The Damien Harris Sploogefest

Sille Skrub

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Harris has been an absolute beast. I think he's the best back we've had since Corey Dillon, maybe even Curtis Martin.

What do we have here? Will Sony Michel see the field again?
 

RedOctober3829

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Harris has been an absolute beast. I think he's the best back we've had since Corey Dillon, maybe even Curtis Martin.

What do we have here? Will Sony Michel see the field again?
He's extremely talented. He runs so hard, hits the hole with more decisiveness than any of our backs, and can make people miss or can run right through them. He's a tough runner who can make something out of nothing, but also makes 3 yard gains into 30 yarders. The key is to stay healthy, but I think we've found our bellcow. Sony can still have a role, but he's not the featured back anymore. That 5th year option is looking less likely to be picked up every day.
 

Mooch

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The thing that I like about Harris is that he's decisive when picking a hole -- Strong acceleration through the gap with no hesitation. Plus, he's tough to bring down at first contact. He's the kind of back that you can't just arm tackle.
 

Van Everyman

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I like the idea of Sony taking some heat off of Harris at least until he’s shown he can stay healthy. But this is an exciting sploogefest and Harris seems like a good kid to boot.

Perhaps it’s just a factor of poor drafts, but it’s also interesting to contemplate how Bill may have been ahead of the curve seeing that the running game was ascendant in the NFL, or at least an inefficiency, starting in 2018 with the draft of Michel and extension of Burkhead.

Edit: I also wonder whether it was something that Brady surmised was a deliberate strategy (as opposed to an adjustment to Gronk injuries and receiver depth) and cause of his grumpiness his last two seasons here.
 

cornwalls@6

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I worry a little bit about his ability to stay on the fled with his running style, but I also love everything about his aggressive, decisive, fearless approach. I don't think Sony sees the field much for the rest of this year, If Harris stays healthy. The two headed monster of him and Rex has been really fun to watch.

Edit: And of course White in the receiving role.
 

Garshaparra

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I like the idea of Sony taking some heat off of Harris at least until he’s shown he can stay healthy. But this is an exciting sploogefest and Harris seems like a good kid to boot.

Perhaps it’s just a factor of poor drafts, but it’s also interesting to contemplate how Bill may have been ahead of the curve seeing that the running game was ascendant in the NFL, or at least an inefficiency, starting in 2018 with the draft of Michel and extension of Burkhead.
I would agree with this, to a point. The complete lack of functional TEs killed us last year, and is making the team very one-dimensional this year. This is on BB. Obviously, BB couldn't have believed both of his drafted TEs would get hurt, but he had no backup plan, and it's caused losses when the run game gets stymied.

That said...holy crap, I had tears in my eyes watching Harris blow through blocks and batter Ravens last night. It was truly impressive individual effort following exceptional teamwork to open the initial holes. Splooge indeed.
 
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Another element of Harris’s game that I love seeing is his balance. He bounces off (and runs through) tackles pretty impressively. As for “maybe since Curtis Martin,” probably let’s pump the brakes.
 

Jungleland

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All due respect to Jakobi and Cam, who are playing better these last couple weeks, but I would love to see what this guy can do with a competent passing attack. The most exciting thing about this mini breakout is that he's doing it without really being a threat to catch the ball on an offense that's barely a threat to throw the ball at all while he's in. Correcting either of those things this season may be a tall order, but I think the ceiling here is a fair bit higher than we've seen so far.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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All due respect to Jakobi and Cam, who are playing better these last couple weeks, but I would love to see what this guy can do with a competent passing attack. The most exciting thing about this mini breakout is that he's doing it without really being a threat to catch the ball on an offense that's barely a threat to throw the ball at all while he's in. Correcting either of those things this season may be a tall order, but I think the ceiling here is a fair bit higher than we've seen so far.
This is a great point. Midway through the third, Baltimore started stacking the box to take away the run and his YPC started to plummet. Even with excellent (dominant) offensive line play, his effectiveness will certainly be limited without much threat throwing the ball.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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This is a great point. Midway through the third, Baltimore started stacking the box to take away the run and his YPC started to plummet. Even with excellent (dominant) offensive line play, his effectiveness will certainly be limited without much threat throwing the ball.
To this point, here's a list of Harris' rushes yesterday:

First Quarter: 5/21
7-4-7-3-0
Second Quarter: 7/42
3-4-12-5-1-13-4
Third Quarter: 6/58
16-25-12-3-4-(2)
Fourth Quarter: 4/0
0-0-(1)-1

It's certainly possible he was simply running out of gas come the fourth quarter, having received so much more work than he'd ever seen before in the NFL and coming off an injury, no less. And since Burkhead remained very effective down the stretch, it would suggest the blocking was holding up. But to the point, no question that the Ravens' keying more tightly on Harris enabled them to bottle him up better.

