With the draft coming up later this week, it is time for us bloggers to act like we have a say in things and begin to talk about who we think the Pats should select. The Patriots have had a great offseason so far in my opinion, with the exception of how they handled the whole Wes Welker situation. They brought in safety Adrian Wilson, and resigned cornerback Aqib Talib to boost their secondary, and signed defensive lineman Tommy Kelly as well. Offensively there is still work to do at the receiver position, but because in general receivers have a big bust potential, I feel that New England should wait until later in the draft to address that need.
Two guys I wouldn’t mind seeing the Pats go after in the first round are either Datone Jones from UCLA or Jamar Taylor from Boise State. Let’s start with Jones. He is a defensive end that really did not start to catch anyone’s eye until his senior year. In that senior year he finished with 57 tackles and 6 sacks, but numbers really don’t do justice to the effect Jones can have on a defense. He is a big guy at 6’4 and 283 pounds, and he has the ability to play on the edge and on the inside. He showed a good “burst” off of the line, and obviously at 283 pounds, he is a pretty strong guy. I think Jones has a ton of potential, and if developed properly I think he could be a solid pass rusher in the NFL. The main reason I would like to see the Pats go after him is partly because the John Abraham deal never got finalized. If the Pats had been able to sign Abraham then I wouldn’t want the Patriots to look at Jones. But now that Abraham is not with the Pats, I think Jones could bring that “flexibility” to the defense that Abraham was going to bring. With Jones in the fold on the defensive line, that would allow the Pats to really get creative on passing downs. They could move Jones to the inside with Wilfork, and have Ninkovich and Chandler Jones on the outside, or they could just have Chandler or Ninkovich move to the inside with Datone Jones on the outside. No matter how they do it, I think they could create sort of a ‘NASCAR’ type of look, kind of like the Giants have done in the past, and we know all too well how effective it can be. Bottom line is I think that Datone Jones will be available to the Pats late in the first round and I believe that he would be worth the pick.
The second guy that I brought up was Jamar Taylor, a cornerback from Boise State. Now, I don’t think Taylor is the type of player that will be able to become a lock-down corner down the road. From the tape that I have seen of Taylor, he seems much more suited to be in a zone scheme which will allow him to play off of his instincts and I think this is where he is at his finest. In terms of pure ability to make plays on the ball, I think Taylor is up there with top cornerback Dee Milliner. The only problem is that it is widely thought that Taylor can not play tight man coverage very well. Now I am no scout, but I agree with this. I don’t think Taylor is suited to play press type defense. But if the Pats are willing to have him play as a ‘dime’ back and sit back in a zone and make plays on the ball, then this would be a great pick for the Patriots. He would be a great complement to Talib and Alfonzo Dennard in the defensive backfield, and would be a good infusion of young talent into that improving Pats defense.