2019 Game Goat Thread: Wk. 13 at Texans

E5 Yaz

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As I’ve already said, the last drive I’ll grant. But not the two before that. Houston was trying to keep NE from scoring. The Pats just actually made some plays finally.
On the second drive, they were giving the Patriots the center of the field -- willing to give up points to burn time off the clock. They were not playing the defense that had given them a 28-9 lead.
 

54thMA

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They were sorely out-coached yesterday.
By Bill O'Brien.

In a perfect world, these two teams meet in the second round of the playoffs.

In Foxboro.

When half the team is not sick with the flu.

Then the Patriots get the Ravens in the AFCCG.


The Patriots revenge tour.

Make it happen Theo.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Houston after the first series last night put an extra man on LoS. Thus, the Patriots ran less from that point on. BB said as much
I don't think that's true, unless Bill meant to say after halftime instead of "after the first series." On the 1st play of the 2nd series, Sony Michel wasn't in the game. They went spread, with no running backs for 3 plays in a row, culminating with the interception. So Bill knew they put an extra man on the LOS before they actually took the field? And they did run last night. A lot. If I'm not mistaken, they ran the ball a season high 27 times for a season high 145 yards. They just didn't use the same "big" set they used on the first drive after the first drive, and put Brady in the shotgun all night and handed off draw plays to White instead.

And like I said, Houston was selling out on the run on that first series, especially on 1st and 2nd down. They may not have had an "extra guy" on the LOS, but they had 8 men in or very near the box, and yet, Sony still went for 6/33 on the first drive. It just didn't make sense to go away from it like they did. When the Pats went out for their 2nd series, they had a 3-0 lead after forcing consecutive punts by the Texans on their 1st 2 drives. Then they go spread, the interception happens, and they're down 7-3.

After that interception, and they went down 7-3, Sony got exactly one more carry in the 1st quarter (a 3 yard gain on 1st down). Zero carries in the 2nd quarter. On the 1st drive of the third quarter, he got the ball on the 1st carry and went for no gain, then the Brady pick that was overturned, then Sony got a 4 yard gain on 1st down, then it was an incompletion to Rex and a sack.

On the 2nd series of the 3rd quarter, Sony got 5 yards on 1st down.

And that was it. Sony never touched the ball again. On that same drive, White broke the long run down the sideline, and it became the James White as feature back, out of the shotgun, for the rest of the game, which was still only 14-3 with 10 minutes to go in the 3rd at that point.

I realize that they love James White as a pass blocker, and a pass receiver, and by having him in there, they get less predictable (although this is overblown, IMO, use Sony in play action, and they do fine usually), but that first drive was a good one, and they completely abandoned what seemed to be their game plan without even trying a play action pass off of it.
 

Super Nomario

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After that interception, and they went down 7-3, Sony got exactly one more carry in the 1st quarter (a 3 yard gain on 1st down).
They did only run two more plays in the first quarter. Fair enough on the second quarter, though the last drive was a two-minute drill where Sony obviously wasn't going to play.

On the 1st drive of the third quarter, he got the ball on the 1st carry and went for no gain, then the Brady pick that was overturned, then Sony got a 4 yard gain on 1st down, then it was an incompletion to Rex and a sack.

On the 2nd series of the 3rd quarter, Sony got 5 yards on 1st down.

And that was it. Sony never touched the ball again. On that same drive, White broke the long run down the sideline, and it became the James White as feature back, out of the shotgun, for the rest of the game, which was still only 14-3 with 10 minutes to go in the 3rd at that point.
After White broke the long run, they failed on fourth down and then they were down 21-3 and it became the White show from thereon out.

The game plan was definitely weird, with crazy stubborn running on the first drive even though the results were pretty blah outside of the 17-yarder, and then two 100% passing drives after that. I don't know how you watch that game and decide you want less James White though.
 

BaseballJones

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On the second drive, they were giving the Patriots the center of the field -- willing to give up points to burn time off the clock. They were not playing the defense that had given them a 28-9 lead.
So they were content to let the Pats rip down the field and score three straight touchdowns from the 5:00 mark of the third quarter on?