You wonder if the Pats need to mix in a couple targets his way, to keep him from becoming as one-dimensional as Michel.

On another tip, Harris' willingness to stick his nose in there on pass protection was also noteworthy. He had a great pick-up on the play Cam drew a sack by spinning into the man Harris was blocking, rather than away from him.

Final note/question -- do we know what Cam's nickname is for Harris?
 

ifmanis5

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Liked him from the first time I saw him but he has already exceeded my expectations. What does his injury mean to the team last year? One win or maybe more?
Clearly he's not keeping Tom here but maybe we would have felt a little better about the overall state of the offense.
 

DourDoerr

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I'll echo Sille Skrub. Simply thrilling to watch and was shouting at the tv during his runs. Watching a good back carving his way is one of the sport's glories. Too often, I've had to watch opposing teams do so - except for Dillon that one year. It's way early to compare to Curtis - and there's a 99.9% chance he won't match Curtis' career production - but the early returns are promising that we might - MIGHT - finally have a homegrown back other teams have to game plan for - and I'll take that for a year or two. Was marvelling at how well and fast he hit the right hole without any moves to slow him down and then he had one run where he did a sidestep right after he got the ball and it allowed him to then make a huge run up that hole. So, he's not a one-trick pony (at least to date) - he'll do what he needs to do to get open space. His emergence, along with Myers' recent flourish, are exciting developments. Now, if one of the TE's can get in gear...
 

E5 Yaz

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I don't do number-crunching, but this from Kyed seemed worth a look:

Harris had his third 100-yard performance in six games this season after beginning the year on injured reserve.
Elusive rating
White: one avoided tackle – 50 elusive rating
Harris: 3.82 yards after contact per attempt, two avoided tackles – 34.7 elusive rating
Newton: 2.18 yards after contact per attempt, avoided tackle – 19.8 elusive rating
Burkhead: 3 yards after contact per attempt, no avoided tackles – 0 elusive rating

— Through six games, Harris has a 40.2 elusive rating, averaging 3.18 yards after contact per attempt with 11 avoided tackles on 87 touches. He has a breakaway rate of 30.4 percent with six carries of over 15 yards (143 yards total).

Sony Michel had a 28.2 elusive rating through the first six games of his rookie season, averaging 2.54 yards after contact per attempt with 11 avoided tackles on 103 touches. He had a 28.4 percent breakaway rate. Michel had a 29.7 elusive rating and 23.6 percent breakaway rate in his entire rookie season.
So, through six games, Harris is playing better than Michel in the 2018 first-round pick’s rookie season.

Michel had a 38.4 elusive rating, averaging 2.55 yards after contact per attempt and a 17.1 percent breakaway rate in 2019.

It’s worth noting that Michel had a 44.1 elusive rating, averaging 4.12 yards after contact per attempt and a 49.7 percent breakaway rate in his first three games of the 2020 season. He had a 0 elusive rating and a 0 percent breakaway rate in his first two games and a 218.2 elusive rating and 73.5 percent breakaway rate in Week 3.

So, consider the small sample size. Michel wasn’t doing much of anything in Weeks 1 and 2, broke out in Week 3, got hurt, was placed on injured reserve and hasn’t returned since.
When Michel is healthy, Harris should maintain his top role in the Patriots’ offense.

 

DourDoerr

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I'll add that Michel seemed to be plodding along as usual then someone lit a fire under him (and Burkhead) and both came out of the half on fire (I forget which game - Seattle?). Really aggressive and taking it to the defenders when Michel seemed to previously get knocked back consistently when tackled. Of course he got hurt pretty quick and that's been that. Burkhead's maintained the aggressiveness and he seems a different back, breaking a tackle more than he had. Harris seems to have that aggressive gene built in.
 

cshea

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I'll add that Michel seemed to be plodding along as usual then someone lit a fire under him (and Burkhead) and both came out of the half on fire (I forget which game - Seattle?). Really aggressive and taking it to the defenders when Michel seemed to previously get knocked back consistently when tackled. Of course he got hurt pretty quick and that's been that. Burkhead's maintained the aggressiveness and he seems a different back, breaking a tackle more than he had. Harris seems to have that aggressive gene built in.
It was the Vegas game. Michel had 117 yards on only 9 carries. That was also the last game Michel has played this year.
 

