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Offseason Strategy: RB's
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mcmurtry86


Joined: 02 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:40 pm    Post subject: Offseason Strategy: RB's Reply with quote

With a month before free agency and almost 3 until the draft, there's plenty of time to discuss the different position groups on the team and how we think they will (or should) shake out between now and training camp.

Signed for 2017


Dion Lewis - Really useful in a limited role. I think we saw down the stretch that he's a guy who is best with about 10-15 touches per game. Ball security and durability are issues. He's not a good pass blocker, not great hands and he struggles as a route runner at times. He's good on screen passes, can be a nice change of pace as a runner and gives you a little versatility in your personnel groupings. A really useful guy, but I think his overall impact/ability was overrated going into 2016.

James "The Legend" White - I said it back in August and the Super Bowl showed it, the game has slowed down for White. He sees the field better, has a better feel for defenses and coverage schemes. His blocking this year was much better (still whiffed a few times but overall solid). His hands are above average for a RB. I don't love him as a route runner but he's adequate. His lack of balance and breakaway speed limit him. He's not especially dynamic in the open field - has a good cut move but lacks the "slipperiness" of a Woodhead or the quick stop/go of Lewis. Super Bowl James White ran hard when he needed to. If that type of tough running can translate to 2017, White will be a really useful player. As it is now, he's a solid receiving back who has a lot to prove as a runner. He's proven me wrong to a large degree in terms of overall value, I hope he continues to prove me wrong as a runner. I like his ball security. To take the next step to being an elite 3rd down/pass down guy, he needs to develop the same type of field awareness/IQ that Faulk had in his later years.

DJ Foster - Clearly kept because of Lewis's early season injury. No need to move on from him during the year but he showed little to nothing in his limited opportunities. I don't see him making the roster out of camp next year, there's just no need for him unless he takes a huge step forward

Tyler Gaffney - Unknown mostly but I can't imagine he offers much. Looked pretty marginal in camp. Injury issues. Not sure what, if anything, he would offer on ST. I didn't think much of him coming out of school so I don't see much reason to expect him to contribute.

Unsigned for 2017

Brandon Bolden - One of the top 20 ST guys in the league. Useful emergency RB insofar as he can play either the "lead' or "receiving" role in a pinch. Knows the offense, solid blitz blocker. Reportedly a Belichick favorite. He's everything you want in a depth player and he should be around for awhile.

James Develin - In a league where there are almost no good FB's, I guess Develin has some value. He's not a very good lead blocker compared to FB's in days gone by. He doesn't offer much as a receiver and nothing as a returner. He's a good ST guy and he does enough to make him worth a roster spot if no better option is out there. I don't think he offers as much to the run game as some suggest.

Legarrette Blount - Undeniably fun to watch him steamroll the Colts and similarly soft defenses. Undeniably frustrating to watch him otherwise. Got force fed the ball a ton this year leading to high overall yards and TD's but his yards per carry sucked and was among the worst for guys with over 100 carries. He sucks against any fast D or any D with a front 7 that can beat the OL at the point of attack. Only useful in the open field so the OL needs to be consistently driving their opponents back/out of the holes. Can't create anything on his own at or around the LOS. No value in the pass game. Ball security issues early in his career which popped up in the Super Bowl. He seems to buy into Belichick and the Patriots "team first" approach which is surprising given his issues in Pittsburgh, Tampa and in college. I wouldn't object to him coming to camp on a short deal with the hopes of replacing him by the end of 2017. I think they'd need to bring in a rookie and groom that guy to replace Blount for 2018.

Free Agency Approach - There are some interesting options on the market this year ignoring LeVeon Bell who obviously isn't coming to New England. I don't think the Pats will look for a receiving back (Jacquizz Rodgers and Danny Woodhead are both out there if they want to kick the tires on another receiver for some reason). The non-receiving back types aren't too appealing. Robert Turbin, Christine Michael and Shaun Draughn don't offer much. DeAngelo Williams is likely to stay with Pittsburgh. James Starks sucks nowadays but might be an option as a camp fodder veteran. Could Eddie Lacy be a buy low option? Matt Asiata and Rex Burkhead are guys who could blossom a bit with a change of scenery though both seem like low ceiling guys. Chris Johnson and Justin Forsett both seem to be at the end of the road.

Latavius Murray and Tim Hightower are the two guys who interest me the most but the former is likely to be way too expensive and the latter is getting old and is a bit redundant.

