BOSTON (CBS) – Draft expert Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network and NFL.com joined Patriots play-by-play man Bob Socci Sunday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s NFL Draft Preview Show.
A former scout for the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Philadelphia Eagles, Jeremiah has worked under Ozzie Newsome and Phil Savage — who both worked with Bill Belichick in the Cleveland days of the early 1990’s.
Given his background with two executives in Belichick’s coaching tree, Jeremiah was taught to think in the same manner.
“That’s where it all kind of ties back to [Cleveland]. That’s where their foundation came from. So there was definitely an influence there.
“The day before the draft, one of the things we did in Baltimore and Cleveland was have this red star ceremony. So all the scouts would get a sticker and we could put a red star on any player in the draft, someone we wanted to have in our organization that fits our profile. For years it was funny because when the draft would happen, the Patriots would take more of our red stars than anybody else. Ozzie would explain it as, ‘Well we kind of have the same DNA.’ … The core philosophy of what we want in a football player is very similar.”
Jeremiah boasts he put a red star on Logan Mankins in the 2005 draft, but he admits Mankins was just one hit in a sea of misses — par for the course for scouts and the NFL draft.
“There’s been some red stars that haven’t worked out,” joked Jeremiah. “Mankins happened to work out.”
Jeremiah also spent some time with the Eagles, where head coach Andy Reid called the personnel shots in his dual role as general manager. Bill Belichick operates the same way as Reid did in Philadelphia, so Socci was curious to find out the differences between the two organizational structures.
“When you have a general manager with personnel power the scouts are going to have more say, because typically the general manager came up through the ranks on that side of things. Andy Reid listened to the scouts, it’s not like your opinion was worthless, but coaches, positional coaches, coordinators have a little more say; those are guys he’s with all year round, so it’s only natural they’re gonna have a little more influence in the draft room, whereas in Baltimore [Ozzie] tended to side more with the scout.”
Bob Socci reiterated the rhetoric from scouts that this is one of the more talent rich classes in recent memory, but Jeremiah feels like it’s only deep in certain areas.
Jeremiah described the wide receivers as being the deepest group he can remember, but other positions like edge rusher there’s not a lot of depth behind Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr. The quarterback class also comes with its fair share of question marks because there’s no clear cut no. 1 guy. What further complicates matters is the record number of underclassmen.
“The fact that we have almost 100 juniors or underclassman in the mix, so it’s a very immature group. It’s exciting because you can project these guys forward and see what they can be two to three years down the line, but there’s not quite as many ready-made guys.”
Getting into the quarterback class a little more in depth, Socci wanted Jeremiah’s take on why the Patriots hosted Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater when they already have Tom Brady.
Aside from the potential scouting benefits and future free agent homework, Ryan Mallett is in his fourth year and is set to become a free agent afterwards, so the team needs a good backup anyways. But not only that, the Patriots have to do their due diligence in the event of an Aaron Rodgers-type drop in the draft, in which case one of these prospects can be had.
New England currently holds the 29th overall pick in the first round and have a number of different holes to fill. In his latest mock draft, Jeremiah has the Patriots using that pick to bolster their defensive line.
“I have them going Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota). When you look at this defensive front, it’s a good group, but Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly are both on the wrong side of 30, so adding some young talent to throw in the mix would make some sense.”
In a previous mock draft, Jeremiah pegged UCLA guard Xavier Su’a-Filo as a fit for the Pats. His nasty demeanor compares to that of Logan Mankins, adding, “Your ground game would be in pretty good shape with those two guys leading the way.”
Doing mock drafts sure gets a lot of clicks and NFL fans love it, but Jeremiah admits it’s a “glorified guessing game” — and even more so when talking about the Patriots.
Not a lot of information gets out from inside those Gillette Stadium walls, so attempting to guess their intentions is frivolous at best.
Listen below for the full interview: