2022 Fits

SMU_Sox

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Let’s kick off the college football bowl season with a thread for prospect fits.

I will start with a guy I think can replace Hightower longterm. Right now schematically they are going with ILBs who can take on OL in the run game, blitz, and for Hightower also take snaps as an OLB. Enter Cincinnati LB Darrian Beavers. He’s 6’4” 255-260. He’s probably more athletic than Hightower coming out. He can stack and shed well, his tackling is solid, and his reach and range to bring guys down is impressive. He is a quick processor and rarely is out of position. He is effective as a blitzes and edge rusher. He’s also held up setting the edge when he does play as an OLB. He has something like 700 special teams snaps and is a leader and high character player. Simply put he checks all the boxes. The Patriots need a guy to replace Hightower long term and you won’t find a closer version of Hightower in this draft than Beavers.
 

Mooch

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Thinking along the same lines, where do you have Leo Chenal from Wisconsin if he comes out? Could be a day 3 guy but he's pretty stout (6'2, 255) and screams through gaps at the line. I like that kid a lot.
 

SMU_Sox

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Haven’t seen him but I like your thinking. When looking for LBs these days Bill is finding really good 240+ guys who 10-25 (somewhere in there) years ago would have been more coveted. He will limit what they do in coverage. It also helps to have a strong defensive line so they don’t get exposed trying to cover too much space. But if you find smart, powerful, good tackling ILBs who can thump post about them here. Also a gentle reminder that undersized athletic LBs linked to the Patriots will be mocked mercilessly on this sub-forum. Kidding… sort of. At some point though we need to accept what he wants in his guys. Plus he would rather use Phillips and Dugger and safeties instead of athletic LBs.
 

BrazilianSoxFan

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Speaking of safeties, what do we look for when searching for a McCourty replacement? Do we even look at safeties or for a somewhat slow but smart corner?
 

SMU_Sox

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Speaking of safeties, what do we look for when searching for a McCourty replacement? Do we even look at safeties or for a somewhat slow but smart corner?
Daxton Hill out of Michigan is an early round guy. Former corner and can play most DB positions. Has incredible speed. Special teams ace. Like a lot of Michigan guys coming out he doesn’t have a ton of experience but he is great in run support, processes well, and has the mental and physical traits BB usually looks for in FS’s.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Everything could change in free agency but this seems like a perfect year to draft an OT high, with the idea of letting him get his feet wet in 2022 behind Wynn and Onwenu (or winning a starting job if he comes on quick) and then taking Wynn's place in 2023. Any thoughts on the tackle class?
 

SMU_Sox

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Everything could change in free agency but this seems like a perfect year to draft an OT high, with the idea of letting him get his feet wet in 2022 behind Wynn and Onwenu (or winning a starting job if he comes on quick) and then taking Wynn's place in 2023. Any thoughts on the tackle class?
Yeah there are a ton of FAs this year so a lot depends on what they do. JCJ and Trent Brown decisions will help shape what they might want to do in the draft. I did a deep dive on a bunch of OTs this off-season but I wasn't that impressed. I have heard there are 10-11 guys I need to look at though. Right now though it isn't that good of a class at the top. I love Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal shows promise. I also like Daniel Faalele the huge OT out of Minnesota. There might be quite a few day 2 guys but I will know more about that later in the draft season.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Yeah there are a ton of FAs this year so a lot depends on what they do. JCJ and Trent Brown decisions will help shape what they might want to do in the draft. I did a deep dive on a bunch of OTs this off-season but I wasn't that impressed. I have heard there are 10-11 guys I need to look at though. Right now though it isn't that good of a class at the top. I love Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal shows promise. I also like Daniel Faalele the huge OT out of Minnesota. There might be quite a few day 2 guys but I will know more about that later in the draft season.
I was looking at Faalele the other day just because he seemed like the perfect Trent Brown replacement (as a ceiling at least). But I do wonder whether the Pats would target a guy who can only play on the right side, especially with the team seemingly pretty lukewarm on Wynn and likely not giving him a big second contract.
 

