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Old 04-26-2012, 06:09 PM    (permalink
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It's all about if the guy is worth the price. Not seeing that with the names we're hearing. I don't see Barron or Jones as elite players, although some see the potential for Jones to be one in a few years. I would be all for it if we had the chance to land elite talent...but this draft is more about the type of guys who are in the range we're in as opposed to top fifteen guys. If we can find a way to move up a few spots to select Brockers or Poe(if they fall, that is) I wouldn't mind, but I don't think we would be getting very good value making a big move.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:14 PM    (permalink
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I agree with that. I don't want them to move up unless it's to move up a few spots to get a guy they really like who has fallen. Barron is the only good safety in this draft as far as I'm concerned, and he should be a first rounder, but I just don't see a top 12 pick in him. More like 25 to 30 is where he should go.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:28 PM    (permalink
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Meh, most of the guys we'd be going for I don't see as worth it. The value in the early teens isn't that great unless it's for a guy like Floyd or Kuechly. I hate Poe and would be extremely pissed if we traded up for him. However, like the Cam Jordan and Michael Crabtree rumors of the past, I think this is all just pre-draft rumors.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:48 AM    (permalink
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Some of the camp/preseason storylines I am most excited to follow:

1. Which undrafted free agent will make the team? I could see Forston being on the active roster if he can beat out Myron Pryor, with Markus Zusevics landing on PUP or IR.

2. How will the wide receivers shake out? Deion Branch, Chad Ochocinco, and Donte' Stallworth will all be competing for spots, and none of them figures to contribute on special teams.

3. Will the Patriots carry a fullback on the roster? Spencer Larsen and Tony Fiammetta have very different styles; both contribute on special teams, but Fiammetta is an effective blocker and Larsen can play linebacker in a pinch.

4. Is this the last we'll see of second-round picks Jermaine Cunningham and Ron Brace? Both players face some stiff competition for their roster spots after turning in disappointing sophomore campaigns.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:05 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Matthew Jones View Post
Some of the camp/preseason storylines I am most excited to follow:

1. Which undrafted free agent will make the team? I could see Forston being on the active roster if he can beat out Myron Pryor, with Markus Zusevics landing on PUP or IR.

2. How will the wide receivers shake out? Deion Branch, Chad Ochocinco, and Donte' Stallworth will all be competing for spots, and none of them figures to contribute on special teams.

3. Will the Patriots carry a fullback on the roster? Spencer Larsen and Tony Fiammetta have very different styles; both contribute on special teams, but Fiammetta is an effective blocker and Larsen can play linebacker in a pinch.

4. Is this the last we'll see of second-round picks Jermaine Cunningham and Ron Brace? Both players face some stiff competition for their roster spots after turning in disappointing sophomore campaigns.
WR is one that intrigues me

Welker and Lloyd will have guaranteed roster spots. Slater will too but that's more as a special teamer who can play WR.

Ocho, Branch, Stallworth and Gonzalez are probably competing for the one roster spot, possibility of two making it but I consider that a long shot. My money is on Ocho as of now.

There is a bit of flexibility on the WR spot with Hernandez's ability to play outside at times.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:12 AM    (permalink
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I think the six will be Welker, Lloyd, Branch, Ochocinco, Slater, Edelman. I could see Anthony Gonzalez making the team if Welker holds out. The Patriots will probably try to stash Ebert on the practice squad.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:52 AM    (permalink
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Yeah, there's real good competition at receiver.

Regardless of the Welker situation, I would rather see Gonzalez make it over Edelman. He just offers much more as a receiver. Doubt it happens though. Gonzalez doesn't offer as much as a special teamer and has major issues with health. We'll have to see though. Edelman has had his share of opportunities to establish himself as a meaningful contributor on offense and he hasn't been able to do anything with them. If we want to keep him around as a defensive back, that's fine(I guess?)...but I just don't expect much from him as a pass catcher at this point and would prefer that we don't cut anyone based on what he'll do there. Gonzalez had some real good yeas early in his career and looked poised to take an even bigger step towards being a better player before the injury. If he is healthy, he's a real good fit for what we like to do in our system and still offers a lot of upside. It's unlikely, but I would love for him to push Branch a little bit as well. Throwing out Deion's rapport with Brady, Gonzalez might be the better overall player.

