to-4th Round prospect prior to the Combine, he’s now being mentioned as a 1st round guy. In that case the Patriots would likely pass.

If he were to go later in the draft, he’d be a very intriguing prospect. The best thing about Rowe is his versatility. He can play outside corner, in the slot or at free safety. And as we all know, Bill Belichick loves versatile players.

Rowe is at his best with the play in front of him and may be best suited in a zone scheme with safety help over the top. But that isn’t to say he hasn’t or can’t play man as a corner. He has the things a team would want in a cornerback, length, good speed and explosiveness on the ball. But with only a year under his belt playing the position, he’s still on the raw side.

If they select Rowe, he could be cast in a role similar but not quite the same as the team used Browner last season. He’d be the bigger, more physical corner that they’d use with safety help over the top.

His versatility though is very intriguing as in the case of an injury, he could step up and play free safety seamlessly. With some experience and coaching at the next level, Rowe could be a quality starter for the right team in the NFL. He probably wouldn’t be an immediate starter, but might take a year to develop.

Here is a highlight film of Rowe at Utah vs Washington State courtesy of Draftbreakdown.com:

And against Michigan in 2014, also by Draftbreakdown:

 

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New England Patriots News 4-19 and Notes Around the AFC East

McGinest's-
Willie McGinest headlines the finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2015. (USA Today, Image)

Happy Sunday morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news notes and what’s happening around the division:

Conviction of AH Brings Questions Over Pats Knowledge of his Issues: In an interview with MMQB, ex-Patriots advisor Floyd Reese said that the team was aware of some of his issues at Florida, but Urban Meyer head coach of the Gators at that time, convinced Bill Belichick to take him.

Said Reese, “We knew he had some issues prior,” Reese said. “Urban Meyer and Bill (Belichick) were very, very close, and I think Urban convinced Bill that, you know, that these things weren’t going to be an issue.”

The Patriots structured Hernandez’s contract in a way that he could lose 75 percent of his salary if he got into any trouble. But after playing that out, the team believed he had turned his life around and rewarded him with a $40 million dollar extension. Now, hindsight being 20/20 we know that was not the case.

Of course many now question the Patriots as to why didn’t they hire someone to follow Hernandez around and see what was behind the façade of normality he projected while at Foxboro.

After behaving for three years and playing well for the team, what exactly was there out there for the team NOT to reward him with a new contract? Nothing outwardly, granted Hernandez didn’t like hanging out with his teammates, going home to the Hartford area on his time off. But is that a red flag? Surely hindsight suggests the Patriots could have and should have done more.

But sociopaths are clever people and they can fool all of those around them and sadly in the Hernandez case, he fooled everyone, the fans, the media and the owner.

Patriots 2015 Hall of Fame Finalists Announced: The Pats announced three former players who were nominated for induction into the team’s Hall of Fame. This year’s finalists are CB Raymond Clayborn, OT Leon Gray and DE/OLB Willie McGinest. McGinest is a first-time finalist, while both Clayborn and Gray have been nominated once before.

The Patriots have a nominating committee of senior beat writers, former players and front office staff. But the Pats are the only team where the fans vote for Hall induction. Fans can vote on-line at Patriots.com for their selection until mid-May.

Clayborn was a player for the Patriots from 1977 to 1989 and was named as a three-time Pro-Bowl player. His 36 career interceptions are a franchise record since tied by Ty Law. He was also a dynamic kick returner, and led the NFL as a rookie with a 31.7 yard average. Clayborn was remarkably durable; playing in 161 straight games and is a member of the team’s 1970s and 1980s decade teams.

Gray was an offensive tackle for the Patriots for six years from 1973-78 and was a two-time Pro-Bowler. He and John Hannah combined on the left side to make one of the more dynamic guard/tackle combinations in the league. They were largely responsible for the Patriots garnering up 3165 yards rushing in 1978, an NFL record that still stands today.

McGinest was a Patriot for 12 of his 15 NFL seasons and was one of the most versatile, valuable pieces on the defense of three Super Bowl winning teams, (2001, 2003, 2004). A two-time Pro Bowler, McGinest holds the NFL record for post-season sacks with 16.

Congratulations to all three nominees, as much as I’d like to see Clayborn recognized, it will be hard for anyone other than McGinest to get elected this season.

