It's time for another post-draft mailbag, and this one features a couple of more questions about the Patriots' draft, as well as Bill Parcells' candidacy for the Pats' Hall of Fame, Ryan Mallett's potential and some clarification on lockout procedures.
Thanks to everyone who sent in a question, and if yours wasn't answered, come on back next week.
Do you think the Pats would have drafted Mark Herzlich if he didn't have Tom Condon as his agent?
–Pats fan in LA
That's a really interesting question, and I don't know for sure one way or the other. While the Patriots have refused to deal with Condon — the Pats also left CAA client Anthony Castonzo on the board in the first round — I'd be sort of surprised if they passed over Herzlich in the seventh round simply because of Condon. Then again, I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if that thought at least played a small part in their decision.
The bottom line, I think, needs to be the fact that everyone passed over Herzlich, and that's a strong indication that all 32 teams don't believe Herzlich is ready yet. Obviously, plenty of undrafted players have successful careers, and if there's anyone to bet on, Herzlich would be the guy. If you missed it this week, check out my post-draft conversation with the former Boston College linebacker.
OK, I wasn't happy with trading the 28th pick and missing on a great running back. Day two, and what bad picks! I guess we have no problems with our pass rush on defense. Look at Bill Belichick's picks over the last five years. Not too many came through. Someone explain to me, why these picks?
I've already detailed why I believe Belichick made a number of good picks, though I do understand the criticism for failing to address the pass rush. However, if Mark Ingram was a "great running back," he would have gone in the top 10, if not the top five.
And I have looked at the Patriots' last five drafts, which included players like Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Meriweather, Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung, Sebastian Vollmer, Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes and Aaron Hernandez. Sure, the 2006, 2007 and 2008 drafts were borderline abysmal, but the last two have been tremendous.
Why is Bill Parcells even remotely being considered for the Patriots Hall of Fame?
I understand the vitriol that fans have for the way Parcells bolted from New England, but Parcells deserves all the credit in the world for taking over a dying franchise and making it legitimate again. To be honest, I'd be shocked if Parcells beat out Drew Bledsoe for the Hall of Fame vote this year, but the great part about the process is the inductee is voted in by the fans. So, the forum is all yours.
Why is it when there's a disagreement between the owners and the players, there's no default? There should be a neutral party that says if neither side can agree on a matter by a set date, the neutral can default to the previous year's agreement. Why should the fans suffer because of greedy players and owners? They're greedy and can't decide, so they should lose — not the loyal fans.
–Bruins Fan Forever
When you're talking about an industry that reels in $9 billion per year, you can't just leave its fate up to a mediator. At some point, they should be expected to figure it out on their own.
What is the best-case scenario for Ryan Mallett?
The best-case scenario is Mallett cleans up his reputation off the field, puts together some good tape in the preseason and elevates his stock on the trade market. If he stays out of trouble, his talent will take care of the rest, and the Patriots might be able to turn him into a first-round pick in 2013 or so.
Of course, another positive scenario would involve Mallett succeeding Tom Brady. However, Brady's contract runs through 2014, and he has said he'll play until he's at least 40, which would take him through 2017. Mallett will turn 27 before the 2015 season and 30 before the 2018 season, and it's highly unlikely he'd want to wait five to eight years before getting his first chance to start.
Plus, he'll likely sign a three- or four-year rookie deal, so he would need to sign a second contract to remain Brady's backup. If the Patriots have kept him around that long, it's because he has been a good citizen, which will answer the only question that personnel departments had about him during the pre-draft process. Therefore, Mallett would receive a pretty hefty contract and an opportunity to start if he hit free agency.
Therefore, the Patriots would be better off trading him as soon as they can attain a desirable value, which would free them from the risk of losing him on the open market. It would also be a best-case scenario for Mallett because he'd get an earlier opportunity to lead a franchise.
With the Pats trading this year's picks for 2012 picks, what will happen if there is no season? Will there be a draft? And what about the current rookies, would the team that drafted them still own the rights to them or do they go back into the draft pool?
The 2011 draft was the last scheduled event on the NFL calendar, so if the lockout is still going at this time next year, the 2012 draft will not happen until the two sides reach an agreement. The teams will still have the rights to the current rookies (the players drafted last week).