On the Roster Reset I posted on Tuesday, I had Branch, Edelman, Gonzalez, Lloyd, Slater and Welker making the roster. I’d probably replace Gonzalez with Gaffney now.
With Underwood cut, the Patriots have an unbelievably deep WR group going into camp with Branch, Davis, Ebert, Edelman, Gaffney, Gonzalez, Lloyd, Ochocinco, Roark, Stallworth, Slater and Welker. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if one of those guys got a mysterious injury during the preseason and wound up on the PUP list. The PUP list allows the Patriots to have injury replacements mid-season, it also allows the players to keep getting checks for doing nothing. Last year, Deaderick, Brace and Faulk were all “PUP’d.”
Aaron Hernandez also essentially counts as a WR in the Patriots offense. The Pats offense is a quarterback’s dream, and a fantasy football player’s nightmare. It would be shocking to see Welker, Gronk or Hernandez put up the same kind of numbers as they did last season, but Brady should have a huge season.
For years, the Pats kept acquiring veteran WRs that didn’t work out (Galloway, Emmanuel, Holt, Gabriel, Hayes, Lewis) and have now finally seemed to figure out that the best players to grab are ones Brady has had success with (Branch, Gaffney, Stallworth), know the system (Lloyd) or have experience in a complex offense (Gonzalez). Lets hope it works.
The last nice thing about having so many WRs on the roster is competition. Brandon Lloyd has been known to have some slight locker room issues, whether that’s personality or effort. When he’s got players like Stallworth, Gonzalez, Edelman, Branch, etc. breathing down his neck, he may want to put forth his best effort.
I have a theory that Darrell was probably one of those guys in the 80s that shaved his body hair, and now that he’s given that practice up, it’s really come back to bite him. I’d say Darrell is at least 8% ape though.
New season of Storage Wars starts in June!! I couldn’t be more excited.
I think the veteran that will have the biggest impact is QB Mike Hartline… kidding.
Brandon Lloyd should have the biggest impact overall. He gives the Patriots the deep/intermediate/outside the numbers target that they needed last year and should certainly help to “stretch” the offense. He’s not the fastest or most athletic wide receiver in the league, but he’s unbelievable at tracking the ball and improving his body positioning based on where he knows the ball is coming. He may not have a 100 reception, 1500 yard 13 touchdown type season, but he’ll help improve the entire offense.
There was a reason why Patriots fans were giddy when Lloyd signed. He’s never played with a QB of Brady’s caliber and had some massive seasons with the likes of Kyle Orton in the same offense the Patriots will be running next year.
On defense, I can see Jonathan Fanene having the most impact for veteran signings.
As for rookies, Dont’a Hightower. He’ll be a force in the front seven of the Patriots defense and should be able to contribute everywhere from run clogging, pass rush and pass coverage. He could be the missing piece there in the front seven that will improve the whole defense. Chandler Jones could have a bigger future impact, but Hightower can contribute right away.