I probably watch 30 college football games a year – two a week and a half-dozen bowls. But of these, I probably watch twenty without sound. On top of that, I throw in some odds and ends where I watch a series here and a quarter there. All told, it’s a fairly healthy dose of CFB and as such, I consider myself pretty conversational when it comes to college football.
That being said, I am not a junkie. And just like 99.9 percent of football fans, I am not a scout and not prepared to really offer relative assessments on the players who will be picked tonight. Can I offer a view, from 30,000 feet, on who I prefer between Cal’s Jahvid Best and Stanford’s Toby Gerheart? Yes. But can I really offer any intelligence whatsoever when it comes down to picking between OLB’s Sergio Kindle and Rolando McClain? NOPE. Can’t do it. I can regurgitate. And I can synthesize what I read. But I am not going to bring much primary source analysis to this conversation.
So draft night/day basically comes down to this for me. I look at my team, I assess its needs and I hope the front office makes selections that seem to make sense. On top of that, all I really care about is my team doesn’t make any horrible trades (get a three this year for a two next year) and they don’t take more than one guy from the “reach” bin. Finally, when it’s all over, I assess it all using this formula: (.38*Conventional Wisdom on the actual picks) + (.40*my needs assessment) + (.15 *Bill Belichick commentary) + (.07*Post-draft interviews with players and their coaches). And for other teams, I rely on the guys at Cold Hard Football Facts, I mix in a little Mel, I back out most of the other noise from ESPN, and I top it off with what my eyes tell me.
With that as a backdrop, this is what I hope to see from the Pats this draft.
* NO TIM TEBOW. I don’t want Christianity Today to start covering the Pats.
* The Pats have four picks in the top 53, a fourth, and a lot of garbage after that. On top of that, they have two number one’s next year so they have some flexibility to move around ….. and move around a lot. I would hope that they could use all this ammo to pick off some easy prey and improve their lot, either this year or next.
* If this draft is so deep and is as good as everyone says it is, than I will be curious to see if NE uses something from next year to bolster this year. Maybe package next year’s two with one of this year’s twos to move up a dozen spots (low 30s) and get a guy who would be a top-15 player next year. So Bill, give Tampa a shout and see if that 35th pick is avaialble. Does this math work ….. this year’s 53 and a number two next year for this year’s 35?
* With teams placing so much value on second round picks, I’d like the Pats to shop one of those picks for a ready-made player if available. See if there is another “Welker” deal out there where you get paid 140 cents on the dollar. Along those lines, I’d check in with San Diego and see what the price is for Shawne Merriman. If it’s a two, I ask them if they can shoot over his medicals.
* Of those top four picks, assuming they make all of them, I obviously would like the Pats to select a pass rusher and a defensive end. The Pats have been operating without a pass rush since about week eight of the 2007 season so this is a must. Now I realize that Belichick doesn’t have much use for young outside linebackers but this draft is thought to be deep at the position so perhaps this is the year he branches out. Call it 50/50 that he takes a LB with one of those first two picks.
* Beyond that, I’d like to see them pick up a couple of playmakers. Some speed wouldn’t hurt and I don’t really care if the “burn” comes in the form of a back, a receiver or a tight end. The one request I have is if they are going to use a high pick on a tight end, I would prefer that this time the guy can actually catch.
* Again, no Tim Tebow. I realize that Belichick and Meyer are tight but I will not be happy if BB does his buddy a solid. In fact, I don’t want to see anyone from Florida. With one notable exception, those guys haven’t exactly blown the NFL away in recent years and the Pats track record with Gators is oh so spotty. (Chad Jackson, Gus Scott)
* Well, that’s it for now ……. Concluding ……NO TEBOW, TE WHO CAN CATCH, PASS RUSHER WHO CAN RUSH THE PASSER.