Or did the Pats happen to actually make some plays like we’ve seen them do a bazillion times before?
 

Super Nomario

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So they were content to let the Pats rip down the field and score three straight touchdowns from the 5:00 mark of the third quarter on?

Or did the Pats happen to actually make some plays like we’ve seen them do a bazillion times before?
I kind of think somewhere in the middle? I'm sure Houston didn't want the Pats to put up 14 on those drives (or convert first-and-30), but the Patriots did take a combined 12 1/2 minutes, which left them with not enough time to get the ball again at the end. I think they were trying to bend-but-don't-break but then they broke.
 

Super Nomario

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Why can't they play both Sony Michel and James White at the same time? Both can flank Brady and you have no indication of run or pass.
They did this a little in years past but it wasn't very effective. It seems easy to defend; you now have two eligibles who are behind the LOS, neither is going to lead block so having two RB doesn't help with the running game, and it makes it easy to defend White with a CB. The only thing I think it gives you is the ability to chip block on both sides, but that's of pretty limited value compared to everything else.
 

EL Jeffe

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For me, New England's pass rush (or lack thereof) was as big of a culprit as any. Houston has a lousy OL and New England couldn't generate enough heat, even when blitzing. Obviously Collins, Hightower and Van Noy were at less than 100%, but that was troubling. This needed to be one of those 6+ sack defensive poundings. They got to Watson 3 times.

Yes, you can point to the KVN hold or the Simon almost sack, but New England's front 7 should have been feasting all night. Watson was much too comfortable.
 

RedOctober3829

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They did this a little in years past but it wasn't very effective. It seems easy to defend; you now have two eligibles who are behind the LOS, neither is going to lead block so having two RB doesn't help with the running game, and it makes it easy to defend White with a CB. The only thing I think it gives you is the ability to chip block on both sides, but that's of pretty limited value compared to everything else.
Can't you send one of them in motion to the strong side to get a more favorable matchup and then still also run the ball out of that as well? Or against man to man you have the receivers all clear out and run one RB to the flat and the other one in the middle so LBers have to play them?
 

Super Nomario

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Can't you send one of them in motion to the strong side to get a more favorable matchup and then still also run the ball out of that as well?
If you send White, you're just basically using him as a WR and it's not really any different than running Sony out of 11. If you send Michel, you're getting White against a light box but you often get that anyway (like last night). Plus Michel is useless out wide.

Or against man to man you have the receivers all clear out and run one RB to the flat and the other one in the middle so LBers have to play them?
If a CB is on White a CB is going to be on White. And if you've already got Michel out there I think it's pretty easy to match a CB on White. I think it's pretty easy to match this group: just treat White as a WR. Not to say they shouldn't sprinkle in a play here or there just to see if the D does something dumb (and they usually do run a couple plays out of this personnel grouping), but it's got flaws as more than a gimmick change-of-pace.
 

PedroKsBambino

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The configuration I thought they'd do more with was Burkhead and White. That would enable them to send one out into the flat on either side, which creates matchup problems for the D. But also allows you to have one run behind the other (not optimal blocking or running, but competent either way, imo). I feel like that would give them flexibility in ways like they have used successfullly in the past. They could also flex either, or both, outside if they got a LB-heavy scheme. So, they could go from what looks like 21 personnel all the way to 5 wide.

I am sure there's a reason they aren't doing this, because thye are a lot smarter than I am. But in looking at this year's roster and thinking about creating optionality it has always been interesting to me.
 

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I am also curious why White or Rex couldn't be a lead blocker?

White all ready stands in and takes blitz pickup with a 250lb LB coming full speed. He doesn't need to 'stop' him but just move him off his pursuit path. Yes there will be some higher impacts with both players running, but a few times per game seems like it could work.

The coaches know more but it seems as stagnant as the PAts O is currently, maybe some new wrinkles would be good.
 

j44thor

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I am also curious why White or Rex couldn't be a lead blocker?

White all ready stands in and takes blitz pickup with a 250lb LB coming full speed. He doesn't need to 'stop' him but just move him off his pursuit path. Yes there will be some higher impacts with both players running, but a few times per game seems like it could work.

The coaches know more but it seems as stagnant as the PAts O is currently, maybe some new wrinkles would be good.
Blitz pickup and lead blocking are two completely different skills. Blitz pickup you are absorbing the defender at point of attack and simply keeping him in front of you, lead blocking you need to move the person in front of you out of the way opening a hole. White is good at blitz pickup at least in part due to his low center of gravity but he doesn't have the mass or power to move someone out of a spot.
 

McBride11

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Blitz pickup and lead blocking are two completely different skills. Blitz pickup you are absorbing the defender at point of attack and simply keeping him in front of you, lead blocking you need to move the person in front of you out of the way opening a hole. White is good at blitz pickup at least in part due to his low center of gravity but he doesn't have the mass or power to move someone out of a spot.
But not always. Run up the middle, White or Burkhead may simply have to go low on LB to keep them from getting into a rushing lane. Ie seal off the lane. Same a run at the edge. Not muscle them out. The benefit is likely the RBs see the same holes as each other Versus Roberts who sees it differently.

Every play? No, def not. Once in a while maybe. For example - if they had 2 rb and 3 wr and the D goes light, then run. If D goes heavy split white and rex wide and get mismatches on LBs.
 

RedOctober3829

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Garshaparra

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That article said he is still way (WAY) better than final year Manning. So if the Pats defense plays like that Denver defense - they can win a SB.
The strength of the Pats' defense is their secondary though, not their pass rush. Von Miller was otherworldly that year, demanding constant double teams, saving his best game for SB50. Could Hightower, Collins or KVN do the same this year? Not against a top flight team, it appears.
 

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It's not really sobering if you watch what's going on. He's not playing at a level where he can carry the team on his back anymore and doesn't have enough reliable pass catchers. Can they mask their problems for a 3 game stretch in Jan/Feb? Yes, they can. But, it's going to be hard.
The year after Matt Ryan won the MVP with 69.9/38/7, he came back with 64.7/20/12. Then he followed that up with another great year (~70/35/7) and this year's less-than-stellar numbers so far. Was he done, then not done, now done again?

Jared Goff was a nice 65/32/12 last year and is junk this year. Did it take two good years for the book to get out on him?

Aaron Rodgers' numbers from last year are not entirely dissimilar to Brady's prorated 12-game numbers so far this year (INT numbers were ungodly, but TDs and Comp% are similar), and I don't remember a ton of people calling him done.

As you note, you have to watch what's going on. He has gotten by with mediocre to worse receivers before, but the additional challenges caused by the makeshift OL are just too much. It would affect anyone.
 

Reggie's Racquet

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The year after Matt Ryan won the MVP with 69.9/38/7, he came back with 64.7/20/12. Then he followed that up with another great year (~70/35/7) and this year's less-than-stellar numbers so far. Was he done, then not done, now done again?

Jared Goff was a nice 65/32/12 last year and is junk this year. Did it take two good years for the book to get out on him?

Aaron Rodgers' numbers from last year are not entirely dissimilar to Brady's prorated 12-game numbers so far this year (INT numbers were ungodly, but TDs and Comp% are similar), and I don't remember a ton of people calling him done.

As you note, you have to watch what's going on. He has gotten by with mediocre to worse receivers before, but the additional challenges caused by the makeshift OL are just too much. It would affect anyone.
Matt Ryan is 34
Jared Goff is 25
Aaron Rodgers is 36
Tom Brady is 42
I’m not saying he’s done just he’s been trending in the wrong direction for the greater part of this season. For whatever reason.
 

Jimbodandy

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Matt Ryan is 34
Jared Goff is 25
Aaron Rodgers is 36
Tom Brady is 42
I’m not saying he’s done just he’s been trending in the wrong direction for the greater part of this season. For whatever reason.
He was trending in the wrong direction in his age 36 season too, when he was 60.5/25/11 and was not coincidentally sacked 40 times. Was he done then? He won three super bowls and league MVP since.
 

