The 2021 Draft- We Need This One

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The QBs. Not a complete list but players we should all know.
PFF's top 4 QBs right now are 1) Mac Jones, 2) Zac Wilson, 3) Spencer Rattler, 4) Trevor Lawrence and 5) Justin Fields
I've seen mocks that have the Pats picking everyone of them (usually at pick #9) except Lawrence who is universally picked by the JETE.

QB rankings are everywhere and as usual thoughts differ. Here's one:

The DTs.

The LBs.

The WRs. Another impressive class that rivals the 2020 class. It's deep, it's talented and has 3 eye-popping players better than the top drafted WR in the 2020 draft.

CBs if Gilmore is gone.

1. DEREK STINGLEY JR., LSU

His 2020 season hasn’t been nearly as great as his 2019 campaign, but Stingley is still the highest-graded cornerback in all of college football since the start of last year. He shattered PFF College records and put together the most valuable season we have ever recorded from a non-quarterback in terms of PFF’s Wins Above Average (WAA). And he did that as a true freshman.

This season, Stingley has lowered his coverage grade from 91.7 to 66.8 in four games played. But in two of those four outings, he locked up his opponent by not allowing a single yard and breaking up a pass in each. Despite him not playing like his 2019 self in this small sample, I’m taking Stingley over any other cornerback in college football 10 times out of 10 — it’s only a matter of time before we see him return to that elite form.

2. PATRICK SURTAIN II, ALABAMA

Surtain shut down his SEC competition in 2018 and 2019 as an underclassman, and 2020 has been no different. He has allowed 25 yards or fewer in five of his six games played while posting an 89.0 coverage grade for the season — the best in the FBS.

In his college career, Surtain has given up just 0.62 yards per coverage snap against SEC wide receivers when lined up at outside corner. For perspective, the FBS average this season for outside corners is 1.1 yards. Surtain has made as many plays on the ball as first downs allowed (seven), including a pick-six last week against Mississippi State. Stingley may be the best, but Surtain is firmly the second-best corner in the country.

3. AHMAD GARDNER, CINCINNATI

Gardner was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season — he started out the year as a three-star true freshman with low expectations and ended as the seventh-highest-graded cornerback in the FBS. He allowed a minimal 39.7% catch rate and combined for 11 pass breakups and interceptions.

Cincinnat Bearcats cornerback Ahmad Gardner (12) makes an interception against Southern Methodist Mustangs during the second half at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Flores-USA TODAY Sports
Through five games in 2020, Gardner has allowed just a 36% catch rate, intercepted three passes and forced six total incompletions. That equates to an 11.3 passer rating when targeted, the lowest in the country and well below what the quarterback’s passer rating would be by just throwing the ball away every play. Cincinnati is a legitimate candidate for that fourth and final College Football Playoff spot, and Gardner is a major reason why.

4. ELIJAH MOLDEN, WASHINGTON

Molden has been one of the most productive slot defenders we have ever come across in the PFF College era. Over the past two seasons, he has produced the second-best slot coverage grade and forced 21 incompletions, which are six more than anyone else at the alignment.

He reacts swiftly in coverage, and that helped him rack up 26 passing stops in the slot in 2019, nine more than anyone else in the FBS. Molden still gave up a concerning amount of first downs (21), but his nose for the football outweighs the bad.

5. SHEMAR JEAN-CHARLES, APPALACHIAN STATE

Jean-Charles was a quality starter for the Mountaineers in 2019, but no one quite expected him to perform at his current level in 2020. The fifth-year senior has broken up more passes (12) than he has allowed catches (10) through five games this year.

Among cornerbacks with at least 20 targets in 2020, Jean-Charles has allowed the second-lowest catch rate, at 32%. His timing at the catch point is precise, and his 10 forced incompletions on contested targets — the most in the FBS by three — back that up.

6. SHAUN JOLLY, APPALACHIAN STATE

Yes, that’s right — Appalachian State, of all teams, has two of the six best cornerbacks in college football. Back in 2019, Jolly was second to only Derek Stingley Jr. in coverage grade, at 91.4, and was a playmaker week in and week out.

