Friday, April 4, 2014

Reloading the Musket - New England Patriots 2014 Draft Big Board

For many who follow professional football, the team building process during the offseason is just as scintillating as the last two minutes of a tight game - except that in the offseason, your team is competing against the other 31 teams in the NFL rather than just one opponent...

...and not just that alone, as the common fan is being constantly bombarded with opinion on team needs, player ranking and how dumb the coaches and general managers are by media and fan alike for not throwing caution to the wind and selecting the players in free agency and the draft that the opined know will be a great fit.

That said, it seems that very little actual thought goes into what most journalists throw onto their websites or into the pages of their newspapers, rather, just an "averaging out" of the opinions of a handful of experts - not taking into account that most of these national experts haven't the slightest clue the nuances that go into an individual team's collective mindset.

And it's not really a fault on their part, as they are tasked with the deadlines and constant badgering of slave-driving editors - relying on the information that they collect and derive from the individual team's beat writers, who get their intelligence from sources who may or not be insane/imaginary.

Regardless of where the disconnect originates, the fan is left with generalizations, rumor and innuendo.

The key in making an informed guess in these matters is in knowing your team on a criterion level that doesn't have to be intimate, or even from a "source" - rather, information that is known to be factual, and building upon that solid and fundamental base.

So...what do we know to be true?

Well, when it comes to roster building, a good place to start is knowing who the players are on the team, what the current Salary Cap level is, the number of draft choices the suits have to work with, the on-field philosophies and the habits and trends of the people making the decisions on all levels...

...which is what screws everything up and makes trying to foretell which college players the team is going to select in May's draft an inexact science at the most, and pure guess work at the least - which is all any prognosticator is able to do.

The best thing that any of us can do is to make sure that which ever direction New England Patriots' defacto General Manager and resident prankster Bill Belichick decides to go in the draft, that we are educated in what the choices are and how they fit the team concept - silently cursing Belichick for being so cryptic and weird while at the same time lauding him for putting together a team with 53 strips of bacon...and for being so cryptic and weird.

And with that, we begin a ten-part positional preview of the college prospects leading up to May's draft - and what you will find is not necessarily the positional rankings found on traditional all-encompassing boards, rather, a top 100 listing of players that would best fit in the Patriots' offensive and defensive schemes with our projections for the actual selections in bold...

...and always with the mindset that Belichick is going to pull a rabbit out of his hoodie at some point.

1st round 
Round 1: Ryan Shazier

Aaron Donald, DT/DE, Pittsburgh

Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Ryan Shazier, OLB/SS, Ohio State

C. J. Mosely, ILB, Alabama

Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame

Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

Round 2: DaQuan Jones (91)
2nd round

David Yankey, G, Stanford

Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Stephon Truitt, DT, Notre Dame

Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona

Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech 

Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois

Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State 

Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech

Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State

Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington 

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

Lamarcus Joyner, CB/SS, Florida State

A. J. McCarron, QB, Alabama

Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State 

Telvin Smith, ILB, Florida State

Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

Rashaad Reynolds, CB, Oregon State

Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame 

Round 3: Clarke
3rd round

C. J. Fiedorowicz , TE, Iowa

Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville

Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina

Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia

Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State

Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

Ed Stinson, DE, Alabama

Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State

Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

Keith McGill, CB, Utah

Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU

Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin

Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State

Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State

Round 4: Dixon
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin

Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford +

Bryan Stork, C, Florida State

Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama*

4th round

Craig Loston, SS, LSU

Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, T/G, McGill College

Brandon Thomas, G, Clemson
Round 4: Gillmore

Ahmad Dixon, SS, Baylor 

Marcel Jensen, TE, Fresno State

John Urschel, G/C, Penn State

Khairi Fortt, ILB, California

Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia

Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana

Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska

Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee

Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor

Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State

Preston Brown, ILB, Louisville

Josh Mauro, DE, Stanford

Jordan Zumwalt, ILB, UCLA

Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton

5th round

Joe Don Duncan, TE, Dixie State

Tenny Palepoi, DT, Utah

Andre Williams, RB, Boston College

Round 6: Savage
Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh

Pierre Desir, CB, Linwood College

Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech

Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State

Prince Shembo, ILB, Notre Dame

Shaquil Barrett, OLB, Colorado State

Larry Webster, DE/TE, Bloomsburg College

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Round 6: Long

Brent Urban  DE/DT

6th round

Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College

Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty College

David Fales, QB, San Jose State

James Wilder, Jr., RB, Florida State

Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska

Dion Bailey, SS/OLB, USC

Michael Sam, DE, Missouri

7th round
Round 7: Wilder

Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida

Trey Burton, TE, Florida

Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona

Vinnie Sunseri, SS, Alabama

Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts

Dezmen Southward, SS, Wisconsin

Brock Vereen, FS, Minnesota

Reggie Jordan, TE, Missouri Western

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