I would re-sign all 3 UFA's (Develin, Bolden, Blount) with the hope of moving on from/upgrading Blount and Develin if possible. A better FB seems unlikely since there aren't many out there and Develin does have some value on ST. I really think the Pats need to invest more in the running game as the lack of a dynamic lead back has been an issue in the playoffs and you can't keep throwing Blount out there to go 13 runs for 21 yards in huge games. Plus, a true weapon at RB will help hedge against a possible Brady decline. Not that I'm advocating for running more. While Brady is still elite, I want him throwing as much as possible. But if he does start to slip into the realm of being "very good" instead of "otherworldly and awesome" then they will need a better RB than Blount. I don't see much in FA which makes sense in terms of price and production. I think any true upgrade needs to come from the draft - though I wouldn't mind some veteran depth added for camp. Lewis isn't durable and Blount (if retained) is getting to the point where he could fall off a cliff really quickly.


The Draft


Will post my thoughts on the draft prospects once we get to the combine
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Starless


Joined: 05 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep an eye on Adrian Peterson. Vikings are unlikely to keep him at his current cap number and he's exactly the type of RB Belichick has pursued in the past.
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Dan_Bali


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:25 am    Post subject: Re: Offseason Strategy: RB's Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:



The Draft


Will post my thoughts on the draft prospects once we get to the combine


Leonard Fournette - likely to be a high 1st rnd pick

Dalvin Cook - again, a 1st rounder, complete tit off the field which could possibly push him down the pecking order.

Christian McCaffrey - great feet. But is he big enough? Too similar to Lewis and White?

D'onta Freeman - younger more mobile version of Blount... could be worth a pick in the 2nd / 3rd rnd.

Joe Mixon - other teams might not take him because of his problems off the pitch... but I guess in signing Floyd, the Pats indicated that they are all for second chances. Possibly could pick him up in the 3rd/4th round
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NMM11


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddie Lacy could be intriguing for the right price.
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ChazStandard


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's hard to see them moving on from Blount, who both Brady and BB seem to love. They'll re-sign him, no doubt in my mind, and it will be cheap because he's 30, kinda sucks and loves playing here.

The question is - how does he handle some competition? Will he take it personally if they draft his replacement? He can be volatile.

Of the veteran FAs, I'm not sure Lacy is worth it - he runs to fat, and that implies a lax work ethic. Can't see them going after LAcy. I love Adrian Peterson, he's one of all-time favourite non-Pat player, but he's 32 now and has had major knee injuries in the past 5 years. I feel like a team will over-pay for his name.

Bell and Latavius Murray are the two best players available - both too expensive, both likely to stay with their teams.

re-sign both Develin and Bolden. Develin is a decent lead-blocker at a time when his species is dying out, and at he least gives them the option to into traditional heavy-sets. He adds a wrinkle to the offense for a tiny amount of money. Bolden is worth it for ST value alone, they had - by far - the best ST coverage team in the league this year, and that was a big reason for their success.
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goldfishwars


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still think there's no reason why Blount's replacement has to be a direct physical fit. No reason we shouldn't look for a more rounded runner that can also catch the football a little.
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1ForTheThumb


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, this is probably one of the biggest, if not our biggest need going into the off season. We need to add someone to pair with James White.

Lewis- he's a great player in a limited role. I hope he takes a step forward health wise next year and becomes more of the player he was two seasons ago.

Blount- I really hope they let him walk, unless it's a cheap deal. He's going to be 30, soft when it matters. But BB seems to love him and he really buys into the Patriot way. I'm guessing he'll be back.

Bolden and Develin I'm guessing will be back. Both are loved by the coaching staff.

As far as FA, there's no one that really intrigues me that will be in our price range. Luckily, from what I've read this is a deep RB draft. That has me excited. I love McCaffrey, but I don't see BB using a first on a RB. I think they'll target someone in round 2 or 3.
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Deadpulse


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a few people mentioned, Blount will take a cheap deal to stick around in all likelihood. Since that seems relatively inevitable, if still not guaranteed, how does the depth chart shake out? With that in mind, do they invest high rounds or decent money at the position knowing it would create a log jam? Or do they use those assets elsewhere?

I don't think RB is a position that is invested in this off-season. A boom or bust guy late in the draft and/or a veteran prove it deal like move in FA I can see, but that is it.