This year, Jolly does have one bad game on his resume against Arkansas State. The 5-foot-9 Jolly faced off against the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Jonathan Adams Jr. That said, though, it was truly the only bad game of his college career thus far. He allowed fewer than 30 yards in coverage in each of his other four games in 2020 and is the highest-graded cornerback in coverage over the past two years.

7. ROGER MCCREARY, AUBURN

The best player on Auburn’s roster has easily been McCreary. He saved the Tigers from near disaster in their 2020 opener against Kentucky with a goal-line interception at the end of the first half, stopping Auburn from going down a touchdown at the half.

On top of that, McCreary broke up a pass and forced a fumble that game with just two total yards allowed in coverage. He tied for eighth in the SEC in PFF grade a season ago and has improved that rank to second in 2020.

8. ASANTE SAMUEL JR., FLORIDA STATE

We should put an asterisk next to the two interceptions Samuel had against Georgia Tech, as Jeff Sims threw it directly where he was standing. But make no mistake, Samuel is easily a top-10 corner in the game.
He ranks ninth among current FBS cornerbacks in coverage grade since the start of 2019 and fifth in total forced incompletions, with 21. Samuel’s size isn’t necessarily ideal, but he makes up for it with his quicks.

9. ELI RICKS, LSU

There were high hopes for five-star true freshman Eli Ricks in Baton Rouge entering the year. While LSU’s defense has been a disaster, Ricks is far from the reason — he has exceeded expectations right out of the gate.

The first-year starter has allowed a minimal six catches in five games while intercepting three balls and breaking up another. Ricks has forced tight coverage on six of his 16 targets, and that’s where all three of his picks came. He’s looking like the next elite, playmaking cornerback to come out of DBU.

10. KAIIR ELAM, FLORIDA


Elam may have played only a little more than 300 snaps in 2019 as a true freshman, but he was the most valuable player on the Gators’ roster. He earned an 89.8 coverage grade while making three interceptions, breaking up three passes and allowing just five first downs.

This year, Elam has given up a handful of huge plays when playing zone coverage, but when in man-to-man or in a one-on-one battle with his receiver at the catch point, he has been nearly flawless. With his length, Elam has forced an incompletion on all of his seven contested targets in 2020. That’s the most contested targets forced without a catch allowed in the FBS.
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32 Early Big Boards.
 

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please, no quarterbacks from alabama and no dbs named asante samuel
 
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Bedard outlines players we can build around and names players who need to be replaced with upgrades.

Even if the Patriots make the playoffs (538 has them at 12 percent; FO has them 26th in DVOA with an 8.2 percent chance), they’re not winning a championship. Another appearance in the Final Four would be a huge shock.
So while this season isn’t over, it’s really about the future now. The Patriots will be loaded with cap space this offseason, but with also a ton of holes on the roster that caused the problems this season.

Let’s start the look to the future with an assessment of this roster. Who are the building blocks for the next two or three years? They are few and far between.

LITTLE DOUBT ABOUT THESE GUYS (7)
RG Shaq Mason
: Has had a very nice comeback season of late when he’s been healthy, and he’s going to be relatively inexpensive the next three seasons.
OL Michael Onwenu: Everyone, including the Patriots (and me) since he went in the sixth round, questioned whether Onwenu could keep his weight in check and move well enough for a big man inside. Well, those questions have been answered. As long as he stays in good shape, Onwenu has a chance to be a dynamite guard.
OL Isaiah Wynn: I expect the Patriots to keep adding OT/OG types for a while and if they hit on a better-built LT, Wynn will still be a good starter on the offensive line. That’s a building block. Could easily succeed Joe Thuney at LG if they find an OT.
C David Andrews: Is 28 and his contract is running out, but we’ve seen his value and he needs a contract extension.
CB JC Jackson: Ready to succeed Stephon Gilmore as the top cornerback and will be an RFA after this season. Needs an extension.
CB Jonathan Jones: Just a great all-around defensive back who has become a quiet leader as well.
LB Dont’a Hightower: Yes, he’ll be 31 next year if he comes back from the opt-out, but I think he still wants to play and I think his options are limited. I think he’s here for a couple more years — we all know they need LBers desperately.

