Pats Roster Planning: Defense

Shelterdog

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They had key guys around them though - the defenders I mentioned above, then Seymour with a high pick, later Wilfork. And of course, Brady. Then in 2010, they added Gronk and McCourty, who were mainstays throughout the decade to follow, and Hightower a couple years later. The middle class is important, but you can't build a whole team out of milddle class. You use free agency to plug holes and supplement where you need to. The problem with this team is there's no core.
Agreed. Contracts aside how many guys on this team look like they'll be high end starters in 2023 or 2024? Maybe 3 guards? Duggar? Maybe JC Jackson? Perhaps if some of the younger players really take off or Wynn improves _and_ gets over the injury problems he's had so far in his career?

The only good news is a team can turn around quickly. The bad news is that teams often dont turn around quickly.
 

SoxVindaloo

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I agree with much of your post but the bolded isn't quite true. They started off 0-4:
21-16 vs TB
20-19 @ NYJ
21-13 vs. MIN
10-3 @ MIA

Obviously they couldn't score, but they lost those 4 games by 21 total.

Then after winning 2 in a row, they lost:
L 34-17 vs NYJ (not close)
L 23-20 @ IND (OT) (IND was a playoff team)
L16-13 vs BUF (OT)
L 19-11 @ CLE
W 16-13 vs. CIN
L 34-9 @ DET (blowout, Brady's first appearance!)
W 30-24 vs. KC
L 24-17 @ CHI
W 13-10 @ BUF (OT)
L 27-24 vs. MIA

In sum, of their 11 losses:
4 were by 3 points or fewer
9 were by 8 points or fewer
2 were by multiple scores

That team was more competitive than people remember. Based on the number of close games it's actually not a huge surprise they turned it around in 2001.
Great post, 2020 felt eerily similar to 2000. The scheme seemed pretty great but the execution, especially at crunch time, was often lacking. I still have flashbacks of Antonio Langham allowing interceptions to become TDs in the end zone.
 

BuellMiller

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Lots of teams have won Super Bowls without a dynamic QB. Since TB joined the Pats, these are teams without a stud QB that have won the SB:

Season - Team (QB)
2000 - Baltimore (Trent Dilfer)
2001 - New England (Tom Brady - who at that point wasn't yet TOM BRADY, though obviously he would be soon)
2002 - Tampa Bay (Brad Johnson)
2007 - NY Giants (Eli Manning)
2011 - NY Giants (Eli Manning)
2013 - Baltimore (Joe Flacco)
2015 - Denver (Peyton Manning - who at that point was TERRIBLE...outright terrible - 59% passing, 9 td, 17 int, 67.9 rating, got benched during the season)
2017 - Philadelphia (Nick Foles)

So in the last 21 seasons, 8 of them were won by mediocre-to-bad QBs. Now on some of those teams, the QB got hot at the right time. And in some other cases, the team won primarily because of defense or a combo of defense and special teams. The QB wasn't the centerpiece of the team. That's nearly 40% of the time since TB entered the league, teams won with mediocre QBs (maybe you will argue that even in 2001, TB was elite, and though I don't think he was THEN, I won't argue with you about it).

There's more than one way to skin a cat. Having a great QB is just one way - and yes, it's *BETTER* to have a great QB than to not have a great QB, but you can win without one if your team is great in other ways.
You could probably add 2005 and 2008 Steelers and Big Ben to the list, unless 17 tds in a season is great. (I forgot he was worse in 2008 with 15 int)
 

Ferm Sheller

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The only way that could be true is if BB was part of the deal (going to be the HC of the HT, that is). I mean, what could the Pats possibly offer beyond #15 and a maybe a few first round picks in future years?
 

Mystic Merlin

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Take it for what it's worth. Not a good track record for Mo, but if this is true, we can commence "Our Nation's Tears" immediately.


@MoMoneyChanel


The Patriots' talks with Houston have become very serious. The two are close on a deal that will send Deshaun Watson to New England. #Texans #NFL
‘Not a good track record’ in this case means ‘completely and intentionally full of shit.’
 

Ferm Sheller

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Yeah, it seems like he just makes shit up. Must be the product of mental illness -- what other reason could there be?