NickEsasky

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He was trending in the wrong direction in his age 36 season too, when he was 60.5/25/11 and was not coincidentally sacked 40 times. Was he done then? He won three super bowls and league MVP since.
Well that was also 6 years ago. Do you feel the same physically as you did 6 years ago?
 

Jimbodandy

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Well that was also 6 years ago. Do you feel the same physically as you did 6 years ago?
Hell no, but I also wasn't the best at my profession in the world 2 years ago by vote either.

Of course it's possible that we are watching the decline start. There's a nonzero chance that we're watching the cliff. It's not crazy talk.

But what also matters is watching what's on the field. Does anyone think that losing four starting offensive lineman won't affect a pocket QB? Does anyone think that having one experienced, starter-quality WR and zero such TE won't affect a pocket QB? Does anyone think that the combination of both of those things won't make a pocket QBs production fall off precipitously?

I gave a number of examples of top shelf QBs who turned into garbage and immediately returned to top form the following year, including the goat himself. It's not crazy talk to assume that this is not his failure either.
 

j44thor

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Hell no, but I also wasn't the best at my profession in the world 2 years ago by vote either.

Of course it's possible that we are watching the decline start. There's a nonzero chance that we're watching the cliff. It's not crazy talk.

But what also matters is watching what's on the field. Does anyone think that losing four starting offensive lineman won't affect a pocket QB? Does anyone think that having one experienced, starter-quality WR and zero such TE won't affect a pocket QB? Does anyone think that the combination of both of those things won't make a pocket QBs production fall off precipitously?

I gave a number of examples of top shelf QBs who turned into garbage and immediately returned to top form the following year, including the goat himself. It's not crazy talk to assume that this is not his failure either.
Yeah everyone is quick to point to the demise of Brady and there isn't enough discussion about the demise of their skill position players.
Jules is the only skill position player that can beat man coverage and he is a 33YO often knicked up slot receiver. They have no threat outside or down the seam which makes this a really easy team to defend. Couple that with shaky OL play and a lumbering rushing attack and it is no surprise Brady looks the way he does.

Bill B/Caserio deserve a lot more of the blame pie than Brady. They had ridiculous draft capital in 19 (4 in top 100) and came away with a possession WR, backup RB that can't get ahead of Burkhead, a situational pass rusher who has flashed and an all pro punter who probably saved the draft from being a disaster.

They also drafted a 6th DB at 45 when the likes of AJ Brown, DK Metcalf, Hardman, MacLaurin, Irv Smith, Dawson Knox etc were all still on the board. Give Brady one of those players and I doubt we are talking nearly as much about his decline right now. There is virtually no way the potential marginal upgrade from J Williams over JC JAX/J Jones/JMcCourty/Duke Dawson can ever justify that pick when you look at the deficiencies on offense in what is already shaping up to be a very strong draft for skill position players.
 

BaseballJones

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The Patriots are, IMO, going to be very happy they drafted Williams last year. He's going to be an anchor for this defense for many years. I think he's gonna be great.

But right now, obviously, it doesn't look good as he can't get on the field due to the quality ahead of him, and the fact that they have huge needs on offense.

But honestly:

1. Injuries: Wynn (thankfully he's back but he was out a long time giving us the Newhouse experience), Andrews (enormous loss), and even Mason and Cannon haven't been fully healthy. Develin's injury may be the biggest blow of all, as it turns out. Ghost is an underrated loss. Chung's injury for a few weeks didn't help either. Harry's injury cost him valuable reps and has delayed his development.

2. Retirement/etc: The Gronkowski retirement has been huge. Allen would have helped in the running game, and I'm still not sure why they haven't looked at him again. Trent Brown loss turns out to be big, as he was fantastic for them last year, but no way should they have paid him the money he got, so that's understandable.

