Initial Thoughts On the Patriots Draft Needs For 2017

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

So I lied. I said late last week that I would be starting on scouting reports. Don’t worry, I am working on those as well, but I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at the team from a needs standpoint before going into the players the Patriots will be looking at in next year’s draft. We are just past the quarter point in the season, and the Patriots are sitting at their usual spot on top of the AFC East. That does not mean the Patriots are perfect. In fact, they are far from it. Before we get into the nitty gritty of scouting reports, lets identify what positions the Patriots may need to address when they are on the clock in the 2017 NFL Draft.


I don’t think we could have asked for much more from Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett over the first four games of the season, but it sure is nice to have Tom Brady back. That feels really good to say-Tom Brady is back!  As we sit here today, I am very comfortable with the position. Obviously, if Jimmy G were to be moved this off season, another young guy could be brought in. I think the team has to like what they saw in a limited capacity from the rookie Brissett and Brady still shows no signs of wearing down. For me, this position will take a low priority in my scouting evaluations once again this year.


I have made my thoughts on Blount very clear on this site. I am no fan. I will never understand why a guy his size runs the way he does. He jumps around laterally way too much for my liking and he really struggles to pick up the tough yards needed. I feel he goes down way to easy and needs to use his physical gifts more to his advantage. This team does not need an electric runner in the backfield, but a guy who can consistently pick up 3 to 4 yards. I think James White continues to develop as a pass catcher and has shown he can make plays when given some space. DJ Foster has had a limited role, but he looks explosive with the ball in his hands and could be another change of pace weapon. We are still waiting to see what Dion Lewis will be when he gets back.

I think the Patriots have good talent and depth at the smaller, shiftier type runner. What they need is that reliable bigger back who can grind out tough yards between the Tackles. Again, I don’t think it needs to be a marquee type player, but a guy the team can rely on to do his job and consistently get positive yards. This will be a position I look at very closely again this year, and if you have followed the draft at all over the past year, you have heard that this Runningback class is supposed to be very deep.

Wide Receiver:

This is a position I find myself on the fence. There is no denying the talent of the group. Edelman, Amendola, and Hogan fit the system perfectly and rookie Wide Receiver Malcolm Mitchell looks like the real deal in his limited time. However, there is a good chance Amendola is gone after this season and Edelman is getting a little older and the injuries are starting to pile up. I do not see this as a major need in the short term, but it is a position I will keep an eye on.

Tight End:

I think we can all see how important and how effective the Patriots offense can be with 2 very talented Tight Ends on the field at the same time. Gronk is arguably the best Tight End to ever play the game, but the injury concerns are real. Martellus Bennett has come in and played great so far for the Patriots, but he is getting older, is on his last year of his contract, and has a track record of wearing out his welcome in other places. Right now, things look great, and I like what AJ Derby has shown as well, but Belichick has wanted this two Tight End set since it was so effective many years back and seeing it be effective this year again may make him think long and hard about getting another young, talented guy in the fold. This Tight End class probably has more talent in it than in the last five years, so I could see the Patriots use a pick on one of them, so this is another position I will be keeping my eye on.

Offensive Line:

This has been a nice surprise so far this season. While the group has not been dominant by any means, they have more than held their own. Seeing a guy like Cameron Fleming fill in at both right and left Tackle and not become a major liability is a testament to the work Scar has done with the group. The young Guards and Center have also done a nice job on the interior. I also feel like Solder is playing some of his best football from the past 2 years. I do think that an infusion of young talent at the Tackle position is needed and might be my top priority right now.

Defensive Line:

This is position I need to see more of before I decide how big of a need it is. I think we all know that Malcom Brown will be a staple along that line for awhile and a guy like Vincent Valentine has played way more than I thought he would to start the season and has done pretty good. I also like what I have seen from Trey Flowers with his expanded role and getting back Ninkovich should help Chris Long stay fresh and effective. The veterans on this team have played well, but I could see the team wanting to get younger, especially at Defensive End. The pass rush has not been consistent so far this season, and bringing in someone to disrupt the passer off the edge may require a higher draft pick. I don’t see this as a high priority, but something I want to look at closer.