EL Jeffe

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I don't find Harris's production the least bit surprising. I mentioned it in one of the offseason threads, but his pedigree is just insane. Coming out of high school, he was the #1 rated RB (and a top 10 rated recruit) in his class. He then absolutely dominated at Alabama, leaving that program as their all-time leader in YPC (6.4). He AVERAGED over 7 YPC as a sophomore and junior, getting 1,000+ yards both years against an elite college schedule, while being in a platoon. He's an absolute franchise back and should have been playing over Sony last year. Alas. This isn't in any way a mirage, he's this good.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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I don't find Harris's production the least bit surprising. I mentioned it in one of the offseason threads, but his pedigree is just insane. Coming out of high school, he was the #1 rated RB (and a top 10 rated recruit) in his class. He then absolutely dominated at Alabama, leaving that program as their all-time leader in YPC (6.4). He AVERAGED over 7 YPC as a sophomore and junior, getting 1,000+ yards both years against an elite college schedule, while being in a platoon. He's an absolute franchise back and should have been playing over Sony last year. Alas. This isn't in any way a mirage, he's this good.
I don’t pay tons of attention to college football/predraft stuff. What’s the reason he wasn’t taken till the third? Injuries?
 

ifmanis5

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I don’t pay tons of attention to college football/predraft stuff. What’s the reason he wasn’t taken till the third? Injuries?
He was predicted to go where he went. The knock on him was his athletic ceiling is somewhat low due to lack of elusive creativity. He's great at hitting the hole and running with power but he's not shifty and not really a complete pass catcher: https://thedraftnetwork.com/player/damien-harris
 

SMU_Sox

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I don’t pay tons of attention to college football/predraft stuff. What’s the reason he wasn’t taken till the third? Injuries?
Like @EL Jeffe I also predicted good things for Harris this year. He went in the third because Najee Harris took snaps from him. He didn't have outstanding physical traits, and he doesn't have home-run long-speed. NFL teams can be very stupid with RBs. Traditional physical traits and testing scores don't matter to the position minus weight and height (things like pad level, vision, manipulating second level defenders, knowing when to hit a bend, bang, or bounce these things can't really be measured by testing).

Harris also was good in pass pro and as a check-down receiver. IIRC Harris didn't line up out wide like Najee Harris does. I guess teams felt like he wasn't elite enough in an area to select him. I am not sure why.
 

BigSoxFan

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He was predicted to go where he went. The knock on him was his athletic ceiling is somewhat low due to lack of elusive creativity. He's great at hitting the hole and running with power but he's not shifty and not really a complete pass catcher: https://thedraftnetwork.com/player/damien-harris
I loved this section. So true based on what we've seen.

"Cannot, and will not, be taken down by half-hearted tackle attempts. Is rocked up throughout and can absorb glancing blows even when he doesn't see them coming. Arm tackles from first-level defenders do nothing to slow him down. Regularly requires rally tackles when in the second level. Quick footwork lends itself to bracing for contact immediately."
 

ifmanis5

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I loved this section. So true based on what we've seen.

"Cannot, and will not, be taken down by half-hearted tackle attempts. Is rocked up throughout and can absorb glancing blows even when he doesn't see them coming. Arm tackles from first-level defenders do nothing to slow him down. Regularly requires rally tackles when in the second level. Quick footwork lends itself to bracing for contact immediately."
For sure. He's not Tractorcito level but you have to be fully committed to bring him down one on one.

And SMU is right on with his analysis. I think he was seen as kind of a boring pick. Similar to Curtis Martin, he's not dynamic and he doesn't make a lot of sexy SportsCenter highlights, he's just a dependable and productive back. I'll take it, though.
 

Super Nomario

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Liked him from the first time I saw him but he has already exceeded my expectations. What does his injury mean to the team last year? One win or maybe more?
Clearly he's not keeping Tom here but maybe we would have felt a little better about the overall state of the offense.
Harris wasn't hurt last year. He was a healthy scratch 13 times. He just wasn't displacing Sony as a rookie when Sony was coming off a good rookie season.
 

