Patriots prepare for both Vick, Young

594192.jpg

Patriots prepare for both Vick, Young

A superb athlete under center who can be just as lethal on the ground as he is through the air, despite a passing game that most would agree can be erratic.

Yeah, that's Michael Vick who, if healthy, will start on Sunday against the New England Patriots.

It's also an apt description for his backup, Vince Young, who made his first start of the year on Sunday against the New York Giants while Vick sat out to heal two broken ribs.

Head coach Andy Reid said if the game were played on Monday, Vick would not have been able to play.

His replacement, Young, can be scary-good at times -- or just plain scary.

He was the former down the stretch against the Giants, proving yet again that Young's best play tends to come when the game's fate is on the line.

Young, who led the Eagles to a 17-10 win, finished 23-for-36 passing with 258 yards and two touchdowns which included him completing 16 of his last 19 pass attempts.

Belichick understands that there's no telling which of the two quarterbacks the Patriots will see on Sunday.

"We have to be ready for every player that's on the roster," Belichick said. "Even whoever is in the game to start the game, we all know that could be a different player on the second or some other play of the game. We'll prepare for all three quarterbacks (Mike Kafka is the team's No. 3 quarterback) and maybe later in the week we'll be able to zero in more on one than another."

That would hinge on how much, if at all, Vick practices this week.

Even if he does practice, contact will most likely be limited. And while Vick and Young's careers have certainly gone in widely different directions, there's a significant amount of common ground in their play.

"Both can run, have good scrambling ability, both have real big arms, can throw the ball down the field as far as they need to," Belichick said. "I think they're both good, whichever one we get, we get."

And while Vick's mobility is certainly what most talk about, those who have to prepare for him on a weekly basis are quick to acknowledge that he's more than just a scrambling quarterback.

"He's explosive, he accelerates, he's got good speed," said Nick Caserio, director of player personnel for the Patriots. "But just in terms of throwing the football, there aren't too many quarterbacks that have a stronger arm than Michael Vick in the league. And they keep him in the pocket plenty. They move him a little bit, they'll boot him, they'll try to get him on the perimeter, but there are plenty of times where he drops back or he's in the shotgun and he has to read the defense and deliver the football.

"You evaluate that player for the position based on what he's going to be required to do. Michael is just unique just from a standpoint that there aren't that many players at that position -- or really, in any other position offensively -- that possess his type of athleticism. He presents a lot of unique challenges to a defense. You certainly have to account for him on every play, there's no question."

Patriots select Arizona State WR Lucien in seventh round

new-england-patriots-devin-lucien-nfl-draft-043016.jpg

Patriots select Arizona State WR Lucien in seventh round

The Patriots haven't had a ton of success drafting wide receivers in recent years, but one of their few home runs came in the seventh round back in 2009. 

No one will expect Devin Lucien to produce at the same level as Julian Edelman, but if he can provide the Patriots with some measure of depth after being selected with the No. 225 pick overall on Saturday -- the team's final pick of the draft -- it would be considered good value. 

The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder transferred from UCLA to Arizona State for his final collegiate season when he recorded 66 catches for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns. In his last three games, he racked up 534 yards and five scores, firmly establishing himself as a draftable prospect. 

Pro Football Focus game Lucien a third-round grade going into the draft and said he "may have the best hands" in the class. According to PFF, he dropped just five passes in the last two seasons. 

Though he has good size and he tested well at his pro day (4.42-second 40-yard dash), he's considered to have underwhelming speed. Still, given his collegiate numbers and his dependable 10-inch mitts, he was certainly worth a flier late on Day 3. 

Lucien joins Malcolm Mitchell of Georgia (fourth-round) as the two receiver prospects selected by the Patriots in this year's draft class. The pair will compete for time with veterans Juilan Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Keshawn Martin, Nate Washington and second-year wideout Chris Harper. 

Patriots add pair with special-teams relevance in late rounds

new-england-patriots-elandon-roberts-nfl-draft-043016.jpg

Patriots add pair with special-teams relevance in late rounds

The Patriots added a good-sized safety from Jimmy Garoppolo’s alma mater in the seventh round, Kamu Grunier-Hill. The 6-1, 215-pounder from Eastern Illinois selected with the 208th pick will have his first relevance as a special teamer then will try to find a spot in the regular defense.

With his size, he figures to be a who can play some box-safety when the Patriots go to six DB sets. He’ll do well to keep an eye on Patrick Chung because Chung – a much smaller player – is very skilled playing at the linebacker level. Grunier-Hill has great measurable – a 4.45 40 and 38.5 inch vertical.

The Patriots are deep at safety with Devin McCourty, Chung, Jordan Richards and Duron Harmon. Grunier-Hill wasn’t a highly-analyzed prospect in the process leading up to the draft so the Patriots’ interest level in him may have been higher than most. It’s very likely he finds his way to the team’s practice squad.

Right after taking Grunier-Hill, the Patriots got a similar-sized player named Elandon Roberts at 214. The 6-foot, 235-pounder comes in as a linebacker out of the University of Houston. He’s not the explosive athlete that Grunier-Hill is but he’s a hugely productive player who had 88 solo tackles for the Cougars last season. Regarded as a great leader, Roberts is another guy who’s going to have to make hay as a special teams guy first.