Tag:New England Patriots
Posted on: August 18, 2010 3:36 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2010 3:47 pm
 

Pats give OG Simmons a chance, despite clubfoot

With Pro Bowler Logan Mankins holding out and the Nick Kaczur's back a potential season-long issue, the Patriots were in the market for an offensive guard.

The man they picked up, former Oklahoma standout Brian Simmons, is as surprising a choice as there could be.

You see Simmons, a 6-4, 315 pound former defensive tackle who played in 42 games for the Sooners at left and right guard, has a clubfoot. He wasn't invited to the Combine and despite plenty of hype surrounding him, wasn't drafted. As his mother explained in an sad email used by David Ubben on ESPN's Big 12 blog , her son's clubfoot had landed him on the NFL reject list.

A clubfoot, according to WebMD , is a deformity that occurs in the tendons of the foot prior to birth. The tendons force the foot to turn downward and inward towards the other foot. It may result in the foot, especially after the heel, being smaller than the other foot. To correct the issue, the foot is often broken and placed in a cast to re-shape it.

According to Brandon George's article in the Dallas Morning News, Simmons wears a size 17.5 shoe on his left foot and a size 16 on his right.

George's article, written in August of 2007, notes that Simmons has had his right foot broken and re-set a staggering 16 times during surgeries.

With thousands of prospects to grade, NFL teams rely on sharing medical information. It is one of the primary reasons for the development of the Scouting Combine as we now know it. By being placed on the reject list, Simmons had virtually no shot at getting as much as a workout from an NFL team despite the fact that other professional athletes, including Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, have beaten clubfoot to enjoy productive careers.

Simmons was an often-used backup for much of his career, but a knee injury robbed him of five games during his senior campaign -- the only year in which he started at Oklahoma. Playing next to Trent Williams for much of the time, Simmons' athleticism and balance stands out on film. He proved at his Pro Day (the official Oklahoma Pro Day March 9, not Sam Bradford's throwing session March 29) that he was a legitimate draftable athlete at guard -- especially considering the relatively weak crop of talent that was available this year. Simmons measured in at 6-4 1/4, 315 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash between 5.19-5.26. He was timed at 4.75 in the short shuttle, 7.61 in the 3-cone and posted a 28" vertical jump and a 8-10" broad jump. I was disappointed, if not surprised, when Simmons wasn't drafted or immediately signed as a high priority free agent.

Fortunately for Simmons (and potentially the Patriots), New England elected to roll the dice Sunday and gave the former Sooner a shot.

I, for one, will be rooting for him.

Posted on: August 10, 2010 8:36 pm
 

NFL Breakout Sophomores -- my picks

Chris Steuber is a new addition to the NFLDraftScout.com family and has already done a fantastic job of helping Chad Reuter and I keep new content on the site even though the season hasn't yet even begun.

His most recent article, "Second Year Players From The 2009 Draft Who Could Take Off" is an interesting read. Chris highlights a player from each of the 2009 draft's seven rounds that he feels could enjoy significantly better "sophomore" seasons than their rookie campaigns.

It is an interesting enough idea that I thought I'd jump in on the conversation. I mean no disrespect to Chris. Quite the opposite, actually. As they say, imitation is the best form of flattery.

I just have some different opinions as to some second year players who may "breakout" in 2010 and thought the group would make for an interesting blog post.

Feel free, as always, to comment...

First Round: Chris Wells, RB, Arizona -- I strongly considered several others for this role. I anticipate big second seasons from several players who, quite frankly, were disappointments their rookie seasons. Chris picked OLB Aaron Maybin for the Bills. The same logic he uses for Maybin I believe could be used to argue for fellow OLBs Aaron Curry (Seattle), Robert Ayers (Denver) and Larry English (San Diego). I'm going instead with Beanie Wells, however. I don't even necessarily expect that the former Buckeye star will start early in the season as I'm among those who feel Tim Hightower rarely gets his due. That said, there is no denying the impact Wells made as the Cardinals finished their season. With Arizona moving to a more run-heavy offense this year, I expect Wells to emerge as one of the NFC's better young backs.