SMU_Sox

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I was looking at Faalele the other day just because he seemed like the perfect Trent Brown replacement (as a ceiling at least). But I do wonder whether the Pats would target a guy who can only play on the right side, especially with Wynn not looking like he'll deserve a second contract.
Yeah, and typically they take guys in the first 3 rounds who have played LT (and by typically I mean every. single. time.) so I don't think he is in their consideration set. But you never know because he is a rare size/athleticism talent. He also is a total mauler as a run blocker :). My kind of guy.
 

j44thor

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What is the overall consensus of this draft? In the little bit of research I've done is seems below average which is surprising considering I thought a lot of people opted out of the draft last year due to covid. Seems like zero generational skill players though the WR depth is strong and no highly graded RBs/QBs which NE thankfully is low on the priority list. DL seems much stronger than 2021 but other than that I'm not seeing anything close to the buzz we had last year or 2020.

Perhaps the Pats can snag one of the many strong WR prospects in rounds 3-5. Who would profile as the best WRs fits? They really could use any upgrade at any WR position.
 

SMU_Sox

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@j44thor lots of depth but the high end guys aren’t elite. You have a glut of guys who are mid to late firsts but none of the top guys are as special as in recent years. That’s good for the Patriots as this year the top 100 picks will be much stronger on average than last year for example. This year the 1-7 picks are much worse, the 7-15 picks slightly worse, the 15-30 picks better, and the 30-100 picks much better. Approximating the cutoffs here.
 

SMU_Sox

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On my board the number of guys in the 6.5-7.99 range should probably double from last year if not more. That’s the quality starters to potential starters tier.
 

SoxJox

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Apologies for name-only post. Now that I have read the ground rules...

There is a need at safety, yes. Brisker was a JUCO transfer from Lackawanna College to Penn State in 2020 and started that year and all games in 2021.

There are a number of mock draft sources out there, but CBS Sports lists him as the #2 safety, and #47 player overall.

Penn State Safety Jaquan Brisker would, in most classes, be considered a strong bet for SAF1 on the positional rankings. This is a well-rounded player who has made the most of his time in Happy Valley to develop himself into a “do it all” defender on the back end of the Lions’ defense. A JUCO transfer from Lackawanna College, Brisker entered the 2021 season with a small sample size as a starting player for Penn State but plenty of bright flashes—those bright flashes sustained themselves game over game and week over week, steadily building one of the most consistent and impressive film resumes in the Big Ten for this past season. Brisker has excellent anatomical length [and has been] credited with a 35’5” triple jump and a 10’7” standing broad jump this past summer. Brisker is a leader on the Lions’ defense as well, offering energetic play in all phases of the position. From an alignment standpoint, Brisker has injected enthusiasm in his ability to play in all roles. He’s manned the high post in middle of the field closed coverage in the Lions’ Cover 3 shell, but has made appearances on the B-level in subpackages, including in some short-yardage situations and in the red zone to take advantage of his length, hitting power, and ability to blow up blocks. Brisker has also shown the ability to play in the slot and handle some man-to-man assignments as well, meaning he’s going to appeal to multiple coverage roles and should have a fit within just about every defensive system going forward.
The linked analytical piece also addresses Brisker's qualities in

  • Football IQ: It is the breadth of responsibilities he’s been trusted with that is most impressive—he’s got a vast menu of roles to fill and his comfort in both coverage reps and fitting the run from multiple alignments is very impressive.
  • Tackling: He’ll smack the taste out of your mouth when running downhill or attacking the line of scrimmage. He’s been able to make a significant impact in the backfield this season as well, logging six tackles for loss and many of them have seen him serving as the aggressor. He’s capable of being a tone-setter in this regard.
  • Versatility: You’d be hard-pressed to find a role Brisker can’t succeed in.
  • Range: There aren’t too many instances of Brisker conceding room vertically but his transitions do stand for a little more polish to help him spring and contest deeper throws with more consistency.
  • Ball Skills: Ball production hasn’t been problematic but it has also steadily improved over the course of his time at Penn State. The physicality he plays with when arriving at the ball is going to be helpful in his bid to continue to break up more passes in coverage. His awareness to attack the ball and stay aggressive should allow him to prevent missed opportunities.
  • Run Defending: Brisker is excellent in this regard. He’s aggressive to flow, he’s fearless in traffic, he’s made a number of high-difficulty tackles in scrape situations, and he’s violent hitting when coming downhill.
  • Functional Athleticism: Plus level athlete who has sufficient deep-middle range and is plenty twitched coming down into the LOS.
  • Competitive Toughness: Tone-setting defender who usually ends up making a splash play when the team needs one. His effort is excellent and the ground he covers is highly valuable to allow him to find the hustle plays needed to always be around the ball.
  • Flexibility: He’s capable of extending and lengthening himself to adjust to the football or challenge ball-carriers effectively.
  • Special Teams Ability: Given his style of play, [there is] no doubt that Brisker is capable of playing on teams, particularly on the kick coverage units.
My own personal observation over about 20 games...this guy can cover, and when it comes to hitting, he is a wrecking ball. All-B1G this past year.
 