This is a very interesting position. The group has arguably one of the best tandems in the NFL. Collins and Hightower create a 1-2 punch that can do a lot of different things and their games compliment each other very well. The problem is, neither of them are under contract after this year. Now, I have all the confidence in the world that at least one of them will be back next year and hopefully a deal can be worked out with both of them to remain on the team. Behind those two, the Linebacker corp is pretty bare. They did give Freeny a contract extension and it looks like the team likes what they have in Elandon Roberts, but neither of those two guys have the athletic ability to be play makers. This is a position that has to be looked at, but it may not be until later in the draft process when we know the final outcome of the Collins and Hightower situations.


It is my personal belief that a Cornerback should be drafted every year, so I will give this position a good hard look no matter what. I think with the way the secondary has played and the contract situations of the teams starting Corners, the team will be looking hard at this position as well. I have not loved what I have seen out of Logan Ryan this year and rookie 2nd round pick Cyrus Jones has struggled in every aspect of the game so far. Malcolm Butler has played decent this year, but I was hoping for another jump in his progression, and I just have not seen it. This is another position that I think needs to be addressed early in the draft. As far as the Safety position, I have been underwhelmed by their play as well, but not to the extent of the Corners. It would be nice to get a play maker at the Safety position, but the team has invested a lot of resources to the position with very little positive results.



There is a lot of season left to be played, but my initial thoughts on this team have pretty much played out the way I thought they would. Right now, my main. focus will be on Offensive Tackles, Corners and Runningbacks. I also want to keep an eye on the Tight End prospects as well as Linebackers and Defensive Line. Now that I have identified what I think the team needs, I can start to focus my attention on the college prospects at each of the positions.


As always, follow me on twitter @midwestpatsfan









54 Responses to “Initial Thoughts On the Patriots Draft Needs For 2017”

  1. John says:

    My very early mock:

    1. Desmond King CB: Lots of contract decisions coming up for the corners, and it’s too early to have an opinion on Cyrus Jones, but they are going to need someone solid to be a replacment for someone at some point. Can play a variety of coverages, and is being slept on a bit.

    2. Jeremy McNichols RB: Can run, catch passes, do a variety of things out of the RB spot. Really like his game.

    3. Takkarist McKinley DE/OLB: Athletic freak, can do alot. Not sure if he will be here this long, wouldn’t even mind taking him in the 2nd.

    Would be an awesome draft class, in my opinion.

    • steve earle says:

      Your early mock sounds good John even if we can never tell who may or may not be available when we pick. Don’t sweat the small stuff at this early point.

  2. GM-in-Training says:

    Pats signed a LB to practice squad today.
    They added former New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly, 6’5, 250-pound linebacker. He was a 7th rounder for the Jets in 2014. He appeared in 29 games for the Jets over the past two years, collecting 19 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. He was released during final cuts this season with an injury settlement. So, the Pats could pick him up after he got healthy, but not the Jets.

    So, this makes sense. The Pats had no other LB on the practice squad. They like LB to be 250 pounds or so. He’s not amazing, but he’s got more experience than most PS players. LB is definitely a position that needs some spare parts.

    They released the newest WR from the PS to make space. Now the PS is 8 offensive players, 1 defensive, and 1 special teams. I still wonder why they’re carrying 3 OG on it.

    • steve earle says:

      Riley sounds like a good move where we didn’t have to trade for him plus I could see him working with the P-sqd for a week or two then being active for depth if needed once he has system down.

  3. Russell says:

    Trade deadline Nov. 1st, BB likes to make a deal with teams out of the race, thoughts??

    How about DE/LB Aaron Lynch S.F. 49ers, 6’5″ 270-80 lbs. in the 3d yr of 4 yr deal for a draft pick ???? (3d-4th??)

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Lynch has the physical tools and flashes ability. He gets into trouble though. I guess you want more talent at DE? He’s young enough and hasn’t done much this season so affordable enough, I would expect the Niners to want to extend him unless they think he’s a bonehead. I guess it could happen.

