The New England Patriots have plenty of holes to address after the majority of the leaders from the last Super Bowl victory have either retired or are no longer with the team. We asked former NFL Scout Daniel Jeremiah to to addres questions surrounding the team. Here are his thoughts:
What kind of draft choices could the Pats get as a trade for Adalius Thomas?
Daniel Jeremiah: I don't think they would be able to get much in return for Thomas. First of all, everyone assumes he will be cut. Secondly, he isn't a pass rusher and teams don't give up much for expensive OLB's that don't get to the QB.
What is the scouting report on Brandon Tate since we never got to see much of him on the field?
Jeremiah: Tate has more value as a returner than a WR. He has excellent quickness and make-miss ability as a returner. He's a raw route-runner but has solid hands and is illusive after the catch. Ideally, he's your 4th WR and returner.
Likewise what is the report on Stanback?
Jeremiah: Stanback is a former college QB with excellent size and straight-line speed. He has the potential to be an above average kickoff returner and outside speed WR. He is unpolished as a route-runner and has some stiffness to overcome.
Is there a running back that may be available via trade that would be a good fit for the Patriots?
Jeremiah: I would at least inquire about Darren Sproles. The Patriots like to spread defenses out with their 3 and 4 WR sets which makes Sproles an ideal fiit. He is a draw/screen specialist that would be a nightmare matchup for opponents.
Would Michael Bush be a good fit for thr Patriots as a lead back or would he be better as a back in the running back by committee approach?
Jeremiah: I like Bush as a complimentary back as opposed to a lead back. I think he is most effective when teamed up with a faster/more explosive runner.
Which player that may be available in round one that would be the best fit in the Patriots system as a pass rusher should the Patriots select?
Jeremiah: Michigan DE Brandon Graham would be an ideal fit for the Patriots at OLB but his stock is quickly soaring ahead of when NE selects in the 1st round. USC DE Everson Griffen is more likely to be available and would fit in very nicely as an OLB in the Pats 3-4. Texas OLB Sergio Kindle isn't as polished a pass rusher as Griffen but offers less risk.
To Replace Ben Watson what are some of the options in the Draft? Are there any athletic, pass catchers?
Jeremiah: This draft is loaded with athletic TE's. Gresham and Gronkowski are the top 2 guys but the Pats should be able to upgrade over Ben Watson in the 2nd or 3rd round. Guys like USC's Anthony Mccoy, Oregon's Ed Dickson and Miami's Jimmy Graham are all very athletic players with 70 catch potential. Also, keep an eye on Missouri State TE Clay Harbor. He has caught the eye of several teams with his speed/athletic ability.
The Patriots have 3 second round picks, last year they had 4. In your opinion is there good value in this years Draft class after round one? And what do you think of teams trading out of round one to move down, not up?
Jeremiah: I think the 2nd round is the greatest value round in the draft. You can find starters in this round for half the price of what you pay in the 1st round. This draft is very deep and the 2nd round will be full of 1st round talent. I like the strategy.
Are there any players worth trading up for at the LB, DE or RB spots?
Jeremiah: That depends on the fit and the cost. I think if we see a player like CJ Spiller begin to drop that several teams inquire about moving up to get him. I could also see a team with a high 2nd round pick try and trade up in front of San Diego to nab one of the other top RB's (Mathews/Best).
They say receivers have a hard time adjusting to the nuances in the NFL. Sometimes the most talented prospects take a while to learn. Which receivers in the top 3 rounds are the most Pro Ready in your opinion?
Jeremiah: Ironically, I think one of the most polished/NFL ready WR's in this draft is from a small school. Citadel WR Andre Roberts showed at the Senior Bowl that he can beat press coverage and displayed an excellent knack for creating seperation at the break point.
Daniel Jeremiah has six years of NFL scouting experience. Jeremiah spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns. He now writes about the NFL and the Draft on his site Movethesticks.com. You can also follow him via twitter: @movethesticks
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