August 31, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Justin Hunter (11) misses a pass while being tackled by North Carolina State Wolfpack cornerback David Amerson (1) in the second half at the Georgia Dome. Tennessee beat NC State 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots at 29: Defer to the second round

Hypothesis.  At this point, that’s all mock drafts are.

The athletes in question are hypothesized to be the answer to an individual team’s question – but in following scientific protocol, there will be much testing upcoming, such as the combine and pro days, visits and interviews…

…and by the time the NFL Draft approaches in late April, the hypothesis will be come theory – athletes will be theorized to be the best fit with a certain team…and then the entire thing is blown apart when reality takes over, and some coach pulls a Belichick and takes a player that fits no theory, not even a hypothesis, and jangles the entire draft to it’s core.

It’s crazy and a huge waste of time and somebody pays a select group of people to hypothesize which athlete will be selected by which team for whatever reason…and in the end these people will be wrong more often than they are right, yet we continue to read what they have to say.

Why?  Because we love our team.  We are intrigued.  Some young greyhound is going to get drafted by our grizzled old coach and bring hope and the promise of a new beginning.  For some, the draft is Easter, a birthday and Christmas morning all bundled into a neat 3-day package by ESPN…

Over the next 12 weeks, we will be constantly updating our board in an attempt to guess what Bill Belichick is going to do with his five picks in April’s draft…because the more testing that is done to the athletes – the more every moment of their lives are scrutinized, the more their story becomes more clear – the more we will want them on our team, or the more we won’t…

It’s not an inexact science – it’s not even a science at all.

It’s just a hypothesis which becomes a theory – and it really never becomes anything more than that.


The growing trend in the NFL is that when a team wins a coin toss, more often than not that team elects to defer to the second half, meaning that they will go on defense to start the game and take the opening kickoff of the second half.

It’s called a two-fer or piggyback…in theory, it gives a team the opportunity to have two possessions – and two chances to score – without their opponent getting a possession.  For this to work, a team must have the ball and hopefully score as the first half expires, then take the second half kickoff and score again…if executed properly, it is either a momentum shifter or a coffin nail, depending on the score at the time…

That being said, it is entirely possible that the Patriots will elect to defer their 1st round pick in order to piggyback an extra 2nd rounder…

Going with trends in recent history, it is safe to assume that Belichick is not going to be satisfied with the number of draft picks he has, and will deal off his 1st rounder to some team desperate to move up into the 1st round from the 2nd, and that he will only do that for no less than team’s 2nd and also their 4th rounder.

For the sake of argument, and almost completely at random, let’s say that the Arizona Cardinals needed to move up to grab a quarterback and have to move up into the 1st round to get their guy before Jacksonville pounces on him…and they come knocking.  So the Patriots end up with two second rounders – in this random scenario the 38th and 59th picks – their own 3rd round pick and Arizona’s 4th, #100 overall.

Given that this draft is top heavy with defensive talent, the Patriots could get perhaps two defensive backs that they covet in the second and third rounds, then pull a receiver out of their hoodie, and then get creative from that point.

The Super Bowl hasn’t even been played, so this earliest of speculation is just that – speculation.

Keeping that in mind, we offer a pre-Super Bowl, pre-Combine short list of players who would most likely be available and would fill the needs of the Patriots if they were to draft today, given the trade scenario:

Eric Reid, FS, 6′ 2″ 210lbs, LSU: He possesses the ideal build and athleticism for the position, shows excellent instincts and is a scrappy, tenacious defender whose big hits and ball skills make him a legitimate weapon in the deep patrol.  He throws his body around and might be the most violent striker in the SEC, which is saying a lot.

David Amerson, CB/FS, 6’3″ 200lbs, North Carolina State: Skill-Set Summary: (Pictured above) Amerson has an extremely rare skill set; it is obvious  to everybody that he has tremendous ball skills. When the ball is in the air,  Amerson attacks it like a wide receiver. Amerson is fabulous in zone coverage. While his ballhawking stands out the most,  he has superb instincts. Amerson reads quarterbacks eyes and is extremely quick  to adjust to receiver’s routes. With his quickness to break on the ball, he has  an uncanny ability to get in position to make a play.

Jonathan Cyprien, SS, 6′ 0″ 210lbs, Florida International: Aggressive playing style and active demeanor.  Enjoys the physical nature of the position. Meets the ballcarrier with a pop and refuses to let up. Tenacity and good size make him an elite prospect for New England.

Phillip Thomas, FS, 6′ 1″ 210lbs, Fresno State: Tracks the ball well, showing good leaping ability and soft hands to pluck the ball from the air. Physical hitter. Lowers his shoulder into the ball-carrier to make the forceful hit and wraps securely to assure the tackle. Possesses the light feet and surprisingly fluid hips to drop down and cover receivers out of the slot.

Xavier Rhodes, CB, 6′ 1″, 217lbs, Florida State: strong for the position with a solidly-built frame and excellent arm length. He loves to jam and get physical in press coverage, getting in the face of receivers at the line of scrimmage and staying aggressive through the whistle. has very good click-and-close ability with strong plant-and-go burst to drive on plays in front of him, undercutting routes and knocking down passes.  has a comperable skill set to though not quite as fast.

Tavon Austin, WR, 5 9″, 175lbs, West Virginia: Due to his experience as a running back, Austin shows little fear amongst the big bodies and is as dangerous in the quick screen game as any player in the country…is sometimes compared to Welker, but the 2012 Paul Hornung Award Winner, a title that goes to most versatile athlete in the nation, “is not the same caliber of route-runner or receiver that Welker has proven to be. A fairer comparison might be to former Kansas City Chiefs’ returner and receiver Dante Hall (5-08, 187) due to their similar size and elite make-you-miss fluidity.”… was used out of the slot at West Virginia and proved to be a matchup nightmare.

Desmond Trufant, CB, 5′ 11″, 190lbs, Washington: Athletic and instinctive, has demonstrated legitimate NFL coverage ability and helped his cause by showing improved overall physicality in 2012. Though he’s seen considerable time in both man and zone concepts, at this point Trufant’s game translates better to an off-man scheme…has the fluidity and straight-line speed to handle coverage duties and has proven ball skills (five career interceptons)…needs to improve as an open field tackler.

Terrance Williams, WR, 6′ 2″, 200lbs, Baylor: Williams looks the part with a lengthy frame and vertical speed to create separation downfield, showing excellent footwork along the sideline. He is a tough runner, flashing the creative ability to make something happen with the ball in his hands.  Has the size and speed to be the outside, vertical threat for the Patriots.

Tags: Florida State Seminoles LSU Tigers New England Patriots NFL Draft North Carolina State Wolfpack Washington Huskies

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