      I could also see the Niners looking for depth at LB. They’ve got nobody on the practice squad, just put Freeny on IR, and it’s a position that gets dinged up. I like who they have right now, though.

      • GM-in-Training says:

        * Correction. I could also see the Pats looking for depth at LB.

      • Russell says:

        Yes Lynch has issues 4 game suspension (drug issue) has trouble with his weight , needs some coaching….. He is under contract till 2018, and its likely we lose DE Sheard to free agency.
        Interesting LB maybe Christian Jones (Bears) 6’3″ 240 lbs, undrafted guy good tackler, but not getting much playing time ?????

    • steve earle says:

      I wouldn’t be excited if we got Aaron Lynch to tell the truth plus I think a 4th excessive given that we already have five DE’s active. Saying Sheard will be gone next year doesn’t make it so. He may or may not but if so I don’t see Lynch as an equal replacement so why trade for him?

  4. Russell says:

    Patriots try-outs today; Pearce Slater 6’7″ 335 lbs ( San Diego State )OT 5.42 40 yd. 19 on the bench.
    OT Ryan Mack 6’4′ 301 lbs. (Memphis) 5.37 40 yd, 23 on the bench, both rookies.

    Patriots add Jamial Dougles OG Miami 4th round pick to P-squad.

  5. Russell says:

    My Patriots 1st round (Mock) pick, looks very solid as DE/DT Chris Wormley Michigan. Here’s my notes on him;
    A very smart player, Team Co-Captain, intriquing gualities, stout against the run, disciplined with gap control, flexibility to play DE or DT at 6’4″ 302 lbs. 4.92 40 yd.
    Hand usage getting off blockers, needs work. Initial pass rush is basic, if stalled he has a hard time getting going again. Last year he got 1 sack in 16 try’s against Jack Conklin (Mich. State and Conklin was an early 1st round draft pick). Wormley interviews well, a strong team player, seldom on the ground, high motor, moves his feet well,, uses good leverage, 5-tech or 3 tech.
    Wormley showed improvement during his career, durable player. Most scouts have him mid-late 2nd round. Patriots can get him late 1st round, or trade back to middle 2nd to get him.
    CLEARLY not the best pass rusher in the draft, however the over-all package is better then the Pass rushing group.

  6. Russell says:

    Patriots have two openings on Practice Squad. O-lineman Billy Turner maybe worth a look, 6’5″ 302 lbs. with 34″ arms, 25 reps bench. He was drafted by Miami in the 3d (67 over-all) and started 15 games at OG, and released. I think he may be FAR better at OT.

    • steve earle says:

      I was interested in John Weidenaar OT after the cuts from Cincy. He has seemed to drop off the map sense then. He had good measurables as I recall, quick feet and could get to the second level. Knock was he was green, out of a small school, Montana State or some such. Anyone heard or know what happened to this kid? Could he be brought in for a try out? Russell you have lots of contacts what’s your insight on him?

      • Russell says:

        will look into OT Weidenaar. Turner was claimed on Waviers by Denver.

        • Russell says:

          Looked into OT Weidenaar, interesting prospect, good call Steve! Weidenaar is 6’7 1/2″ 295 lbs, 5.14 40yd, 22 on the bench (about right for long arms) played 49 starts at Montana State. Limited tape how ever.
          Interesting Note; 18.9% of my targeted prospects, make the Patriots 90 man roster OR get a tryout. 71% make the 90 man or tryout for Cincinnati, and 53% make it in K.C. ?????

        • steve earle says:

          Was hoping Turner might end up with us too. On your 18.9% that’s pretty good given how difficult it is to project how BB will draft or bring in guys. Your 70% for Cincy is a credit to your research ability’s, nice job. Thanks for the look into Weidenaar kid. I haven’t found any tape on him at all and knew nothing of him until Cincy got him into camp and it was reported he was fighting to make the team perked my interest. He was among the last cuts they made and wasn’t claimed, wondered if he’s on any practice sqd though haven’t found him yet. Hope you might.

