Today we present our concise draft coverage review while marveling at how many NFL owners and general managers refused to pay attention during high school physics class.
Patriots “That Guy” 2016 Senior Bowl Edition – It all began on February 1 with our first “That Guy” column of the year, reviewing players we noticed during the Senior Bowl and other college all-star games from late January.
Player Of Note: Quentin Gause of Rutgers could fill one of many draft categories, including Rutgers Guy and Special Teams Guy. The 6-0, 243 pound linebacker led all tacklers at the NFLPA Bowl and had 96 stops in 2015. He was also a team captain and Academic All-Big Ten, among other Pats-Guy-type honors.
Our annual Round-By-Round Review came out on February 10, chronicling all the draft picks by Bill Belichick while in New England, organized by round. Pay special attention to New England’s overall success with Round One selections.
Player Of Note: Whomever the Pats won’t be able to pick this year in Round One. Damnit.
Patriots “That Guy” 2016 NFL Combine Edition – On March 2, our second “That Guy” column of the year came out, focusing on results from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and where some of those players might fit on New England’s roster.
Player Of Note: You can’t miss the performance of Justin Simmons out of Boston College. The free safety had a 40-inch vertical and a super quick 6.58-second 3-cone drill, all the more impressive given his 6-2, 202-pound frame. Last year for BC, Simmons had 67 tackles, five interceptions, and two forced fumbles.
Combine Snubs Who Showed ‘Em, Part I – Back in the middle of March, we posted Part I of our Combine Snubs series, taking a closer look at players who weren’t invited to the NFL Combine, but who succeeded at their respective pro days in the weeks afterward.
Player Of Note: Keeping Patriots receiver (and former college quarterback) Julian Edelman in mind, QB Jason Vander Laan out of tiny Ferris State absolutely ripped up his Division II slate, winning the Harlan Hill Trophy (D2 Player of the Year) two years running. As a senior, the 6-4, 240-pound QB passed for 2,626 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushed for 1,542 yards and 24 TDs. Also had a noteworthy 6.73-second 3-cone drill.
Combine Snubs Who Showed ‘Em, Part II – On April 19 came our second Combine Snubs review, checking out more players who would have fit in at Indianapolis but didn’t get the invitation.
Player Of Note: Running back Darius Jackson of Eastern Michigan had himself a great pro day. He ran a 4.35-second 40, catapulted 41 inches off the ground, and completed the 3-cone drill in 6.82 seconds, all of which would have made top two or better for combine backs. Jackson rushed for 1,067 yards in 2015, averaging 5.2 yards per carry while scoring 14 TDs on the ground. The best part is that he’s 6-1, 220 pounds, which could fill out New England’s need for a younger, bigger back.
Patriots “That Guy” 2016 April Edition – Finally, on April 21, we ran our last “That Guy” piece of the season, putting together our knowledge from both the combine and pro days.
Player Of Note: Keenan Reynolds. Belichick has to draft the best rusher in Navy history, doesn’t he? Seriously, how could Reynolds not end up in Foxboro, at least for spring practice? He earned solid reports from Senior Bowl practices after his switch to running back. He rushed for 4,559 yards in his career, scoring a Division I record 88 touchdowns. I mean, Belichick will draft this kid just to talk to him on the sideline. And, hey, with uncertainty surrounding the first four games of the season, we could always see the triple option.
Please keep an eye out for our post-draft coverage, where we match up the Patriots’ picks with our “That Guy” predictions.
Much like the NFL from 1920 until 2015, Chris Warner couldn’t care less about air pressure inside a football. He tweets @cwarn89