I'm going against the guy we had on the roster last year in the other major battle too. I really hope Stallworth makes it over Chad Johnson. I was a big fan of what he brought to the table when he was here. He's a limited player, but provided you don't expect too much from him he can still stretch the field a little bit. He really came on a bit late in the year for Washington, especially against us. Chad was a total disaster last year and although he didn't bring a volatile element like many thought he could, it might be time to cut our losses there. I can buy that he could possibly challenge for more playing time his second go around....but I just can't get over how little he was able to offer last season. He's just not a great fit for our offense. The few contributions he made were more a result of defenses totally ignoring him too. Stallworth might not run run a 4.2 anymore, but he's probably more capable of punishing defenses in those scenarios than Chad is. His experience and production under Josh McDaniels is appealing as well.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:22 AM    (permalink
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http://www.boston.com/sports/footbal...+Patriots+news

Belichick comments on some of the draft picks. His take on Bequette is alot different than most others.

I do agree WR will be interesting. They have some big names - Chad Johnson, Stallworth and Gonzalez. I wouldn't be surprised if none of them made the roster to be honest. The pats went a little WR crazy. I think they are just kicking the tires on these guys and want some insurance just in case Welker doesn't sign and perhaps use them as leverage against welker.

I hope Ebner makes your team...like I said in another thread coolest pick in this year's draft.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:56 AM    (permalink
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Surprise surprise you signed another Rutgers player. This time it's UDFA DE Justin Francis.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:31 PM    (permalink
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http://www.boston.com/sports/footbal...+Patriots+news

Belichick comments on some of the draft picks. His take on Bequette is alot different than most others.
Yeah, I saw that the other day and forgot to post it. It's interesting stuff. It certainly sounds like BB was higher on Bequette than some others were. I hope he's right. The bit on Jones was the most interesting part for me. Opinions were all over the board as to where he'll project. That's ultimately the way I thought we would use him, but you can really never be sure with the way we do things. He was non-committal, but bringing up Mike Vrabel with regards to Hightower was kind of intriguing. Vrabel was an effective three down player for us both in coverage and as a rusher. The reports/what I've seen of Hightower don't really match up with that, especially in coverage.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:50 PM    (permalink
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Yeah, I saw that the other day and forgot to post it. It's interesting stuff. It certainly sounds like BB was higher on Bequette than some others were. I hope he's right. The bit on Jones was the most interesting part for me. Opinions were all over the board as to where he'll project. That's ultimately the way I thought we would use him, but you can really never be sure with the way we do things. He was non-committal, but bringing up Mike Vrabel with regards to Hightower was kind of intriguing. Vrabel was an effective three down player for us both in coverage and as a rusher. The reports/what I've seen of Hightower don't really match up with that, especially in coverage.
I think Hightower can be more than serviceable in coverage. I don't expect him to play the deep middle in any Tampa 2 zone concepts but he can play short zones and watch for crossing patterns in front of him. I see Hightower being a 3 down player. He can upgrade over Ninkovich on early downs and take over for Spikes on passing situations. I actually expect him to have the second highest playing at LB after Mayo
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:01 PM    (permalink
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Happy birthday Welker!

Now give the man his contract extention haha.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:03 PM    (permalink
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Happy birthday Welker!

