We are about to enter the slow news portion of the NFL offseason.
The NFL draft is over now. The predictable patent column formula after the draft is to recap the picks. Grades are dished out by draft gurus about two seconds after the Mr. Irrelevant pick is made.
OK, I get the logical behind writing a recap. I want to go a slightly different route. Instead of doling out grades I have one question for each rookie.
What is the minimum a player has to do in order for us to consider him a good pick?
Isaiah Wynn OT = the book on him is his superb talent. It’s a good omen when a player excels against high end talent. Wynn excelled when he went up against the football factory schools of the SEC. Lately it feels like every NFL offensive tackle is 6’8’’ 340 pounds. NFL.com lists Wynn as 6’3’’ and 313 pounds, and that is a midget in comparison. If he can be an above average tackle like Solder or guard like Logan Mankins then I’ll consider him a good pick.
Sony Michel RB = I actually like how Bill did a 180 this year. The last time he picked backs high was seven years ago. Laurence Maroney was the last back he took in the first round. The Patriots can now play the ball control/keep the offense off the field/keep the D fresh/burn clock style Bill Parcells did with the Giants. He’s a first round pick so I’m expecting Michel to put up a few 300 touches, 1,000 yards rushing, 500 yards receiving double digit touchdown seasons. If he can reach that baseline I’ll be thrilled.
Duke Dawson CB = Bill spent a ton of money on Gilmore and Malcom is gone. He must be thinking I need to get a hungry rookie and develop him like I did with Butler. Recent history shows the corners Bill drafts are a mixed bag. Hopefully Dawson shows Bill fixed the blind spot he had. He played at a top tier school and reportedly knows the schemes and coverages the Pats D runs. The book on him is that he’s smart, can quickly read routes and react to break up passes. My bare minimum for him is starter/effective slot corner. If he can reach that bar I’ll consider him a success.
Ja’Whan Bentley LB = My hope for him is an effective complimentary piece on the Patriots defense. If he can be a mean tone setting run stuffing middle linebacker like Brandon Spikes Bentley will be aces in my book.
Christian Sam LB = He’s big for a linebacker who can swallow up tight ends. The scouting report on him is that he can cover swing passes to running backs, and that was a weak spot for the Patriots D. If he’s strictly a coverage linebacker then I’ll be A-OK with this pick.
Braxton Berrios WR = Malcolm Mitchells career might be cut short due to his knee problems. 2018 will be Edelman’s 10th year in the pros. A slot receiver is critical to keep the Patriots offense moving. Berrios knows he’s not a high draft pick so he’ll have to work extra hard just to make the roster. If he can be an Edelman esque receiver; quick shifty good at racking up yards after the catch and quality return man I’ll be satisfied.
Danny Etling QB = I’m hoping for a young back up as good as Brian Hoyer.
Keion Crossen CB = Another corner for special teams/returns/rotation corner.
Initially I was clamoring for a couple of front seven guys and a tight end to prepare for like without Gronk. Will Bills moves be vindicated again?
Only time will tell.