Brady Takes to Facebook Again to Thank Patriots: The Patriots drafted Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft on Bill Belichick’s 48th birthday. So Brady, who has been very active on his Facebook page by generally poking fun at things, thanked the Patriots for drafting him and poked fun at himself.

Brady draft

White House Bound, Pats To Visit President Obama: The Patriots will be hosted at the White House by President Obama on Thursday. This will be Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s fourth appearance but for many players it will be their first.

Much was made about the decision for Darrelle Revis to attend with his now former teammates this week. The feeling here…Revis had a tremendous amount to do with the Super Bowl victory and earned the right to be there. In fact if he skipped it, it would have been bigger news. Good call on Revis to attend.

Draft Nearing Means Over-scouting of Some Players: With the NFL Draft just days away on April 30, the players being looked at for NFL employment are scrutinized heavily in the lead-up to the draft….perhaps in some cases a bit too heavy.

Some players who had a mid-round draft profile just weeks ago who turned in excellent performances at either the NFL Combine or their respective school’s Pro Days now find themselves being talked about as 1st round draft selections. Sometimes draft pundits and scouts can go overboard with trying to read too much into a shorts and t’shirt performance. When all else fails….watch the tape.

Two of the players that are being looked at as potential Patriots have been lumped in to that category as cornerbacks Eric Rowe from Utah and Byron Jones from UConn, now find themselves as potential first rounders.

It will be interesting to see where these and other players pan out once the draft begins. Bill Belichick has a good philosophy on this, he doesn’t care where a player is drafted only that he performs once he’s a member of the team.

Eastbound and Down…..News from around the AFC East:
Bills/ Rex, Watkins to be “full-go at Training Camp: In what has to be great news in Buffalo, the Bills and head coach Rex Ryan announced this week that WR Sammy Watkins should be ready for training camp.

Watkins had a procedure done to his hip in Feb. and Ryan said that although he may participate to some degree in off-season conditioning, don’t expect to see much of Watkins at these workouts.

Ryan said, “My understanding is Sammy is doing really good. We won’t see him until August in training camp. But he should be a full go once we hit training camp.”

Watkins told the Bills.com that he feels good and is excited to get back on the field with his teammates and that he has faith in the Bills training staff.

Bills Targeting Bryce Petty?: With reports that the team is gauging interest in QB E.J. Manuel, the Bills are supposedly targeting Baylor QB Bryce Petty with the 50th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Bills don’t have a first round pick and will be looking to augment the QB position according to ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper. The Bills would start Matt Cassel if the season started today, so if they do select Petty, he’d probably see some decent reps in pre-season action.

Dolphins Annouce Pre-season Schedule/Times: The Miami Dolphins announced the dates and times of the team’s four games on Saturday. In the Dolphins 50th season, they will begin by going on the road twice before returning to Sun Life Stadium to finish their preseason.

According to the Dolphins.com, Miami will kick off the preseason in Chicago on Thursday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. ET against the Bears at Soldier Field. Miami continues on the road the following week as they head to Carolina on Saturday, Aug. 22 to face the Panthers at 7 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium.

The Dolphins return home on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. ET when they face the Atlanta Falcons at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins close out the 2015 preseason schedule on Thursday, Sept. 3 when they play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 7 p.m. ET

Ryan Rips Jets TE Jace Amaro: In a back-and-forth social media head to head, former Jets now Bills head coach Rex Ryan ripped Jets TE Jace Amaro over comments Amaro made this week.

Amaro in an interview stated that tardiness and accountability were issues with the Jets during Ryan’s last season as the Jets head coach.

Ryan took exception to those comments and responded with some of his own and perhaps even a veiled threat.

“I just know it’s not the truth, and for him or anybody else to pop off like that, I think is absolutely a joke,” Ryan said. “Now, look, if David Harris would have said something, or D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, or someone, I would be hurt by it. I would be absolutely devastated by it. But a kid like that? Nah. I know him, and that doesn’t bother me one bit.”

“I just know one thing: He totally misspoke, and talk about accountable—he’s going to be accountable when he go to play him. He’s going to be accountable for his comments.

“It’s not the truth. That kid’s a little… he’s going to get… we’ll see what happens.”

Besides the constant tweaking of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, now Ryan is unloading on some of former players. The AFC East will be an interesting division this in 2015.