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Cellar-Door

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We'd all be thrilled with this pick, so it won't happen
my assumption is that if we picked Olave he'd hurt his hamstring in camp, then struggle to pick up the route concepts, then hurt his knee, then come back missing quickness for the rest of his mediocre career
 

Shelterdog

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my assumption is that if we picked Olave he'd hurt his hamstring in camp, then struggle to pick up the route concepts, then hurt his knee, then come back missing quickness for the rest of his mediocre career
Don't be act like JET. One of these days the Pats will draft a good player with a high pick.
 

SMU_Sox

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Yeah I think that was said tongue-in-cheek and with a lot of recency bias minus this years draft which was HUGE getting Mac, Barmore, and Dodge (Stevenson).

I don’t want Olave. I don’t want a WR in the first round. Too many defensive needs to spend on a receiver. I would take a corner or safety in the first if at all possible because you should have 2-3 corners who fit the Pats available then or really good FS types. There might also be an ILB they like too. Devin Lloyd anyone? He’s a tick undersized for the Patriots but he is tall and can easily add 10 pounds to his frame. If Sauce Gardner is available you run to the podium and that’s the pick. End of story.
 

Cellar-Door

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Don't be act like JET. One of these days the Pats will draft a good player with a high pick.
The Patriots draft lots of good players with high picks, it was more a joke about the Patriots' success rate at identifying and developing early round WRs (and having them stay healthy).

I agree with SMU though, I have no interest in a 1st round WR. I think there are other areas where we would get more bang for our buck. I'd like to take a look at mid-round WRs, but 1st round (if we keep it), I want to see defenders and/or O-line.
 

Shelterdog

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The Patriots draft lots of good players with high picks, it was more a joke about the Patriots' success rate at identifying and developing early round WRs (and having them stay healthy).

I agree with SMU though, I have no interest in a 1st round WR. I think there are other areas where we would get more bang for our buck. I'd like to take a look at mid-round WRs, but 1st round (if we keep it), I want to see defenders and/or O-line.
I know, i was just teasing. And while they draft pretty well overall IMO their WR drafting is really something else in the BB era. Branch and Edelman were great, Givens was fine, and then the fourth best is what, BRandon Tate? Mitchell? Hard to put Harry Chad Jackson Dobson Taylor Price Bethel Johnson Jor Josh Boyce higher.

O-line and best defensive player available is fine by me. Unless you're in just the right spot in the draft for great wideouts i do think you're better-especially with the Pats system--doing some work on volume or vets to get players who know the system rather than gambling that this particular athletics freak will get it and this other one won't.

EDIT: I really like what i've seen from Cameron Thomas who looks like he might be draftable at the Pats' likely draft position, 32.
 
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Super Nomario

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Their WR drafting isn't great, but the larger issue is they invest very little capital at the position, almost certainly the least of any team over the last 20 years.
 

SMU_Sox

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If you have a program where you can develop certain positions better than others (so for the Patriots that traditionally has been OL, DB, ILBs, RBs, QBs) then imo it is better to use your draft resources on those positions where you feel good about developing them. Then use your FA dollars to stock up at the positions you don't draft or trade for.

I don't really care that they don't draft WRs in a vacuum. As long as they spend or trade for them it is ok. Really for the Patriots you're looking at 3 years of bad drafts from 2017-2019. 2020 isn't great but with Dugger playing at such a high level and with Onwenu hopefully rebounding next year it's an average class. If the class is just Dugger and Onwenu and Heron are backups it's probably below average but it still isn't a bad class. 2021 though Mac, Barmore, and Stevenson have been one of the best draft classes in the NFL in year 1.

Quick edit: WR and TE coming out of the draft are, imo anyway, tough positions to know if a guy is going to translate whereas RB, OL I feel are easier. This is on average.
 

Shelterdog

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Their WR drafting isn't great, but the larger issue is they invest very little capital at the position, almost certainly the least of any team over the last 20 years.
If you look at the WR and TE as one position group is this still true? They probably have overinvested relative to almost every other franchise at the TE spot.
 

