View Full Version : No Second Guessing

04-25-2005, 05:20 AM
Here's an amusing article from Tom Curran in Monday's Providence Journal (http://www.projo.com/patriots/content/projo_20050425_25beat.2284f0c.html):

Patriots Beat by Tom E. Curran: There's no second-guessing Pats' strategy
01:00 AM EDT on Monday, April 25, 2005

FOXBORO -- How's this for front-office infallibility?

When the name of the Patriots' first-round draft choice -- Logan Mankins -- was announced Saturday afternoon, the heads of ESPN's draft talkers swiveled in unison to Mel Kiper Jr.

No draft evaluation on earth or in cyberspace had Logan Mankins going in the first round. You'd be hard-pressed to find any that had Mankins going in the second round. Normally, this would be an invitation for the humorless Kiper to dance on the heads of the seemingly overeager Patriots.

Instead, Kiper, who had Mankins rated as a third-rounder and projected him to go to Minnesota with the 80th pick, went into what seemed like damage control. The jist of his circuitous remarks were that, just because he had someone rated as the fourth-rated guard doesn't mean that guy can't be drafted in the first round.

The point we're trying to make is not that Kiper got it wrong with

Mankins. Nobody knows what kind of player he'll be yet. What's worth noting is that Kiper has made a name for himself by A) never admitting he got it wrong and, B) usually getting it right.

But on Saturday, Kiper was only too willing to defer to the Patriots. In other words, the Patriots are the draft experts. Kiper only plays one on TV. And when it came time to put his evaluation up against those of Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick, he slammed it into reverse.

Over the two-day draft, the Patriots added a pair of tackles who'll end up as NFL guards in Mankins and Toledo's Nick Kaczur. They grabbed corner Ellis Hobbs, who's 5-foot-8, can return kicks and is thought to be a very, very passionate player. They grabbed safety James Sanders and UNLV linebacker Ryan Claridge, who played inside linebacker in the Runnin' Rebels 3-4 alignment last year.

The Pats also added three picks for next season yesterday, swinging three trades yesterday, making it four overall for the two days of the draft. That sets them up with extra picks in the third, fourth and fifth rounds next season.

Every single player they added fits the Patriots' mold, so to speak. The only "issues" they have is being exceptionally intense on the field (Kaczur was bounced from a 2002 bowl game for punching a Boston College player late in the first half).

There will be no need for heavy-duty mind cleansing to accept the Patriots' way of doing things.

"I just want to play football," said Claridge. "I'm just trying to be part of the team. I will do what anyone tells me to do. If they want me to flip pancakes, I will flip pancakes."

Said Hobbs: "The one thing I want to deal with is weaknesses. I always put myself in a position where I am in second place running for first and there is always somebody in third trying to run up behind me."

"It's all about hard work," said Kaczur. "You get what you put into it."

"I enjoy special teams," said Sanders, "and that is one of the things I can't wait to do as soon as I get there."

Another time, another place and people might snicker at the gung-ho attitude of these guys. But there won't be any veterans telling these kids to settle down when they get to New England. Walk it like they talk it, maybe, but not tone it down.

Belichick has made a point of insisting the Patriots don't draft for need, but in this draft the team absolutely focused on the areas that needed a depth infusion.

The addition of Claridge with the 170th overall pick was a particularly good get because the New England linebacking crew needs to get younger, especially inside. And it behooved the Pats to find an inside linebacker who could grasp the nuances of 3-4 sooner rather than later.

When the post-draft grades are released tomorrow (about two years earlier than they should be), expect the Patriots to get a bunch of B's from the people who spend their time predicting which college players should go where.

None of these experts would have made the same picks if they were sitting in the Patriots' place, but New England's hoisted too many Super Bowl trophies, won too many big games, and done so with too many overlooked players for anyone to wonder if they know what they're doing.

When it comes to the Patriots, you just assume they get it right during the NFL Draft. There's not much historical evidence that they do anything else.

04-25-2005, 05:58 AM
.....What's worth noting is that Kiper has made a name for himself by A) never admitting he got it wrong and, B) usually getting it right.

A) correct
B) X

04-25-2005, 07:05 AM
Originally posted by dropKickMurphy
A) correct
B) X

I love your new avatar.

04-25-2005, 07:16 AM
You know, even funnier than the ESPN broadcast team's reaction to Mankins was their reaction to Ellis Hobbs.

Did you see it?

They announced it and they all just sat there. You could almost read the thought bubbles in their heads...

Who the hell is Ellis Hobbs? Do we even have material or footage on Hobbs?

And evidently ESPN didn't, because unlike all other players on that first night, they didn't have any scouting reports to paraphrase or footage to show.

But 'nary a peep of protest or derision.

Then, when Kaczur was selected, Mortensen came out with his story about an anonymous GM/Player Personnel guy who he knew was crying in his soup because the Pats had taken the two best linemen...regardless of what all the scouting reports had said.

Wow. How are the Pats going to play the no respect card this year?