Second Round: Patrick Chung, S, New England -- There were few players I raved about more frequently than Chung prior to the 2009 draft. The former Oregon star hardly took the NFL by storm as a rookie, but let's be honest, adjusting to Bill Belichick's defense can take even the savviest of players a year to get comfortable. Just wait. I'm not wrong on this kid.

Third Round: Deon Butler, WR, Seattle -- Butler emerged as one of the few bright spots on an otherwise slow and unathletic Seattle receiving corps as a rookie. He's been a star in OTAs and training camp so far this summer. Rookie Golden Tate is getting all of the attention, but don't be surprised if this is the undersized speedster who emerges as the Seahawks' most consistent big play threat in 2010.

Fourth Round: Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville -- Thomas only started four games for the Jaguars as a rookie, but still shattered the team's record for rookie receptions (48) and receiving yards (453). Sure, his size (5-8, 198) isn't intimidating, but Thomas has the agility and toughness to play well despite a less than ideal frame. He's also been lighting up practices thus far in training camp. Perhaps most importantly, he's already earned David Garrard's trust.

Fifth Round: Javon Ringer, RB, Tennessee -- Ok, for this one Chris and I agree. The Titans decision to trade away LenDale White and yet not aggressively pursue another big back in the draft or free agency gives me the impression that Jeff Fisher and his staff realized the same thing I did when reviewing Ringer: while he may lack size, he certainly doesn't lack for toughness. Ringer isn't going to take away too many of Chris Johnson's touches, but I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him emerge as the club's primary backup to their superstar.

Sixth Round: Brice McCain, CB, Houston -- I fully recognize that the Texans weren't so overcome with McCain's talent that they ignored cornerback early in the draft. Their first round pick, Kareem Jackson, is a terrific talent who I believe will quickly help erase the negative feelings left behind by now-Atlanta Falcon Dunta Robinson. However, I'm a sucker for quick feet and McCain certainly has those. He may never emerge as a standout starter, but I think he has the agility to be a heckuva nickel corner for a long time.

Seventh Round: Lance Louis, OG, Chicago -- Disrespect Mike Tice's ability as a head coach all you want. For my money, there aren't three better offensive line coaches in the NFL than the former starting NFL tight end. Louis was graded by some as a tight end or H-back coming out of San Diego State, but the Bears took a chance on him last year. Now, Tice believes Louis has a real chance at earning the starting right guard position. With his athleticism and the Bears' focus on the passing game under Mike Martz, Louis could surprise.
Posted on: April 23, 2010 2:07 pm
 

AFC East First Round Comments

Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.

Here is how I saw the action from the AFC East perspective:

Buffalo Bills:
The Bills may be lacking at the other offensive skill positions, but the addition of running back CJ Spiller, they boast one of the more talented and explosive backfields in all of the NFL. Spiller's great speed and elusiveness make him a big play threat on every snap, but there were other, bigger needs for this club.

Miami Dolphins:
By trading for Brandon Marshall the Dolphins eliminated their primary need with their second round pick (and a 2011 pick) and quickly recouped it, as well as added a fourth round pick and veteran linebacker Tim Dobbins on Thursday by dropping 16 spots in a trade with the San Diego Chargers. The Dolphins were still able to reinforce their defensive line with the selection of the steady and versatile Jared Odrick, who some teams felt might go in the top 15.

New England Patriots:
No one gets better value on draft day than the Patriots, as they masterfully slip down the board, pick up extra picks and then add players who should have been taken earlier. Just as they did last April with the selections of defensive backs Patrick Chung and Darius Butler, the Patriots traded down in the first round (twice, actually) and found the steady Devin McCourty still on the board. McCourty isn't as flashy in man coverage as Kyle Wilson or Patrick Robinson, but he's a sounder overall defender and a force on special teams.

