Friday, April 11, 2008

Who Dat? Draft Preview: Cornerbacks

Gone: Asante Samuel, Eugene Wilson, Randall Gay
Acquired: Tank Williams, Lewis Sanders, Jason Webster, and Fernando Bryant

Yuck. It’s pretty clear that this is going to be the Patriots biggest need going into the draft. They lost two of their starting cornerbacks (one being a top 5 DB) and a safety that was crucial during their 2003 Super Bowl run. The level of talent they brought in to replace them leaves a lot to be desired. Williams, Sanders and Webster figure to be nothing more than special teams players who fill in on nickel and dime packages, and Bryant will have to prove to the coaching staff that he is worth a spot on this team. I doubt that Belichick will be able to pull any magic out with this crew, and they could all be cut before the season starts. So that being said, the Patriots will be going into next season with some huge holes to fill in their secondary, will they use the #7 pick to go after one? I doubt it. Cornerbacks notoriously are slow learners to the speed and complexity of the game in the NFL, and I can’t see Pioli and Company wasting money on high draft pick at this position. That being said here are some of the early round secondary options the Pats could consider:

1. Leodis McKelvin- Troy- A quick little shit, that could stick to any NFL receiver, tore it up at Troy last year. Might get burned frequently in the NFL as he takes a lot of chances, which could be toned down with some good coaching. Probably will go early to mid first round, and if the Pats are interested in him (which I have heard they are), I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade down to get him. Off topic question: Where the fuck is Troy?
2. Brandon Flowers- VT- Tough corner back who anchored the secondary of one of the best defenses in college football last year. Kept Matt Ryan contained for most of the ACC Championship. Strong with excellent hands and coverage ability he could fall to mid first round. Different guy than the keyboardist of The Killers.
3. Aqib Talib- Kansas- A big play defender who shut down some great offenses last year. Reportedly, his stock has fallen hard as many teams see his drug use (loves to smoke the ganja) as a potential problem. Tested positive for weed three times, but Mark Mangino insisted on playing him. God I love that man.
4. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie-Tennessee State. Another CB playing in a small conference school, who’s stock has ass-ploded since the Senior Bowl. His name started getting mentioned in the first round after he had a phenomenal combine. Ran a 4.33 – 40. best time in this group of corners. He is undersized and needs to bulk up. Also is the Cousin of Antonio Cromartie, which means absolutely nothing.
5. Mike Jenkins- USF- Big dude, with long arms who can be physical with wide receivers. Could be attractive to B.B because of his versatility at CB and safety, something that the Pats look for (Eugene Wilson & B. Meriweather). Isn’t a good run defender. Might be a steal in the second round for the Pats.

The draft choices at DB are not a bad group, and you could see the Pats trade down to take a few of these players. The Patriots are going to look for a guy who can pick up their complex defense quickly, and be physical, something that has been their hallmark in the past. If Matt Ryan or Darren McFadden are still on the board I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pats trade down to #13 (Panthers) or #14 (Bears) and stock up on more draft picks to try and fill those gaps.

Coming up, prospects available at Linebacker

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