New England Patriots 2012 draft

National Football League Draft

National Football League Draft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chandler Jones DE/OLB from Syracuse University An athletic guy who has a big wingspan. He needs to work on his pass rushing moves but could develop into a great player. He could step in right away as the starter or play some significant time on sub packages so either way they have some options. He is a versatile player who can play in either defensive set but I do not see him being a “making waves” kind of production in his first year. His kind of size and athleticism does not come around all of the time so I love that the Patriots saw him still on the board and grabbed him then traded back up to get the guy they really wanted. GRADE- A

Dont’a Hightower ILB from Alabama– I do not see him being used as just an ILB but I can see him playing in different positions. I am a little surprised that he was still on the board but I am glad that Bill traded up to grab him because Baltimore would have otherwise. He is a guy who can play in the middle with Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes, but I also see him playing some time at OLB or even in coverage. He is good at blitzing up the middle but I do not think he is a pass rusher, he might contribute to that but will not be the main guy. The only thing that might hurt him is the development of Brandon Spikes, which could cut down his playing time, unless Bill has a plan to move either Mayo, Spikes or even Hightower to another LB position. GRADE- A

Tavon Wilson CB/S from Illinois- Officially labeled by NFL.com as a free safety but spent the first two seasons in college as a cornerback then converted over to a safety before the 2010 season. I do not know where he fits in the Patriots defense, whether it is as a cornerback or a safety but I do think that this pick was a head scratch especially since so many other defense backs were still on the board at the time. Defensive backs that are more known, most likely higher potential, and will most likely be in the league later. I do not get this pick and I just do not know if Tavon will be an impact player. I will trust Bill on this one I guess but the fact that they did take a DE later on in the draft kind of gets to me. They could have picked up a better, more productive DE at this pick and still picked up Wilson at 90. GRADE- D

Information on Tavon Wilson

Patriots trade 62nd pick for the 90th pick and the 163rd pick. SHOCKING. Did you really think that Bill was not going to disappoint us all and avoid drafting some players who can actually start and instead end up with a new class of practice squad members. Maybe I am being a little harsh on this move but I am just a little taken back by the second round moves that they made, especially after such a great start. First they pick up someone who MIGHT sniff the practice squad and then they trade out of the second round. Okay, so let us see where this goes and be optimistic about this. Belichick is the coach with the rings and we are the fans who are just anxious and want the Patriots to pick up everyone with a name we know but that is not going to happen. GRADE- F

Jake Bequette DE from Arkansas– This was taken from NFL.com on Bequette.

“Bequette was a strong player for Arkansas, though his productivity could be attributed more to competitiveness and intelligence than great athleticism. He stood out as a leader and high-energy player for the Razorbacks. He had the strength to rush, set the edge and hold his ground in the run game, able to battle bigger linemen and go hard until the end of the play. He is a solid tackler around the ball and consistently pursues plays from the backside. His versatility across the line makes him a good value for NFL teams, especially those running a 3-4 defense. He will likely be taken in one of the later rounds.”

His weaknesses summarized that he gets lost on double teams, not too athletic, not a factor in the passing game, does not play as fast as he could. Jake seems like a decent pick and will contribute in his own way but not sure, how often or how big that impact will be. He could compete with Jermaine Cunningham for playing time and who knows who will win that battle but either way the Patriots will get a good player out of it. GRADE- C

Something to worry about Patriots fans is that the Patriots have the fewest draft picks left with just one pick, which is 163, a 5th round pick. We always hear the same thing, the word value is thrown around, and it just gets annoying. Yeah you can trade all kinds of picks for later picks in the draft because you can get some value players… wow… great… how about players who can start and make an impact on a game that can say… I do not know… help you actually win the Super Bowl versus not being able to stop the other teams offense. Would it have been so bad if you did not have any picks after 62? Does that spell a bad draft if you only have four picks? Well it is quality not quantity, and while Hightower and Jones are quality picks the rest of the picks are not. However, let us be positive here and say that for whatever place they do not hit they can always plug-in another free agent because you still have some talented names available on the market.

I’ll update this again when they make their final selection but most likely the player won’t be any good so does it matter, I think not. Who will the pick be? A new practice squad member or bench guy.

*UPDATE*  4/29

Nate Ebner DB from Ohio State- A kid who will come in and contribute on special teams right away. Not a bad pick at all, a nice depth move for the Patriots and considering the injury problems they have had in the past at both CB and S this is a good pick up. Bad part about the pick is not sure he will be anything more than a special teams guy. GRADE- C

Alfonzo Dennard CB from Nebraska- This was a high risk-high reward pick for the Patriots. Dennard could have gone a lot earlier in the draft. He was once considered an early round pick until performance and bad decisions pushed him down the board. At that point in the draft, in the seventh round, if you miss it’s not a huge deal but if you hit you’re a genius and Dennard could be a hidden gem if he can get his act together. If anyone can do it it’s Bill Belichick and that core group that they have and leaders like Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Tom Brady to show him. I have to say that I did really like this pick from the Patriots. He is shorter and can get blocked by more physical receivers but will also try to be involved in the play which is good, and according to the breakdown at NFL.com, is NFL-ready which is good for a seventh rounder. Now it is just up to Dennard to get his act together or he’ll be a newcomer with WWE or the CFL. GRADE- B

Jeremy Ebert WR from Northwestern- Could eventually be the replacement/competition for Julian Edelman as a slot receiever and special teams player. The fact that he came on strong his last two seasons at Northwestern tells me that he will get better with time and will learn the system eventually. He’ll most likely be a practice squad guy since they have a lot of receivers on the roster but still a decent pick for that late in the draft. GRADE- C

