Pats Roster Planning: Defense

SeoulSoxFan

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As there'll be a lot of names thrown around the next few weeks, splitting out the Roster Planning thread into offense and defense. If need be, we'll create a ST one as well.
 

BaseballJones

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2020 Malcolm Butler vs. Jason McCourty

Butler (31): 127 targets, 80 completions (63.0%), 873 yards, 10.9 yds/comp, 6.9 yds/target, 5 td, 4 int, 83.2 passer rating
JMac (33): 45 targets, 29 completions (64.4%), 417 yards, 14.4 yds/comp, 9.3 yds/target, 5 td, 0 int, 131.4 passer rating

If we need a 4th CB (behind Gilmore, JC, and Jones), I'd MUCH prefer Butler over McCourty, who was absolutely horrific last season. But I will say...man they threw at Butler a TON last season (8 attempts per game...yikes).
 

lexrageorge

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2020 Malcolm Butler vs. Jason McCourty

Butler (31): 127 targets, 80 completions (63.0%), 873 yards, 10.9 yds/comp, 6.9 yds/target, 5 td, 4 int, 83.2 passer rating
JMac (33): 45 targets, 29 completions (64.4%), 417 yards, 14.4 yds/comp, 9.3 yds/target, 5 td, 0 int, 131.4 passer rating

If we need a 4th CB (behind Gilmore, JC, and Jones), I'd MUCH prefer Butler over McCourty, who was absolutely horrific last season. But I will say...man they threw at Butler a TON last season (8 attempts per game...yikes).
Butler also was on the field for nearly all (97%) of the team's defensive snaps last season. The only other player to be in that same stratosphere for the Titans, Kevin Byard, played most of his snaps at free safety. Pats rotated their corners more often, with JC Jackson leading the way at 84%.

I do think Malcolm would be an upgrade, especially if Gilmore gets traded. Stranger things have happened in this league, so never say never.
 

Captaincoop

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So given that Chung and Hightower seem to be back in the mix, what is the #1 need on defense at this point? Last year I felt they needed more speed at LB and someone disruptive in the pass rush either at DT or on the edge. They also need a better run stuffer at DT.

Hightower helps against the run, provides some interior pass rush options, and probably keeps the defense better prepared on the field. Maybe Chung gives them more options to play Dugger in the box as a sub LB and helps address the lack of speed at LB.

Is the big draft need on defense now a disruptive DT? Does that guy exist in the draft?
 

tims4wins

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So given that Chung and Hightower seem to be back in the mix, what is the #1 need on defense at this point? Last year I felt they needed more speed at LB and someone disruptive in the pass rush either at DT or on the edge. They also need a better run stuffer at DT.

Hightower helps against the run, provides some interior pass rush options, and probably keeps the defense better prepared on the field. Maybe Chung gives them more options to play Dugger in the box as a sub LB and helps address the lack of speed at LB.

Is the big draft need on defense now a disruptive DT? Does that guy exist in the draft?
Given that Guy is a UFA and we have no idea what Beau Allen is, yes, DT to me is by far the #1 need on that side of the ball.

Edit: as far as the draft goes, I don't know much, but Christian Barmore (6'5, 310, Alabama) seems to be projected as a 1st rounder. Alim McNeill (6'2, 320, NC State) seems to be projected mid-40s. Then PFF has 6 guys ranked in the 60s-70s:
Marvin Wilson (6'5, 305, FSU)
Daviyon Nixon (6'3, 305, Iowa)
Tyler Shelvin (6'3, 346, LSU)
Osa Ohdighizuwa (6'2, 279, UCLA)
Levi Onwuzurike (6'3, 293, Washington)
Tommy Togiai (6'2, 300, Ohio State)

I have no idea if any of these guys are potential fits on the Pats.
 
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BaseballJones

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I think they need to sign 1-2 defensive linemen (on the interior) and also draft one relatively high.
 

BigJimEd

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So given that Chung and Hightower seem to be back in the mix, what is the #1 need on defense at this point? Last year I felt they needed more speed at LB and someone disruptive in the pass rush either at DT or on the edge. They also need a better run stuffer at DT.

Hightower helps against the run, provides some interior pass rush options, and probably keeps the defense better prepared on the field. Maybe Chung gives them more options to play Dugger in the box as a sub LB and helps address the lack of speed at LB.

Is the big draft need on defense now a disruptive DT? Does that guy exist in the draft?
@SMU_Sox Talked a little about DTs in the prospect thread. McNeill is his guy.

http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/2021-nfl-prospect-talk-because-its-never-too-early.31832/post-4303295
 

Saints Rest

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I feel like the #1 need of this defense is an edge defender against the run. It seems like no one on the Pats was able to set the edge last year.

If they can improve their run defense, I think a lot of the rest of it falls into place. But boy, they sucked against the run.
 

Average Game James

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Mike Sando did a piece for The Athletic where he looked at the 10 most expensive FA signings for NFL GMs over the last decade and made a ranking of the GMs based on hits/misses/mehs..

https://theathletic.com/2434379/2021/03/12/ranking-nfl-gms-by-their-most-expensive-free-agent-signings-bill-belichick-no-1/
Spoiler, Bill comes out #1, mostly because he doesn't make many big $ misses.
It's also notable that only 2 former Pats show up as good bigger money signings for other GMs in this analysis - one was Brady (and he wasn't resigning in NE) and the other was Ted Karras.
 

Saints Rest

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Absolutely. I'm happy to see BB continue to invest in ST players. After all these years, you just wonder why more GMs don't do this.
I wonder if there is a bit of knock on effect with rewarding ST stars in that it gives incentive to the younger lesser talents on a team to make their marks on ST? Matthew Slater being the poster child for this, coming out of college with very borderline level (at best) skills as a traditional offensive or defensive player but now having received multiple years of solid income and multiple Pro Bowls, he’s in the running for the HOF. Nate Ebner is another example.
 