3. Antonio Brown. He'd be an enormous help in football terms. I loved that they gave it a go. Hated rooting for what appears to be a colossal a-hole (the crazy part I don't mind), but from a football perspective he is phenomenal. So not having him really is a major loss, even though he only played one game for them. He'd open up SO much for them right now. Oh well.

Some of this they could have planned better for, like TE. They did address WR by signing Thomas and adding Harry, but obviously dealt Thomas and Harry's development hasn't happened as quickly due to injury.

Lots of reasons why they struggle on offense, some of which they could have done a better job with (personnel-wise) but some of which is just crap luck.
 

Shelterdog

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Yeah everyone is quick to point to the demise of Brady and there isn't enough discussion about the demise of their skill position players.
Jules is the only skill position player that can beat man coverage and he is a 33YO often knicked up slot receiver. They have no threat outside or down the seam which makes this a really easy team to defend. Couple that with shaky OL play and a lumbering rushing attack and it is no surprise Brady looks the way he does.

Bill B/Caserio deserve a lot more of the blame pie than Brady. They had ridiculous draft capital in 19 (4 in top 100) and came away with a possession WR, backup RB that can't get ahead of Burkhead, a situational pass rusher who has flashed and an all pro punter who probably saved the draft from being a disaster.

They also drafted a 6th DB at 45 when the likes of AJ Brown, DK Metcalf, Hardman, MacLaurin, Irv Smith, Dawson Knox etc were all still on the board. Give Brady one of those players and I doubt we are talking nearly as much about his decline right now. There is virtually no way the potential marginal upgrade from J Williams over JC JAX/J Jones/JMcCourty/Duke Dawson can ever justify that pick when you look at the deficiencies on offense in what is already shaping up to be a very strong draft for skill position players.
Or maybe they'd be stapled to the bench next to Harris because, well, playing a skill position for the Pats is really really tough.
 

j44thor

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Or maybe they'd be stapled to the bench next to Harris because, well, playing a skill position for the Pats is really really tough.
I have a feeling any one of them would be beating out Jakobi Myers at minimum, likely contributing significantly and possibly alleviating the need to trade a 2nd rd pick next year for Sanu. The opportunity cost of the Williams pick will be felt for years to come. Even if he reaches his 99th percentile and is the second coming of Richard Sherman the pass defense can't get that much better.
 

Super Nomario

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Yeah everyone is quick to point to the demise of Brady and there isn't enough discussion about the demise of their skill position players.
Jules is the only skill position player that can beat man coverage and he is a 33YO often knicked up slot receiver. They have no threat outside or down the seam which makes this a really easy team to defend. Couple that with shaky OL play and a lumbering rushing attack and it is no surprise Brady looks the way he does.

Bill B/Caserio deserve a lot more of the blame pie than Brady. They had ridiculous draft capital in 19 (4 in top 100) and came away with a possession WR, backup RB that can't get ahead of Burkhead, a situational pass rusher who has flashed and an all pro punter who probably saved the draft from being a disaster.

They also drafted a 6th DB at 45 when the likes of AJ Brown, DK Metcalf, Hardman, MacLaurin, Irv Smith, Dawson Knox etc were all still on the board. Give Brady one of those players and I doubt we are talking nearly as much about his decline right now. There is virtually no way the potential marginal upgrade from J Williams over JC JAX/J Jones/JMcCourty/Duke Dawson can ever justify that pick when you look at the deficiencies on offense in what is already shaping up to be a very strong draft for skill position players.
I think it's kind of silly to bag on BB and Caserio for the 2019 draft. Most rookies don't play much, or aren't good when they do play. Yes, of course you can always point to exceptions, and maybe you liked some of those exceptions even in foresight, but I remember a lot of folks around here who were big fans of Jace Sternberger or Andy Isabella or Parris Campbell or Jalen Hurd or Hakeem Butler or Kahale Warring.

OTOH the 2017 draft was a disaster and the 2018 and 2016 classes weren't any great shakes either. So it's fair to hold their feet to the fire for misfires there.

And rosters turn over so much that today's stocked position is tomorrow's need. So I have no issue with the decision to take Williams over a position that is more of a short-term concern. Who knows what 2020 will bring?
 