New York Jets:
After aggressively leaping up in 2009 to land Mark Sanchez and Shonn Green and trading for veterans Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes in the off-season, New York (perhaps surprisingly) simply took the best available player in cornerback Kyle Wilson with the 29th overall selection of the first round. The Jets know that to get past Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the playoffs, they need to be athletic in the secondary. With the addition of the big play specialist Wilson, they'll be even better against the pass - a scary thought, considering they led the league by a wide margin last year.


Posted on: April 17, 2010 10:38 am
Edited on: April 17, 2010 10:40 am
 

Multiple teams talking trade

Many have speculated that the alteration in the the NFL draft schedule is going to lead to more trades than before.

According to sources throughout the league, the St. Louis Rams (owners of the first pick), Seattle Seahawks (6, 14) Cleveland Browns (7), Denver Broncos (11), Miami Dolphins (12), New England Patriots (22), Philadelphia Eagles (24) and Dallas Cowboys (27) are all actively exploring trade opportunities.

The Cleveland Browns have been one of the more aggressive teams, speaking with the Rams about moving up to get Sam Bradford with the first overall pick, but also exploring dropping down, as well.

The Seahawks would like to add a pick between their second first (14) and their only second rounder (60th overall). Their recent mini camp proved they have significant holes to fill on both sides of the ball.

Denver has wide receiver Dez Bryant and center Maurkice Pouncey high on their board. They will consider Bryant at 11, but if he's off the board, they'd like to drop down a few spots and still get Pouncey.

Miami would like to recoup the second round pick they lost in the trade for Brandon Marshall and feel that the player they're likely to get at No. 12 won't be significantly better than one they might get in the lower teens or twenties. With their need for a playmaking wide receiver filled, look for the Dolphins to add a front seven defender.

The Patriots already own three second round picks, but Bill Belichick believes the second round is where the values lies in this draft.

It has been reported (originally by Sports Illustrated's Peter King) that the Eagles were aggressively looking to move up. I have been able to confirm this, but counter to King's story, which has Philadelphia looking to move up for either Eric Berry or Earl Thomas at safety, I'm told a different player is the Eagles' real target. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain, given the team's need for a thumper inside and the significant drop-off at the position after McClain, would seem a likely candidate.

Dallas is also exploring aggressive trade-up options. Owner Jerry Jones loves Dez Bryant and will consider moving into the late teens should the Oklahoma State receiver fall to that point.

The first round of the 2010 draft is shaping up to be every bit the drama-filled event the NFL had hoped in moving it to primetime Thursday night. 

Posted on: March 22, 2010 5:45 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2010 7:23 pm
 

19 teams awarded compensatory picks

According to release by the league, 19 NFL teams will get a total of 32 compensatory picks for free agent losses last year. These picks will be in conjunction with the selections teams already owned for next month's draft.

Eight teams were awarded multiple extra picks, with the New England Patriots leading the way with four picks. The Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers each getting three compensatory picks.

The Cincinnati Bengals might have gained the most, however. While they "only" received two picks, they were awarded a 3rd and 4th, whereas the Titans, Steelers and Patriots were mostly given picks from the last two rounds.

According to the release:

Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks .

 

The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four.  The 32 compensatory choices announced today will supplement the 223 choices in the seven rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft (April 22-24).  This year, the compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

 

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.  The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council.  Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula. 

 

Three clubs this year (Oakland, Miami and Tampa Bay) will each receive a compensatory pick even though they did not suffer a net loss of compensatory free agents last year.  Under the formula, the compensatory free agents lost by these clubs were ranked higher than the ones they signed (by a specified point differential based upon salary and performance).

 

Thirty compensatory picks were awarded to clubs based upon the compensatory pick formula.  By rule, two additional choices were awarded at the end of the seventh round to bring the total number of compensatory selections to 32, equaling the number of NFL clubs.  The two additional picks were awarded to St. Louis and Detroit based upon the 2010 draft selection order.  


This is the breakdown of the compensatory picks by round and team.

