#KRM: New England Patriots Select Timmy Jernigan.
Bluedog93 kicks off this week in the KRM picking for the Pats.
It’s been two years since the New England Patriots last played in a Super Bowl and nine years since they actually won one, a long enough draught to lead to speculation in the popular media that the team is cursed. The truth is more prosaic. In reality, the Patriots have suffered a small but noticeable drop off in talent as elite talent like Randy Moss, Mike Vrabel and Wes Welker — cornerstones of the 2007 Patriots that went 18-0 before losing Super Bowl XLII to the Giants — have been replaced by lesser talents like Danny Amendola, Dont’a Hightower and Julian Edelman. As long as the Patriots have Tom Brady, they’ll always have a shot at winning it all. But there are enough weaknesses that they shouldn’t be considered favorites as more complete and dominant teams in Seattle and Denver have risen past them. To help, Bill Belichick hired old hand Mike Lombardi as an assistant to the coaching staff. What could possibly go wrong?
QB Starter: Brady.
Notable Backups: Ryan Mallet — Barring a meteor strike with an usual ricochet, the Patriots will not be drafting a quarterback in the first round. Unloading Mallet and finding a new future successor to Brady is not impossible.
RB Starter: Stevan Ridley.
Notable Backups: Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden — Ridley’s fumbling problems may have put him in Belichick’s doghouse and LeGarrette Blount has moved on, but that doesn’t put the Patriots anywhere near drafting a running back early.
WR Starters: Amendola, Edelman.
Notable Backups: Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell — Edelman (105 receptions, 1056 yards, 6 TDs) is the only one here with decent numbers, although if Amendola could still healthy. . . well, you know how that sentence ends. There’s room for improvement here.
TE Starter: Rob Gronkowski.
Notable Backup: Michael Hoomanawanu — With Gronkowski suffering a torn ACL and MCL from the December matchup against the Browns and needing to “take his time” to recover, and you-know-who being cut because of you-know-what, this is suddenly an area of need for the Patriots.
OL Starters (left to right): Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Sebastian Vollmer.
Notable Backups: Josh Kline, Chris Barker, Marcus Cannon — Wendell and Connolly are the weaknesses here, and either or both could be replaced.
DL Starters (left to right): Chandler Jones, Tommy Kelly, Vince Wilfork, Rob Ninkovich.
Notable Backups: Jake Bequette, Chris Jones — Anyone who saw the Broncos’ offensive line push the Patriots’ defensive line around in the AFC Championship, only to see the same offensive line get pushed around by the Seahawks defense two weeks later, knows that there was a problem here. A footnote is necessary, though, as Wilfork and Kelly were injured. The Patriots avoided a confrontation with Wilfork, who backed down from his demand to be released and agreed to a restructuring of his contract. He didn’t agree to reduce his age (32), however, and both Jones and Ninkovich played in over 95% of the defensive snaps last year, so help on the defensive line is an absolute must.
LB Starters (left to right): Jamie Collins, Hightower, Jerod Mayo.
Notable Backups: Steve Beauharnais, Ja’Gared Davis — The team lost Brandon Spikes to the Bills and backup Dane Fletcher to the Bucs, which is why players like Beauharnais and Davis keep showing up on depth charts as the first line of backups despite having combined for one whole tackle between them in their entire careers.
CB Starters: Darrelle Revis, Alfonzo Dennard.
Notable Backups: Logan Ryan, Kyle Arrington — Goodbye Aqib Talib, hello what’s-his-name. If only every free agent departure could be compensated for as well. The contract suggests a one-year rental, so a long-term solution could be sought in the draft.
S Starters: Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon.
Notable Backups: Patrick Chung, Kanorris Davis, Tavon Wilson — McCourty moved over from corner to safety in 2013 and performed well. The Patriots are fine here for now.
Considered and Rejected
Jason Verrett (CB TCU): At 5-9, I can’t see the Patriots spending a first round pick on the fourth or fifth best prospect at the position.
Kelvin Benjamin (WR Florida State): Maybe the best wide receiver prospect left on the board, his size (6-5, 240 lbs) but ho-hum speed (4.61 40) makes him very much a big boom-or-bust, but probably too much of a potential bust to be drafted in the first round.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE Washington): Seems to be evaluated as someone with the talent to be the best tight end in the draft, were it not for injury (foot – stress fracture) and character (DUI) concerns. Taking a gamble on high upside tight-ends with injury problems or character questions have, a cynic would say, paid off for the Patriots in the past, but only because they were far enough into the draft to be worth taking the risk.
David Yankey (G Stanford): I could swear this guy was the highest rated guard in the draft back in January, but seems to have dropped like a stone for reasons I can’t figure out. I’m including him here (and over guards that are currently rated higher) because I’m skeptical of this much pre-draft movement in a player’s ranking.