BaseballJones

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I have a feeling any one of them would be beating out Jakobi Myers at minimum, likely contributing significantly and possibly alleviating the need to trade a 2nd rd pick next year for Sanu. The opportunity cost of the Williams pick will be felt for years to come. Even if he reaches his 99th percentile and is the second coming of Richard Sherman the pass defense can't get that much better.
Maybe BB wasn't making that draft pick with this year in mind. Maybe he was looking more down the road with that pick, which is a smart thing to do if you're trying to be consistently good. Don't forget, Gronk didn't announce his retirement until a month after the draft. Maybe BB thought it was still reasonable to think he'd come back. Who knows.
 

Shelterdog

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I have a feeling any one of them would be beating out Jakobi Myers at minimum, likely contributing significantly and possibly alleviating the need to trade a 2nd rd pick next year for Sanu. The opportunity cost of the Williams pick will be felt for years to come. Even if he reaches his 99th percentile and is the second coming of Richard Sherman the pass defense can't get that much better.
The secondary is good but old; there will be plenty of chances for Willaims to contribute in years 2-4, which is what you're hoping for with most of your draft picks. Hard to see how the opportunity cost of a really good player (if he is one) is felt for years.
 

j44thor

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The secondary is good but old; there will be plenty of chances for Willaims to contribute in years 2-4, which is what you're hoping for with most of your draft picks. Hard to see how the opportunity cost of a really good player (if he is one) is felt for years.
Unless they are converting him to S, which I haven't heard, he is joining one of the youngest positions on the team. Jason McCourty is certainly old but Gillmore is 29, Jon Jones 26, JC Jax 24, lets not forget Duke Dawson was also on the team at the time.
DB was much younger and more established than the WR/TE positions.
 

BusRaker

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How many quarterbacks have been credited with a tackle, a 14+ yard rush, and 300+ passing yards in a game? Brady's version of the Gordie Howe hat trick!

Sorry ... mild sarcasm
 

NomarsFool

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Not getting a TE in the middle rounds seemed like a surprise at the time, and given the terribly play they've put out this year (which the coaching staff would know much more than us), even more of a surprise in hindsight.
 

NickEsasky

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Hell no, but I also wasn't the best at my profession in the world 2 years ago by vote either.

Of course it's possible that we are watching the decline start. There's a nonzero chance that we're watching the cliff. It's not crazy talk.

But what also matters is watching what's on the field. Does anyone think that losing four starting offensive lineman won't affect a pocket QB? Does anyone think that having one experienced, starter-quality WR and zero such TE won't affect a pocket QB? Does anyone think that the combination of both of those things won't make a pocket QBs production fall off precipitously?

I gave a number of examples of top shelf QBs who turned into garbage and immediately returned to top form the following year, including the goat himself. It's not crazy talk to assume that this is not his failure either.
Trust me I am in no way putting this all on Brady. But 6 years ago Brady could probably do a lot more to carry a mediocre offensive cast than he can now.
 

54thMA

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It's not really sobering if you watch what's going on. He's not playing at a level where he can carry the team on his back anymore and doesn't have enough reliable pass catchers. Can they mask their problems for a 3 game stretch in Jan/Feb? Yes, they can. But, it's going to be hard.
This is where I am.

He was such an elite QB, he could raise the talent up around him.

He can't do that anymore, which is why the AB thing sucks so much (let it go; I know, I know, but still..................).

To use a military analogy, he's Napoleon in 1813/1814; he's lost his fastball a bit, but he's still dangerous.
 

Super Nomario

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Not getting a TE in the middle rounds seemed like a surprise at the time, and given the terribly play they've put out this year (which the coaching staff would know much more than us), even more of a surprise in hindsight.
It was surprising, but I think they're really picky about TE and they didn't like anyone as a two-way option. And as bad as Ryan Izzo has been, he would be something like sixth in receiving yards for rookie TEs, with two of the guys ahead of him (Hockenson and Fant) guys the Pats had no shot at. Drew Sample and Josh Oliver have done nothing. Jace Sternberger and Kahale Warring have been hurt. Dawson Knox and Irv Smith have been pretty good for rookie TEs, but they're still on pace for like 400 receiving yards on the year. Not exactly moving the needle there.
 

