Positions to Upgrade in the Off-Season

Areas to Upgrade (select any/all that apply)


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chevss454

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He’s explosive for sure but has he “mastered” anything? That’s a stretch. He can run a couple plays on offense, might have a future as a slot CB, and can return punts.

Well, let's see.
All-Pro on STs as a punt and kick returner speaks for itself.
He has a 100% catch rate as a receiver with a Passer Rating of 158.3 (pretty much perfect). He averages 24 yds after catch/ reception. Mastered.
At CB he allowed 24 rec on 40 targets for 361 yds. He has 7 passes defenses, 2 ints. & 1 returned for a TD, 39 tackles and allowed a passer rating of 77. Mastered.
Small sample sizes for sure but look at his production. The kid has mastered what he's been asked to do. The kid can play and he's earned more.
 
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DropKickFlutie

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Well, let's see.
All-Pro on STs as a punt and kick returner speaks for itself.
He has a 100% catch rate as a receiver with a Passer Rating of 158.3 (pretty much perfect). He averages 24 yds after catch/ reception. Mastered.
At CB he allowed 24 rec on 40 targets for 361 yds. He has 7 passes defenses, 2 ints. & 1 returned for a TD, 39 tackles and allowed a passer rating of 77. Mastered.
Small sample sizes for sure but look at his production. The kid has mastered what he's been asked to do. The kid can play and he's earned more.

I like Marcus. He has shown rare versatility.

But you’re not citing the fact he got 4 total passes thrown to him as a receiver all season. All at the line of scrimmage. He has not “mastered” being a WR. He is a gadget / change of pace guy like how Patterson got offensive snaps in the past.
His future is probably as a full time slot CB who punt returns and plays <3 offensive snaps a game
 
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DropKickFlutie

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Possibly 5 CBs who are first round worthy. Team is still missing a true CB1. It ain’t Jon Jones. It ain’t Marcus (slot). It could be Jack but not right now (and he’s on thin ice). It might be fitting to see BB take another CB from Rutgers.

WalterFootball.com: 2023 NFL Draft: CB Rankings
 

Flagg the Wanderer

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Possibly 5 CBs who are first round worthy. Team is still missing a true CB1. It ain’t Jon Jones. It ain’t Marcus (slot). It could be Jack but not right now (and he’s on thin ice). It might be fitting to see BB take another CB from Rutgers.

WalterFootball.com: 2023 NFL Draft: CB Rankings
I haven't seen Melton play, but I'll take a look.

I actually really love the "early depth" of this CB class. I don't see a clear top 3 level CB, if you don't think the depth is there, take a few publications and compare their CB rankings: there is no agreement on the rank order from the mid-1st through the 4th round.

I've been following Illinois's Witherspoon this season and I love his skillset, he just looks fragile out there. If NE rolled him, Jack, and Marcus out the 3 CBs would total less than 550#, but the kid is a willing and good tackler. I'm also a little concerned about him in zone. If I'm honest, I'm not sure he'll be the best pro DB from his own school this year. I really like Quan Martin more than most. I want more consistency, because I see him as a smother corner rather than a dangerous playmaker, and possibly a cover safety if he really gets the Xs and Os. Love him in zone and as a sure tackler.

I'm a big fan of "Joey Porter's kid." He plays even taller than his 6'2" height - dude can scratch an itch behind his knees without bending and rumored to have a vert over 30" to boot. He loves to hit and takes pride against the run. He's at his best in press man, so I'd like to see him add 5-10# to be able to be an eraser against the bigger pros. I think he'll be excellent in zones, but he needs to improve in loose man coverage. I have a hunch that Belichick might love this kid as well, and he'll likely be hanging around in the mid- to late-teens, especially with Witherspoon & Ringo pushing ahead of him in a lot of rankings recently. I'd be thrilled to see Belichick trade down to 18-20 and get Porter there, but I'd be happy with him at 14. Porter isn't a big-play pick machine, he's just a smothering cover man. Jack and Marcus Jones are "fire," this kid would be "ice."

