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Words With Frenz: Final questions headed into the 2013 NFL draft

Posted by Erik Frenz  April 21, 2013 09:00 AM

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In less than a week, the pre-draft hype will come to an end.

Until then, though, there's still time to take a shot at getting some answers.

Let's get right to the questions!

This is a good one to start because what we think the Patriots will or should do always ends up being different from what they actually do.

Trying to guess who they will pick is futile because they're impossible to predict in that way, but if I had to guess on their overall strategy, it's safe to guess the Patriots will trade back to acquire more picks.

This is a good draft for that mentality. Not only do they lack picks (just five overall), but the value in the middle of the second round will be similar to the value at the end of the first round. That is to say, the players the Patriots could get at the end of the first round will not be overwhelmingly better than the players they could still get if they traded out of the first round.

Personally, I would love for them to take DeAndre Hopkins. I haven't kept that secret. One player I haven't talked a lot about that I would love to see in a Patriots uniform is Tavon Austin.

He's not the "deep threat" a lot of fans will be clamoring for, but his big-play ability is unrivaled in this class. Austin will need an offense and an offensive coordinator that can play to his strengths by getting him out in space with the ball in his hands. We've seen the Patriots do that a lot with Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez, and Austin could be the best we've seen in a long time in that regard.

ravens patriots.pngNo bias involved, the best current rivalry is Ravens-Patriots.

The two teams aren't in the same division, but their 2013 Week 16 matchup will mark the fourth time in less than 24 calendar months that we'll see the two teams go head-to-head.

Add the fact that the two teams have split the past two AFC Championship games, and this has become one of the premier rivalries in the NFL.

hawks 9ers.pngLooking ahead, the best up-and-coming rivalry has to be Seahawks-49ers.

Never mind that we annually get to relive one of the greatest postgame handshakes in recent memory with the "What's-Your-Deal Bowl," but between the two teams fielding young quarterbacks, stout defenses, a pounding running game and both offenses running read-option style offenses, the two teams are eerily similar to one another.

Factor in myriad offseason acquisitions for both teams that have them looking like the top two teams in the NFL, and this rivalry could be budding into one of the NFL's best.

Arjuna, it's hard to say "division or bust" is the goal when that entails having a better season than the Patriots, but it would certainly be "playoffs or bust" if it isn't already.

Offensive tackle is one of two primary weaknesses in the Dolphins roster right now — the other being cornerback. The Dolphins have four offensive tackles on the roster, one of whom is converted tight end Will Yeatman. Offensive guard Nate Garner played well at right tackle in four games as a starter, but last year's second-round pick Jonathan Martin gives up more pressure on a per-snap basis at left tackle than he did at right tackle, and does not look 100 percent ready to assume the mantle as the team's starting left tackle.

Is Branden Albert the answer, though?

pass blocking.pngAlbert is not regarded as a great run-blocking tackle, but he has great length and initial quickness for a tackle in pass protection. Albert ranked seventh out of 72 qualifying offensive tackles in pass-blocking efficiency according to ProFootballFocus.com, allowing just one sack, four quarterback hits and 12 hurries in 396 snaps in pass protection. He gave up pressure on nearly one percent fewer snaps than the Dolphins former starting left tackle Jake Long.

Either way, the trade could take place soon; According to Mike Jurecki of XTRA 910, the Dolphins and Chiefs offensive tackle Branden Albert are negotiating a contract, and the Dolphins would send one of their two second-round picks to the Chiefs for Albert.

Thanks for the questions! Enjoy the draft, everyone.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »


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