Now give the man his contract extention haha.
**** that, use him this last year, if he holds out trade his ass. He is replaceable and should take a tip from Deion when it comes to contract negotiations and the way he is handling it. Unless he wants to be traded to the Raiders or seahawks, then by all means happy birthday I'll take the 1st rounder.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:02 PM    (permalink
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I think Hightower can be more than serviceable in coverage. I don't expect him to play the deep middle in any Tampa 2 zone concepts but he can play short zones and watch for crossing patterns in front of him.
See, I'm not seeing the change of direction or the burst to do even do that effectively. Bama didn't ask him to do a whole ton of that while he was there, so perhaps there's some hope he's got something more than the limit sample size he's got...but as I went back and watched the Arkansas game again with a focus on him today, I wasn't really impressed with what I saw in that area. Against a prolific Arkansas passing attack with a strong emphasis on carving up the interior of a defense. Bama completely shut them down. Hightower wasn't a big part of why they did. He was asked to either pursue the run, rush the quarterback(both as a blitzer and from a two point stance), or spy depending on the play. His responsibilities didn't really go a whole lot further than reading the backfield and making a play on the ball carrier. I didn't see him manning up on receivers and when he was asked to drop into a zone, there were problems. He took bad angles and consistently looked a step or two behind the play as it was developing. This wasn't really exploited very much because Bama was winning the battle at the line of scrimmage every single play, but there were guys open as a direct consequence of his coverage, both in that game and on the season as a whole.

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I see Hightower being a 3 down player. He can upgrade over Ninkovich on early downs and take over for Spikes on passing situations. I actually expect him to have the second highest playing at LB after Mayo
That's well and good...five years ago. The term "two down linebacker" is rapidly becoming more and more antiquated every year. Teams are passing the ball on first down every year. Last season, that number got up to 62%. Some of the better teams in the league were up around 65% or greater. It's been done to death as discussion, but the way things have opened up down the middle and the things tight ends and slot receivers able to do has really taken the game to another level. That really hampers a player like Hightower's value, as he's specifically vulnerable to both the changing tide and the players who are changing it.

I'm not trying to be all gloom and doom on Hightower the player since I think he upgrades Brandon Spikes, but I question his value in today's offensive climate and how high we took him. Another thing that I'm really not seeing get enough play in our discussions of the pick is his questionable effort. It seemed to be brought up more about him last year, but some tentativeness coming off major knee injury is understandable. The same type of issues showed up this year though. For a player who runs 4.6 at 260 pounds, he sure doesn't seem to be in top gear in pursuit very often. I believe the speed translates(to some degree) at times, but he's certainly not a guy who I would call a max effort player and I'm concerned that his inconsistent effort level will be exploited in the NFL.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:28 PM    (permalink
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His highlights against Arkansas highlight you and cmarq's critiques I agree with you there. His Tenn highlights are much better, he does look very stiff against coverage but I thought he played with alot more authority against Tenn rushing the qb, lined up at DE a couple plays, and generally dissected the plays much better. After watching some more video's while I still think you guys are being overly pessimistic, I think alot of the critiques are valid.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:45 PM    (permalink
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**** that, use him this last year, if he holds out trade his ass. He is replaceable and should take a tip from Deion when it comes to contract negotiations and the way he is handling it. Unless he wants to be traded to the Raiders or seahawks, then by all means happy birthday I'll take the 1st rounder.
I don't think Welker will hold out long or eventually break the bank in free agency. I'm not so naive as to say that I don't think money is an issue, but I think with Welker he fought so hard to make it NFL, he's not going to pass up on a chance to be a legend here in New England. If he signs a 2nd contract here he's a shoe in for the Patriots Hall of Fame, will be a lifelong toast of the town, will put up the best possible numbers, and has as good of a shot at a super bowl as anywhere he'll sign.

I've also heard him say that he's made more money in the NFL than he'd ever imagined. I don't think he's going to burn every bridge he's built looking for that extra $10-15 million in a contract.