Blount
White
Lewis

They seem like locks, and Bolden's ST value makes him hard to part with. How many backs do they carry? Does Bolden or Develin lose a spot? Are they willing to do that? Or do they just use their assets elsewhere?
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

goldfishwars wrote:
I still think there's no reason why Blount's replacement has to be a direct physical fit. No reason we shouldn't look for a more rounded runner that can also catch the football a little.


A truly dynamic 2-way threat would be ideal, but those are really hard to find. They'd have to take a shot on someone in the draft and get a little lucky.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadpulse wrote:
As a few people mentioned, Blount will take a cheap deal to stick around in all likelihood. Since that seems relatively inevitable, if still not guaranteed, how does the depth chart shake out? With that in mind, do they invest high rounds or decent money at the position knowing it would create a log jam? Or do they use those assets elsewhere?

I don't think RB is a position that is invested in this off-season. A boom or bust guy late in the draft and/or a veteran prove it deal like move in FA I can see, but that is it.

Blount
White
Lewis

They seem like locks, and Bolden's ST value makes him hard to part with. How many backs do they carry? Does Bolden or Develin lose a spot? Are they willing to do that? Or do they just use their assets elsewhere?


They carried DJ Foster almost all year. Dump him and replace him with a quality rookie. Or dump Blount during final cutdowns if he's beaten out by a rookie.

At some point, the total inability to run the ball in the playoffs will come back and bite them. They can't expect the 4th quarters in the Super Bowls vs. Seattle and Atlanta to be repeatable things every year.

As much as I don't like the guy, I have no problem with Blount coming back if it's like 2011 Green-Ellis/Ridley situation where the old sucky incumbent is gradually phased out a solid young player. RB can be a tough position for a rookie in New England (more so than with other teams) given the complexity of the offense. But there has to be a succession plan in place in 2017. Otherwise, you're heading to 2018 with an even older, even worse Blount and having to spend money on a veteran or entrusting the position to a rookie.
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dhunt2402


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
goldfishwars wrote:
I still think there's no reason why Blount's replacement has to be a direct physical fit. No reason we shouldn't look for a more rounded runner that can also catch the football a little.


A truly dynamic 2-way threat would be ideal, but those are really hard to find. They'd have to take a shot on someone in the draft and get a little lucky.


Outside the 1st, which I hope they don't use on a running back, the guys I see fitting that bill are Kareem Hunt and Joe Mixon. Maybe James Conner. And one of those three might be completely off their board. Not the best class I've seen in recent years in terms of depth.
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goldfishwars


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
goldfishwars wrote:
I still think there's no reason why Blount's replacement has to be a direct physical fit. No reason we shouldn't look for a more rounded runner that can also catch the football a little.


A truly dynamic 2-way threat would be ideal, but those are really hard to find. They'd have to take a shot on someone in the draft and get a little lucky.


Yeah, even someone just more dynamic as a runner than Blount would be nice. Someone who would make the ground game a little less predictable.
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goldfishwars


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dhunt2402 wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:
goldfishwars wrote:
I still think there's no reason why Blount's replacement has to be a direct physical fit. No reason we shouldn't look for a more rounded runner that can also catch the football a little.


A truly dynamic 2-way threat would be ideal, but those are really hard to find. They'd have to take a shot on someone in the draft and get a little lucky.


Outside the 1st, which I hope they don't use on a running back, the guys I see fitting that bill are Kareem Hunt and Joe Mixon. Maybe James Conner. And one of those three might be completely off their board. Not the best class I've seen in recent years in terms of depth.


Man, Mixon would be close to ideal if there wasn't such a red flag against him off the field. I do really like Alvin Kamara as a receiver, you could see the Pats using him the way Tennessee did having him line-up in the slot. He was weirdly underused there for some reason, has a great pair of hands and thicker in the lower-half to be able carry in traffic if needed.
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bluemushrooms


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't imagine us cutting Bolden. He's pretty much the best bang for your buck backup you can get since he's a ST champ.

I don't think the Pats will try anything crazy with the corps aside from picking up a couple bruisers through the draft or UDFAs.

Blount is pretty likely to get resigned on a short term deal, Lewis is signed cheaply and is a great role player, White will probably be our 3rd down RB next season and we Gaffney + Foster waiting around as developmental prospects.

BB always keeps at least one bruiser on the 53 man roster so I'm betting we'll see Blount again next season. Imo the question is...do the Patriots keep Gaffney, who the coaches seem to love, or do we use a decently high draft pick on a bruising RB.
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MoJo63


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about a guy like Samaje Perine out of Oklahoma in the fourth?
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