SMU_Sox

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Since Gronk until Asiasi they went through a period of like 9 years where they did not draft TEs high. Why? I think because the spread offense in college took a lot of players out of their potential “this guy will be a fit” pool.
 

Super Nomario

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If you look at the WR and TE as one position group is this still true? They probably have overinvested relative to almost every other franchise at the TE spot.
Their TE drafting is pretty good. Watson and Graham were multi-year starters and Gronk is the best ever.

EDIT: I can't believe I forgot Hernandez.
 

Shelterdog

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Their TE drafting is pretty good. Watson and Graham were multi-year starters and Gronk is the best ever.
For sure--they've overinvested in the spot relative to other teams but the results have obviously been fantastic. (Don't forget about Hernandez and Hunter Henry). I meant if you look at draft capital, free agent spending, and re-signings for WR and TE combined how would that compare to other franchises. At WR alone it's less than other teams, but I'll bet it comes closer to the mean if you comibine the two positions.
 

ehaz

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Yeah I think that was said tongue-in-cheek and with a lot of recency bias minus this years draft which was HUGE getting Mac, Barmore, and Dodge (Stevenson).

I don’t want Olave. I don’t want a WR in the first round. Too many defensive needs to spend on a receiver. I would take a corner or safety in the first if at all possible because you should have 2-3 corners who fit the Pats available then or really good FS types. There might also be an ILB they like too. Devin Lloyd anyone? He’s a tick undersized for the Patriots but he is tall and can easily add 10 pounds to his frame. If Sauce Gardner is available you run to the podium and that’s the pick. End of story.
What about offensive tackle? They really need longer term solutions. Wynn and Brown are free agents, no? Not to mention their injury histories...

I'd feel more comfortable with the Pats filling in their defensive needs from mid-tier free agent guys or later in the draft than I would them trying to pick up a tackle off the scrap heap.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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What about offensive tackle? They really need longer term solutions. Wynn and Brown are free agents, no? Not to mention their injury histories...

I'd feel more comfortable with the Pats filling in their defensive needs from mid-tier free agent guys or later in the draft than I would them trying to pick up a tackle off the scrap heap.
We picked up the option on Wynn but he'll be a free agent in 2023 and he doesn't seem like a guy we'd be in a hurry to sign long term.

Drafting an OT who profiles as an LT and having him in the mix with Wynn and Onwenu for 2022 and then move into a starting LT spot in 2023 seems like a pretty good plan for both the short and long term.

DB is going to be a big priority though, huge if we don't franchise or sign JCJ long term but big even if we do.
 

Shelterdog

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What about offensive tackle? They really need longer term solutions. Wynn and Brown are free agents, no? Not to mention their injury histories...

I'd feel more comfortable with the Pats filling in their defensive needs from mid-tier free agent guys or later in the draft than I would them trying to pick up a tackle off the scrap heap.
Depending how the board falls I think a tackle in rounds 1 or 2 or a really strong interior lineman in rounds 2-4 would make sense. The Pats philosophy for 20 years seems to have been to add a good piece to the oline every year and (particularly since they didn't really do that last year) there's no reason they should deviate from that this year.

I haven't been able to watch a ton of the games in the last half of the season--thoughts on how Wynn is playing? Based on the reporting around the team it seems like there were enough questions about his preparation for this season that he's not a top candidate for resigning even if he is now becoming a reasonably reliable left tackle.
 

SMU_Sox

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Yeah, OT is certainly a need for long term. You're not going to hear me argue against that as an OL guy :). There is some nice depth at OT this year but I am not crazy about the top end of the class. I will know more later after I get into how guys performed this year.

Of the positions I have looked at though there are a lot of scheme fits for ILB, safety, corner, and DT. Lots of depth in the defensive class. No top end skill positions guys on offense that compare to Pitts, Chase, Waddle though.
 

ZMart100

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On the WR front: Christian Watson, NDSU. 6’5 208. 39 catches for 739 and 7 TD. Would love to hear more thoughts on him.

Returns kicks too.