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His highlights against Arkansas highlight you and cmarq's critiques I agree with you there. His Tenn highlights are much better, he does look very stiff against coverage but I thought he played with alot more authority against Tenn rushing the qb, lined up at DE a couple plays, and generally dissected the plays much better. After watching some more video's while I still think you guys are being overly pessimistic, I think alot of the critiques are valid.
My biggest problem with Hightower is that I just don't think I'd want him playing on 3rd down. I think there will probably be better options at end (Jones, Bequette, and Carter), and I don't think he's strong enough in coverage to play linebacker. I actually like Spikes more in coverage than I do Hightower (I like Hightower more as a blitzer though). So how does he help us fix what we're worst at which is 3rd and medium-long yardage? I think Hightower is a great fit in our system, but I feel the same way about Spikes. The two really can't play together, and if Hightower becomes the player I think he will, that means 2 of our more valuable and talented D pieces conflict with one another.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:57 PM    (permalink
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I'm with you on the coverage part, especially after watching some more tape against Auburn and Mississippi. He looks very poor in coverage and wouldn't want him in covering any TEs or running backs out on 3rd down. However I will say he did look very authoritative rushing the QB, both when putting his hand down (altough it didnt happen frequently so not alot to go on) and on blitzes. Idk, again I don't think at that point in the draft we were going to get anyone in this are who is going to help in those situations anyway so might as well take someone you like. I'm starting to come to your side about the pick, but I'm going to remain optimistic about it until I see him on the field. Either way I am very excited for this preseason to start up.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:01 PM    (permalink
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Really not worried about Welker. If he doesn't show up, Edelman is actually useful in the passing game for the first time since Welker was injured. I'd probably put it at even money that Edelman could put up pretty much the same numbers if Welker wasn't around.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:10 PM    (permalink
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Every year I hope we forgo the nonsense about LBs that can't cover as the excuse for not selecting someone who can help our pathetic pass rush. This year we draft a guy that seems like a clear upgrade to our pass rush as a solid blitz LB and all we can talk about is his limited ability to cover.

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Old 05-01-2012, 10:17 PM    (permalink
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Every year I hope we forgo the nonsense about LBs that can't cover as the excuse for not selecting someone who can help our pathetic pass rush. This year we draft a guy that seems like a clear upgrade to our pass rush as a solid blitz LB and all we can talk about is his limited ability to cover.

This was our exact critique of EE's and Cmarq's posts. Undoubtedly had we gone DB all we would have heard is that we never address the pass rush. We changed it up, and I for one feel the need to praise BB for the first round at least in trying to help that situation. While I do feel the more I watch film the more I feel Hightower isn't going to be a coverage guy, he looks like he can be disruptive in getting to the QB at least. I think thats being sold short.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:58 PM    (permalink
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Every year I hope we forgo the nonsense about LBs that can't cover as the excuse for not selecting someone who can help our pathetic pass rush. This year we draft a guy that seems like a clear upgrade to our pass rush as a solid blitz LB and all we can talk about is his limited ability to cover.


I think you've got the wrong impression of who Hightower is as a player. He likely won't upgrade(key word, I think he can replace some of it) our pass rush. If he does, it's minimal. We're not talking about a 10+ sack guy here. We may not even be talking about a 5-7 sack guy either. Like cmarq said, there's better guys to come in on third down to rush the passer. We have them on the roster, even, with Ninkovich being one of them. Plus, his ability to cover is a bit more than limited. I hate to use strong words, but he just might flat out suck at it as an NFL player. Dustin Keller watches a guy like Hightower and licks his chops.



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This was our exact critique of EE's and Cmarq's posts. Undoubtedly had we gone DB all we would have heard is that we never address the pass rush.
Why would we have? We picked Jones to address the pass rush. That was the exhale moment. We then went on to draft Bequette in the third round, someone who fits the pass rusher billing. You've also got to remember that we really weren't THAT bad as a pass rushing team last year, finishing two sacks away from being in the top ten in the league. Now, you can never have too many pass rushers and that statistic is bit deceptive with regards to how we actually played last year(and you've got to remember Mark Anderson took his services elsewhere), but our defenses issues revolved around defensive back play more so than anything else. Particularly the absolutely abysmal play we had at safety.


