Have the New England Patriots finished making splash acquisitions? Is it safe to leave the house?
The Patriots appear to have played the free-agency game correctly, as usual, this offseason. They let other NFL teams spend recklessly in the opening days of the NFL year then made two splash trades and found great value in pass rusher Chris Long.
The lesson, as always, with the Patriots? Stay patient. It usually works itself out.
Before the Patriots add three more former first-round draft picks, let’s get into this week’s mailbag.
@DougKyed for mailbag. With both Gronk and Bennet being adept at run blocking and an althetic Line, Do you see the pats run more than usual?
That depends on how they add to their running back corps before the season begins. If they add a big back in free agency and select another running back in the draft, then I could see them running more than last season. It also depends on how the interior offensive line improves over the offseason. They have much higher potential with Jonathan Cooper on board and Shaq Mason and Tre’ Jackson another year older.
I think, most importantly, the addition of tight end Martellus Bennett, and maybe even running back Donald Brown, make the Patriots’ offense less predictable. Bennett will essentially take over for Michael Williams next season, and he’s probably as good of a blocker and an exponentially greater receiver.
When Williams was on the field last year, opposing defenses didn’t have to worry about him as a receiver. Bennett is not only a threat, he’s one of the better tight ends in the NFL.
It will be interesting to see how the running back competition shakes out next year. Brown’s addition didn’t generate much excitement, but one could make the case that he’s better than White. He’s more versatile at the very least.
White proved he’s a nice pass-catcher, hauling in 40 receptions for 410 yards with four touchdowns last season, but he had just 22 carries for 56 yards with two touchdowns in 14 games. Opposing defenses didn’t need to respect the run when he was on the field, which became an issue.
Brown isn’t Barry Sanders, but he’s averaged 4.1 yards per carry over his career compared to White’s 2.6. He’s also an adept pass catcher with 120 receptions for 1,066 yards in seven seasons.
@DougKyed what do you think was belichick’s best draft? (don’t say 2000 just because of Brady)
This is a great question because there’s not really an obvious answer.
Based entirely on Pro-Football-Reference.com’s career AV metric, it goes:
1. 2003 – 260
2. 2005 – 236
3. 2000 – 214
4. 2010 – 189
5. 2001 – 188
The 2003 draft included Ty Warren, Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel, Dan Koppen and Tully Banta-Cain. None of those players were superstars for the Patriots, but they’re four solid starters and one contributor.
The 2005 draft had Logan Mankins, Ellis Hobbs, Nick Kaczur, James Sanders and Matt Cassel. Cassel’s AV throws this one off a bit, but Mankins is a legit star, and Hobbs, Kaczur and Sanders were multi-year starters.
The 2000 draft included Brady, Adrian Klemm, J.R. Redmond, Greg Randall and Patrick Pass. Brady might be the best quarterback in NFL history, but no one else in this class was a consistent starter.
The 2010 draft had Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez and Ted Larsen. This had the potential to be the best, but Hernandez will spend the rest of his life in prison, and Spikes “hit a deer” last offseason.
The 2001 class was top-heavy with Richard Seymour and Matt Light. It also included Kenyatta Jones.
I think it has to be the 2003 class, even though Samuel had some of his best seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
@DougKyed What would Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski’s tag team be named if they were wrestlers?
The Unicorn and Show Pony, maybe?
@DougKyed with the characters on the team signed recently, is gronk still the best interview or is there a new king in town?
Gronk was never actually the best interview in town. That award goes to Julian Edelman. He definitely has some competition with Chris Long and Bennett on the squad, though.
@DougKyed will pats fans finally stop asking if we are going to get a deep threat with Bennet signing?
Ha! Not a chance.
@DougKyed should we trade up in the 2nd round or use those 2 2nd round picks??
Selfishly, I’d like the Patriots to split up those picks. It’s a headache having to write up two draft picks in a row.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots packaged picks to trade up in the second round (or even up to the first) while also picking up a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick. As it stands, the Patriots must wait 100 selections between their third- and sixth-round picks. The Patriots like to have their picks a little more spread out.
@DougKyed after a surprising FA period, what holes are left to fill?
Development tackle? BB seems to have done well!
That Bill Belichick guy seems to know what he’s doing sometimes.
In order, I’d go:
1. Running back: They need to add a big back.
2. Offensive tackle: They need a future starter and swing tackle.
3. Defensive tackle: They should look to replace Akiem Hicks.
4. Wide receiver: They need to add youth with Danny Amendola’s future with the team up in the air.
5. Cornerback: They have just five players at the position, and Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan are free agents after the season.
@DougKyed do you think the acquisition of Marty B. gives Pats enough depth or do they need one more WR? If so, Will it be from FA or draft?
This kind of depends on whether Amendola sticks around. If he does, I still think they should draft a receiver relatively high. If Amendola is out, they could afford to add another free agent and a rookie.
@DougKyed any reason why people seem to hate on Logan Ryan for no reason?
Not that I can see. He was the Patriots’ best cornerback at times last season.
@DougKyed with Cooper in the picture, who projects as the starting guards?
I wish I knew. I’ll project Shaq Mason and Jonathan Cooper, but only because I think they have the most upside. Josh Kline was the Patriots’ best guard last season, if that counts for anything.
@DougKyed Two parter: #1 Will you punch me if I ask about Josh Gordon? #2 Should the pats consider adding Gordon if Amendola is moved?
@DougKyed if reinstated, thoughts on a Josh Gordon for Jimmy G. trade? Talk about firepower.
I’ll handle these at once.
First, Tony, I would never punch you. Second, I don’t think the Cleveland Browns should trade Gordon. They won’t receive market value for him, and he has the potential to be one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
Even if he’s available, however, I’d be surprised if the Patriots showed too much interest. Patriots assistant to the coaching staff Mike Lombardi saw Gordon’s issues firsthand while general manager of the Browns.
Finally, no, I wouldn’t trade Garoppolo for Gordon even if he’s available. That probably sounds a little ridiculous to some, since it would be trading a backup quarterback for a guy who had 1,646 yards three seasons ago, but that guy is one failed test away from an indefinite suspension. That Gordon is even at that point shows how little control he seems to have over his substance-abuse issues. The risk of giving up anything substantial for Gordon isn’t worth the low chance at a reward. The Patriots also value their backup quarterbacks, and there’s a chance the Patriots will need Garoppolo next season depending on the ruling of three judges.
@DougKyed is this the worst Mania main event of our adult lives?
I didn’t really watch wrestling between 2000 and 2012, so I can’t say this for certainty, but it might have the worst buildup. No one really cares who will win because Roman Reigns is so uninteresting on the mic that anyone over the age of 14 can’t muster up much of a response to him.
That being said, he’s an entertaining wrestler, and so is Triple H, so I think it will be a good match, and I’m not just saying that because I’m going to WrestleMania (not even a humblebrag. Just a straight-up brag). At the very least, it will be better than The Miz vs. John Cena, the WrestleMania 27 main event.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jul 30, 2015; Bourbonnais, IL, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) during practice at Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports