|Peter King on M&M: Bill Belichick ‘charmed’ by Chad Ochocinco||04.25.11 at 1:57 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated NFL reporter Peter King made an appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Monday to talk about the upcoming draft and other league news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Patriots hold two first-round slots for Thursday — 17 and 28 — but fans shouldn’t get too excited about the team’s draft position, not with Bill Belichick‘s history of trading picks to acquire additional selections in following years’ drafts. “I would be very, very surprised if the Patriots did not make a trade that involved [acquiring a] 2012 pick,” King said, adding: “[Belichick] wants to get I believe at least two picks in next year’s draft out of this year’s deal.”
The lockout’s effect on the draft is “gigantic,” King said, mainly because teams can’t be sure of who they’ll be able to acquire in free agency before making their selections. “It’s a huge factor, because teams usually have free agency before the draft,” he said. “But, obviously, not this year.”
Looking at which player the Patriots might choose with their first pick, King said he does not expect it will be Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt, who many have speculated will end up in New England. “I just happen to think that [California defensive end] Cam Jordan is going to be a better NFL pass rusher out of the 3-4 than Watt will be,” King said. “If you’re the Patriots at 17, I look at [Florida offensive lineman] Mike Pouncey, I look at Cam Jordan, or I look at a trade. But again, I totally understand why everybody puts Watt there. He’s going to have a long NFL career and be a good player. I just don’t know if the spark, the burst is there, to get rush from a 3-4 end out of him.”
King said the Patriots also should focus on running backs this week. Said King: “I think the other guy, if you’re talking about a guy who they look at with some longing, would be [Alabama's] Mark Ingram. … The Patriots are going to have to make a decision. They’re going to have to come out of this draft with one or two running backs. I bet it will be two. And they’ll come out of here with a couple of running backs, both of whom are going to play in their regular offense next year, and obviously in their nickel offense. [Oregon State's] Jacquizz Rogers would be so tempting because he might be the best receiver — even though he’s 5-7 1/2, whatever he is — of all the backs in this draft. He was a huge part of the Oregon State passing offense. But I think Mark Ingram would be a guy down at 28 who would really interest the Patriots. I know he interests the Patriots.”
The last time the Patriots drafted a running back in the first round, it was Laurence Maroney. His disappointing tenure with the Patriots ended in 2010 with a trade to the Broncos. “My feeling is, I think they got bad advice on Laurence Maroney,” King said. “Guys on the coaching staff at Minnesota overinflated Maroney, and the Patriots blew that pick. He’s not a blood-and-guts football player. He never was. And the Patriots made a mistake.
“I think they’re going to be a little cautious about backs. That’s one of the reasons why a Nick Saban back, and Nick Saban giving him the Nick Saban stamp of approval — which I’m positive he’s done about Ingram, because he loves Ingram — will carry a lot of weight with Belichick.”
As for the possibility of Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco ending up with the Patriots, King said: “As a matter of fact, Chad tweeted me recently, a week or so ago, and says, ‘OK, where am I going to end up?’ And I said, ‘New England.’ ”
“Look, I don’t know where he’s going to end up. But all I know is this: The Bengals are tired of his act. Bill Belichick likes him. He’s charmed by him.”
King said Ochocinco is not the malcontent many people think he is. “Chad is a very hard worker,” King said. “He’s a good example — I’m talking physically to other players; I don’t think he’s the best example in the locker room and necessarily off the field, wanting to be involved in 100 things that aren’t football-related. But I do think that especially on a club-friendly contract, which I believe that Ocho would definitely be willing to do, why wouldn’t it be a possibility?
“The Patriots need receivers. He’d walk to New England. Are you kidding me? He’d kiss Bill Belichick’s shoes if Belichick called him if he was free and asked him to come play in New England.”
Regarding reports that Randy Moss might find a home with the Jets, King said: “The Jets wouldn’t pay him a lot of money, but I do think there would be some interest there because Rex Ryan loves veteran players and he likes tall receivers.”
King is scheduled to appear with Patriots Vince Wilfork, Logan Mankins, Brian Hoyer and others at Boston’s Liberty Hotel Tuesday morning for Matt Light‘s NFL Lockout Breakfast to benefit Light’s charitable foundation.
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