Pats have done a great job so far this offseason shaking things up from how they normally handle offseasons and treating it like 07' rather than 06' or 13' but there is still some work to be done. The draft will have a big factor but even on great drafts years you can really only expect maybe 2 starters out of camp and 2 good depth pieces. The rest usually are long term projects or cut. so below is what I consider needs for the Pats moving forward and some FA's still available who might fit those roles. Who do you guys think might still be potential FA's to target and positions you think need people:
Starting caliber DT - Wilfork might or might not be back and who knows how Kelly will be after injury but even if both come back or just one you can't give them the amount of snaps you started to give them last year. Not after major injures and age considered. Siliga, Jones, Vellano, and Armstead you might only see 1 or 2 stick on the roster and while good role players I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone other than the loyalist of the loyalist saying you want to give them starting roles for a full year.
I see them going draft early at DT but here are a couple of DT's still available that could be good options
Henry Melton - Melton is coming off an ACL but is still young at 28 and was one of the most dominant DT's in the game just a year removed. He's got some interest around the league but not many bitting. If they get a young durable DT in the draft he might be a good gamble to take, provided you aren't counting on him to be a stand alone starter.
Pat Sims - Sims is not a stand alone starter, as he proved in Oak, but he's an option as a rotational starter to spell Kelly or Wilfork. The issue is he might not be much better than Siliga.
Starting C - Right now they have none. If they get a RG Connolly can move over to C but they need to find one at some point this offseason. Here are some FA options:
Brian De La Puente - Started 32 of 32 games for NO the last two years and was released for cap concerns. He's an average C overall but did a nice job in the run game and kept Brees pretty upright. At 28 he's still fairly young and could give you good production for 2-3 years if you want to grab C later in the draft and build them into the position
Rich Ohrnberger - Did very well in SD replacing their injured C. Has some upside and is already familar with the Pats system
Will Montogomery - Washington starter who like De La Puente is an average NFL C with did well in the zone blocking scheme. He did well in the running game and can move fairly well blocking for the likes of RGIII.
Alex Mack - The prize of the C class is still available mainly because of the transition tag. He is a probowl caliber C and would keep Brady clean. The only question is how much he wants to do so but is clearly the best option in the market.
Ryan Wendell - We all want an upgrade but he is an option for cheap and knows the system
RG - They could also go for a RG and move Connolly to C. cannon's always an option to move inside to starting RG but with Vollmer and Solder having injury issues as of late might want to keep Cannon as the main T backup. Some options are:
Uche Nwaneri - starting RG for the Jags since 08' and is only 29yrs olds. Could be a nice option to bring in as a starting RG moving Connolly over or even as a great depth piece in an area were depth is a bit of a weakness right now
Willie Colon - Started for the Jets last year and did a decent job at RG could come in and give you at least similar snaps at RG as Connolly gave us or could be a good depth option
Travelle Wharton - An aging vet that might be good for a year or two similar to Waters. He'd be a bandaid to train a kid you draft
3rd DE - No matter how you feel about Nink he is someone BB trust as his 95+% snaps as proof. However, you could see BB rode him and Jones to the hilt last season and they had nothing left in the tank in the playoffs. We need a 3rd DE to spell both and can give pressure on demand. Here are some FA options:
Jared Allen - He wants to get paid or retire. Must admire a man that knows the NFL is a dangerous sport for your body and has put a price tag on putting his body on the line. He's the best option out there but will cost a pretty penny and most likely wouldn't want to be a rotational player so chances are he's out of the running
Anthony Spencer - Aging vet who's coming off an injury but is only a year removed from double digits sacks. If he's willing he might be a good option as a rotational DE who has ability to get to the passer
Shaun Phillips - Another aging vet who's best used in a rotational role but had double digit sacks last year for the Bronco's
Robert Ayers - Inconsistent pass rusher but is solid in the run game could be of use as a 3rd DE playing behind Nink and Jones
S - Browner might be moved to SS or even Arrington but for right now I'm counting both as CB's which leaves SS as the Wilson's and Harmon. SS might be the focus but FS might need some depth
Major Wright - had a great 2012 season for the Bears but injures in 2013 hampered him a little. Still had a good season at SS and at 26 has a lot of upside moving moving. Might be a good option to be put in rotation with Harmon
Chris Clemons - A very durable SS the Pats are familar with. Only 28 he is what he is at this point which is a solid dependable SS. Certainly and upgrade over Gregory but might have slightly less upside than Wright at this point in his career
Nate Allen - he's had a pretty disappointing carrer as a former 2nd round pick but he hasn't been terrible either. He's shown flashes why he was a 2nd round pick and has upside
4th LB - With Fletcher gone the LB group in fairly thin right now. An additional LB might be needed regardless if it's a coverage LB or a rushing LB
Parys Haralson - He's the definition of a jack of all trades LB. He does everything well but doesn't really excel in anything. This makes him a very good option as a 4th vet LB
James Anderson - a liability in the run he's a very good coverage LB. Provided you don't need him to set the edge or fill a gap he's servicable and give you good snaps covering TE's and RB's out of the backfield
Eric Henderson - He's got a drinking problem which has gotten him in trouble but that will lower his price tag and he's one of the few 3 down LB's still on the market but he's a fringe starter. Since he'd be the 4th option he might be worth taking a shot on as talent is there he just has to put the juice down and play his role