Look for two playmakers to fall due to size concerns: Kris Abrams-Draine (5'11"/175) out of Mizzou and Clark Phillips (5'9"- maybe - @180) out of Utah. Technically they are first rounders IMO, and explosive as hell - especially Phillips. He's short, but a rugged 5'9", if there is such a thing in the NFL. If we want to max out on the "playmaking sprites on speed" strategy in our defensive backfield, look at these two. Mississippi's Emmanuel Forbes is almost in this category, but he's rated higher and I expect him to fill out. I really like him as a TO machine (in 3 year career: 22 PBUs and 14 picks, 6 of those were pick-6s!) but he takes too many risks, and the risk of not being able to coach that out of him his real. He's tall and long enough, but I'm not sure if he can add the weight to that frame to hold up. Basically, he's Jack Jones, who we already have. I really like the player, but not for us right now unless he's falling a bunch.

On the other side of that coin is my pick for a mid round DB to be a red zone and run-down CB and every down cover safety: Julius Brents out of K-State. I want to see how he runs in Indy, but as long as he comes in close to 4.5 he could be a steal, maybe even in the round 4 or 5 range. He's 6'4" and still filling out at 205ish. Loves to hit, but I'm worried that he might be a bully, used to being bigger than the WRs he faced in college. And he has the long arms to augment his size - would be great to cover big WRs and those pesky TEs who are basically just big WRs, plus defend planned high-point passes in the red zone and beef up the perimeter when you're betting hard on run. Has coverage skills down, but not the fluidity/hips/agility to be a true cover corner. He has instincts, plays smart, and looks good in zone, though, and I think he could be a rangey cover safety and specialist CB to erase TEs without getting bullied. Side note: I expect "length-CB" to be a specialist position in the NFL soon.

I also like Cam Smith out of South Carolina more than most. Offenses (even in the SEC!) avoided him some this year after he got pub in 2021, but he can absolutely play. I think he has NFL speed, good explosiveness & ball skills, and is plenty big at 6' with long arms. I think he's the lowest rated CB in this class that has the real potential to be a true CB1. I don't think he has the potential to be Deion or Revis, but he could be Gilmore or Law. I think he is now considered a 2nd rounder because his numbers fell off: 41 tackles, 3 int, 11 PBUs in 2021 vs 27/1/5 this year. This is also evidenced by the fact that the other starting corner, Dial, racked up 40+ tackles, 3 picks, and 12 PBUs - QBs were throwing away from Smith even when Dial was in good coverage position. He thrives against the short game - seems like his favorite things are jumping outs, slants, and hitches, and loves to deliver the big hits. But he runs routes with WRs smoothly. He does have a "Madden hit-stick" attitude about tackling, and needs to work on his technique - that shit don't fly in the NFL. Coverage technique is outstanding, though. His athleticism is...weird. He's not crazy explosive, but plenty fast and has good size. He doesn't have that crazy, twitchy explosiveness like a Marcus Jones or Tyreek Hill, but it's because he's so smooth it all looks easy and natural, like you shouldn't raise your eyebrows at it. Almost doesn't look like he's straining himself, but it's rare to see him athletically outclassed. Don't love the posing after hits & PBUs - he has a Richard Sherman thing going on - but that is what it is. If he falls towards the 30s or into round 2 I'd move up to get him, and if our targets at 14 are gone and we add 2nd and 3rd rounders moving into the late-ish 20s, I'd be happy with decent value there.

All the draft slotting is silly this early, of course, since the projections will move all over the place.
 
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DropKickFlutie

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I haven't seen Melton play, but I'll take a look.

I actually really love the "early depth" of this CB class. I don't see a clear top 3 level CB, if you don't think the depth is there, take a few publications and compare their CB rankings: there is no agreement on the rank order from the mid-1st through the 4th round.

