Re: ***2014 PATRIOTS DRAFT THREAD***
posted at 1/20/2014 2:47 PM EST
There are some major decisions coming and I think the first will be Wilfork. Every decision made on the cap will affect FA and the draft. NE evaluates many variables, but I believe that the estimated player value-cost over a determined period is the most important.
Do we cut Wilfork and sign a cheaper FA? Do we extend him? I believe he will be cut and will sign a 1-2 year team friendly deal. He has to prove he is healthy. I do not think he is the 2004-2012 Wilfork; he seemed to be slowing down before the injury. It is a very tough decision. I think he will agree because he knows that there is a limited window for playing and a possible championship.
Kelly is another that needs to restructure. I think Sopoaga is cut along with Vellano. (not sure Vellano can go to PS). Once this has settle down, NE should probably concentrate on a DT fairly high in the draft or we could go with cutting Wilfork and sign someone like a Linval Joesph or Randy Starks, longshot BJ Raji. Joseph is a very good run stuffer and cheaper.
Assume we have Wilfork, Kelly, Armstead, Jones, Siliga. What positions do we draft? We have two NTs in Siliga and Wilfork, 43 DTs/34DEs in Armstead and Kelly. Do we need a run stuffer or penetrator? I think we go for both somewhere in the draft or FA. Remember we should get 2 or 3 comp picks. We could have 10 picks. Also, NE keeps a base 4/3 but it seems it is always in a hybrid; so how do stock for a hybrid defense?
Assumptions: Nix, Hageman and Tuitt do not make it to 29. This will probably force us to a 2nd round DT. (Only if NE considers DT a top 3round pick.) If one drops I would pull the trigger.
TE re-created? Do we look for more for “jokers”? Do we want more HBs or do we convert large WRs with decent speed (Harrison) and turn them into the Hernandez role? Draft a big WR and convert? OR something else? I wouldn’t mine both ND’s Troy Niklas and Cal’s Richard Rodgers. Rodgers is a sleeper, later round pick, but looks like a move TE that can contribute. WR in HS and converted to TE, but in a spread offense.
I believe Talib should be resigned, but should we draft a DB?
I would lean to Gregory, and A. Wilson cut, if this happens we could see NE target Calvin Pryor in the 1st RD or a Jean-Baptiste, Desir, McGill in the 4th. Asante Samuel was a 4th Rder so there is talent there that can be coached up.
Edelman signed, but if he walks we have TJ Moe and Amendola. Moe is unproven, but runs the best routes. Think Collie. Blount signed if it is a realistic contract, but RB is always in high supply in the draft and we have 2 on PS. Does NE look for more speed? The McCluster, Harvin type???
On OL, I think Wendell walks, NE has the former center from ND Braxton Cave on PS; however I think they go after Swanson or Stork. At OG, they do have Kline and could bring back McDonald (Doubt it). They have Chris Barker (6’3 310) on the 53 man roster, could he be another Donald Thomas? Connelly is a cap casualty. They may look at ND’s Martin and Watt, Alabama’s Steen, N. Dakota St.’s Billy Turner (convert to OG). OG is fairly deep in the middle rds.
OT, I would take a flyer on James Hurst; injured, should drop, was a 2nd Rd Talent. NE also has OT's RJ Mattes, Elvis Fisher, Bryce Schwab, and Marcus Zusevics on the team (IR or PS).
I didn't talk about DE/OLB, yet. With Nink hitting 30, NE may need more depth unless we move Collins. There are pash rushers in the draft. The Bequette experiment has failed. What has happened with him?
LB Mayo Hightower, Collins, do we resign Dane Fletcher? Spikes gone? Do we draft an ILB or a hybrid? If Collins is moved this becomes a higher pick.
If we restructure Mankins, Mayo, cut Wilfork (resign), cut Sopoaga, Connelly, A. Wilson, Gregory (maybe) there we be cap room. Does NE go after Michael Johnson from Cin, production dropped 3.5 sacks from 11.5 last year? Still a towering DE? Would have to create the cap space first, but you never know. We could get relief for Hernandez, wouldn't that be nice after this season.
I will not even talk about QB, Brady, Trade Mallett, etc, etc. I think up and down this draft there are players that can help NE right away and create excellent depth. The question is from the 2013 team who will be back.