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New England Patriots Possible Target in the 2015 NFL Draft – Marcus Peters, CB Washington

Marcus Peters Washington
Marcus Peters is among the top 2-3 skills wise at the cornerback position and would immediately upgrade the New England secondary. (USA Today, Image)

As the 2015 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar. Some of these players have already been linked to New England as possible targets others, we feel would be a great fit.

Check out our earlier 2015 NFL Draft profiles on PatsFans.com:

DE/OLB Nate Orchard from Utah
WR Tyrell Williams from Western Oregon
DT Jordan Phillips from Oklahoma
DT Carl Davis from Iowa
RB David Johnson from Northern Iowa
CB Steven Nelson from Oregon State
OLB Zack Hodges from Harvard
CB Ronald Darby from FSU
WR Devin Funchess from Michigan
OG A.J. Cann from South Carolina
RB Mike Davis from South Carolina
ILB Benadrick McKinney from Mississippi State
OLB Hau’oli Kikaha from Washington
T Jeremiah Poutasi from Utah
OLB Kyle Emanuel from North Dakota State
RB Jay Ajayi from Boise State
WR Jamison Crowder from Duke
CB Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest
DT Eddie Goldman from Florida State
LB Shaq Thompson from Washington
OG Tre Jackson from Florida State

The Patriots have some big holes to fill on the defense that won Super Bowl XLIX  against the Seattle Seahawks. Vince Wilfork will no longer be in the middle of the defense, the first time since 2003 that New England won’t have him in there.

But it is in the secondary, most especially the cornerback position that they’ll need help. Both starting corners, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner have left via free agency. Revis’ ability to cover on an island transformed the way the defense played and he had a major factor in their success in 2014. Browner had the size and physicality that the team has lacked in recent years.

It worked perfectly; Browner or Kyle Arrington would cover the opponent’s #1 threat with over the top safety help. Revis would shadow the #2 receiver alone. The Patriots have solid depth but lack anyone with neither the technical skills of Revis nor the size/physicality of Browner. Currently the team has Malcolm Butler, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard and Justin Green on the roster. During free agency, the team added Bradley Fletcher, Robert McClain and Chimdi Chekwa.

They have hopes that a fresh start will ignite Fletcher and Butler can improve upon a stellar ending of 2014 into continued progression. They’ll also look to the draft for improved depth and production.

Marcus Peters from Washington is one of the top corners available in the NFL draft. He’s a big (6’0, 196), corner back with size, speed, ball skills and quick feet who can excel at the next level.  He’s physical and aggressive and played against some excellent competition in the PAC 12.

Peters is an intimidator and a big hitter who isn’t afraid to fly up in support of the running game. He also has excellent play recognition, being able to shadow a receiver down the field and knowing when to turn his body around to knock a ball away or pick it off.

He has some red-flags however; he was dismissed from the team due to continued clashes with coaches and didn’t take well to coaching when with the Huskies. But during the pre-draft process, Peters was invited back and took part in the Huskies’ Pro Day. That speaks well to how much they believe in his talents and his ability to grow as a person.

He allowed only a 38 percent completion rate in his last two seasons, while racking up 24 passes defensed and eight interceptions.

Pros:

– His ball skills and coverage are the best in the draft

– Prototypical size and outstanding athletic skills

– A physical player who is also very good in run support

Cons:

– Was dismissed from the team for constant bickering with coaches

– Technique can be sloppy at times, gets his hands on WRs a tad much

– Will he take to coaching at the next level?

Where can the Patriots can get him?: Peters is a first-round talent and would probably be a Top 10 guy if not for his red flags for being dismissed from the team. Even still, it will be a surprise if he doesn’t make it out of the first round.

It has never been about talent for Peters, if he’s around at #32, the Patriots have to think long and hard for reasons not to draft him. If anyone can reach him Bill Belichick can and the Patriots have taken guys with some off-field issues in the past.

Rob Rang from NFLDraftScout.com has compared him to Aqib Talib, and he has the size, physicality, agility and coverage skills to come in and start at left corner on Day 1. With the loss of both Revis and Browner, the Patriots can use a guy with his kind of skills.

Again the only caveat will be, will he take to coaching by Belichick and the Patriots if he’s around at #32. He has some maturity issues and was considered something of a whiner at Washington. That wouldn’t play well here with Belichick. But skills wise, he’d be an outstanding pick and corner for years to come.