I've been following Illinois's Witherspoon this season and I love his skillset, he just looks fragile out there. If NE rolled him, Jack, and Marcus out the 3 CBs would total less than 550#, but the kid is a willing and good tackler. I'm also a little concerned about him in zone. If I'm honest, I'm not sure he'll be the best pro DB from his own school this year. I really like Quan Martin more than most. I want more consistency, because I see him as a smother corner rather than a dangerous playmaker, and possibly a cover safety if he really gets the Xs and Os. Love him in zone and as a sure tackler.

I'm a big fan of "Joey Porter's kid." He plays even taller than his 6'2" height - dude can scratch an itch behind his knees without bending and rumored to have a vert over 30" to boot. He loves to hit and takes pride against the run. He's at his best in press man, so I'd like to see him add 5-10# to be able to be an eraser against the bigger pros. I think he'll be excellent in zones, but he needs to improve in loose man coverage. I have a hunch that Belichick might love this kid as well, and he'll likely be hanging around in the mid- to late-teens, especially with Witherspoon & Ringo pushing ahead of him in a lot of rankings recently. I'd be thrilled to see Belichick trade down to 18-20 and get Porter there, but I'd be happy with him at 14. Porter isn't a big-play pick machine, he's just a smothering cover man. Jack and Marcus Jones are "fire," this kid would be "ice."

Look for two playmakers to fall due to size concerns: Kris Abrams-Draine (5'11"/175) out of Mizzou and Clark Phillips (5'9"- maybe - @180) out of Utah. Technically they are first rounders IMO, and explosive as hell - especially Phillips. He's short, but a rugged 5'9", if there is such a thing in the NFL. If we want to max out on the "playmaking sprites on speed" strategy in our defensive backfield, look at these two. Mississippi's Emmanuel Forbes is almost in this category, but he's rated higher and I expect him to fill out. I really like him as a TO machine (in 3 year career: 22 PBUs and 14 picks, 6 of those were pick-6s!) but he takes too many risks, and the risk of not being able to coach that out of him his real. He's tall and long enough, but I'm not sure if he can add the weight to that frame to hold up. Basically, he's Jack Jones, who we already have. I really like the player, but not for us right now unless he's falling a bunch.

On the other side of that coin is my pick for a mid round DB to be a red zone and run-down CB and every down cover safety: Julius Brents out of K-State. I want to see how he runs in Indy, but as long as he comes in close to 4.5 he could be a steal, maybe even in the round 4 or 5 range. He's 6'4" and still filling out at 205ish. Loves to hit, but I'm worried that he might be a bully, used to being bigger than the WRs he faced in college. And he has the long arms to augment his size - would be great to cover big WRs and those pesky TEs who are basically just big WRs, plus defend planned high-point passes in the red zone and beef up the perimeter when you're betting hard on run. Has coverage skills down, but not the fluidity/hips/agility to be a true cover corner. He has instincts, plays smart, and looks good in zone, though, and I think he could be a rangey cover safety and specialist CB to erase TEs without getting bullied. Side note: I expect "length-CB" to be a specialist position in the NFL soon.

I also like Cam Smith out of South Carolina more than most. Offenses (even in the SEC!) avoided him some this year after he got pub in 2021, but he can absolutely play. I think he has NFL speed, good explosiveness & ball skills, and is plenty big at 6' with long arms. I think he's the lowest rated CB in this class that has the real potential to be a true CB1. I don't think he has the potential to be Deion or Revis, but he could be Gilmore or Law. I think he is now considered a 2nd rounder because his numbers fell off: 41 tackles, 3 int, 11 PBUs in 2021 vs 27/1/5 this year. This is also evidenced by the fact that the other starting corner, Dial, racked up 40+ tackles, 3 picks, and 12 PBUs - QBs were throwing away from Smith even when Dial was in good coverage position. He thrives against the short game - seems like his favorite things are jumping outs, slants, and hitches, and loves to deliver the big hits. But he runs routes with WRs smoothly. He does have a "Madden hit-stick" attitude about tackling, and needs to work on his technique - that shit don't fly in the NFL. Coverage technique is outstanding, though. His athleticism is...weird. He's not crazy explosive, but plenty fast and has good size. He doesn't have that crazy, twitchy explosiveness like a Marcus Jones or Tyreek Hill, but it's because he's so smooth it all looks easy and natural, like you shouldn't raise your eyebrows at it. Almost doesn't look like he's straining himself, but it's rare to see him athletically outclassed. Don't love the posing after hits & PBUs - he has a Richard Sherman thing going on - but that is what it is. If he falls towards the 30s or into round 2 I'd move up to get him, and if our targets at 14 are gone and we add 2nd and 3rd rounders moving into the late-ish 20s, I'd be happy with decent value there.