TRENDING IN RIGHT DIRECTION (4)
RB Damien Harris
: I don’t count having a RB as being a block because you can literally find them anywhere so it’s a wash with every other team, but this kid is damn good.
S Kyle Dugger: Covid, injury and Belichick’s lust for veterans over kids has made this just a redshirt year for him at this point. Sigh. He has so much talent. LET HIM PLAY.
S Adrian Phillips: If he can make it through this season physically, I could see him being a major contributor for the next 2-3 years (contract through 2021).
P Jake Bailey: He’s really good, but he’s a punter. Does that count?

MAYBE (6)
DT Lawrence Guy
: Are the Patriots going to pay him after this season when he’ll be 31? They should, but I’m not sure.
QB Cam Newton: Will have to see how the season plays out. Could be the guy if he trends upward from here on out.
Edge Chase Winovich: Looked like a three-down linebacker in the opener but slowly slipped down the depth chart after that. And since the Patriots can’t get the opponent into long yardage, his sub package snaps have slipped. I think there’s more here, but if the coaches don’t like him in this front seven-challenged season, when will they?
DB Joejuan Williams: Shows some potential but it’s hard to see what a starting role would look like, if it ever happens.
LB Anfernee Jennings: He played a lot at Alabama in a similar scheme and even when the Patriots have no linebackers, he can’t get on the field. That’s not a great sign. Probably a starter at some point soon, but not sure he’s a block.
LB Josh Uche: He’s been injured and flashed on a couple of plays Sunday, but he didn’t impress the coaches much despite getting a lot of run in training camp. Could be a player, but that’s a projection and not reality at this point.

NOT LOOKING GREAT (7)
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley
: He appears to have a ceiling of being an average starter.
QB Jarrett Stidham: The only thing we know about Stidham? He throws a lot of interceptions right now. Doesn’t look promising. Camp injury raised a lot of eyebrows.
TEs Devin Asiasi/Dalton Keene: Nobody knows, not even in the people in the building.
OG Hjalte Froholdt/Justin Herron/Yodny Cajuste: All projections, but I wouldn’t totally rule them out.
WR N’Keal Harry: He’s a No. 3 probably at best, and that’s not a building block.
RB James White: Getting up there in age and the Patriots are hanging on to JJ Taylor.

NOT IN THE PLANS
DBs Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, Terrence Brooks
: If they’re here, it’s not going to be for that long although we have the feeling Devin could play forever — if he wanted to (I don’t think he does).
RB Sony Michel: Totally replaceable.
TE Ryan Izzo: Are No. 3 TEs building blocks?
OG Joe Thuney: Will be the league’s highest-paid guard someplace else.
CB Stephon Gilmore: He wants his last big contract and unless he gets a dose of humble pie, it’s going to have to come elsewhere this offseason.
DT Byron Cowart: A backup. Not a starter at this point.
S Patrick Chung: If he returns, he doesn’t have much left.
OT Marcus Cannon: If he returns, the Patriots don’t really need him, and he’s expensive.

 
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Could you see them going so far as taking a QB in the first round, and if so, what would that mean for Stidham?
 

Hawg73

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Bedard outlines players we can build around and names players who need to be replaced with upgrades.

Even if the Patriots make the playoffs (538 has them at 12 percent; FO has them 26th in DVOA with an 8.2 percent chance), they’re not winning a championship. Another appearance in the Final Four would be a huge shock.
So while this season isn’t over, it’s really about the future now. The Patriots will be loaded with cap space this offseason, but with also a ton of holes on the roster that caused the problems this season.

Let’s start the look to the future with an assessment of this roster. Who are the building blocks for the next two or three years? They are few and far between.

LITTLE DOUBT ABOUT THESE GUYS (7)
RG Shaq Mason
: Has had a very nice comeback season of late when he’s been healthy, and he’s going to be relatively inexpensive the next three seasons.
OL Michael Onwenu: Everyone, including the Patriots (and me) since he went in the sixth round, questioned whether Onwenu could keep his weight in check and move well enough for a big man inside. Well, those questions have been answered. As long as he stays in good shape, Onwenu has a chance to be a dynamite guard.
OL Isaiah Wynn: I expect the Patriots to keep adding OT/OG types for a while and if they hit on a better-built LT, Wynn will still be a good starter on the offensive line. That’s a building block. Could easily succeed Joe Thuney at LG if they find an OT.
C David Andrews: Is 28 and his contract is running out, but we’ve seen his value and he needs a contract extension.
CB JC Jackson: Ready to succeed Stephon Gilmore as the top cornerback and will be an RFA after this season. Needs an extension.
CB Jonathan Jones: Just a great all-around defensive back who has become a quiet leader as well.
LB Dont’a Hightower: Yes, he’ll be 31 next year if he comes back from the opt-out, but I think he still wants to play and I think his options are limited. I think he’s here for a couple more years — we all know they need LBers desperately.