Overall- A very good draft for the New England Patriots as they were primarily defensive oriented which is an area that needed to be addressed. Not that I put a lot of stock into the grades on NFL.com, because it is based on others opinions at the combine and pro days and if you don’t go then you have a low-grade but aren’t neccessarily a bad player. However, the player with the highest grade according to NFL.com is actually seventh round pick Alfonzo Dennard at 85.7 then Dont’a Hightower at 85 and the lowest being both Nate Ebner and Jeremy Ebert who didn’t have grades at all. Again, doesn’t really mean much but I thought it was a little interesting. Why didn’t I like the Tavon Wilson pick? Well because I see him as a blend in kind of player which means that he won’t do anything great but most likely won’t do anything bad either but I don’t think you use a second round pick on that kind of player. Hey, if I’m wrong, that’s awesome and I’m more than happy to be wrong on this one but I see him as a guy who you can forget is even playing just because he won’t stand out positively or negatively. He had a private workout with Bill and the Patriots however and seven other teams worked him out so teams had a different grade on him then the scouts and analysts did so I do trust Bill but I’m not going to be surprised if he is not on the team in a few years.

 

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Extreme Reunion: revival of ECW or just using its blueprints?

The Franchise Shane Douglas as BTW Champion, C...

The Franchise Shane Douglas as BTW Champion, Chicopee MA, March 26, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I know this is my first post in a while and sorry for that but I have been busy lately. So, Extreme Reunion is set to place in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory and with the event just under two weeks away I figure that I would enter my opinion on this latest attempt to revive the extreme style of wrestling, or as Shane once called it the SPORT of wrestling. If this is an attempt at another ECW reunion and is just something to top what WWE and Impact Wrestling did then I’m not sure this is a good idea. I would see it as just an attempt to rekindle what the ex-ECW wrestlers all once had but don’t have anymore. However, if this is not just a reminiscing event and is an attempt to start a new wrestling promotion then I applaud this.

Some fans out there have cried to keep ECW dead and honor the memory of it because past revivals have failed miserably but am I the only one who does not see this as a revival of ECW? ECW is dead, Shane knows that, everyone at the event know that and to think otherwise is just being blind or stupid BUT the idea behind it is alive and well. The principles that ECW stood for, the wrestling it brought you, the new and old names it gave chances to, and the extreme style it revolutionized did not die with it. I know that in the movie industry, typically, remakes do not work out but this is not a movie, this is something different. This would be no different from someone who came up with a revolutionary invention and it failed… but someone else took it over and pushed it in a new direction while using the same core plans as a foundation. It does not make that remake a bad idea; you just hope that it does not completely mirror the old one.

Where wrestling is now we do need a new ECW-type of promotion to make a splash and shake things up. WWE is back to the PG-era and gimmicks that look as if they were regurgitated from the early 90’s. I mean come on, Brodus Clay is Flash Funk and Tenishi is Kwang, what is next Man Mountain Rock or Bastion Booger? Need I say more? Impact Wrestling is not much different from WWE except with a weaker product so until they get themselves out of that shadow they will not get better in the ratings and I do not know if Hogan and Bischoff can take them, there… you would think so. So in steps Shane Douglas and his idea at reviving not ECW but what its foundation was, the core style that stood behind ECW and I think… good timing. Now it cannot fully rely on old ECW wrestlers to guide them to being a new promotion but it can slowly make that transition if it can attract some young, talented wrestlers to them. In addition, what is your name going to be? Extreme Reunion I think is a good name for the show but not the promotion so where do you take it, or do you waits to see if you can get a new promotion rolling before naming it?

I don’t know how many wrestling fans are still out there waiting for a promotion to come along and pull their attention back but I think it’s still a good amount, plus you have some current viewers who were trying to color in the lines back when ECW perished who could watch WWE and be bored with it. No doubt, the opportunity is there to grasp and capitalize on and you could make it work if you have the right vision, financial backer, and mastermind controlling it. I do not see this as an attempt of Shane Douglas’ to try and keep ECW alive at all, or him trying to hold onto his spotlight that ECW gave him but him trying to bring back what he loved in the business and something that has been missing from it since the attitude-era ended and ECW died. I myself watched all of the promotions but especially ECW and when it died I didn’t watch as much and I don’t know if I ever will get into it completely like I was since I’m older now but the idea of a new promotion with the core fundamentals behind the old ECW does intrigue me.

So, to ECW fans who don’t want this to happen: We all know this is not ECW but try it and buy your ticket. If you go to the event and go in thinking, it will be like ECW then there is a good chance you will be disappointed but if you go in thinking that this will be a good WRESTLING show then I think you will come out having been thoroughly entertained.

Be honest, the fact that the most interesting thing that happened on WWE Raw lately was that Brock Lesnar was slapped by John Cena and then forgot how to throw a “fake” punch and it landed for real… is sad. I like them bringing back Lesnar and I like that he is feuding with Cena but I am just sick of watching John Cena wrestle. I am happy that he’s from Massachusetts because so am I and like watching him cut a promo but he wrestles like Hulk Hogan trained him and it’s annoying. WWE has some good things with CM Punk, Miz, Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder… hey maybe there are others but I do not know really, I only watch certain segments and skip the rest.

Bottomline is if this does end up being a new promotion it can work out but it might have to alter ECW’s blueprints in order to achieve the goal that ECW could not and that is long term operation. What needs to change in this plan? Well, you have to draw in a network and create a television show that is true to who you are but so extreme that nothing you tape can be on TV. What helps you in this? UFC being on Fox, because well nothing can be as bad as UFC because it’s real but you have some control of your product. You can entertain, be true to the “blueprints” and also draw in some good ratings. Yes, you might have to bend a little but in the end you will get a lot back if you’re willing to be patient and the product will still be miles ahead of the tragedy that was the WWE’s version of ECW.

If you want to check out what the event is all about go here: Extreme Reunion