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On TE:

1. They probably thought Izzo was better than he is. Izzo seems like the worst player ever though. I'd be absolutely shocked if he made next years team without making significant strides.

2. I can't be alone in thinking there was a giant drop off in the TE after Fant in the 2019 draft. I wish they traded up for one of the TE, especially considering how we used our 2019 3rd and 2020 2nd. Even more so, I wish we went up for TE in prior years. Guys like Goedert, Njoku, Andrews, and Hunter Henry were all there for the taking (or taking very moderate trades). Gronk retiring just compounded a problem they had anyway. I'd say I hope they address this next year, but QB WR and OT are even bigger priorities.
 

Super Nomario

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Mansfield MA
On TE:

1. They probably thought Izzo was better than he is. Izzo seems like the worst player ever though. I'd be absolutely shocked if he made next years team without making significant strides.
Izzo was supposed to be a top blocker who could surprise a little in the pass game; I think the latter part was true but his blocking was a big disappointment. How much of that is an inability that can't be fixed and how much is that TE is really hard to learn in NE's system, I don't know.

2. I can't be alone in thinking there was a giant drop off in the TE after Fant in the 2019 draft. I wish they traded up for one of the TE, especially considering how we used our 2019 3rd and 2020 2nd. Even more so, I wish we went up for TE in prior years. Guys like Goedert, Njoku, Andrews, and Hunter Henry were all there for the taking (or taking very moderate trades). Gronk retiring just compounded a problem they had anyway. I'd say I hope they address this next year, but QB WR and OT are even bigger priorities.
Henry went 35 in a draft where they didn't pick until 64. Njoku went 29 in a draft where they traded out of the first two rounds. It's also unclear whether he's good - he's been hurt all year. Henry of course has been hurt a ton, too. Goedert and Andrews were available, but they were guys who had poor blocking reps coming out (as did Gesicki). In hindsight it's easy to say they should have taken Andrews, but I have a tough time killing them for that when the Ravens who took Andrews preferred Hayden Hurst to him (who has been a huge bust).

As for trading up, Hockenson was a non-option (he went 8th), and even Fant would have cost a ton to get in front of Denver at 20. His blocking rep wasn't great either and his hands have been pretty spotty from what I've seen.
 

Shelterdog

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Feb 19, 2002
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New York City
Unless they are converting him to S, which I haven't heard, he is joining one of the youngest positions on the team. Jason McCourty is certainly old but Gillmore is 29, Jon Jones 26, JC Jax 24, lets not forget Duke Dawson was also on the team at the time.
DB was much younger and more established than the WR/TE positions.
While Dawson sucks and they presumably knew that, and Jones wasn't under contract past 2019, and you can always move on of the guys to safety or a nickel/dime/star role seeing how frequently you're playing five and six DBs.

Anyhow if you can't be convinced that a starting caliber corner is a good use of a second round pick (even on a team with a good secondary), or that one of rookie second round pick WR/TE available at 45 would have definitely made a big difference as a rookie (especially because the team did have a lot of incentives to take a WR or TE but apparently didn't think any were a fit) then we're just not going to agree on much.

The talent acquistiion hasn't been great over the past couple of years especially at the skill positions, and that's going to get you. Malcolm Brown should be on a second contract or being paid his option, but he's not that good. The 2016 draft-The Cyrus Jones/Valentine/Brisset/Thuney/Mitchell draft, with five 2-4th round picks, should be the core of the team right now and you're getting production from one of those guys (Karras and Roberts help a little but aren't that great). Just getting some production from one guy, Wise, from 2017 isn't enough. 2018 is ok but you probably would like a little more out of a first round running back. It's just a truism in this league that it's tough to have a great team unless you have a lot of talent on rookie contracts or otherwise on cheap deals.