For the 3rd time as Patriots Head Coach/General Manager/Team Doctor, Bill Belichick opened the wrong door when it comes to drafting between college teammates who also play the same position. I know what some of you will say, "umm everyone whiffs in the draft, yada, yada..." True, but 3 times under these circumstances? Think about it. All players from a particular school will share the same pro days and will show up on the same game films. Moreover, players on the same team playing in similar roles, will go through the same set of drills. Yet 3 times Belichick picks the wrong guy.
The Tiger: NE selects Patrick Chung (Oregon) with the 34th (2nd round) pick.
The Lady: Buffalo selects Jarius Byrd (Oregon) with the 42nd (2nd round) pick.
If not for Sebastian Vollmer, the 2009 draft would have been a craptastic bumblefudge of a draft. Julian Edelman in the 7th round wouldn't have save such a colossal waste of a dozen-pick draft. Imagine Clay Matthews in a Patriot uniform. Sadly, Belichick traded out of the 1st round. Belichick even had help from his former office assistant Scott Pioli who was willing to take the tagged Matt Cassel in trade for the Chiefs 2nd round pick, which made matters worse since that pick was wasted on Chung. Banking on Cassel was the primary reason Pioli lost his job, but I digress. Chung was a mediocre, underwhelming, injury prone player with no exceptional physical skills - he wasn't big, wasn't fast - but was a "leader" on the Oregon defense.
According to PFF, Byrd was the #1 graded Safety in coverage (#2 overall) in 2012, ranked 3rd overall in 2011, 20th in 2010, and 41st overall (12th in coverage) in 2009.
2009 - no ranking, played less than 25% of his D's total snaps
2010 - 33rd
2011 - 37th
2012 - 38th
The Tiger: NE selects Jermaine Cunningham (Florida) with the 53rd (2nd round) pick.
The Lady: Cincinnati selects Carlos Dunlap (Florida) with the 54th (2nd round) pick.
Bill Belichick likes his DE/OLBs to do everything. He doesn't like DE/OLBs who are only good at one thing. Based on this logic, he picks the guy who wound up bad at every facet of his position: rushing the QB, coverage, stopping the run. Humorous note: Cunningham was suspended 4 games for PED use! You know you're a bust when you're a former #2 pick who gets cut before your rookie contract ends.
Meanwhile, Dunlap currently ranks 8th in PFF's 4-3 DE grade (#1 in coverage, #16 in pass rush, and #16 against the run - all positive grades. Why can't we get players like that?
The Tiger: NE selects Logan Ryan (Rutgers) with the 83rd (3rd round) pick.
The Tiger: NE selects Duron Harmon (Rutgers) with the 91st (3rd round) pick.
The Lady: SF selects Marcus Cooper (Rutgers) with the 252nd (second round pick).
This is so bad, yet I can't help but chortle. Of all the Rutgers players Belichick was obsessed with in the 2013 draft, he passes up the one true gem of that group. Cooper was one of the final cuts from the 49ers, a team overloaded with CBs. He was claimed by the Chiefs on waivers just prior to the start of the regular season. He's now earned the starting LCB job and currently ranks 8th (8th!!!) among all CBs.
Ryan and Harmon haven't gotten many snaps on the regular defense. Ryan currently has a -1.8 PFF coverage grade and Harmon has a 0.3 overall grade on 36 snaps on D. Hey Bill, if you had to reach in the 3rd round on a Rutgers DB, why couldn't it have been Cooper, a 6'2" CB who is currently starting on the #1 ranked defense (#1 overall, #1 in coverage)?