ROUNDTABLE: Draft Talk With The Analysts

The Patriots are headed for the meat of the NFL Draft in Day two with plenty of questions surrounding the team. So we asked a group of NFL Draft Experts what they thought about some of the key issues. Enjoy.

ROUNDTABLE: These questions were posed to our experts prior to the Draft. Some of their answers may not reflect the outcome of Day One results.

Scott Wright, DraftCountdown.com

1) Randy Moss was accused of dogging it this year, but we learned he was battling an injury the whole season. Moss (33) contract expires in 2010. Should New England draft a guy to replace Moss or a guy to compliment him? (who would you suggest?

Scott Wright: Moss will not be easily replaced.  He is a once in a lifetime type of talent and even at this stage of his career he is still an impact player.  The only guy in this draft who even has a small chance of being anywhere near Moss' level is Dez Bryant and he will likely be a Top 10 pick.

2) Rarely do rookies start in New England, but many do for other teams. What position should the Patriots draft in the first round with the expectation that they'll need to start right away. (give a name as a suggestion)

Wright: I would say Michigan's Brandon Graham, who is a LaMarr Woodley-clone.  The Patriots desperately need to upgrade that pass rush.  If they let Wilfork walk then Tennessee's Dan Williams would be the other most likely option when it comes to instant impact.

3) Which team had the best Draft last year and why?

Wright: It's still early but I'd probably have to say the Jacksonville Jaguars.  They landed not one but two starting offensive tackles, Terrence Knighton led all rookie defensive linemen in tackles, Derek Cox started at cornerback all year and Mike Thomas is already their second best wideout.  They even got contributions from late rounders like Zach Miller and Rashad Jennings.  The Jags got talent and value throughout the entire draft and deserve high marks for both quality and quantity.

James Christensen, NEPatriotsDraft.com

1)      Now that t he Patriots signed Vince Wilfork to a long-term
deal after franchising him, what do you think they'll need to do to
fix the position (DL) next?

James Christensen: The Patriots still need a game-changer at the 5-technique DE position.  Ty Warren and Mike Wright are very solid players, but a Big Sey type of player is what the Patriots need to pressure the QB and keep our linebackers clean.  Jared Odrick out of Penn State seems like a guy capable of filling that void.

2)      Randy Moss was accused of dogging it this year, but we learned he was battling an injury the whole season.  Moss (33)  contract expires in 2010.  Should  New England draft a guy to replace Moss or a guy to compliment him? And who would you suggest?

Christensen: This year seems like a year to compliment Moss. He still has some left in the tank, and like he said, he's here for at least one more year.  The 2011 Draft, in which we should hold a high pick thanks to Oakland, is chock full of impact WR's in Julio Jones, AJ Green, Jonathan Baldwin, Malcolm Floyd, and more.  2011 is the year to draft Moss' replacement.

3)      Rarely do rookies start in New England, but many do for other
teams. What position should the Patriots draft in the first round with
the expectation that they'll need to start right away. (give a name as
a suggestion)

Christensen: I've let on that Jared Odrick is a guy that could start right away for the Patriots at the DE position, but there might be one other guy out there. Rolando McClain is a player with the system experience necessary (3 years under Nick Saban at Alabama) to come in and start right away at SILB.  He has been dropping down draft boards lately, so don't be surprised if the Patriots are able to come away with him on April 22nd.

4)      Which team had the best Draft last year and why?

Christensen: For the 2009 season I would say the Jets, as Shonn Greene and, to a lesser extent, Mark Sanchez had a positive immediate impact.  That said, they mortgaged part of their future to get those deals done.  Looking at the long term, I'd say that the Lions had a a wonderful draft: scoring three future Pro-Bowlers in Matt Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew, and Louis Delmas.  Pair Matt Stafford and Megatron with Russell Okung this year and you have a great young nucleus going forward.