1615061538045.png
 

Harry Hooper

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The only way that could be true is if BB was part of the deal (going to be the HC of the HT, that is). I mean, what could the Pats possibly offer beyond #15 and a maybe a few first round picks in future years?
Pats offered to take Easterby back?
 

Ferm Sheller

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Isn't it conceivable Caserio views Dugger, Onwenu, and Uche as more valuable than three future first round picks?
Probably not Uche, who was drafted at the end of the second round and hardly played last year, but I obscured my point. All I meant is that it's hard to see how the Pats could put together the best offer when Houston likely could do another deal that would include them getting a QB back (e.g., Tua or a top pick that would enable them to draft one of the top QBs in this draft).
 

E5 Yaz

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Take it for what it's worth. Not a good track record for Mo, but if this is true, we can commence "Our Nation's Tears" immediately.
@MoMoneyChanel

The Patriots' talks with Houston have become very serious. The two are close on a deal that will send Deshaun Watson to New England. #Texans #NFL
Can we just add this guy to the "Do Not Cite" list?* ... MoChanel ... not Jack


*Unless it turns out he's right
 

Kramerica Industries

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Yeah, it seems like he just makes shit up. Must be the product of mental illness -- what other reason could there be?


View attachment 39349
Hes not credible at all but there are reports the Pats were deep in Diggs trade talks

"Sources say that when the Minnesota Vikings were poised to deal star receiver Stefon Diggs on March 16 in a blockbuster trade that included a first-round pick, it was the Bills and New England Patriots as the two final suitors," Rapoport wrote.

https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/patriots/nfl-rumors-heres-how-close-patriots-came-stefon-diggs-trade-last-offseason
 

bsj

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Isn't it conceivable Caserio views Dugger, Onwenu, and Uche as more valuable than three future first round picks?
It’s absolutely conceivable that they may end up being better than any 3 first rounders...it’s not likely but it’s possible. But no good GM is going to think they they can’t and won’t use their own picks better than those players
 

Bowser

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All I meant is that it's hard to see how the Pats could put together the best offer when Houston likely could do another deal that would include them getting a QB back (e.g., Tua or a top pick that would enable them to draft one of the top QBs in this draft).
I agree the Pats can't put together the best package, certainly not if Caserio likes one of Tua, Fields, or Lance (I think the Jets are taking Wilson and Houston's just floating Watson to NY to squeeze Miami). All I'm saying is if Caserio views Tua as nothing more than an average starting QB at best -- a reasonable assumption -- and if he's similarly unimpressed with Fields or Lance, then all bets are off.

Really? It's not conceivable he'd prefer Mike Onwenu, who made PFF's All Rookie Team and posted the lowest % of snaps with pressure of any rookie OT -- including Tristan Wirfs -- over a 2022 late first rounder from Miami (assuming Watson's their QB)?

Granted, I can't make the same argument for Dugger or Uche, but Dugger had some extremely impressive moments while Uche came into the league with the second highest win rate (27.0%) among any college edge defender over the last two seasons, second only to Chase Young (27.2%), according to PFF. I respect your opinion, but isn't it possible Caserio values young talent he knows personally and can have right now over hypothetical players arriving a year or two down the road?
 

BigSoxFan

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Problem is that those players have already used up a year of cheap control that Caserio gets no benefit from. I’m sure he’d love to have them but most teams take the high picks instead.
 

BaseballJones

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It's not a crazy reach at all to suggest that Onwenu will be a pro-bowl player in 2022. What are the chances that the guy Houston picks with, say, Miami's 2021 or 2022 selection is an all-pro by 2022 (or 2023)? I'd say really unlikely. Onwenu is already, as a rookie, a first-rate offensive lineman. Not an all-pro, but a first-rate player.
 

Rico Guapo

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I really wish people would stop advocating for a Watson trade. The roster desperately needs an influx of talent at multiple positions including WR, DL and LB in addition to cost controlled players in the secondary and OL. Yes the Patriots don't have a quarterback but mortgaging players on rookie contracts and draft picks will not make the team more competitive in the long run.
 