Average Game James

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So as I look at the FA binge, can't help but to wonder if this means Gilmore is gone. He already wasn't likely to be happy playing for $7 million in 2021, but now he will also be only the 8th or 9th highest paid guy on the team (off the top of my head, Smith, Henry, Agholor, Judon, Brown, Hightower, and DMC will all be making more money than he is).
 

KingChre

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The starting front 7 is likely to be wholly changed over from last year, or at least the entire LB lineup.

Any chance the additions of Judon, KVN, DHT, plus Godchaux and Anderson suggest a move to more 3-4 as a base?
I think they've evolved past the 4-3 or 3-4 to their 4-2-5 as their base. They are so multiple that the front 6 varies but without having the numbers in front of me I would guess they played more snaps in that alignment than anything else.
 

Saints Rest

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I saw this from some guy on Twitter, but I love the idea of the return of the amoeba defense with Judon, DHT, Wino, Uche, and KVN all wandering around pre-snap, with or without Godchaux or Wise with one hand in the turf. Then Gilmore, JCJ, Phillips (or Dugger) and Jones lined up in press coverage, while McCourty floats in the deep part of the field.
 

RedOctober3829

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The starting front 7 is likely to be wholly changed over from last year, or at least the entire LB lineup.

Any chance the additions of Judon, KVN, DHT, plus Godchaux and Anderson suggest a move to more 3-4 as a base?
I think you can see more 3 man fronts because Judon and KVN(and Jennings hopefully) are capable of playing edge against the run while Wise and Anderson play near the end of the line on the ball.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Why would Wino be traded? He is an ascending player on a rookie deal. I'd be shocked of if he was, despite the spats with the coaching staff (allegedly).
I think the angle is that he constantly fucks up run responsibilities and can be a pain in the ass.

If they use him predominantly as a sub rusher, he has value at his contract, so unless they’re flat out fed up with him (and I haven’t seen reporting that goes that far) I think he is here.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think the angle is that he constantly fucks up run responsibilities and can be a pain in the ass.

If they use him predominantly as a sub rusher, he has value at his contract, so unless they’re flat out fed up with him (and I haven’t seen reporting that goes that far) I think he is here.
Probably, but the other side is.. if you think he's a situational pass rush guy only, you'd be wise to take a look around the league and see if someone thinks he's more than that. If he has value on that deal even as a pure sub rusher, another team may see him as having more value, and you get a player or pick you think gives you a bigger value.
 

Saints Rest

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I think you can see more 3 man fronts because Judon and KVN(and Jennings hopefully) are capable of playing edge against the run while Wise and Anderson play near the end of the line on the ball.
Three new DLineman -- Anderson, Godchaux, Adams, -- and three "new" (compared to last season) LBs -- DHT, KVN, Judon. That's six new players in the front 7. Wino, Uche, Jennings, Cowart, Hall, are now depth guys instead of starters.
 

Captaincoop

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Probably, but the other side is.. if you think he's a situational pass rush guy only, you'd be wise to take a look around the league and see if someone thinks he's more than that. If he has value on that deal even as a pure sub rusher, another team may see him as having more value, and you get a player or pick you think gives you a bigger value.
Right, and further - who is coming off the field in passing situations to get Winovich in the game?

Judon, KVN, Uche, Hightower...there are only so many edge/LB rush spots.
 

Saints Rest

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Right, and further - who is coming off the field in passing situations to get Winovich in the game?

Judon, KVN, Uche, Hightower...there are only so many edge/LB rush spots.
I don’t think that’s an issue. Other than DBs like DMac and Gilmore, pretty much every one else, especially in the front 6/7 are in a rotation. I think if Wino is only playing 20 snaps, all in clear passing downs, he could put up some big production in the pass rush.
KVN, for example, is not the pure pass rusher Wino is.
 

BigSoxFan

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I’m trying to think of reasons why he would get past Dallas at #10. Can’t think of many.
 

Saints Rest

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If this guy is there at 15 and the Pats don't trade one way or the other, I'd be thrilled if they took him

View: https://twitter.com/MathBomb/status/1374403040006991878
The mocks that I have looked at are so wildly all over the map by the time you get to 15.

Patriots.com has been tracking many of the biggest name draft pundits.
Here are some of the names that different sites have the Pats taking at 15:
  • Surtain
  • Pitts
  • Parsons
  • Jones
  • Vera-Tucker
  • Paye
  • Rousseau
  • Horn
This site aggregates all the mocks and gives us this picture:
  • Pitts (21.5% of mocks have the Pats getting Pitts)
  • Jones (14.9%)
  • Waddle (10.9%)
 

steveluck7

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Free-agent DT Lawrence Guy and the Patriots are working on finalizing a four-year deal for Guy to remain in New England — pending a physical — per sources.
Reiss reporting the Pats and Lawrence Guy are finalizing a 4 year deal
 

Captaincoop

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After the White and Guy signings, it feels like this team is so loaded (everywhere other than QB) that they're almost certain to consolidate some draft picks and move up. If the quarterback they want isn't attainable, maybe even move up for the best corner or linebacker.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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BigSoxFan

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Add 2 years and $40M guaranteed and spread the hit?
Do we even want to do that? He turns 31 in September so not sure I'd be too excited about an extension. For point of comparison, Ty Law's last Pro Bowl season was his age 31 season. For Revis, it was his age 30 season. Both of those guys were physical corners like Gilmore who relied more on technique vs. athleticism so seem like decent comps.

I think I'd rather bank on JC developing than Gilmore holding off Father Time.