Thursday, March 30, 2017

New England Patriots Big Board - Updated

In light of New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis stating that his team is indeed still in the process of "kicking the tires" on New England Patriots' restricted free agent corner Malcolm Butler, a preemptive expansion of the Patriots draft day "Big Board" is probably not a bad idea, though the exact compensation that the Patriots are to receive is cloudy, at best.

But we can guess.
Virginia Tech tight end Bucky Hodges

It goes without saying that the Saints won't be open to giving up their 11th overall selection in the first round - as verified by Saints' coach Sean Payton on Wednesday - and the 32nd overall selection that the Patriots sent them in exchange for wide receiver Brandin Cooks is too valuable as a bargaining chip to secure more picks on the second day...

...which is exactly where Patriots' head ball coach and defacto general manager Bill Belichick does his best work - but nothing is going to happen until Butler signs his first-round tender, something that Payton reiterated on Wednesday.

"Currently, to my understanding, he hasn't signed his tender" Payton said when asked about the progress with Butler. "It is just that.  We can sign him to an offer sheet (once he signs the tender), but I don't think were going to do that and give up the number 11 pick - in fact, I know we're not going to do that."

That's a smart move by Payton and Loomis, as it would have amounted to an outright fleecing by Belichick along the lines of when he gave up a fifth-round draft pick for wide receiver Randy Moss prior to the 2007 season - and it goes to figure that the 32nd overall wouldn't be in play, either, as it provides Loomis with too much leverage in draft day negotiations.

That said, the best the Patriots can hope for in exchange for Butler is that the Saints send Belichick their second round pick, 42nd overall, along with their 3rd round compensatory selection, 103rd overall.  In this scenario, New England would gain a second round pick that is just ten spots shy of their original first round pick, two third round picks - 72nd and 103rd overall - to go along with their fourth, two fifth rounders, a sixth and a seventh.

The benefit to the Saints is that they can turn one of their first round picks into selections on the second day to recoup the compensation to New England, plus they get a Pro Bowl quality corner, which eliminates their need to use one of their draft picks on a top corner, and can concentrate instead on safeties or linebackers, both of which are in short supply in New Orleans.

Of course, all of this is assuming a deal gets done at all before the draft...

First Day (Just in case)

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee 6' 3" 270
    Can't miss brawling edge-setter who broke Reggie White's school sack record - in three seasons
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford 5' 11" 200
    Perfect gameplan-specific back, who can carry it 25 times a game or catch the ball 10 times, invaluable Patriots-esque weapon
Garett Bolles, OT, Utah 6' 6" 300
    Athletic and mean, needs a year to develop, but is worth the first round capital as potential Solder replacement
Marcus Maye, S, Florida 6' 0" 210
    Combination safety with sideline-to-sideline speed and instincts, cover ability and downhill run support

Second Day

T.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin 6' 4" 252
     High effort edge setter with premier NFL bloodlines to draw technique from
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan 6' 3" 205
     A full grown man among boys in college, expert route runner and red zone threat
DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State 6' 4" 280
    Powerful edge setter with versatility to rush QB from three-technique as part of rotation
Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech 6' 7" 255
    Athletic and fast receiver who is more of a tall wideout than bulky tight end
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan, 5' 10" 190
    Tough and physical press-man slot corner that could start immediately
Josh Harvey-Clemons, FS/OLB, Louisville 6' 4" 220
    Huge box safety with range and speed, elite tight end coverage
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma 5' 11" 235
    Creative power runner with violent finish, will not be denied in short yardage
Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy 6' 6" 300
    Scrappy, athletic former hoops star who could handle blind side with a little coaching
Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland College 6' 7" 278
     Big, fast pass catching tight end in an in-line tight end's body.  Sleeper pick that could pan out
Obi Melifonwu, FS, Connecticut 6' 4" 225
    Coverage "linebacker" who handles tight ends and contributes in run support
Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State, 6' 7" 300
    Athletic, long-limbed blindsider that is already tough run blocker and adequate pass blocker
Quincey Wilson, CB/S, Florida 6' 1" 215
    Press-man corner with plus-skill in run support - may be better safety or slot man
Chidobe Awusie, CB, Colorado, 6' 0" 200
    Versatile with deep speed, could hold off veteran for nickel back or even challenge for outside starter
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State 5' 9" 214
    Committee power back that can contribute on all three downs
Marcus Williams, FS, Utah 6' 1" 200
    Intriguing centerfielder who could become a Big Nickel man
Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio 6' 4" 270 (Rush end)
    4-3 base end who sets a mean edge and can collapse pocket with pass rush
Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown State, 6' 4" 250 (Rush end)
    Cat-quick rush end who could find a spot as a rotational rusher
Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson 6' 1" 200
    Tall corner at his best blanketing tight ends and taller receivers
Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo 5' 11" 215
    Big, decisive but plodding back with outstanding vision 
Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia 6' 2" 209
    Zone corner who plays like a safety in coverage
Avery Gennesy, OT, Texas A&M 6' 3" 318
    Project tackle with exceptional feet to both mirror and pull
Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova 6' 7" 290
    Edge defender with potential in pass rush - excellent on special teams blocking kicks
Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson 6' 0" 215
    Intriguing potential as lead back, has nose for chains and end zone
Bryan Cox Jr, DE, Florida 6' 3" 265
    Strong fighter as an edge defender with potential as interior pass rusher
Howard Wilson, CB, Houston 6' 1" 190
    Project ball hawk that could surprise with immediate contribution
James Connor, RB, Pitt 6' 1" 233
    Short yardage specialist that could double as hback
Shaquill Griffin, CB, Central Florida 6' 0" 195
    Speedy press corner who is a bit of a project but with great upside
Darrell Daniels, TE, Washington 6' 3" 247
     Project as a converted receiver.  Elite speed but raw route runner

Third Day:

Julie'n Davenport, OT, Bucknell 6' 7" 320
    Draft-and-stash athletic tackle who could challenge for starting position in 2018
Aviante Collins, OT/OG, TCU 6' 4" 295
    Another draft-and-stash players who needs coaching up on technique, but is very athletic
Nate Hairston, CB, Temple 6' 0" 200
    Project corner that could play in zone fit now, but needs coaching in press-man
Christopher Carson, RB, Oklahoma State 6' 0" 220
    One-speed hammer back who never fumbles but does find end zone
Cooper Rush, QB, Central Michigan 6' 3" 225
    Cerebral, accurate passer whose marshmallow body structure resembles a current Patriots' quarterback...
Jylan Ware, OT, Alabama State 6' 8" 295
    Lengthy project that may have more upside than most projects, and may be ready to contribute
Dare Ogunbowale, RB, Wisconsin 5' 11" 215
    Passing back with upside, good, willing pass protector
Channing Stribling, CB, Michigan 6' 0" 200
    Project corner who contributes in run support and has upside at deep cover
Brian Allen, CB, Utah 6' 3" 220
    Draft-and-stash corner who looks like Brandon Browner, but with speed
Weston Steelhammer, S, Air Force 6' 2" 200
    Great football name and a ballhawk as a cover safety, needs a couple of years but worth the wait

This list is subject to change, and will be updated frequently...

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