Now that news on the 2013 NFL Draft is all the rage, we’ll be bringing to you news updates, mock drafts, and more draft analysis regarding the New England Patriots on Musket Fire throughout the months of February, March, and April.
CBS Sports draft analyst Dane Brugler is one of the best in the business, and he tweeted some interesting things about two highly regarded draft prospects in Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore and Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Brugler holds one of those two players in high regard (higher than most), but he isn’t as high as most people on the other player.
Brugler tweeted that he doesn’t view Damontre Moore as an elite guy, because he isn’t a good enough “hand-on-ground DE” yet. Like most people, Brugler believes Moore is a “talented” pass rusher and praised his motor, but it’s interesting to hear that he doesn’t view Moore (most likely a top ten pick) as an elite draft prospect. The Patriots won’t be picking up an edge rusher this year, because they have bigger positions of need. However, I wouldn’t completely rule it out if Moore somehow dropped outside out of the top 20. That’s even less likely of a proposition, but I still find Brugler’s quick notes on Moore interesting from an overall “let’s talk football” perspective.
With Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington set to hit free agency (put dime corner Marquis Cole on that list as well), the New England Patriots could potentially pick up a cornerback in the draft. I’ve heard some fans toss Xavier Rhodes out there a few times as somebody to potentially pick up in the second round of the draft (maybe even the first), but it sounds like Rhodes might not last that long.
According to Brugler, Rhodes is worth a “Top-20 grade” which means that Brugler grades Rhodes higher than most other draft analysts. Rhodes hasn’t earned many first-round grades in mock drafts that I’ve seen, but he is a physical corner who excels in man coverage. Bill Belichick likes those guys, and Rhodes’s strength, size, and ability in press coverage remind me of the Seattle Seahawks corners. Patriots fans, of course, don’t like those two, but boy is a guy like Rhodes a weapon to have for your team. He’s simply a pest, even if he will need to reign in those hands a little bit.
If Rhodes does fall into the Patriots lap in the second round and the Pats feel like they want to add another CB into the mix, Rhodes is a possibility. With these news updates, I won’t be ruling anybody out and will instead discuss every notable prospect who fits a position of need that I find. The Pats have bigger needs than CB and will likely keep two or three CBs of the four (add Ras-I Dowling into the “?” bin this offseason), but we’ve seen crazier things.
If the Pats don’t want to release Dowling (I hope they give him another shot), then they won’t even think about drafting Rhodes. Both players had about the same rating heading into the draft and both are physical CBs with similar skill-sets. It’s just that Rhodes is less injury prone but also has less speed than Dowling.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.