So a while ago, I made a thread about how I thought the Pats were close. A lot of it was in regards to the young players who I hope are still developing.
The biggest questions for me was what key players the Pats might lose. With the recent Brady restructure, it's not inconceivable that Talib, Welker and Vollmer all return.
So a hypothetical, taking the roster as it is now, and including Talib, Welker, and Vollmer, how good do you think the Pats can be next season?
Personally, I think they can be better than they were in 2012. I will say Brady might slightly get worse because of age, but I think Vereen, Jones, Dennard, Talib, Hightower, Lloyd (year 2 in system), McCourty are all key players that could see significant jumps in production with another year with the team.
Wilfork, Welker and Brady are the two guys that I would worry about a potential decline. But I would be surprised if they weren't top players in their respective positions come 2013.
Can't account for injuries, but I would still consider this team a championship caliber team. Now include Ballard, Rainey and Armstead, and I think you have better depth. Include the draft picks, now you have even more depth and hopefully some key contributors. Now key in on the fact that the Pats might have a shot at a good FA, and we might just be good enough for that 4th Title.
Nothing is guaranteed. Maybe the young guys don't develop. Maybe the draft picks are all busts and maybe the FA signed stinks...but there's a lot to be hopeful for