I would have loved to find a way to upgrade the linebacker play as I feel like thee's room to improve there for sure...but the more I watch of Hightower the more I'm left scratching my head as to how he helps fix the problems we have. Like I said in my review, it feels like a luxury pick for a defense that has flaws that were severe enough to hold us back. It also really makes me wonder what kind of future Brandon Spikes can expect to have around here. He really stepped up and made some big plays towards the end of last season, but the inconsistency and the maturity issues may have played a bit of a role in this pick. Those two on the field at the same time are a major liability against the pass. It's not something we can afford to deal with against good teams next year, let alone long term.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:15 AM    (permalink
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Oh, and in discussion unrelated to draft picks, the Redskins released Jabar Gaffney today. Happened earlier in the day, thought I had already posted it but I guess I forgot. We have a million receivers competing for spots right now, but I really wouldn't mind telling Chad to hit the high road and guaranteeing Gaffney a spot. He's still young enough to contribute meaningfully and he has a ton of experience and production in McDaniel's offense. He could be just what the doctor ordered as a complimentary receiver.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:32 AM    (permalink
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I think EE looks at Hightower too much so as an ILB. Hightower is a guy that never has to leave the field. In the base, he can play Ninko's role. In the Nickel, he can drop down to DE.

In this defense, the more guys you have that don't leave the field, the better able you are to disguise coverages and effectively confuse opposing offenses.

And Hightower will do fine in coverage. His long arms and athleticism will really help him in the small zone area he'll be asked to cover early on. He's not going to be downfield covering guys one-on-one.

And...not sure about Gaffney. He's a bit of a head case right now. Worth bringing into camp, though.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:01 AM    (permalink
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I think EE looks at Hightower too much so as an ILB. Hightower is a guy that never has to leave the field. In the base, he can play Ninko's role. In the Nickel, he can drop down to DE.

In this defense, the more guys you have that don't leave the field, the better able you are to disguise coverages and effectively confuse opposing offenses.
I'm not looking at him as an inside guy. I actually think he would be better off playing outside in some looks, to be honest....and you're right about the things he can do. Can he do them better than the guys we have/the guys we could bring situationally? Probably not.

I think the primary bone there is going to be to pick at here is with Ninkovich. I'm not the biggest fan in the world, but the guy played 80% of our snaps last year and did so pretty effectively at times. He was particularly effective in the playoff games and down the stretch, with the second game against Denver really standing out as an absolutely fantastic effort on his part. He does a very good job setting the edge and offers slightly more than Hightower projects to as a rusher. I've seen him do decent things in coverage too, especially in man. So while you might be gaining something against the run, you're giving something against the pass; both in coverage and in terms of pressure. Which is area is more important to defend against in today's NFL?

The idea that he'll be good enough to play defensive end on third down vs. Chandler Jones and the pool of guys who we have to play opposite of him to him is something I really don't feel is up for debate either. He could do it on occasion, especially if we shift him thee in order to create confusion, but it's not something that he does well enough to force us from looking away from the likes of Bequette, Scott, or potentially Carter(both Markelle and Andre). It's a plus and something he does better than most pure linebackers do, but his ability there is being oversold.

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And Hightower will do fine in coverage. His long arms and athleticism will really help him in the small zone area he'll be asked to cover early on. He's not going to be downfield covering guys one-on-one.
Can you really do that now? Well, you can...but do you want to? We're not talking about 30 yards downfield one on one, we're talking about guys quick guys running across the the middle of the field and tight ends going up the seam. If we tell Hightower to be responsible for a small area of the field, teams are going to find the area the rest of the guys are being asked to make up for/are left open. It's not like we're good enough in coverage at the other spots to compensate for a deficiency either. This ends up being more of a pig picture, leaguewide discussion than a Patriots specific one, but Hightower certainly doesn't fit the mold of what you look for in a linebacker to try to mitigate the damage against the pass.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:10 AM    (permalink
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The idea that he'll be good enough to play defensive end on third down vs. Chandler Jones and the pool of guys who we have to play opposite of him to him is something I really don't feel is up for debate either.
Who's really a lock to take it away from Hightower? Rob Ninkovich?

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Oh, and in discussion unrelated to draft picks, the Redskins released Jabar Gaffney today. Happened earlier in the day, thought I had already posted it but I guess I forgot. We have a million receivers competing for spots right now, but I really wouldn't mind telling Chad to hit the high road and guaranteeing Gaffney a spot. He's still young enough to contribute meaningfully and he has a ton of experience and production in McDaniel's offense. He could be just what the doctor ordered as a complimentary receiver.
If the redskins released a receiver, you don't want him. That core is in shambles.
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