Monday, May 04, 2015

Patriots Draft Focuses On Defense

The NFL Draft weekend has come and gone and Bill Belichick's Patriots selected eleven new players that will compete for positions on the defending Super Bowl champions' roster.

Belichick constantly states that team building is a process and he lives up to that mantra which makes it difficult to make accurate projections on how any of the new Patriots will fit in if they make the team.

Here is a look at the possible projections for the draft picks

Malcom Brown, DT, 1st Round - He will be expected to contribute immediately on the interior of the defensive line.

Jordan Richards, SS, 2nd Round - Richards, this year's surprise pick by the Patriots, could be in the safety rotation and should be a special teams contributor as well.

Geneo Grissom, OLB/DE, Oklahoma, 3rd Round - Grissom will be expected to help bolster the pass rush in sub packages as well as find a role on special teams.

Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas, 4th Round - Like Grissom, Flowers should help with the pass rush and on special teams.

Tre Jackson, G, Florida State, 4th Round - Jackson will have an opportunity to start immediately as the Patriots rebuild their interior offensive line.

Shaquille Mason, G, Georgia Tech, 4th Round - Mason will also have an opportunity to start immediately as the Patriots rebuild their interior offensive line.

Joe Cardona, LS, Navy, 5th Round - If he gets a waiver from the Navy and can go to training camp, Cardona would be expected to be the team's long snapper.

Matt Wells, OLB, Mississippi State, 6th Round - Wells could be a candidate to make the roster as a "cover linebacker" due to his speed (4.42 40-yard dash).

AJ Derby, TE, Arkansas, 6th Round - The Patriots love the tight end position and Derby could make the roster as he would offer the team youth and athleticism at the position.

Darryl Roberts, CB, Marshall, 7th Round - The Patriots had an obvious need at cornerback but they waited until the 7th Round to address the position.  Roberts has decent size (5-11, 190-pounds) and good speed (4.36 40-yard dash) but he will probably have to prove himself as a special teams player to make the team in September.

Xzavier Dickson, OLB, Alabama, 7th Round - Dickson will have the opportunity to compete for a spot as a position pass rusher and special teams contributor.

A quick analysis of this draft and free agency leads one to believe that Belichick's defense will focus more on pressuring the passer than in the past.  They already have established starters Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich at defensive end and have Zach Moore and Jake Bequette on the roster.  Now they have added Jabaal Sheard in free agency and drafted three more pass rushers this weekend.

It seems the idea will be to put as much pressure on opposing quarterbacks as possible to cover up for a secondary that has lost Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

Teams like the Giants, in winning Super Bowls in 2007 and 2011, have proved that it does not matter who is covering opposing receivers when the defensive line and linebackers can record sacks or pressure quarterbacks into mistakes.

Let's hope that's how it works out for the Patriots.

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