Silverdude2167

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I really wish people would stop advocating for a Watson trade. The roster desperately needs an influx of talent at multiple positions including WR, DL and LB in addition to cost controlled players in the secondary and OL. Yes the Patriots don't have a quarterback but mortgaging players on rookie contracts and draft picks will not make the team more competitive in the long run.
Everything else is easy if you have a great QB. Everything is hard if you don't...
 

dynomite

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Winning a Super Bowl is tough to do...under ANY circumstances - even with the greatest team of all time. See: Patriots, 2007.
Right, I think as much as anything the Brady/Belichick era completed destroyed our perspective here. Take this idea:

Everything else is easy if you have a great QB. Everything is hard if you don't...
Drew Brees has won one Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers has one. Russ Wilson has one. Even though pretty much all of us expect more, Patrick Mahomes has one. Peyton Manning won one when he was a great QB and a second as a bad QB because he had an historically great defense.

Everything is definitely easier with a great QB, no question. But winning a Super Bowl remains hard for everyone... except Tom Brady.
 

Harry Hooper

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Yeah absolutely no. Players on rookie deals are like cars. Once signed, their values depreciate as each year goes by.
True, plus NFL personnel guys seem to over-fetishize draft picks and don't really trade for players as much as they should.
 

Bowser

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Yeah absolutely no. Players on rookie deals are like cars. Once signed, their values depreciate as each year goes by.
Just to play devil's advocate -- and continue your car analogy -- some cars turn out to be shitty. Five years of shitty < three of Onwenu.

Again, though I lumped the three together, Onwenu is a separate case from Dugger or Uche. Houston's O line was rated 23rd overall by PFF and 30th in run blocking, which is Onwenu's specialty. I see him as a pretty valuable commodity, akin to a late #1 pick. But that's just my inexpert opinion.
 

BaseballJones

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To your point, @dynomite...take the case of Ben Roethlisberger, who will likely make the HOF. Iconic franchise. During his career, he played under two HOF coaches (make no mistake, Tomlin will make the HOF as a coach). As a player, he's played with defenses that have ranked:

#1 in points allowed 4x
Top 5 in points allowed 8x
Top 10 in points allowed 11x
#1 in yards allowed 5x
Top 5 in yards allowed 10x
Top 10 in yards allowed 13x

AND he's played with a litany of pro-bowl offensive talent. And for all that...he's won TWO Super Bowls over 17 seasons
 

Silverdude2167

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To your point, @dynomite...take the case of Ben Roethlisberger, who will likely make the HOF. Iconic franchise. During his career, he played under two HOF coaches (make no mistake, Tomlin will make the HOF as a coach). As a player, he's played with defenses that have ranked:

#1 in points allowed 4x
Top 5 in points allowed 8x
Top 10 in points allowed 11x
#1 in yards allowed 5x
Top 5 in yards allowed 10x
Top 10 in yards allowed 13x

AND he's played with a litany of pro-bowl offensive talent. And for all that...he's won TWO Super Bowls over 17 seasons
I both agree with all the points that have been made and also may be a bigger believer in BB than most.

To have a real chance to win in the current NFL you need a top QB. But if you give BB a top QB you have a more than a chance to win each year...
 

SMU_Sox

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Can you imagine the optics of Houston trading Watson to the Patriots for 2 2nd round picks and a 6th rounder? I think the world of Onwenu and Uche and Dugger showed a lot for rookies but you’re talking about a quality guard or average to maybe above average right tackle in Onwenu, an off-ball and edge hybrid 3-4 scheme specific guy in Uche, and a safety. This isn’t like a premiere athletic LT, a full-time edge, and an elite athlete at corner who was good in his first year. These are less valuable positions never mind that Dugger and Uche were not full-time players (Uche was sort of by the end of the year but that’s a side conversation). Sure they might develop. They also might plateau. And they’ve already lost a year of their rookie contracts.

I think discussing Watson or Russ or Aaron Rodgers is a waste of time to begin with but then saying something like Caserio might prefer Uche, Dugger, and Onwenu to 3 firsts is beyond unreasonable. There aren’t two sides to every debate. If they pulled that off it would be a Talon’s Squared Circle level of an inside job (WWE plot). The whole thing reads like erotic Patriots fan-fiction just like my Ultimate GM experience I posted here. I’ll take the L for that one (it was a fun experiment but the contracts were way too low even considering that they adjust for Y1 cap hits). You should take the L and move on. It’s not practical.

