Re: Time for Patriots to hit panic button at WR?
posted at 3/27/2013 7:02 AM EDT
I don't think it's panic time, but those who seem not to care about the WR position are wrong in my opinion. I didn't like what they did last year, going into the season with very few WRs on the roster (Welker, Lloyd, Salas, Edelman, and Slater). In the end, I think having so few receivers hurt them, particularly as the injuries mounted in the TE position. (It's also left them with a depleted group this year, that needs to be completely rebuilt, in a year when they don't have a lot of draft picks.) I'd like to see them go into 2013 with at least five true receivers plus Slater. And I'd like to see the quality of those receivers be a bit higher than last year's class. I suspect BB is going to pick up a few more free agents (even if they are veterans cut later in the preseason)--and I do think we'll see at least one WR picked in the draft.
Currently, the roster includes five WRs plus Slater. The five are: Amendola, Jones, Ebert, Aiken, and Holmes. Only two of those have any real time playing in the regular season. I think we need to pick up a few more guys to compete in camp--hopefully a veteran (or two or three) with some NFL regular season experience plus at least one or two rookies. I see the rookies as the bigger hope now for real quality, which means I think drafting one or two is a good idea. A trade for a veteran is a bit unlikely, I think (who do we give up?), and signing one of the available restricted free agents like Sanders or Cruz is a tough move because it reduces draft picks in a year when draft picks are already scarce.
I agree that defense is more important generally for the Pats, since that's been their bigger weakness, but there are reasons why the offense sometimes underperforms in big games and that's largely because we have a thin receiving corp which gets far too thin when a WR or TE (like Gronk) is injured. We should address this problem so our offense is more diverse and a bit more resilient against injuries. At this point, I think the draft is our best chance for quality, and veteran free agency our best chance for experienced depth. Trades or restricted free agent signings seem less likely to me . . . but given the right deal, they may be okay too. I do think, we should take this seriously enough to get at least one more quality guy, preferably someone with true x-type skills.