Captaincoop

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Last night it was noticeable how, when there is nothing there on a play, he is decisive, goes forward, and turns it into at least 1-3 yards. He is much tougher to totally stuff than Michel, who would be likely to lose a yard on those plays.
 

BigSoxFan

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Harris wasn't hurt last year. He was a healthy scratch 13 times. He just wasn't displacing Sony as a rookie when Sony was coming off a good rookie season.
He’s also a perfect example of why we need to keep hammering offensive skill positions in the draft, such as WR. You draft Sony, watch him have a very good rookie campaign, but still go after depth when the value is there.
 

j44thor

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Worth noting the Pats OL was as healthy as it has been all year last night and BAL was missing their top 2 run defenders once Brandon Williams left early.
Harris seems to run hard with good pad level and seems to be making the right reads but I think last night his production was due at least in part to BAL being weak upfront and NE OL dominating for stretches. Certainly a lot to be encouraged by and the Pats OL should be able to match up against any DL when healthy.
 

DourDoerr

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It was the Vegas game. Michel had 117 yards on only 9 carries. That was also the last game Michel has played this year.
Thanks for this. I didn't remember that his day was THAT good. It was literally like a switch had been flipped.
 

Super Nomario

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Thanks for this. I didn't remember that his day was THAT good. It was literally like a switch had been flipped.
A lot of his production was on two long runs (86 yards total), both of which featured Raiders safety Johnathan Abram and his creative approach to open-field tackling.
 

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He’s also a perfect example of why we need to keep hammering offensive skill positions in the draft, such as WR. You draft Sony, watch him have a very good rookie campaign, but still go after depth when the value is there.
Couldn't agree more. Pittsburgh keeps investing in WRs even when they have 2-3 good ones already. And now they have a ridiculous WR room. Meanwhile Harry is the one WR BB has drafted with a top 100 pick in 7 years. Yeesh.

A lot of his production was on two long runs (86 yards total), both of which featured Raiders safety Johnathan Abram and his creative approach to open-field tackling.
Hahahahahahahaha. Well played.
 

BaseballJones

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Couldn't agree more. Pittsburgh keeps investing in WRs even when they have 2-3 good ones already. And now they have a ridiculous WR room. Meanwhile Harry is the one WR BB has drafted with a top 100 pick in 7 years. Yeesh.
That's fine, and the system has worked to the tune of 6 Lombardis. Yes, Brady, obviously. But every pick spent on a WR is a pick not spent somewhere else. So it's not simply "they've gotta pick more WRs". It's "what positions do you wish they'd pick less of in order to pick more WRs"? I know you're a really knowledgable football guy. What would be your answer to that question?
 

Super Nomario

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That's fine, and the system has worked to the tune of 6 Lombardis. Yes, Brady, obviously. But every pick spent on a WR is a pick not spent somewhere else. So it's not simply "they've gotta pick more WRs". It's "what positions do you wish they'd pick less of in order to pick more WRs"? I know you're a really knowledgable football guy. What would be your answer to that question?
I don't want to speak for @SMU_Sox , but I've said similar, and my perspective is that Belichick's approach to receiver (not just WR but also TE and to a lesser extent, receiving back) has been very effective for most of the past 20 years and he was right in his approach for the most part. But the market has shifted. It didn't matter that they were investing the least WR draft capital of any team because they were investing a lot in TE and were able to find inexpensive options at positions like slot WR and TE that are traditionally undervalued. Who needs to keep dumping firsts into WRs when you can snag Welker and Moss for peanuts? Who needs an elite X receiver when you have Gronk?

But I would argue the league has changed and the market has changed. When you see guys like Albert Wilson and Adam Humphries signing for $8 MM / $9 MM a year, it's evident that slot receiver isn't the bargain it was. Ditto TE, when you see Hayden Hurst fetching a second in trade and Austin Hooper signing a huge deal. The Pats used to snap up bargains but now every team is looking for that third or fourth receiving option, whether it's a slot WR or a second TE. So the approach has to change. Belichick either needs to pay market in free agency / trade, or invest more draft capital, or live with substandard receivers. There are arguments to be made for any approach; I think the most painless option is to throw more mid-round picks at WR/TE, like they do at DB.
 