For the sake of a more realistic discussion I would look at the QBs in the draft including names like McCorkle (Mac) Jones, Kyle Trask, Jamie Newman, and David Mills. Maybe throw in Kellen Mond too out of TAMU.
Veterans options like Cam or Mariota if he’s cut or if you think the Pats go in his direction via trade, or perhaps a Gardner from the Jags because they will draft Lawrence.

Or maybe if SF lands Watson Jimmy G as a FA can go to the Pats. Once he inevitably tears, rips, ruptures, or otherwise gets injured they should have a good chance at finishing lower than 15th and being able to trade up for a QB without paying as high a ransom for it.
 

54thMA

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Or maybe if SF lands Watson Jimmy G as a FA can go to the Pats. Once he inevitably tears, rips, ruptures, or otherwise gets injured.................
This made me laugh.

Out loud.

Because it's totally spot on.

Have to give that kid credit; before he got hurt, he parlayed basically 6 quarters of decent NFL play into a shit ton of dough.

It still amuses me how upset people where that when they traded him, they did not get enough; just be thankful they got what they got and he didn't blow something out getting off the plane in San Francisco after the trade.
 

Trautwein's Degree

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To your point, @dynomite...take the case of Ben Roethlisberger, who will likely make the HOF. Iconic franchise. During his career, he played under two HOF coaches (make no mistake, Tomlin will make the HOF as a coach). As a player, he's played with defenses that have ranked:

#1 in points allowed 4x
Top 5 in points allowed 8x
Top 10 in points allowed 11x
#1 in yards allowed 5x
Top 5 in yards allowed 10x
Top 10 in yards allowed 13x

AND he's played with a litany of pro-bowl offensive talent. And for all that...he's won TWO Super Bowls over 17 seasons
There are 32 teams. That means if you win more than once every 32 years you are doing better than the crowd. If you make the Super Bowl once every 16 years you are doing better than the crowd.

Measuring anything against what happened in Foxboro the last 20 years is like measuring the water in your local pond against the water that comprises the Pacific Ocean.

Hell prior to 2020 - making the playoffs more than once every 3 years was doing better than the crowd.
 

E5 Yaz

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Just to play devil's advocate -- and continue your car analogy -- some cars turn out to be shitty. Five years of shitty < three of Onwenu.

Again, though I lumped the three together, Onwenu is a separate case from Dugger or Uche. Houston's O line was rated 23rd overall by PFF and 30th in run blocking, which is Onwenu's specialty. I see him as a pretty valuable commodity, akin to a late #1 pick. But that's just my inexpert opinion.
The Patriots conceivably could be losing Thuney and Andrews this offseason. Wynn is solid when healthy, which isn't always. There had been some talk early in the offseason that Cannon might be cut.

Trading Onwenu under the circumstances seems like a really bad idea
 

54thMA

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His durability is definitely a question, but there was a little more to the big contract..
Thanks for the link to the story, I did not recall the exact events regarding the contract, I thought the 49ers gave him big dough right away.

I also noticed in a link from that story the Saints are looking to either restructure, trade or cut Brown.

It's funny how teams gobble up free agents and pay them big money then a couple of years down the road need to restructure or end up cutting them.
 

Zincman

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It's not a crazy reach at all to suggest that Onwenu will be a pro-bowl player in 2022. What are the chances that the guy Houston picks with, say, Miami's 2021 or 2022 selection is an all-pro by 2022 (or 2023)? I'd say really unlikely. Onwenu is already, as a rookie, a first-rate offensive lineman. Not an all-pro, but a first-rate player.
Wow. Talk about a straw man argument. It is absolutely a crazy reach to suggest that Onwenu will be a pro-bowl player in 2022 especially since we don't even know what position he plays in 2021. Onwenu exceeded expectations because they were so low coming in and he may yet develop into a first rate OL. And BTW if Caserio ever sent Watson to NE for Onwenu, Duggar and Uche, he would need the underground railroad to get out of Texas alive
 

SMU_Sox

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Just to play devil's advocate -- and continue your car analogy -- some cars turn out to be shitty. Five years of shitty < three of Onwenu.