Weston Richburg (C Colorado State): The best player in the draft at his position and a definite area of need for the Patriots, but might still be there when the Patriots draft in the second round.
C.J. Mosley (LB Alabama): Probably the Best Player Available — or, at least, the last couple of pickers in the Kanicki Mock Draft seemed to think so — but doesn’t seem to fit a need here.
Considered, and Still Considered
Kony Ealy (DE Missouri): I’ll just quote Rob Rang from CBS on this one — “Ealy started at defensive end for the Tigers and certainly will be viewed as a quality defensive end from teams operating out of a 4-3 but he’s a fluid athlete also capable of making the transition as a standup outside linebacker in the 3-4. Few value versatility more than Bill Belichick.”
Stephon Tuitt (DE/DT Notre Dame): Another versatile lineman who can play in different places on the line or in different schemes, Tuitt (6-6, 304) draws lots of praise for his athleticism.
Timmy Jernigan (DT Florida State): A strong defensive tackle who can grow up to replace Wilfork or play alongside him.
Ryan Shazier (LB Ohio State): Another contender for BPA because of his athletic skills and ability to play well against both run and pass, despite lacking ideal size.
A Meaningless Paragraph of Rambling to Decide Between These Players
I don’t know what I’m doing here but I’m going to have to come up with somebody even though I don’t really have any confidence in my ability to pick anyone and how can anyone decide between Ealy and Tuitt and Jernigan without studying hundreds of hours of game film which I haven’t watched it’s absurd to even make an effort but I promised I’d do something so let’s start by kicking Robinson off the list I don’t think the Patriots will draft a wide receiver in the first round and if they did it might not even be Robinson but regardless there will be somebody there in the second or third round and I don’t think I want to discount Shazier just yet the OLB position is really weak once you get past the starters and I’m going to have to start making some decisions about the defensive lineman and opinions are everywhere on them I mean CBS has Jernigan rated above Nix and Hageman and Tuitt fourth while the NFL website has Tuitt third among all defensive lineman and Jernigan seventh and NFLDraftGeek doesn’t even compare them against each other because they have Tuitt as a 34 defensive end and Ealy as a 43 defensive end and Jernigan and a defensive tackle and I’ve looked at a couple of other websites but come on at some point this is just information overload I’m going to knock out Tuitt because of his medical concerns which I haven’t even mentioned but he’s got a foot fracture and just had surgery in March and between Jernigan and Ealy I actually think a defensive tackle is a bigger need because both Wilfork and Kelly are old and were injured last year and are costly besides and if you just need a defensive lineman to spell Jones and Ninkovich you have to figure that Belichick will find somebody later and that means I’ve still got to compare
Jernigan and Shazier and I could waste a lot of time going back and forth and really am starting to wonder if I should bring Tuitt back into the conversation I mean come on he has an injury in March everybody has an injury it’s the NFL we all remember how Courtney Brown didn’t have any injury problems in college and how he turned out and if Tuitt’s going to be healthy come the start of the season why let that affect the decision now but no I’m not going to go backwards I’m sticking with the decisions I make for better or worse and the subject up for discussion now is Jernigan or Shazier and while there’s a need at both positions Jernigan makes a bit more sense for me maybe because I’m still thinking about how bad the defensive line was last year which isn’t fair because both Wilfork and Kelly were injured but I don’t care and I don’t know what Belichick will do but Jernigan makes sense to me so I’m going to assume he makes sense to Belichick as well and we’ll just see what happens in May but we won’t have to because the players available when Belichick drafts are going to be different from what’s available now because if nothing else I’m starting to think I got my Lions pick wrong1 and maybe they would go with Evans and anyway there will be trades when the real draft comes which we don’t have in this mock draft and Belichick will probably be one of the ones trading in fact he’s a good candidate to trade down because he seems to do that a lot and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move down 10 or 15 spots and pick up an additional mid round pick that’s what I’d do if I were him and I wonder if the Browns would be a good trading partner so they could get a third first round pick and still have plenty of lower picks left over but Belichick
would probably want to drop further down than 35 I bet at 40 or 45 one of the players I’m considering here would still be available with my luck it would be Jernigan and remember how Bowers was supposed to be a top ten pick and fell to the middle of the second round and anyway maybe I should be going with Mosley since he’s the best player available or at least that’s what I think and Shazier makes sense and there are probably some offensive linemen I should have been looking at but anyway Jernigan.
AND WITH THE 29TH PICK IN THE NFL DRAFT, THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS SELECT TIMMY JERNIGAN, DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Bam. Great write up Bluedog. Especially liked the free-association draft pick rationale because that’s how I’d approach it. Maybe not Belichick, but me.
Rodofdisaster returns next picking for the Niners.
- Really want to frame up a draft re-do concept but still struggling. [back]