BaseballJones

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Good post, @Super Nomario. But...it doesn't answer my question. You put more draft capital into WR and presumably even TE. Well and good. But which positions do you want them to invest *less* draft capital in? One obvious answer is: kicker and punter. The kicker pick this year seems utterly worthless, given that they likely could have had any number of good kickers as an UDFA, and went with Folk anyway. And as good as Bailey has been, there are other guys who could adequately do the job. But that's only two picks out of dozens and dozens and dozens. What positions should they draft less of, as they draft more WRs and TEs?
 

Super Nomario

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Good post, @Super Nomario. But...it doesn't answer my question. You put more draft capital into WR and presumably even TE. Well and good. But which positions do you want them to invest *less* draft capital in? One obvious answer is: kicker and punter. The kicker pick this year seems utterly worthless, given that they likely could have had any number of good kickers as an UDFA, and went with Folk anyway. And as good as Bailey has been, there are other guys who could adequately do the job. But that's only two picks out of dozens and dozens and dozens. What positions should they draft less of, as they draft more WRs and TEs?
Good question. I think DT has become something teams can address inexpensively in FA, but the Pats (despite historically drafting a lot of DT high) have not actually drafted a DT since Vincent Valentine in 2016. DB is the obvious answer since a) they've spent so much capital there, b) so many of their early-round DB picks have failed and c) they've done a great job getting DBs as UDFAs. But probably it's not as obvious as that and more about subtle redistribution of resources. And arguably we did see something of this approach in the past draft with taking two TEs in the third.

I don't have an issue with the K/P picks ... once you get to the fifth / sixth round, you're basically drafting priority priority UDFAs. It looks like they missed on Rohrwasser but Bailey has been great.
 

SMU_Sox

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@Super Nomario nailed it. The market has changed. @BaseballJones thats tough. I’d say instead of taking some of the day 2 edges and day 2 DBs it would have been nice to take a WR. But let's go back the past 4 drafts and see.

You know what game I hate with a passion? The instead of taking this guy you should have taken this guy game. So what I am going to do is tell you which WRs were available around that pick.

So let's look at some of the last 4 drafts and go back and see what they could have done. I won't penalize them for taking Harry - they had the right idea and it was between (or it appeared it was between) Harry, AJ Brown, and Deebo Samuel. They went for the best blocker and the guy with elite size and great RAC skills (not to mention a decent contested catcher) but so far a swing and a miss. Misses happen - not going to deduct.

2020: The problem with this draft was that almost all the good WRs minus Devin Duvernay were gone before pick 60. I have 0 problem with the Dugger and Uche pick. This class had some good safeties, SS is an incredibly important position in mostly base nickel and Dugger has the kind of body and athleticism that is exceedingly rare. Uche was one of the guys I didn't know if they'd absolutely love but want him to be more of a hybrid OLB/ILB or they'd hate because he's too small for a traditional edge only spot. But we all agreed last year they needed some athleticism at the 2nd level. With Uche and Dugger they've made the middle of their defense just that.
The only other question was to take Jennings vs Duvernay. Round 3 Pick 87 Here is a spot where I would have taken a WR instead of a LB but I get why they went OLB/ILB - the front 7 needs bodies for 2020-2021+. They took two of the TEs some of the BBTL/Scho-Show-Slack draft-people loved Asiasi and Keene. Look NONE of the rookie TEs are contributing much at all. None. It's a hard position, we know this, and the off-season was chopped short. I was stupid for thinking Asiasi would contribute otherwise.

2019: I liked JJW. I thought he was going to be a TE eraser and a box safety type or a big WR matchup. He's had some flashes but so far the only thing he's covered well with any consistency is the bench. AJ Brown was still on the board. DK Metcalf was still on the board. Neither of those guys is redundant with Harry, they could have gone back to back there. But BB doesn't double up on the same position with that much draft capital so I am not going to count it. Round 2 Pick 64, another spot they could have gone WR. DK was available. Jalen Hurts was available, Diontae Johnson was available. Terry McLaurin was available. Of those guys Terry McLaurin was your prototypical Patriot too. A leader on and off the field and a guy who embraces special teams. A model citizen and a damn good WR. His stats to me didn't match his tape/traits. The picks after that I think were fine, even Harris at RB when you had Sony. Dawson Knox had a good rookie TE year but has been injured or sick this year and hasn't made an impact.