All the draft slotting is silly this early, of course, since the projections will move all over the place.

Great info

I loved Sauce coming out last year. Haven't really paid attention to the CBs yet but will do some research. Our corner CB's need to be 5'11 or taller, I like Marcus but he's too small to play boundary corner. Jon Jones isn't a #1. Mills is good value but not a starter on a championship team. Wade is a JAG. The more I think about it, CB1 or OT makes the most sense for the first pick.
 

chevss454

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Steve1

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Mac Jones was much worse this past season, than in 2021. Now, one of the greatest NFL coordinators of all time, Josh McDaniels, did leave the team. And, the receivers were Extremely average this season. Also, I guess I'm comparing Mac Jones to the greatest NFL player of all time, Tom Brady. The Patriots were very lucky to have Tom Brady as their quarterback, winning 7 championships, and getting his team to three other championship possibilities. It's my opinion, that if the Patriots want to get in championship games, they'll need a different, better quarterback.
 

chevss454

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Mac Jones was much worse this past season, than in 2021. Now, one of the greatest NFL coordinators of all time, Josh McDaniels, did leave the team. And, the receivers were Extremely average this season. Also, I guess I'm comparing Mac Jones to the greatest NFL player of all time, Tom Brady. The Patriots were very lucky to have Tom Brady as their quarterback, winning 7 championships, and getting his team to three other championship possibilities. It's my opinion, that if the Patriots want to get in championship games, they'll need a different, better quarterback.

Comparing their 1st and 2nd year stats is an interesting exercise.

1st year starting

Brady comp %---yards---TDs---ints---QBR

63.92,843181286.5

Jones
67.63,801221392.5


2nd year

Brady comp %---yards / attempts / ypa---TDs---ints---QBR


62.13,764 / 671 / 6.3281485.7

Jones
65.22,997 / 442 / 6.8141184.8

The first year Mac's stats were clearly better.
The 2nd year Brady's stats were better except for comp % and yards per attempt. Total yards is a function of attempts 671 vs 442 but yards/attempt favors Mac.

We were very fortunate to have witnessed the last 21 years with Brady and BB. No question about that.
I think you're premature to judge Mac unworthy to get in championship games after comparing his early stats to Brady's early stats. Especially if you allow for Patricia as Mac's OC.
I'm not saying Mac will have the same kind of career, only that Mac compares favorably so far in many impt statistical categories.
 

aloyouis

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Mac Jones was much worse this past season, than in 2021. Now, one of the greatest NFL coordinators of all time, Josh McDaniels, did leave the team. And, the receivers were Extremely average this season. Also, I guess I'm comparing Mac Jones to the greatest NFL player of all time, Tom Brady. The Patriots were very lucky to have Tom Brady as their quarterback, winning 7 championships, and getting his team to three other championship possibilities. It's my opinion, that if the Patriots want to get in championship games, they'll need a different, better quarterback.

No.
 

TommyD420

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Comparing their 1st and 2nd year stats is an interesting exercise.

1st year starting

Brady comp %---yards---TDs---ints---QBR

63.92,843181286.5

Jones
67.63,801221392.5


2nd year

Brady comp %---yards / attempts / ypa---TDs---ints---QBR


62.13,764 / 671 / 6.3281485.7

Jones
65.22,997 / 442 / 6.8141184.8

The first year Mac's stats were clearly better.
The 2nd year Brady's stats were better except for comp % and yards per attempt. Total yards is a function of attempts 671 vs 442 but yards/attempt favors Mac.