        • Russell says:

          Not sure 18.9% is very good considering I profile about 50-75 prospects with the Patriots in mind, and 71% goes to Cinny, 53% to K.C. , 23 % to New Orleans. Some guys try out for all three teams, but not New England.????? This over the last 6 years, where I only got 3 players correct in my finial Patriots Mock.

        • steve earle says:

          LOL, jeeze being kind of hard on yourself there Russell. You may only profile 70-75 prospects but BB and team look at hundreds so their pool of possible selections is three/four times yours plus they get to sit down eye to eye with them also get personal insights from the kids coaches. Almost 19% end up with Pats in some form and, what 70% with Cincy? That looks like darn good research to me. I remember when I was a kid playing high school football and still dwell on our losses more then the wins. Human nature to think we should have done better somehow. Don’t sweat it, your doing good.

        • Russell says:

          Thanks Steve, I enjoy the prospect studying for sure!! It has helped me somewhat successful at, writing articles too !
          I was looking at the 49ers Lynch, 6’5″ 270+, but Bill signed Trevor Reilly 6’5″ 248+, interesting prospect!

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Pats have 3 OL on the squad already (all seem to be Guards).
      They just depleted their spare DT/DL/DE. It’s very possible Grissom goes back to the practice squad after Valentine makes a recovery.

      Also, the Pats have 5 dinged up LB on the active roster, and none on the practice squad, so that’s another position to look at, if only to get through each week.

      I’d like to see one more developmental OT on the squad, and maybe one less OG.

      If I had to guess, in the next 6 days they will sign to the PS, 1 OT, 1 TE, 1 LB, and they will waive one OG.

      • steve earle says:

        What I was thinking too or pretty close but I see Bill resigned RB Gaffney and FB Gronkowsky. Now I like both these guys but like GM one less OG and one more OT seems to make sense. Not sure why a FB?

        • GM-in-Training says:

          Gaffney could be a thumper. He weighs 220#.

          Glen G….dunno. Combined, I guess they think they need to practice more running players with a lead blocker.

          Now they have 2 RB and 1 FB on the Squad, 3 WR, 3 OL, 1 DB (pure special teamer). The WR make sense, given how long it takes to learn the Pat’s offense. The 3 OG…I guess they’ve lost most of their depth on the interior line, unless Tre Jackson comes back healthy off of PUP.

          Maybe Vollmer is their developmental OT. Given the number of healthy games they’ve gotten from him the last few years, giving him a season that only goes from Week 11 to Week 24 kind of makes sense.

      • steve earle says:

        I can see Gaffney for sure as the thumper. Was surprised when he was released and glad he’s back at least on Sp-teams and in case Blount gets injured. Good point on Vullmer being the “developmental” guy but brings up a question, can he practice with the team before being activated? I am under the impression he can not, am I wrong?

        • GM-in-Training says:

          I think the way PUP works is that after week 6 and before week 11 they can activate him, then they have 3 weeks where he can practice with the team, and then they have to either put him on the 53-roster or put him on IR for the rest of the season. Whatever happens with Dion and Tre, I’m assuming Sebastian gets activated at the last possible minute…if at all.

        • steve earle says:

          @GM, Oh yea I think that perks my memory about the three weeks grace period coming off PUP. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I do think Vollmer will be activated at some point though given the lack of depth at OT. Can’t see him being exposed to the wire he wouldn’t bring a comp pick due to lack of playing this season.

  7. Russell says:

    Lots of interesting College Prospects this year who could be Patriots!
    With a strong looking RB class I don’t see BB taking a RB until the 4th round or later. A guy like Matthew Dayes N.C. State 5’9″ 205lbs. 4.46 40yd.
    It’s starting to look like BB is changing his out look at the LB position. He seems to be leaning more towards LB’s who are 6’1″- 6’4″ 230 lbs, instead of the 250+ lbs guys. Some one like, OLB/DE Marquis Haynes, (Jr.) Ole Miss. 6’3′ 229 lbs, 4.6 40yd.
    The OT class also looks good, so a quality guy could be a 2-3d choice.
    Hard to see prospects that BB would us a first round pick on. DE- Allen, WR/TE/Slot- Engram, about it for me. Best bet he trades back.