Again, though I lumped the three together, Onwenu is a separate case from Dugger or Uche. Houston's O line was rated 23rd overall by PFF and 30th in run blocking, which is Onwenu's specialty. I see him as a pretty valuable commodity, akin to a late #1 pick. But that's just my inexpert opinion.
[media]
View: https://twitter.com/harikondabolu/status/1195399677795086337?s=20

[/media]

It wouldn't be five years of shitty. It would be 4 tops. If shitty = no options signed.
 

BaseballJones

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Wow. Talk about a straw man argument. It is absolutely a crazy reach to suggest that Onwenu will be a pro-bowl player in 2022 especially since we don't even know what position he plays in 2021. Onwenu exceeded expectations because they were so low coming in and he may yet develop into a first rate OL. And BTW if Caserio ever sent Watson to NE for Onwenu, Duggar and Uche, he would need the underground railroad to get out of Texas alive
Why on earth is it a crazy reach to think that Onwenu could be a pro-bowl player two years from now, when he was already one of the better OLinemen in the league this past year? Not an all-pro level yet, but not far off, as a rookie.
 

SMU_Sox

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Joe Thuney never made a pro-bowl and was one of the better guards in recent history. He once made a second team all-pro (2019). Shaq Mason, another guy considered a top shelf guard in the league has never made a pro bowl or all pro. Given that those two didn’t make it...

Can’t we just appreciate a quality to quality+ starter without having to puff up expectations? Onwenu looks like a great find and doesn’t have to make a single pro bowl if he continues to play well to be considered a success. He’s a 6th round RG only in college who just gave them a year of excellent service at multiple positions including RT (a position even Onwenu lovers like me didn’t think he could play coming out).
 

BaseballJones

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Joe Thuney never made a pro-bowl and was one of the better guards in recent history. He once made a second team all-pro (2019). Shaq Mason, another guy considered a top shelf guard in the league has never made a pro bowl or all pro. Given that those two didn’t make it...

Can’t we just appreciate a quality to quality+ starter without having to puff up expectations? Onwenu looks like a great find and doesn’t have to make a single pro bowl if he continues to play well to be considered a success. He’s a 6th round RG only in college who just gave them a year of excellent service at multiple positions including RT (a position even Onwenu lovers like me didn’t think he could play coming out).
That's fair. I guess the point is that he's already reached a level that most 1st rounders don't make - being one of the better players at their position in the league - whether that's pro-bowl or not.
 

Shelterdog

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That's fair. I guess the point is that he's already reached a level that most 1st rounders don't make - being one of the better players at their position in the league - whether that's pro-bowl or not.
And Jake Bailye has done the same thing, but that doesn't mean he's a first round talent: positional value is very important. Owenewu is a great find but if you redrafted the 2020 draft I'm not positive he gets picked in the first round--not all teams value guards particularly highly.
 

BaseballJones

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Yeah but once drafted, really what matters is how good they ACTUALLY are. Tons of guys drafted after the first round end up being al pro or even HOF players. And tons of first rounders end up being complete trash. So we have seen Onwenu for a year in legitimate NFL play. He was absolutely fantastic and was one of the more highly rated O-linemen in the league. We KNOW he’s really good already. And he has only played one year so it’s not like Houston would be acquiring a guy in the last year of a contract.

Don’t misunderstand. Houston wouldn’t do this. I’m not suggesting they would. I’m just comparing a sixth round pick that’s already shown to be excellent after one year versus a first round pick whose real NFL ability is completely unknown, but who would be fortunate to ever get as good as Onwenu *already is.*
 

Shelterdog

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Yeah but once drafted, really what matters is how good they ACTUALLY are. Tons of guys drafted after the first round end up being al pro or even HOF players. And tons of first rounders end up being complete trash. So we have seen Onwenu for a year in legitimate NFL play. He was absolutely fantastic and was one of the more highly rated O-linemen in the league. We KNOW he’s really good already. And he has only played one year so it’s not like Houston would be acquiring a guy in the last year of a contract.