2018: They needed a LT of the future so can't fault them for Wynn at 23 who when healthy has been a good tackle. Sony Michel at 31. Round 1 pick 31 they could have traded back or taken a WR here. Courtland Sutton, Dante Pettis, Christian Kirk, D.J. Chark - there were plenty of WRs in round 2 should they have traded back. But say they wanted one of Michel or Chubb and didn't have an offer for anyone where they felt like it was safe to drop back to. Round 2 pick 56 instead of Patriots legend Duke Dawson they could have gone with DJ Chark or Michael Gallup. The thing here though was if BB wanted a corner after Dawson only 3 were taken from 56-100 and there was a run on corners. Either way one of those picks could have been used to traded down to take a WR.

2017: They traded a 1st round pick for Brandin Cooks who had a good year with receiving yards and also drew 347 a league record DPI's. No WRs of note were around pick 32 anyway. They traded back with Carolina for pick 64 for fucking Kony Ealy. Had they been there the next WR picked was Cooper Kupp at 69 who probably would have fit in well here. This was a disastrous trade as Ealy never played for them. BB is usually good evaluating pro-personnel so you take the good with the bad. Since they invested their 1st in Cooks they might not have wanted to go WR with their other day 2 picks. And the two guys they got were considered ++ value for where they went although mostly because of injuries neither have worked out. Also the WRs around where they picked were mostly misses anyway. But just to be thorough here are the WRs they could have taken with: Round 2 Pick 64, Round 3 Pick 72, Round 3 Pick 83, or Round 3 if they decided a WR over Derek Rivers or Antonio Garcia. Names on the board: Taywan Taylor-72, ArDarius Stewart- 79, Carlos Henderson-82, Chris Godwin-84, Kenny Golladay-96, Chad Williams-98.
Side note: Curtis Samuel is a nice piece and was taken early round 2 but he's more of a matchup guy. You need a DJ Moore and Robby Anderson to help open things up for Samuel. He's a talented player and one I would love on the Patriots but only if we had a traditional #1WR production type. I think Samuel would feast in a JMD offense. If we somehow had Allen Robinson and Samuel on the same team I would be in hog heaven. Truly, Theo, make this one happen.


Where they could have taken WRs: 2020 3rd round pick 87, 2019 Round 2 Pick 64, 2018 Either Choose One: 2018 Round 1 Pick 31, or 2018 Round 2 pick 56.
 

BaseballJones

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Great post SMU. I think the drafting game is so so hard. For example, we KNOW that quality secondary play is absolutely crucial to success in today's NFL, especially when you're chasing teams like Kansas City. So BB does with DBs the very thing that we want him to do with WRs - he just keeps on drafting them, year after year after year. And he adds to that group some veterans as well (Phillips, JMac, etc.). And the result is an absolutely elite secondary. And the biggest reason why the Pats' defense has been so good is because of their elite secondary. Well they only get there because he invests so much capital in DBs.

But man, that comes at a tremendous cost, right?

2020 (10 picks)
2nd - S Duggar

2019 (10 picks)
2nd - JJ Williams
7th - K Webster

2018 (9 picks)
2nd - D Dawson
7th - K Crossen

2017 (4 picks)
nobody

2016 (9 picks)
2nd - C Jones

2015 (11 picks)
2nd - J Richards
7th - D Roberts

So in the past six seasons, they've used 53 picks, and selected 8 defensive backs.

Heh, actually, I thought there would be more than that. But of the six seasons, in five of them he drafted a DB in the 2nd round. That's a lot of high-round draft capital devoted to the secondary.

He's also valued offensive linemen a ton, which shows its value in a year like this, when the OL really had been the #1 key to their offense. And this past draft, he needed LBs and TEs, and he drafted two each.

I think it's just super easy to be critical and say he should have taken this guy or someone at that position, but keep in mind, he hasn't exactly been Nostradamus at picking WRs. So who's to say that if he had turned a couple of these other picks into WRs that he would have nailed any of them. It's easy to say he shouldn't have picked Duke Dawson and taken a good receiver instead. But let's say that he had taken a crappy receiver (which some critics think is all BB drafts for WRs) instead of, say, Dugger, or instead of Wynn. The team would be worse off for it.

Long story much much shorter: it's really easy to be critical of BB and it's fine, I'm happy for people to be critical. It's way way way harder to do his job, and literally nobody in the history of the league has done it as well as he has on the whole. Of COURSE he's going to make mistakes - and lots of them. But he gets it right far more than he gets it wrong.
 

