Pending the Steelers’ decision on the offer sheet for receiver Emmanuel Sanders, the Patriots have just about filled all their pre-free agency needs heading into the draft.
There are only two left: veteran edge defender, and right guard competition. The latter could easily come in the draft, if not both. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Patriots ink end Trevor Scott and a veteran guard before the draft just to cover themselves. The John Abraham deal could get done, but some of these veterans, if they don’t get worthwhile money, might wait until the end of training camp to sign.
This is exactly the way the Patriots want it. The Patriots don’t like to enter a draft with glaring needs because it tips their hand, and perhaps would cause them to reach. The Patriots would prefer the board come to them so they can maximize the value.
Here’s the updated depth chart (click on each item for a larger version):
And here’s the updated offseason needs chart. Just about everything is filled:
One note: Right guard may no longer be a need. With Sebastian Vollmer now signed to a long-term deal, and Will Svitek around as a swing tackle, that may free up Marcus Cannon to compete with Dan Connolly at right guard — which is what I personally feel is Cannon’s best position. That would only leave a veteran edge pass rusher (Abraham) as the last thing on the Patriots’ checklist).