Ryan McCrystal, DraftAce.com

1)      Now that the Patriots signed Vince Wilfork to a long-term deal after franchising him, what do you think they'll need to do to fix the position (DL) next?

Ryan McCrystal: Adding a defensive end should be the top priority. Penn State's Jared Odrick would be a perfect fit for their defense. He would be an immediate upgrade over Damione Lewis/Mike Wright/Daryl Richard

2)      Randy Moss was accused of dogging it this year, but we learned he was battling an injury the whole season.  Moss (33)  contract expires in 2010.  Should New England draft a guy to replace Moss or a guy to compliment him? And who would you suggest?

McCrystal: Yes, but not in the 1st round. If someone such as Arrelious Benn or Damian Williams were available in the 2nd round it would seem like a perfect fit. Letting a player like that learn behind Moss for at least one year if not longer could be invaluable to his growth as a receiver.

3)      Rarely do rookies start in New England, but many do for other teams. What position should the Patriots draft in the first round with the expectation that they'll need to start right away.

McCrystal: As I mentioned earlier I believe Jared Odrick could start for them from day one. Depending on how the Adalius Thomas situation plays out over the summer, an outside linebacker such as Jerry Hughes could potentially start as well. And this last one is a bit of a longshot, but Earl Thomas would be an absolutely perfect fit in New England. Belichick loves defensive backs with great ball skills and Thomas is elite in that area. They may need to move up to grab him, but he could start at free safety from day one.

4)      Which team had the best Draft last year and why?

McCrystal: Based on early returns, I'd have to say the Packers. The jury is still out on B.J. Raji, but Clay Matthews looks like a star. Aditionally T.J. Lang was a serviceable lineman as a rookie and 7th-round pick, Brad Jones, saw significant time at linebacker.


Jon Scott, PatriotsInsider.com


1)      Now that the Patriots signed Vince Wilfork to a long-term deal after franchising him, what do you think they'll need to do to fix the position (DL) next?

Jon Scott: A Big body should be on their minds in the Draft. With three second round picks, it's not imperative to land a big Body in round one.  I agree with the Odrick assessment being a possibility, but there are other names the team has taken a close look at, players in the 2nd, 3rd or even later rounds.  They need someone to replace Jarvis Green and Richard Seymour.  They don't have that player on the roster now, though there are some bodies who can help.

2)      Randy Moss was accused of dogging it this year, but we learned he was battling an injury the whole season.  Moss (33)  contract expires in 2010.  Should New England draft a guy to replace Moss or a guy to compliment him? And who would you suggest?

Scott: I think the Patriots should go after some of the top talent in the Draft class. Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas are the two to watch, but will the Patriots spend a 1st round pick on a WR? Probably not. There is value later on with smaller, versatile players like Dexter McCluster, Marty Gilyard, and Andre Robert. Arrelius Benn is an option as a bigger target early. None will have Moss' impact unless the Pats pick a guy in Round 1.

3)      Rarely do rookies start in New England, but many do for other teams. What position should the Patriots draft in the first round with the expectation that they'll need to start right away

Scott: I see the Patriots nabbing a defensive lineman, linebacker or corner. With The whole WR shuffle in the East, I wouldn't be surprised to see New England nab a DB, but honestly, I think they're in the market for an OLB first. Though Sergio Kindle's name is on their list, I like Ricky Sapp from Clemson, or Jerry Hughes from TCU.

4)      Which team had the best Draft last year and why?

Scott: Tough call. I like what the Jets did in getting their QB of the future while still finding a talented RB later, but they only had 3 picks. Honestly, I think the Patriots built for the future. Were it not for Jack Del Rio being in charge, I think the Jags pulled a lot of talent that will prove valuable. 2 starting OL, a RB of the future (Jennings), a great story in CB D. Cox who a lot of scouts were buzzing about, and a DT Terrance Knighton who has potential to be really good. Add in their two WRs and a TE and that's a solid Draft class.


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