TRENDING IN RIGHT DIRECTION (4)
RB Damien Harris
: I don’t count having a RB as being a block because you can literally find them anywhere so it’s a wash with every other team, but this kid is damn good.
S Kyle Dugger: Covid, injury and Belichick’s lust for veterans over kids has made this just a redshirt year for him at this point. Sigh. He has so much talent. LET HIM PLAY.
S Adrian Phillips: If he can make it through this season physically, I could see him being a major contributor for the next 2-3 years (contract through 2021).
P Jake Bailey: He’s really good, but he’s a punter. Does that count?

MAYBE (6)
DT Lawrence Guy
: Are the Patriots going to pay him after this season when he’ll be 31? They should, but I’m not sure.
QB Cam Newton: Will have to see how the season plays out. Could be the guy if he trends upward from here on out.
Edge Chase Winovich: Looked like a three-down linebacker in the opener but slowly slipped down the depth chart after that. And since the Patriots can’t get the opponent into long yardage, his sub package snaps have slipped. I think there’s more here, but if the coaches don’t like him in this front seven-challenged season, when will they?
DB Joejuan Williams: Shows some potential but it’s hard to see what a starting role would look like, if it ever happens.
LB Anfernee Jennings: He played a lot at Alabama in a similar scheme and even when the Patriots have no linebackers, he can’t get on the field. That’s not a great sign. Probably a starter at some point soon, but not sure he’s a block.
LB Josh Uche: He’s been injured and flashed on a couple of plays Sunday, but he didn’t impress the coaches much despite getting a lot of run in training camp. Could be a player, but that’s a projection and not reality at this point.

NOT LOOKING GREAT (7)
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley
: He appears to have a ceiling of being an average starter.
QB Jarrett Stidham: The only thing we know about Stidham? He throws a lot of interceptions right now. Doesn’t look promising. Camp injury raised a lot of eyebrows.
TEs Devin Asiasi/Dalton Keene: Nobody knows, not even in the people in the building.
OG Hjalte Froholdt/Justin Herron/Yodny Cajuste: All projections, but I wouldn’t totally rule them out.
WR N’Keal Harry: He’s a No. 3 probably at best, and that’s not a building block.
RB James White: Getting up there in age and the Patriots are hanging on to JJ Taylor.

NOT IN THE PLANS
DBs Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, Terrence Brooks
: If they’re here, it’s not going to be for that long although we have the feeling Devin could play forever — if he wanted to (I don’t think he does).
RB Sony Michel: Totally replaceable.
TE Ryan Izzo: Are No. 3 TEs building blocks?
OG Joe Thuney: Will be the league’s highest-paid guard someplace else.
CB Stephon Gilmore: He wants his last big contract and unless he gets a dose of humble pie, it’s going to have to come elsewhere this offseason.
DT Byron Cowart: A backup. Not a starter at this point.
S Patrick Chung: If he returns, he doesn’t have much left.
OT Marcus Cannon: If he returns, the Patriots don’t really need him, and he’s expensive.

I'm not sure how Bedard defines "building block".

Lumping Froholdt in with Cajuste, who has been MIA for two years is a bit of a stretch. Froholdt could very well be our starting LG next year. He's got all the tools and is cheap so why he is "not in the plans"? He's shaky at Center, but could be Thuneyesque with some work.

Also, why does he limit Onwenu to being a "dynamite guard"? He's already a major upgrade at RT to Cannon. Leave him alone and you've got a future all-pro for short money.

Byron Cowart has been erratic and is maybe not a space-eating IDL, but he flashes real athletic ability at 300 pounds and could yet develop into a plus player.

James White "not looking great"? He's the only dependable player in space on the offense. He needs to be here for as long as possible. Taylor has had one good game in the pros. White's loss would be a major one.