Don’t misunderstand. Houston wouldn’t do this. I’m not suggesting they would. I’m just comparing a sixth round pick that’s already shown to be excellent after one year versus a first round pick whose real NFL ability is completely unknown, but who would be fortunate to ever get as good as Onwenu *already is.*
The point is that a team might not value Owenewu like a first because even though he is a very good player he is a very good guard--and you'd rather take a chance at a first round edge rusher or left tackle or QB or whatever than get a very good guard.
 

Zincman

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That's fair. I guess the point is that he's already reached a level that most 1st rounders don't make - being one of the better players at their position in the league - whether that's pro-bowl or not.
If your point is that most players drafted in all sports end up in failure you are correct. Its hard to be a top of the line player in any sport. But we do know that the higher the draft pick the greater the chance of success and while Onwenu is a nice story and a valued asset for the Pats it is definitely not the norm

I looked at the 2020 NFL All-pro team and it was interesting to note the OL guys and where they were drafted

Trent Williams- 1st round
Quenton Nelson- 1st round
Garrett Bolles-1st round
Ryan Kelly 1st round
Jack Conklin-1st round
Frank Ragnow-1st round
Ryan Ramsyck-1st round
Brandon Scherff-1st round
Joel Bitonio-2nd round
David Bakhtiari-4th round
Corey Linsley-5th round
Wyatt Teller-5th round
Jason Kelce-6th round

There are a few outliers but if you want an All-Pro OL, draft him high. Maybe Onwenu will be an outlier and I certainly hope he is but lets pump the brakes a bit.
 

Shelterdog

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If your point is that most players drafted in all sports end up in failure you are correct. Its hard to be a top of the line player in any sport. But we do know that the higher the draft pick the greater the chance of success and while Onwenu is a nice story and a valued asset for the Pats it is definitely not the norm

I looked at the 2020 NFL All-pro team and it was interesting to note the OL guys and where they were drafted

Trent Williams- 1st round
Quenton Nelson- 1st round
Garrett Bolles-1st round
Ryan Kelly 1st round
Jack Conklin-1st round
Frank Ragnow-1st round
Ryan Ramsyck-1st round
Brandon Scherff-1st round
Joel Bitonio-2nd round
David Bakhtiari-4th round
Corey Linsley-5th round
Wyatt Teller-5th round
Jason Kelce-6th round

There are a few outliers but if you want an All-Pro OL, draft him high. Maybe Onwenu will be an outlier and I certainly hope he is but lets pump the brakes a bit.
One confounding factor is that you get pick to all pro and pro bowl teams in part based on your reputation out of college and draft status.
 

BaseballJones

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Just did some research on pro-football-reference. From 2011-2018 (ended there to give players a little time to get acclimated to the NFL), interior linemen drafted in the first round....

2011
15 - C Mike Pouncey - 4 pro bowls
23 - G Danny Watkins - 0 pro bowls, 3 year career, just a handful of starts

2012
24 - G David DeCastro - 6 pro bowls, 2 all-pro
27 - G Kevin Zeitler - 0 pro bowls, 9 year starter

2013
7 - G Jonathan Cooper - 0 pro bowls, 2 year starter
10 - G Chance Warmack - 0 pro bowls, 3 year starter
20 - G Kyle Long - 3 pro bowls
31 - C Travis Frederick - 5 pro bowls, 1 all-pro

2014
16 - G Zack Martin - 6 pro bowls, 4 all-pro

2015
28 - G Laken Tomlinson - 0 pro bowls, 6 year starter

2016
18 - C Ryan Kelly - 2 pro bowls, 5 year starter
28 - G Joshua Garnett - 0 pro bowls, 1 year starter
31 - G Germain Ifedi - 0 pro bowls, 4 year starter

2017
nobody

2018
6 - G Quenton Nelson - 3 pro bowls, 3 all-pro
20 - C Frank Ragnow - 1 pro bowl, 3 year starter
21 - C Billy Price - 0 pro bowls, 1 year starter


Total of 16 interior linemen over 8 years (just 2 per year). Of those 16, 8 have become pro-bowlers, 4 have become all-pro. The only true flameout was Danny Watkins (2011), followed by Joshua Garnett (2016). Everyone else at least was a legit starter if nothing else. Seems like a pretty high hit rate. Of course, very few interior linemen are drafted in the first round, so you're getting the absolute cream of the crop. So there should be a higher hit rate.
 

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