Super Nomario

Member
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Nov 5, 2000
12,920
Mansfield MA
Great post SMU. I think the drafting game is so so hard. For example, we KNOW that quality secondary play is absolutely crucial to success in today's NFL, especially when you're chasing teams like Kansas City. So BB does with DBs the very thing that we want him to do with WRs - he just keeps on drafting them, year after year after year. And he adds to that group some veterans as well (Phillips, JMac, etc.). And the result is an absolutely elite secondary. And the biggest reason why the Pats' defense has been so good is because of their elite secondary. Well they only get there because he invests so much capital in DBs.
I mostly agree with this, although it's worth noting that they've gotten very little out of the actual DB draft picks. Other than DMac, who was drafted a decade back, the DB drafted by the Pats who has played the most defensive snaps is Dugger, at about 1/3 of the snaps. Gilmore was a big-ticket FA, Jackson and Jones were UDFAs, JMac, Phillips, and Brooks were low-cost FAs. So they could keep investing sizably in DBs but maybe invest less in the spots where they're not getting much return.

He's also valued offensive linemen a ton, which shows its value in a year like this, when the OL really had been the #1 key to their offense.
I don't think if you went through all 32 teams that you'd find that the Patriots stand out for spending a lot at OL. They've got two guards on big contracts, but none of the Ts nor Andrews are particularly pricey. Wynn was a first, but that's standard for a LT, and none of the other OL were drafted particularly high - Thuney in the 3rd is closest. They have a great OL because they continually throw modest resources at it, and because they've been willing to retain guys, but it's not like DAL where they had three first-rounders or anything.

I think it's just super easy to be critical and say he should have taken this guy or someone at that position, but keep in mind, he hasn't exactly been Nostradamus at picking WRs. So who's to say that if he had turned a couple of these other picks into WRs that he would have nailed any of them. It's easy to say he shouldn't have picked Duke Dawson and taken a good receiver instead. But let's say that he had taken a crappy receiver (which some critics think is all BB drafts for WRs) instead of, say, Dugger, or instead of Wynn. The team would be worse off for it.
This is all the more reason to take more shots at WR. They're not all going to hit, but they're not all going to miss either. Second and third round picks miss at every position; the misses haven't dissuaded them at DB and they shouldn't dissuade them at WR.

Long story much much shorter: it's really easy to be critical of BB and it's fine, I'm happy for people to be critical. It's way way way harder to do his job, and literally nobody in the history of the league has done it as well as he has on the whole. Of COURSE he's going to make mistakes - and lots of them. But he gets it right far more than he gets it wrong.
I agree he gets it right far more than he gets it wrong. That's one reason I find it surprising that he's been so unusually slow to adjust to the changing WR / TE market. There's still no one I'd rather have calling the shots; that doesn't mean he's perfect.
 
Apr 24, 2019
553
The last several posts are why SOSH is the best board around. Thanks to all of you for the tremendous insight and effort. Now I’m going off to kill myself right after I scrawl the words Godwin and/or Cupp on the wall with my blood.
 

gryoung

Member
SoSH Member
I really hope Michel, somehow, can return to what he was at Georgia. Michel and Chubb were the stud running backs.
Chubb was the main man, but when Michel came into the game he was absolutely electric. Quick and slashing.

Only saw that occasionally In his rookie season and little since. Maybe it’s injuries. Maybe it’s the adjustment to NFL defensive speed.

Times running out.
 

Pandemonium67

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Apr 17, 2003
4,766
Lesterland
Yeah, if Sony can continue to play like he did in his last game while DH plays like he's done so far, we have a two-headed monster. Add in Burkhead and James White, and the Pats have a great stable of RBs.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
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May 31, 2007
36,356
Yeah, he was amazing:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAoORfxBppY


I feel like we haven't seen this guy since the 2018 playoffs. It's unbelievable to watch.
His vision and cuts in that game were very good. Still looks less explosive than he was at UGA but if you can combine this version of Michel with Harris while mixing in Burkhead/White, then you’ve got a nice rotation there and can keep everyone fresh.
 

Euclis20

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Aug 3, 2004
3,591
Imaginationland
His vision and cuts in that game were very good. Still looks less explosive than he was at UGA but if you can combine this version of Michel with Harris while mixing in Burkhead/White, then you’ve got a nice rotation there and can keep everyone fresh.
The Pats have a nice stable of B- to B+ RBs, and combined with a strong O-line and Cam Newton, it's got all the makings of a truly dominant rushing attack. Too bad the passing game is so bad, nothing to keep good defenses honest.