Covering some hot topics around the New England Patriots in mailbag form:
— Greg Howe (@gmhowe87) March 23, 2018
Greg, if they feel a strong long-term replacement for Nate Solder is sliding within their range, I could see that type of move. It would be similar to the 2012 draft when they made two moves up the board -- to go get Chandler Jones at No. 21 and then Dont'a Hightower at 25. So when sitting at pick No. 31, I'd say it's going to be hard to go up much further than 10 spots without sacrificing too much draft capital. One thing the Patriots are probably cognizant of is that they only made four draft picks last year after having averaged nine in recent seasons, and having back-to-back small draft classes isn't ideal. So they don't want to give away too much.
Mike, is 2017 draft pick Garcia viewed as a RT or LT?
— Ian (@Ireland2Canada) March 22, 2018
Ian, Tony Garcia's primary background has been at left tackle at Troy, where in his senior year in 2016 he did not allow a sack in more than 900 offensive snaps. He had been credited with 70 knockdown blocks that season. In all, he started 42 games at left tackle at Troy and was considered to have outstanding athleticism coming out of college.
How did they do with Solder out last season? @MikeReiss
— Steve Lanes (@Fourrings) March 22, 2018
Steve, the Patriots didn't play much without starting left tackle Nate Solder last season; he was on the field for 97.5 percent of the snaps. But they had to tap both reserve tackles -- Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle -- because starting right tackle Marcus Cannon missed half the season with an ankle injury. They both competed well in his place on the right side, as offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia referred to both of them as starting-caliber players who just found themselves behind two very good blockers.
Mike, if they select a QB in the early rounds, who do you project the Patriots are targeting? Mid-round target? Thank you.
— Mike Ricard (@mricard89) March 23, 2018
Mike, here are a few links of note from stories on the topic: 1. Senior Bowl director Phil Savage breaks down four possibilities for the Patriots; 2. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock noted that there are possibly 10 quarterbacks who could be picked in the first four rounds, which is more than the norm. Princeton's Chad Kanoff is another later-round option that might be worthy of consideration.
@MikeReiss any word on if james harrison or bennett will resign with the pats
— CHEROKEEBATMAN88 (@sheamuskelley) March 23, 2018
Martellus Bennett announced his retirement Friday night, and my sense with James Harrison is that if it happens, it would be later in the process. I don't believe there is great urgency on either side at this point.
— Joe Ferreira (@joeferr54) March 22, 2018
Joe, in last week's mailbag, the topic was mentioned by someone asking about a specific trade involving Gronkowski. So you're not alone. My feeling is that the Patriots are better with Gronkowski, and Gronkowski is better with the Patriots. I'd expect that continues to be the case in 2018.
@MikeReiss @patscap I know we like to have around $10M for signing draft picks etc. We seem a little tight on the cap this year- what's the value of the last salary that counts toward the calc? Who might we restructure/release?
— Craig (@clieb_1) March 22, 2018
Craig, according to Miguel Benzan, who does a great job monitoring the team's salary cap, the club will need between $2.2 and $2.7 million to sign its draft class. So they're in good shape from that perspective, and they won't be forced to tweak other contracts to create room.
@MikeReiss hi Mike, do you have a list of the Patriots' current draft picks?
— Hebrew Hammer (@heebhammer70) March 22, 2018
Considering that Bill Belichick has made 61 draft-day trades, chances are these won't be the picks that the Patriots end up with, but here is what they currently own:
First round (31)
Second round (43)
Second round (63)
Third round (95)
Fourth round (136)
Sixth round (210)
Seventh round (219)