    • Russell says:

      (Jr.) Charles Harris DE 6’3″ 260 4.74 40yd. maybe a 1st pick??

      • steve earle says:

        Hey Russell Harris would be a really good first pick by all accounts. Are you thinking with Pats own 1st or an earlier one? I have him mid 1st on my current board how do you see him?

        • Russell says:

          The more I watch Harris the less I like him. He is not disciplined, loses his gap responsibility, not the best in the run game. A great speed rusher off the edge, but lacks “other” pass rush moves. Just does not seem like a BB guy, tho likely late 1st round guy. I’m not sure he fits.

      • steve earle says:

        All true Russell about Harris being undisciplined play but the talent is there. Question is, is he coach-able? Guess only Bill can judge that?

    • steve earle says:

      Agree Bill trades back in draft just to many good prospects in 2nd & 3rd along with still some in 4th. I see us having two 2nds and likely two 3rds or forths. A 5th or extra 6th could sneak in their not counting any comps that come our way. Should be fun, hope we don’t get one of those “who?” guys in the 2nd though.

    • EdgeX says:

      I agree in overview of OT class right now – sweet spot would be in round 2 to get one. Not many OT’s that I personally like to go early or would I want the Pats to use a first round pick on.

      Maybe on Adam Bisnowaty or Julie’n Davenport, but I see these guys at best as maybe fringe first round talents but maybe they go as far back as the 4th round cause we got a long way to go before the draft unfolds and can get a better look at them. Basically, hard to gauge their true value this far out from the draft.

      Based on the talent in the CB position I could see the Pats using their first round pick there if they don’t move back.

      I think Christian McCaffrey is becoming my binky for the 2017 draft. At least then we’d stop hearing about Mike Gerken complaining about Blount running like a giraffe all the time 😉

      No, seriously I really would like to see him in a Pat’s jersey.

  8. EdgeX says:

    So…just looking a little deeper into things I noticed how insanely deep 2017’s class of cornerbacks could be…

    This is the list of CB’s I’ve been reading are getting 1st round grades from various websites (note: not all may come out for the 2017 draft):

    1 Adoree Jackson
    2. Marlon Humphrey
    3. Jalen Tabor
    4. Cordrea Tankersley
    5. Desmond King
    6. Sidney Jones
    7. Jourdan Lewis
    8. Cameron Sutton
    9. Quincy Wilson
    10. Gareon Conley
    11. Marshon Lattimore

    Personally I’d rank OT and TE top two NEEDS (depending on what happens with Bennett). But based on the talent coming out in the CB class next year maybe the Pats use a pick on CB early?

    • John says:

      Adoree is really good. Anyone who has watched him this year knows that he has made huge improvements in his coverage skills. Even though USC got toasted by ‘Bama, he single-handedly shut down Calvin Ridley.

      Plus, we wouldn’t have to worry about the return game. Ever. Check out the highlights.

    • steve earle says:

      Wouldn’t be surprised or even mind if we took a CB in the 1st because there seems to be good depth at OT, RB the other likely early needs. Our draft through the forth should allow Bill to fill some projected holes and we always seem to at least add depth later with developmental prospects. All in all future looking bright.

    • Russell says:

      One CB I like is Corn Elder 5’10” 189 lbs. 4.45 40yd

    • Russell says:

      CB Tre’Davious White LSU should be on the CB list.

  9. steve earle says:

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, Jimmy G played just under 6 quarters of regular season games. He did very very well but I’m not convinced it was enough to guarantee some GM will give up a 1st or 2nd for him let alone multiple high picks. It would be nice if one would though it is by no means a forgone conclusion. Sure it’s fun to imagine what BB could do with a high 1st or a couple 2nds I’m just not convinced it’s inevitable. So what happens in January or Feb. if a big offer doesn’t come in? Does Bill try to extend Jimmy or let him play out his last year? It’s a realistic question no one want’s to think about given all the hype over his 6 quarters.

