New England Patriots: Solid 2nd and 3rd Round
By Cyrus Geller
November 24, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Logan Ryan (11) in coverage against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Panthers won 27-6. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots came into the second day of the NFL draft without one draft pick. They changed that tonight by making four very good selections in the second and third rounds. Bill Belichick has proven his genius yet again so far in this draft by trading out of the first round and getting a lot of good value in the second and third rounds.
In the second round the Patriots first picked pass rusher Jamie Collins and then receiver Aaron Dobson. I absolutely loved the Dobson selection, and now after watching a little bit of Collins I like that pick as well. Coming into the draft, the Pats biggest need was obviously at receiver and by picking up Dobson I think they have filled this need to a certain degree. Dobson is a big guy at 6’3 and he has a humongous upside. I mentioned this earlier, but I really believe that Dobson could finally be the guy that brings an outside the numbers, vertical presence to the Patriot offense. He has all of the tools, and most importantly in my mind he has the brains. ESPN’s Todd McShay pointed this out when the selection was announced, he said that Dobson is a very smart football guy and that could be what it takes for a rookie receiver to stick around in a Tom Brady led offense. Dobson is big and fast, and I think Tom Brady is going to really love this guy for years to come. He hasn’t had a player with physical traits like this for a long time. As for Collins, I am starting to really like this pick as well. As I have watched him more and more, he just gets more explosive and more explosive. He is an incredible athlete and will bring solid depth to the edge for the Pats. He can also allow the Pats to play some interesting defensive fronts in certain passing situations. Between him, Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, and Justin Francis, there are a ton of interesting possibility’s for the Patriots to explore. We will see how Collins develops, but with his athleticism I think he has a lot of potential as an NFL pass rusher.
In the third round the Pats selected cornerback Logan Ryan and safety Duron Harmon. I like the Ryan pick, but I really don’t know anything about Harmon, so I can’t pass much judgement on him right away. Ryan is a very underrated prospect, and down the road I think he could possibly be a starting corner in this league. He has very good man coverage skills and that is what I like about him. For such a young guy his cover skills are actually quite good. He gets aggressive at the line of scrimmage and is decent at re routing receivers. He is not the fastest guy in the world, but with his type of skills as a cover corner, I think he can make up for it. I don’t know as much about Harmon, this is sort of like Tavon Wilson last year, in that this guy was picked out of nowhere by Belichick and the Patriots. Harmon adds more depth to an already deep safety position, so we will see how that works out.
The main reason I liked the second and third round picks so much is because the Patriots filled a lot of their main needs. They got a good young receiver in Aaron Dobson, and Logan Ryan is a corner that I really think can do some things if he is developed right. The same goes for Jamie Collins, I think he has a ton of potential and he can be a good player down the road for the Patriots.
I am really excited for this Patriot team in 2013, especially with these new young guys added to the team I think the Pats can do something special. I don’t want to jinx anything but something feels different about this squad. I am getting a little bit of the early 2000’s vibe from them and that is very exciting as a Patriots fan.