New England Patriots' 5 Biggest Needs
The New England Patriots addressed some of their needs through free agency this offseason. The Patriots signed cornerbacks Darrelle Revis (fantastic signing) and Brandon Browner (we’ll see). New England also re-signed WR Julian Edelman, signed WR Brandon LaFell and restructured DT Vince Wilfork’s contract. That being said, the Patriots still have work to do before the 2014 season begins. What are the top five areas they need to address?
Yes, the Patriots re-signed Edelman and signed LaFell, but they are still missing a big physical receiver who can stretch the field. If either Kelvin Benjamin (FSU) or Marqise Lee (USC) are still available when the Patriots pick at No. 29, maybe they select one of them. They could also target TJ Jones (Notre Dame), Brandon Coleman (Rutgers) or Kevin Norwood (Alabama) in later rounds.
It would be insane to cut Rob Gronkowski, but he is injury-prone and Aaron Hernandez is in jail, so the Patriots need to add some depth at TE. Some say the Patriots may draft a TE with their first-round pick, but that would be a mistake. There is plenty of depth at TE in this year’s draft. So that means the Patriots will not draft Jace Amaro (Texas Tech) or Eric Ebron (UNC). They could target C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa) or Arthur Lynch (Georgia).
The Patriots most likely won’t use their first-round pick to fill this need, but with Logan Mankins not getting any younger, it is entirely possible they address this need in later rounds. The Patriots could focus on Joel Bitonio (Nevada) or Morgan Moses (Virginia) to help provide some depth at tackle. If they draft a guard, they may target David Yankey (Stanford).
Wilfork restructured his contract, but he and Tommy Kelly are both coming off of season-ending injuries in 2013. If the Patriots want to use their first-round pick they may select Louis Nix II (Notre Dame), but it is highly probable he is off the board when the Patriots pick at No. 29. The Patriots may see value in Will Sutton (Arizona State) because he could slip due to character issues.
The Patriots have Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, but they need another pass rusher. Jared Allen would have been great, but he signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent this offseason. They could still sign free agent Will Smith who has played with the New Orleans Saints since being drafted in 2004. There is a chance they will use their first-round pick, but they will probably target someone in the mid to late rounds.