    • Ryan says:

      More food for thought: Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett aren’t exactly superstars, so the worth of playing under Brady isn’t necessarily there.

      • Jeff says:

        At the same time, those guys weren’t highly regarded second round picks. Jimmy’s main risk factor coming out of school was his level of experience at a small school. In a limited sample size, he’s demonstrated that he can handle pressure and manage a complex offense at the professional level. His floor and ceiling at this point appear to be higher than any of those aforementioned examples. Mallet was a bust who never showed significant potential and consistently missed short, easy throws in his opportunities, and Cassel and Hoyer have been good backups despite their late draft and undrafted statuses, though I’m not sure either of them flashed the way Jimmy has. Coaches and GMs will give up almost anything if they have a chance to acquire a franchise signal-caller. The question is how great do they think that chance is, and how high do they think the ceiling is.

        • Ryan says:

          Garoppolo hasn’t proved it yet; he needs a larger body of work to do so. All that I’m saying is the Patriots’ previous QB prospects haven’t performed well outside of the system.

          Ryan Mallet- Pick 74, only 12 slots after Jimmy
          Kevin O’Connell- Pick 94, 32 slots after Jimmy

          Neither of these guys turned out well, and if the Patriots hadn’t had a pick at the end of the second Garoppolo would’ve joined them in the third round. I think Jimmy is a better QB, yes, but I think it’s going to take some serious wheeling and dealing for the Pats to net even a second-round pick for him based on lack of experience, current injury, and small-school background.

          In short, I don’t believe in the Tom-Brady-as-a-mentor effect and I don’t think that smart NFL teams will either, driving down Garoppolo’s value until he proves himself to be better than Brady’s previous backups.

        • steve earle says:

          Not even considering previous Pat’s backups I believe it comes down to the body of work that can be weighed and measured. I refuse to buy into the runaway hype going around. Seems more like hope and wish thinking.

    • Russell says:

      I think the question is more like, “Can a team draft a QB ready to play with a draft choice?”
      I personally would not give a 1st pick for Garoppolo. A 2nd this year and a 2d next year, YA, knowing I can not draft a prospect with a 2nd pick that offers as much as Garoppolo has , even with limited playing experience, at the SAME cost.
      Mike Glenonn has more starting experience and is more GAME proven that Garoppolo, but at what cost to sign as a free agent?
      Chicago makes the best fit for Garoppolo, with QB Cutler’s guaranteed contract money ending, and QB Hoyer a free agent.
      I believe Chicago’s practicing with the Patriots this Summer, to see Garoppolo getting the first reps, was not without the thought of getting to see/ to know Garoppolo as a possible Bear.
      Time will tell………

  10. GM-in-Training says:

    Regarding Solder playing better…he becomes almost a pro bowl level player when he has a really good Left Guard next to him. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Pats picked a talented college tackle with one of their first couple picks, made him a left guard, which freed Solder up to deal with the edge, and voila, Solder is having a good season.

  11. Russell says:

    Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract is about $870K per year, ending in 2018. For the Patriots to extend his deal for say 3 more years, they would need to be about $3-4 mil. a year, as a back-up QB.
    If Jimmy waits until he is a free agent, (2018) he may get $ 8-12 mil. a year, as a starter (Bears?) and the Patriots would get a 3d round Compensatory pick 2019.

    Getting a Compensatory pick would be a loss in value to the Patriots, instead of a trade. A trade could net a high draft pick, or ? ( I like two 2nd round picks one in 17, and one in 18..)
    Can the Patriots afford a new deal for Garoppolo with the likes of Collins, Hightower, Butler and others needing new deals or lost to free agency?
    “If” the Bears want Garoppolo, a trade pre-2017 draft for two 2nd round picks (1 in 2017, and 1 in 2018) is fair, and the Bears have a year at $870K to extend his contract, to 3yrs $8-12 Mil. per year.
    The Patriots can add another QB in the draft, or go with Brissett, for 1-2 years to save money. ( I would add drafted QB to practice squad.)
    So I don’t see how the Patriots can keep Garoppolo, “if” a team wants him.