Here is a highlight film of Peters at Washington courtesy of NFL Draft Geek:

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New England Patriots – Mock Draft 5.0 The Defense Never Rests

Marcus Peters Washington
Marcus Peters has some elite skills at the cornerback position and will immediately upgrade the New England secondary. (USA Today, Image)

Risers and fallers mark the mid-April mock draft

Now that mid-April is here, there are a lot of players rising and falling in many of the mock drafts that are out there. But many of the players remain right where we’d figure they should be and the draft simulator here played it pretty closely. This particular mock was fairly balanced with five picks on the defensive side and four on the offensive side of the ball.

There is a fascinating tool to use for doing a mock draft made possible by the guys over at Fanspeak.com that we touted last year and is even more fun to use in 2015.
In their “On the Clock” simulator, you are the GM for any NFL team. You can choose how many rounds you’d like to draft for (1-7), and pick one of nine different big boards to choose from.

All of the big boards differ and the site has a random selection process that picks for the other 31 teams based upon the best player available and team needs that are constantly updated until it is your time to pick.

Here is our previous mock from last week – Mock Draft 4.0:

For this opening mock draft, I used the big board of Composite of OTC Big Boards

Here is our Patriots Mock Draft 5.0:

Round 1, Pick #32 – Marcus Peters, CB Washington:
Peters has the size, length and speed to be an excellent NFL cornerback. At 6’0, 198 pounds, he can stand up physically against any competition. Peters has excellent ball skills, is aggressive in playing receivers and is a very physical tackler.

Peters is an intimidator and his physical play and athleticism stand out. He has excellent play recognition, having the innate ability to know when to turn around while the ball is in the air to knock it away or intercept it.

Was dismissed from the Huskies for clashing with coaches, but was invited back for Pro Day and in prep for the draft so it shows what they still think of him as a player. He is one of the top 2-3 corners in terms of ability that are out there and is well worth the gamble.

He will instantly improve the New England secondary and will start on Day 1.

Round 2, Pick #64 – Tre Jackson, G Florida State:
Jackson is a big, 6’4, 323 body in the middle of the offensive line. He’s got good burst in the running game and can get to the second level and seal off linebackers. He’s also durable, having played in 42 straight games for the Seminoles and is a road grader in the run game.

He can struggle against speed rushers, especially A-gap blitzers and will have to improve his technique at the NFL level.

He was scouted heavily by former Pats OL Coach Dante Scarnecchia who has a close relationship with FSU’s OL Rick Trickett. The same pipeline brought the Pats C Bryan Stork in 2014.

Round 3, Pick #96 – Jay Ajayi, RB Boise State:
Ajayi is a good sized (6’0,216), running back who can excel in both running and catching the football out of the backfield. He runs low to the ground and cuts explosively and can get into daylight in a hurry. He has very good functional but not great speed.

Ajayi is a very experienced pass catcher with outstanding hands. He was at times split out wide like Shane Vereen and created mismatches with linebackers. Ajayi at times likes to bounce too much to the outside and some ball security issues. He can get into trouble with that with Belichick. But with good coaching he should fix that issue quickly.

Ajayi should compete immediately for third down reps.

*Round 3, Pick #97 – Sammie Coates, WR Auburn: **Compensatory Pick
Coates is a big WR, (6’2, 213) who has big play potential every time he catches the ball, with a 21.5 yards per reception in 2013 and a 21.8 average last season.

Coates has the freakish athletic qualities that teams drool over, being a guy with track speed and size who can frequently run in the 4.3 range. Has explosive speed to run by corners and excellent leaping ability for jump balls. He tracks the deep balls very well and catches the ball away from his body.

Coates ran a limited route tree for Auburn and needs to polish his route running skills as well as working on his hands. He had too many dropped passes that were the result of focus, all are correctable with coaching.

But with a starting trio of WRs in place, Coates can be that deep threat guy that will open up things for the other Patriots receivers underneath, keeping the defenses honest.

Round 4, Pick #101 – Marcus Hardison, DT Arizona State:
Hardison is a late bloomer, not starting until his senior year but has the size (6’3,311), length and burst that teams are looking for as an interior pass rusher. Hardison had an excellent senior season with 53 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and six turnovers.

A former defensive end, he has the quickness and agility to shoot the gaps. Wide a wide wing-span and a quickness that belies his size, he is a diamond in the rough. Still somewhat raw on the interior, he has very good agility and flexibility.