View: https://twitter.com/jimnagy_sb/status/1478902812478263300?s=21
View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sE3IsgvyQ2Q


More highlights

View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fL6gYD9MoeM
From what I've seen, he's not for me. His top end speed seems good, but he takes forever to accelerate up to speed. His lack of acceleration limits the routes he can run. He doesn't seem to get much separation at the FCS level. I've seen other highlights where he is winning jump balls, but I'm not sure how consistent he is with that. Anyway, I think the old Flacco throw-jump-balls-and-get-PIs-or-win-them offense is not what the Pats are trying to do.
 

SMU_Sox

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I love James Cook. He’s a perfect fit for an outside speed back and a lightning to the thunder that Harris and Dodge bring. I’d argue Stevenson has some lightning to him but he’s not as explosive as Cook. Cook is also an exceptional receiver and can lineup in the slot. He’s a perfect fit but for two significant factors, his weight and his pass protection projection. He’s only 190 pounds and his pass protection is dreadful. Bill typically likes his receiving drafted backs 204-205+ pounds and who can pass protect. I think the Pats want to find a back like Cook but bigger and who shows some promise in pass pro.
 

Shelterdog

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Bernard Raimann! You can never go wrong with a central european tackle. (Max Mitchell also looks like a good tackle prospect to me; I am most excited about the Australian kid from Minnesota who is trent brown sized and running two 6-8 370 lb tackles at the same time).

Storm Duck on name alone.
 

Shelterdog

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what's everybody's favorite online draft resource (paid or free) for this cycle? I feel the need to put real effort into finding out whcih 250 pound plus DE has a good three cone and might be a hightower replacement
 

SMU_Sox

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Check out Kent Platte’s @mathbomb RAS. Has all the testing. For film check out the Patreon Caddy’s cut ups. All-22 and some non all-22 for college games.
 

Cellar-Door

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So a funny thing, when we were discussing WRs (particuarly Olave) I almost put that the only WR I'd consider would be Jameson Williams but that he'd never drop that far.....
He's probably gonna drop that far now.

Still think I'd go DEF or OL though, if he starts to fall into the mid- 2nd though......
 

SMU_Sox

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So a funny thing, when we were discussing WRs (particuarly Olave) I almost put that the only WR I'd consider would be Jameson Williams but that he'd never drop that far.....
He's probably gonna drop that far now.

Still think I'd go DEF or OL though, if he starts to fall into the mid- 2nd though......
I am about as anti taking a very early WR as possible but if I’m going to make an exception for a guy it’s Williams. He just seems like a prototype for them. He’s fast and athletic which Bill loves. He excels on teams which Bill loves. He’s tough as nails. He can also play any role as a receiver. And he’s also produced… a lot (granted it’s one year). He’s comfortable in Bama’s offense and while he didn’t play with Mac he immediately started after transferring which Bill and Nick have said is a huge plus for them because it shows work ethic and being able to go from one system to another which is indicative of someone’s mental abilities. If they went Williams early and defense and OL (and hopefully receiving RB)for the rest of the draft I would be fine with that.
 

Cellar-Door

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So, I am moderately hopeful that the end of this season convinces Bill that he needs to LBs who can actually run on the roster, even if they don't weight 260 pounds.

Brandon Smith from Penn State might be a fit. 6'3" 240 so you aren't talking Nakobe Dean small, just not a lumbering behemoth.
 

Ale Xander

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If a late round pick (6-7) LB Quay Walker, Georgia. Can defend tight ends. Good at changing directions. Needs more coaching to become a better tackler. Smaller than what BB is used to though. But that’s a good thing.
 

SMU_Sox

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I don’t think their bigger off-ball ILBs were why they lost tonight and are pretty low on my shit list on defense. They need to get younger there for sure though.
 

Cellar-Door

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I don’t think their bigger off-ball ILBs were why they lost tonight and are pretty low on my shit list on defense. They need to get younger there for sure though.
I've thought all year it's the Achilles heel of this team's defense, they can't cover TEs or RBs with them, they can't even come close to mobile QBs, and it's not like they kill it in the run game or on passrush.

They also need improvements on D-Line and CB depth of course. But it feels like you can scheme yourself into massive mismatches on every play against the Patriots' LBs in both the run and pass games.
 

SMU_Sox

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Bentley has allowed 257 yards and Hightower 298. They are middle of the pack for receiving yards given up. Bentley wasn’t even on the field for what a half? Hightower can’t cover well. Bentley is better at it but he can’t take on faster guys. Still it’s not like teams have burned them there all year. We’re talking 555 yards. I think their problem tonight was the front and a complete lack of execution. Even the tackling was atrocious.