    • Jeff says:

      Based on what Osweiler received on the open market, I think Jimmy could get a bigger contract, though perhaps not guaranteed due to his lack of starting experience (at this time). If he’s traded, the team receiving him can extend him immediately or see how he does first.

      • steve earle says:

        Considering how many complete games Osweiler played and won the contract he received makes sense. Compare that with Jimmy G’s and ask your self if there is a valid comparison? The fact that Osweiler is not driving Houston into the top tier of teams does not bode well for GM’s t.o feel real comfortable about backup QB’s from elite teams. Expatriation’s are running to high IMO.

    • steve earle says:

      If it was just all about the money and values I could agree with you Russell but it’s about winning now, the next game and one after that. If it was the former Bill has a golden opportunity to offer Jimmy to Cleveland now before the trade deadline. The Browns are in desperate QB need and a very favorable deal could be done. But it’s not all about the latter. Jimmy will not be traded before the end of the season, if then IMO.

  12. Russell says:

    Needs will always be important, but so are those contracts every year. I think DE Sheard will demand to much free agent money to resign. Vollmer injury issues has him retiring.(age 32)
    Amendola is likely done after this year. (age 30) Marcus Cannon free agent to let go.
    Guys the Patriots SHOULD try to resign, Long, Collins, Hightower, Bennett, Butler, Coleman, King, Branch, Fleming, Mingo??
    Bubble guys, Ryan, Harmon, Bolden, Develin, Blount, TE Williams, …..
    OT and DT look one, two as draft needs to me. A running back, a slot receiver type guy, and CB look next in line for draft needs.

    ROT guys I like;
    Jon Heck 6’7″ 300 North Carolina
    Erik Magnason 6’5″ 305 Michigan

  13. td says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see what the needs will be as there are a great number of free agents to be dealt with or not dealt with. There are also positions up in the air because of players with track records of injuries.

    The players with injury issues are some of our top end players either under contract or coming up: Hightower, Vollmer, Gronk, Lewis and now a little less with Cannon and Solder. I don’t see them making Hightower and Gronk top wage earners at their positions; they are not reliable enough because of the injuries every year.

    I would think Garappolo will be traded and could fetch a first rounder, but I don’t think Bill would want a high first because of the salary attached to a high first, which would point to Cleveland since they have Philly’s first which is in the teens or twenties. He could use that or trade it for some high second’s or third’s.

    Unless he brings in a bunch of free agents next year, we are looking at a slew of FA’s on this year’s team and keeping them all is not an option: Bennett, Long, Sheard, Hightower, Collins, Ryan, Butler and Harmon although Butler is restricted. I personally think they will sign Collins, Butler and Harmon and try to sign Hightower to an incentive laden contract similar to Vollmer’s.

  14. Jeff says:

    I think you’re right to keep an eye on receivers. Hard to see Amendola back with his cap hit, so there will be an open spot. With Edelman’s contract up after next season, it makes sense to draft a guy a year early so he can have time to develop without and the Pats have an idea whether they need to extend themselves to retain Edelman.

    At defensive back, the Pats should have Butler, Rowe, Coleman, C. Jones, and J. Jones under contract at corner plus McCourty, Chung, Richards, and Ebner at safety (maybe King too if you call him a safety), so any draft picks there will crowd the depth chart. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to add a DB, especially if Rowe and C. Jones don’t show anything by the end of the season, but even without retaining Ryan or Harmon, there isn’t a high need for bodies.

    D-Line and OT are obvious needs, as well as a “big” running back (and a TE if Bennett departs in FA). I also wouldn’t be surprised to see an interior lineman (or a tackle converted to the interior) to upgrade the center or right guard positions. Hopefully, Collins and Hightower stick around so that there is not pressure to take a LB unless a talented one falls to the Pats.

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