Not a Wilfork-type run stuff, but more of a penetrator and disruptor inside like Dominique Easley. He could leave the early down run stuffing to Sealver Siliga, Alan Branch and Antonio Johnson and provide at least initially some interior pocket pushing presence.

He’s a late riser and is just beginning to realize his full potential.

Round 4, Pick #131 – Taiwan Jones, ILB Michigan State:
With so many guys being a tad undersized at the linebacker position, Jones is a big guy at 6’3, 260 who is a thumper in the run game similar to Brandon Spikes.

Jones plays downhill with quick inside moves and hits a ton. He’s a football junkie and studies his playbook and the opponent hard…a Belichick type favorite. He had a very productive final season with 60 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, two passes defensed, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Jones can be overaggressive at times and may struggle in coverage a bit with more athletic tight ends but played safety before moving to ILB and should be a solid addition to the defense.

Round 6, Pick #177– Arie Kouandjio, G Alabama:
Kouandjio is a big (6’5,318) guard with NFL bloodlines, his brother Cyrus was a 2nd round pick of the Bills in 2014. He’s another road grader in the run game. Long and thick, Kouandjio has excellent leverage and plays with a bit of a mean streak.

Kouandjio has decent quickness combined with a strong physical push at the line. He played in 27 straight games for the Tide and is an intelligent, coachable player. He’s a steal at this point of the draft and it was more than a mild surprise to see him fall this far.

His red-flag is medical based, he’s had surgeries on both knees and is because of that his durability is a question mark.

Round 7, Pick #219 – Nick Marshall, CB Auburn:
Marshall is an intriguing pick, he started out as a cornerback in Georgia, was released from school as a result of an off-field incident and ended up as the quarterback for the Auburn.

He may need time to develop as an NFL corner, but has the intangibles; he’s 6’2, 205 and the speed to succeed at the next level. Marshall played in the Senior Bowl as a corner and showed good skills, a nice quick, low back pedal and the ability to turn and run with receivers.

Bottom line, Marshall is a little bit of a gamble but on a 7th round flier for a guy athletically that is already NFL-caliber, it is definitely worth it.  Marshall could be a sleeper in a year.

*Round 7, Pick #253 – Xavier Williams, DT  Northern Iowa:
Williams is a big, 6’2, 325 defensive tackle who has quick feet and a great motor. Played mainly one-technique but is versatile enough to play DT in a 4-3 or slide outside to a DE in a 3-4.

Williams is a hard worker and great teammate, who improved every season. He’s athletic for his size and plays with a relentless motor.

Williams can use some time in the weight room to build up his strength at the next level. Eight blocked kicks on special teams.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at stevebpatsfans@gmail.com

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Five Areas the New England Patriots Must Address in the 2015 NFL Draft

bill_belichick_draft
Bill Belichick has some holes to fill for New England but his system of team building is an on-going process that the draft is just a piece. (USA Today, Image)

With the 2015 NFL Draft just around the corner the New England Patriots have some holes to fill. And with nine picks in this year’s draft, the Patriots have plenty of options to build some depth and improve themselves.

The Patriots and Bill Belichick have a system of team building for the Patriots that encompasses the entire year. It is a philosophy that has stood the test of time. New England has gone to six Super Bowls in the fifteen years Belichick has been at the helm in New England.

There’s no magic formula, however Belichick has some core values that he believes in finding the right players that will fit in his system. Two years ago, while delivering a keynote address, Belichick was quoted by ESPN’s Mike Reiss on how the Patriots build a winner from the bottom up.

“The big thing I’d say we look for, which would try to differentiate the players for us, are players with passion; guys that really love football,” Belichick said. “As we all know from our jobs, if you love what you’re doing you don’t feel like you’re working.”

Belichick added, “As it relates to people, it’s trying to bring people into the organization that share a similar philosophical outlook to the game, and have a passion for the game, that we in the organization have. That’s really where it starts.”

“I think along with that comes a certain amount of humility, being able to take constructive criticism — we certainly have all made a lot of mistakes; I’ve made more than my share and so has everybody else. In order for us to improve and get better and move forward, we’ve all got to be able to stand up and say ‘Hey, I screwed that up’ or ‘I didn’t do a good job here, how can we correct the problem and get it right the next time?’”

So with that in mind, here are five areas that the Patriots must address in the NFL Draft. But as a caveat, remember…the team you see before you in May and in the first week of September, is rarely the team is set with during the season. It remains a process that evolves all season long.