Originally Posted by Ven0m
Jabaal Sheard went 37, Akeem Ayers went 39, Bruce Carter went 40, Brooks Reed went 42 in a pretty decent draft class. Clearly, several other teams valued those players at worst as an early 2, and I'd be willing to bet many of them were on teams boards as a potential Late 1. You could have found one you liked, that can come in and contribute right away as a rookie. Nobody is saying these guys are "immediate pro bowl candidates", but considering your pass rush is laughably bad right now, any of them seems an upgrade over the Rob Ninkovich's of the world. Dude's on his 4th team and yet to make an impact on any of them...Counting on guys like Rob Ninkovich is the kind of **** that gets lesser coaches fired...and don't even get me started on Cunningham. But lets just say I don't think too much of him either.
1. You mention Sheard, Ayers, Bruce Carter, and Reed- how many of those guys were drafted by teams to be 3-4 OLB? The answer: Only Brooks Reed. Carter was drafted by a 3-4 team but I imagine he will play ILB and nickel LBer as he is far too small to hold up at the point of attack in a 3-4. Obviously, this doesn't really help your argument that the Patriots passed up viable 3-4 OLBs because these guys were passed up by numerous 3-4 teams and ultimately drafted to play in the 4-3. Despite what Mel Kiper likes to preach, not every pass rusher at the college level is suited to stand up and play in space, with coverage responsibilities nonetheless, in a 3-4.
2. Your comment that the Patriots "could have found a guy they liked" is flat out stupid. In light of hundreds of hours spent scouting apparently they did not like any of those guys at 28 or 33 (and personally I trust their assessment more than yours). You don't just draft guys for the sake of it, otherwise you are in the same position of need the following year. Personally, I think that the 2012 crop of stout and athletic linebackers looks a lot stronger than the likes of Brooks Reed.
3. I disagree with your assessment of this being a strong draft. I think this was one of the weakest drafts in years.
4. As I already mentioned earlier in this thread, I think its highly unlikely a rookie pass rusher would come in and be any more than a rotational 3rd down player. The Patriots invested a high pick in Cunningham last year and I think your assessment of him is a little misinformed- he is going to be a very solid player in the NFL. You also neglect to consider that this is not an ordinary year in the NFL. Right now rookies are missing valuable time in mini camps learning the playbooks and honing their technique. With the complex smoke and mirrors defense the Patriots play I don't think it's that unreasonable for the team to think that in terms of fielding the strongest team for the upcoming season, a guy with experience in the system-even Ninkovich, is a better option than plugging a rookie in at a very difficult position to make the transition into.