Round 3

  • Cincinnati -- 96th overall
  • Tennessee -- 97
  • Atlanta -- 98

Round 4

  • Cincinnati -- 131

Round 5

  • Pittsburgh -- 164
  • Atlanta -- 165
  • Pittsburgh -- 166
  • Minnesota -- 167
  • San Diego -- 168
  • Green Bay -- 169


Round 6

  • Carolina -- 202
  • Jacksonville -- 203
  • Carolina -- 204
  • New England -- 205
  • San Francisco -- 206
  • Tennessee -- 207

Round 7 

  • Indianapolis -- 240
  • Tennessee -- 241 
  • Pittsburgh -- 242
  • Philadelphia -- 243
  • Philadelphia -- 244
  • Seattle -- 245
  • Indianapolis -- 246
  • New England -- 247 
  • New England -- 248 
  • Carolina -- 249 
  • New England -- 250 
  • Oakland -- 251
  • Miami -- 252 
  • Tampa Bay -- 253
  • St. Louis -- 254
  • Detroit -- 255









Posted on: February 27, 2010 11:45 am
 

Video gaining popularity in team interviews

Each team is allowed 60 formal interviews of players at the Combine. Each of those interviews are limited to 15 minutes. It doesn't leave a lot of time for formalities -- but it does provide enough time for some tech-savvy teams to show players' video clips of their play from last season. 

The New England Patriots are one of a handful of clubs asking players to explain their play off video, according to scouts and coaches I've spoken to over the past few days. The Patriots were credited by opposing teams as being the first they knew who had implemented the use of video in these short interviews.

Typically, the team would break the 15 minute interview into roughly two portions. Approximately seven minutes for a question and answer session, with the other seven or eight minutes devoted to breaking down game film from the season. Players are asked a multitude of questions by coaches during this film time, including what was the player's initial responsibilities on the play, what were the responsibilities of players around them, why they were successful (or not) on the particular play, etc.

Some teams I spoke to felt that the this was an inefficient use of time. After all, this practice is popular during private visits teams have with players in the weeks leading to the draft.

I disagree entirely.

I believe that asking a player about he and his teammates' responsibilities on successful and unsuccessful plays is an excellent way to ascertain the prospect's knowledge of his own position, his scheme, recognition of the opponent's plans -- and perhaps most important -- get an indication about the player's accountability and ability to take criticism.



Posted on: April 25, 2009 7:02 pm
 

Packers trade up, take OLB Matthews

Ted Thompson is known for trading back, but in moving up to get the OLB who may end up being the best at the position (from this draft) a few years from now, he is showing a more aggressive side. The addition of nose guard Raji and OLB Clay Matthews, Jr. gives Green Bay some of the players necessary in making their transition from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4.

The Patriots, perhaps not surprisingly, trade out of the first round. They may end up trading back in, as the first round has had a staggering number of trades so far.

The Colts, with needs at every level of defense are now on the clock. Wide receiver and running back also could be surprise considerations, considering how Bill Polian has consistently used first round picks to supplement his offensive attack.

WR Brian Robiskie, DT Ziggy Hood, CB Darius Butler, and LB James Laurinaitis make the most sense, though the RBs could be a surprise too.  
Posted on: April 25, 2009 6:52 pm
 

Falcons take DT Jerry, Dolphins are up

The Falcons addressed their need for a defensive tackle with Peria Jerry, putting Miami on the clock.

The Dolphins have needs at pass rusher (OLB), cornerback and wide receiver. Given the way this mock has gone, I'd be surprised by a receiver pick here. I've been told the Dolphins are not as high on Clay Matthews as many have suggested.

A. Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
B. Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
C. Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
D. Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut
E. Paul Kruger, DE, Utah

The Dolphins are quite high on Utah defensive end Paul Kruger and could take him here, as well. Most teams view him as a 2nd round pick.

The Dolphins took Davis... who I projected to go one pick later -- 26th overall to the Ravens in my final mock.

The Patriots are now on the clock. They, like the Dolphins, have needs at CB and OLB. Matthews and Butler are possibilities. Don't be surprised by a Beanie Wells or Donald Brown selection, either.
 
 
 
 
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