posted at 3/3/2012 8:06 AM EST
I have been watching the posts and possibilities and now want to way in onthe Patriot needs.
Resign Connelly if he comes at a reasonable price. If not, draft a Center of the future and resign Koppen.
WR is a big area of need. Chad will be back at a reduced price. Welker will sign at a fair price. If he does not come at a cap friendly price, move on and get a FA wideout. Sign one of the FA wideouts available. My ranking is Wallace, Garcon, Lloyd. Wallace would be a good pickup. Proven player worth a first rounder.
Time to rebuild the defensive line. Getting a young DL with pass rush ability would improve the stats. OLB is another need. Fix it!
Safety can be solved in the mid draft or FA route. Everyone keeps calling for a new CB. I think enough resources have been wasted in the last few years to fix this. There is enough talent on this team to cover the CB position. A good pass rush will help. Many of the teams used the quick out patterns to beat the Patriots. This is where a couple of good OLB's will help. The middle of the defense is ok with Wilfork, Love, Spike and Mayo in place. It is outside the hash marks that needs work.
Time to get a return man. This is the biggest weakness on this unit. Welker, Faulk , Edelman, and Slatter should not be return men. They are not fast, young or durable enough,
Re: Patriots needs
posted at 3/3/2012 1:51 PM EST
In this one important way I agree with you: the middle of the D is a reasonably soild core (Wilfork, Sopikes, Mayo, Chung... I am not as thrillled with Love - I like Pryor if he can finally be healthy) and the edges are what needs work.
I would rather look at this as building up from what we have and not overhauling but that is just symantics.
I think it starts with the front 7 and the front 7 starts with the line. It matters as to whether they want to use 3-4 packages more or not. But I think a DE who is a 3 down player, stout against the run and a very solid pass rusher (nice if he is great but needs to at least be very solid) is key. Similarly I think they need an OLB who can set the edge even if the DE on his side is only average and also deliver a very solid if not especially good pass rush. He also needs to be a 3 down player. The key to those two players is that they are not specialist but can play in multiple packages on 3 downs and be playmakers in those multiple packages.
They need to upgrade quality of CB play. Yes the improved pass rush will make everyone back there better. But I think they still need an upgrade. Will Dowling be the upgrade? Will McCourty bounce back? We can hope but who knows.
They need to upgrade the quality of the FS play. Will McCourty be the answer there with a full off season to get it? Who knows.
But it is the edges of the D that need to get addressed. That means setting the edge and generating a pass rush and being able to do it without tellnig the opponents offense that you are going to stop one thing and totally give them another if they would like to take it.
I do agree they need to upgrade WR. I would not say it is as critical as you state but if you do consider age as part of the problem and not just immediately stetching the field then I do agree. Between the need for speed and the age of Branch and Ocho there is a need to get this taken care of.
I also like Connolly. I hope Light is back for one more year in case Vollmer has back problems. I think they have a really good bench on the O line.
D first. D second. WR third.
Re: Patriots needs
posted at 3/3/2012 2:07 PM EST
Needs in order are
4. Runningback...IF we let Benny walk, we cannot go into a season with Ridley as our only power back with limited PT.
6. Center IF we don't sign Koppen or Connoly
7. WR IF we franchise WW, otherwise WR jumps to 2nd or 3rd.
Re: Patriots needs
posted at 3/3/2012 4:32 PM EST
I'd start by trying to get (in no particular order) the following three guys, looking for clear starting quality talent: one DB (either corner or safety), one front-seven edge guy (OLB/DE), and a WR (even if Welker is re-signed). Those would be my top three.
After that I think you can justify going for almost any position. Ideally, you'd want at least one more DB and one more front seven guy, preferably whose skills complement the skills of the guys chosen ahead of them or already on the roster and who are good enough to compete for starting positions. An interior O linemen who could compete to be a starter would be nice in this secon-tier too.
Beyond that, there are needs at RB (if Ridley and Vereen aren't the answers) and blocking TE, plus you need depth at just about every position, with maybe LB and OL the most pressing, assuming you had picked up guys in all of the positions listed above first and were bringing back Branch, Welker, and/or Ocho to ensure sufficient depth at WR.