We were very fortunate to have witnessed the last 21 years with Brady and BB. No question about that.
I think you're premature to judge Mac unworthy to get in championship games after comparing his early stats to Brady's early stats. Especially if you allow for Patricia as Mac's OC.
I'm not saying Mac will have the same kind of career, only that Mac compares favorably so far in many impt statistical categories.
Tough to compare 20 years later too.
 

chevss454

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Tough to compare 20 years later too.

Yeah, it is. I was responding to Steve who didn't think Mac compared well to Brady as a young QB and a direct comparison of stats is all I could offer.
Getting into different eras, different OCs, different team strengths and different rules would have made any comparison even more difficult.
I mean, I didn't want to write a book.
 

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Yeah, it is. I was responding to Steve who didn't think Mac compared well to Brady as a young QB and a direct comparison of stats is all I could offer.
Getting into different eras, different OCs, different team strengths and different rules would have made any comparison even more difficult.
I mean, I didn't want to write a book.
First of all, chevss454, I think you're a great fan of the Patriots, and I enjoy reading your written words. The stats you come up with are excellent and amazing.

Now, the 2001 Patriots had better players than the 2022 team, without a doubt (compared to players of their times). And, their coaching was much better (Weis, Crennel). Also, the quarterback (Brady) was more demonstrative than the current quarterback. Sitting in the stands during the playoff game vs. the Raiders, I saw Brady's reaction when the game was on the line. His attitude was tremendous, even as a 24 year old. His play did improve as he got older, but he had 'it', even as a young NFL player. We'll see if Mac Jones can be good enough to help lead the Patriots to the championship some day. He may have a different head coach than Belichick, may not outlast Belichick, hopefully stays healthy enough to improve, may get hurt, may not want to play more than a few more years, may play for 10+ years....we don't know. We do know how well Brady played, and the other players played, and the coaching was. I've been blessed to see an NFL team (the Patriots) be the best team (on average) from 2001-2019. Thankfully, currently, the Celtics and the Bruins have the best league records. Anyway, carry on, and enjoy the positive aspects of the Patriots.
 

chevss454

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First of all, chevss454, I think you're a great fan of the Patriots, and I enjoy reading your written words. The stats you come up with are excellent and amazing.

Now, the 2001 Patriots had better players than the 2022 team, without a doubt (compared to players of their times). And, their coaching was much better (Weis, Crennel). Also, the quarterback (Brady) was more demonstrative than the current quarterback. Sitting in the stands during the playoff game vs. the Raiders, I saw Brady's reaction when the game was on the line. His attitude was tremendous, even as a 24 year old. His play did improve as he got older, but he had 'it', even as a young NFL player. We'll see if Mac Jones can be good enough to help lead the Patriots to the championship some day. He may have a different head coach than Belichick, may not outlast Belichick, hopefully stays healthy enough to improve, may get hurt, may not want to play more than a few more years, may play for 10+ years....we don't know. We do know how well Brady played, and the other players played, and the coaching was. I've been blessed to see an NFL team (the Patriots) be the best team (on average) from 2001-2019. Thankfully, currently, the Celtics and the Bruins have the best league records. Anyway, carry on, and enjoy the positive aspects of the Patriots.

Ok, but....
Brady had a better team, more experienced veteran players around him and better coaching than Mac had last year.
The only point I made is that Mac performed pretty well under those circumstances. Almost as well as Brady in years 1 & 2.
But you're right, we will see.
 

aloyouis

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Ok, but....
Brady had a better team, more experienced veteran players around him and better coaching than Mac had last year.
The only point I made is that Mac performed pretty well under those circumstances. Almost as well as Brady in years 1 & 2.
But you're right, we will see.

I predict that in hind sight this will become evident to even the most ardent Mac detractors.
 
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