What does Stidham's "camp injury raised eyebrows" mean? I wouldn't write him off just yet. Give him a full game when the rest of the offense is intact and things might look a little different.

The Winovich situation is hard for me to fathom, but he's certainly going to be here and be productive or better. I don't buy the "scheme" explanation for his snaps falling off. This is a disciplinary move and Bill wants to rein him in a little and Chase needs to learn to shut his mouth and listen more.

A lot of Bedard's points are, unfortunately, sensible and I agree that this is the McCourty twins final year in Foxboro.
 
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I'm not sure how Bedard defines "building block".

Lumping Froholdt in with Cajuste, who has been MIA for two years is a bit of a stretch. Froholdt could very well be our starting LG next year. He's got all the tools and is cheap so why he is "not in the plans"? He's shaky at Center, but could be Thuneyesque with some work.

Also, why does he limit Onwenu to being a "dynamite guard"? He's already a major upgrade at RT to Cannon. Leave him alone and you've got a future all-pro for short money.

Byron Cowart has been erratic and is maybe not a space-eating IDL, but he flashes real athletic ability at 300 pounds and could yet develop into a plus player.

James White "not looking great"? He's the only dependable player in space on the offense. He needs to be here for as long as possible. Taylor has had one good game in the pros. White's loss would be a major one.

What does Stidham's "camp injury raised eyebrows" mean? I wouldn't write him off just yet. Give him a full game when the rest of the offense is intact and things might look a little different.

The Winovich situation is hard for me to fathom, but he's certainly going to be here and be productive or better. I don't buy the "scheme" explanation for his snaps falling off. This is a disciplinary move and Bill wants to rein him in a little and Chase needs to learn to shut his mouth and listen more.

A lot of Bedard's points are, unfortunately, sensible and I agree that this is the McCourty twins final year in Foxboro.
I like your take on these young and middling guys a lot better than Bedard's.
We have lots of cap for next year but $60M isn't enough to replace 40 guys on the active roster.
 
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Could you see them going so far as taking a QB in the first round, and if so, what would that mean for Stidham?
Depends on Cam's play going forward. He could resigned or another vet QB could be brought in.
Unless Stidham's play improves, he's a backup.
 

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As an aside, it's jarring to see in the draft children of people I watched not too long ago.
i got that 1st wtf when i saw Antoine Winfield on the Bucs and i was like dang, he's still playing??? nope it's his KID.
homer simpson doh GIF


I feel like asante retired fewer than 8 years ago . too. yikes.
 

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Depends on Cam's play going forward. He could resigned or another vet QB could be brought in.
Unless Stidham's play improves, he's a backup.
I think they will need to move forward a bit faster then that. Trying to resurrect Cam's career and injury situation over and over is not a good way to move forward. Most players do not tend to get better as they get older.
 
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I think they will need to move forward a bit faster then that. Trying to resurrect Cam's career and injury situation over and over is not a good way to move forward. Most players do not tend to get better as they get older.
Which is exactly why I said "another vet QB could be brought in".
BB isn't prone to playing a rookie QB no matter how high he might be drafted.
 

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Which is exactly why I said "another vet QB could be brought in".
BB isn't prone to playing a rookie QB no matter how high he might be drafted.
Well he isnt prone because he has not had to, but that might be along his line of thinking. We also have not drafted a QB very early in the first round either that might not need as much time as a lower drafted QB would.
 

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As an aside, it's jarring to see in the draft children of people I watched not too long ago.
i got that 1st wtf when i saw Antoine Winfield on the Bucs and i was like dang, he's still playing??? nope it's his KID.
homer simpson doh GIF


I feel like asante retired fewer than 8 years ago . too. yikes.

You ain't wrong hun. I'm 48 and my brain still tells me I'm 20.

How the hell did kids grow up so fast? :)
 

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You ain't wrong hun. I'm 48 and my brain still tells me I'm 20.

How the hell did kids grow up so fast? :)
The actor who played Molly Ringwall's love interest in 16 candles is 60..I'm actually a tad older than you sonny. ;)

Take that
 

Big/Sky/Fly

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Which is exactly why I said "another vet QB could be brought in".
BB isn't prone to playing a rookie QB no matter how high he might be drafted.
JimmyG might be available...although, he is fragile. Maybe he could be a bridge QB?
 
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