Mike Warren II is a mid-round running back who fits the New England Patriots scheme.
Rumors about the New England Patriots‘ draft picks will abound as we move closer to the late April NFL draft. I speculated that the New England Patriots should load up early on the offensive side of the ball. Nothing has changed to alter that sentiment.
Adding top young talent in their first 4 picks, one in the 1st round and 3 in the 3rd makes great sense. Their offense was not up to snuff in 2019.
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This further frustrated on-the-way-out-the-door Tom Brady (it always comes back to Brady) and ultimately coast the team a run in the playoffs.
I specifically suggested a multi-faceted quarterback (pass and run) in the first round and a tight end, wide receiver and offensive lineman in the 3rd with their 3 picks.
This is an initial nice infusion of talent on that side of the ball. Later in the draft, however, I feel the Patriots need to add a big running back. I’ve written previously about 4 big backs who would fit the bill.
Should either Zack Moss of Utah or A.J. Dillon of Boston College slip to where the Patriots choose in the third round, or close, the Patriots should jump at the chance to draft him. This choice could substitute for one of the other offensive players suggested after quarterback. That position could then be addressed in the 4th or 5th round.
If not, a Mid-American Conference back might work for them in the middle rounds, should the Patriots take all of these suggestions. If they actually did draft heavily offensively early and select a quarterback, tight end, wide receiver and offensive lineman in the first three rounds, Mike Warren, running back of Cincinnati might be a good choice in the middle rounds.
Warren is 5’9″ and 226 pounds. He rushed for 1265 yards and caught 21 as well. You have to like that size profile if you’re looking for a bashing, battering, bruising back who can plow ahead for a yard or two when you need it.
Burly, interior runner who faced his fair share of foggy boxes and early traffic but used footwork and contact power to create yards for himself.
“Create yards for himself”, this is the attribute the Patriots needed in 2019, and that cost them dearly. Maybe the entire season. Similar in size to Moss, Warren fits the profile and may be available later in the draft and possibly be a steal in the 4th or 5th round.
A draft to shore up the offense
So now in my mythical draft, the New England Patriots go all-in on the offensive side of the ball early. They draft a dual-purpose quarterback who can run for yards when they’re not available through the air.
They secure a tight end who can help make sure those yards are available up the seam. They bring in a speedy wide receiver who can get open and complement the uncoverable Julian Edelman (if he’s not traded, that is), and they land an offensive lineman who is expected to step in as a substitute or more whenever called upon.
As the Patriots begin to shift to address the defense in the middle and late rounds of the draft, they still need to make space for that big back who can remedy their need to get a yard or two to extend a drive or bang the ball in from that distance near the goal line.
It is absolutely essential to address this situation in the draft or free agency. They need the big guy who can batter and bruise the opposition to first downs and touchdowns. Warren might be that guy.
I don’t expect Warren to reach anywhere near that level. He doesn’t have to. If he can give the Patriots what they had in the early days of the dynasty, an Antowain Smith-type who delivered 3 yards and a cloud of banged up defenders.