(Eleventh in a position-by-position look at the Patriots leading into the draft)
Personnel: Tedy Bruschi, Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton, Eric Alexander, Bo Ruud
Short-term need: Moderate. The Patriots return their top three players from 2008. Mayo hardly came off the field, while Bruschi (early downs) and Guyton (third down) split time.
Long-term need: Moderate to high. Bruschi enters the final year of his contract, so grooming a future replacement is likely on the radar.
Quick hit: The Patriots would generally be looking for a player comfortable playing downhill and taking on blockers. Physicality and smarts are two top traits for the team.
Prospects that could be on the radar in the draft or rookie free agency: Jasper Brinkley (South Carolina), Moise Fokou (Maryland), Zack Follett (California), Rey Maualuga (Southern Cal), Tyrone McKenzie (South Florida), Jason Williams (Western Illinois).,
* Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide used as reference