As of this afternoon, my trip to Myrtle Beach is history and over the next couple of days I will get back to posting full-time here. Let's kick things off by getting back to the 2013 Big Blue View Community Mock Draft, which has reached the 29th pick. That means it is time for 'Top of the Muffin to You' to make the selection for the New England Patriots. The choice for the Patriots is ...
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
'Top of the Muffin' explains, in incredibly lengthy fashion:
Bill Belichick and the Patriots only have 3 picks in the first three rounds of the draft this year (they also have two 7th round picks). One thing I've learned about Bill Belichick over the years is that he is an avid collector; he hoards TE's, short sleeved hooded sweatshirts, and most importantly draft picks. So let me start off by saying there is no doubt in my mind that Belichick and Co. trade back, out of the 29th pick. However, for the purpose of this exercise, I don't believe that's an option, so I will be utilizing the 29th overall pick for the Pats.
I think the main areas of weakness on the Patriot's roster are at WR, CB, and DT.
I can't imagine Tom Brady is too enamored with the current set of WRs on the roster. After losing Welker to free agency and releasing Brandon Lloyd the headliners consist of newly-signed Danny Amendola, (from the Rams) Donald Jones, (from the Bills) and Michael Jenkins (from the Vikes). Yikes! However, the Pats may have found the spark they've needed: Emmanuel Sanders. As of now they have until April 19th to sign the Pittsburgh restricted free agent to an offer sheet. If they do they'd forfeit their 3rd round pick to the Steelers and would be left with just a first and second-round pick (another reason I'm certain Belichick trades back). Sanders would be a steal for the Patriots and add the vertical dimension to the offense they've been missing since moving on from Randy Moss. If the Sanders deal ends up falling through Julian Edelman still may find his way back onto the Pat's squad, as he hasn't been drawing much interest in the FA market. Either way, as long as the Pats have a healthy Gronk and Hernandez (and sadly Ballard) they're OK getting by with intelligent WRs that can pick up their system and run good routes - so these guys should be adequate, but they'll still need help. The two WRs that would have drawn attention from Belichick on draft day, Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin, have already been taken - so that leaves Keenan Allen, and perhaps Robert Woods as suitable options. I may have been tempted by DeAndre Hopkins, as he would have been the best fit, however, I don't see Belichick going in this direction for several reasons: 1.) He doesn't seem to value the WR position in the first round, as he's never taken one that early. To me Bill likens his WRs to a trusty pair of socks: comfortable in his system and replaceable if he loses one in the wash 2.) He doesn't have the best track record when drafting WRs. Exhibit A: Taylor Price. Exhibit B: Brandon Tate. 3) The WR class is extremely deep - comparable talents like Markus Wheaton, Terrance Williams, Quinton Patton, etc, will be available in the second and third round. 4) The possibility of signing Sanders.
Now for DT. The Patriots haven't drafted an impact player at DT since Vince Wilfork. An aging Wilfork still anchors the line, but I would think Belichick and company want to draft his heir apparent sooner rather than later. The problem is all of the impact DT's like Floyd, Richardson, and Lotulelei are long gone. Kawann Short, Sylvester Williams, and Johnathan Hankins are available and each have the potential to be solid players, however, in my opinion they are only in play if the Pats trade back into the second round. Jesse Williams could be a possibility, as a nose tackle he stacks up well against the run. However, the Patriots have excelled against the run, so any NT they'd take early would need to be explosive enough to pressure the pocket - which Williams is not. Enter: John Jenkins. Contrary to Williams, Jenkins has a great interior pass rush, and is strong enough to collapse the pocket (evident by his 30 rep bench press at the combine). He's also massive and is solid at stopping the run. Jenkins' disruptive nature would allow his fellow teammates to make plays behind the line of scrimmage, as well. However, like his counterparts left at DT, there are question marks; in his case, conditioning and weight. Overall, the uncertainties concerning Jenkins and the remaining DTs, force me to go in a safer direction in the first round.
Which brings me to CB. The Pats recently resigned Aqib Talib to a one year deal and retained Kyle Arrington with a four-year deal. Throw in newly signed veteran safety Adrian Wilson and second year CB Alfonzo Dennard, and the Patriots secondary looks serviceable, I suppose. But Talib's one year deal and Dennard's legal troubles off the field really cause one to question the longevity and perceived depth they have at the CB position. Milliner and Rhodes are now off the board, and even though the CB position is pretty deep in this year's draft (similar to the WR class), the remaining talent may be too good to pass up. Both Desmond Trufant and Johnthan Banks are the type of physical corners that Belichick loves to use in his secondary. Banks makes sense if the Pats trade back, as they've already had him in for a visit, but in this scenario Desmond Trufant is the pick. Trufant has the physical and mental skills that translate well to CB on the next level - he's confident, aggressive, and has impressive straight line speed. He has great recovery speed for his size, and is versatile enough to be the chess piece in Belichick's secondary. In addition, Desmond has NFL blood lines, as two of his brothers have already made in impact in the league; this is important because psychologically he expects to succeed. Trufant's stock has been on the rise since the Senior Bowl, and is at an all time high after questions concerning his speed were quelled following his combine performance. Ultimately, in this spot, he's a steal for the Patriots, and will add much needed talent to their secondary for years to come.
Valentine's View: After that dissertation there isn't much I can add other than the fact that I think this is a solid pick -- good value at this point in our draft.
BBV Mock Draft, Round 1
- Kansas City Chiefs -- , OT, Texas A&M [Explanation]
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Oakland Raiders -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah [Explanation]
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon [Explanation]
- Detroit Lions -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan [Explanation]
- Cleveland Browns -- Chance Warmack, G, Alabama [Explanation]
- Arizona Cardinals -- Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU [Explanation]
- Buffalo Bills -- Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU [Explanation]
- New York Jets -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama [Explanation]
- Tennessee Titans -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida [Explanation]
- San Diego Chargers -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma [Explanation]
- Miami Dolphins -- Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State [Explanation]
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Alex Okafor, DE, Texas [Explanation]
- Carolina Panthers -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri [Explanation]
- New Orleans Saints -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M [Explanation]
- Dallas Cowboys -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas [Explanation]
- New York Giants -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina [Explanation]
- Chicago Bears -- Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State [Explanation]
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Indianapolis Colts, Margus Hunt, DE, SMU [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State [Explanation]
- Green Bay Packers -- Barrett Jones, C, Alabama [Explanation]
- Houston Texans -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson [Explanation]
Denver Broncos -- Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State [Explanation]