Pats, B's, Sox
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Sacshe, TX (by way of Salem,NH)
Patriots Off-season review (Pre-Draft Edition) - DEFENSE
Patriots Defense Off-season Preview.
NT – Vince Wilfork, Michael Wright, Santonio Thomas– The Pats lost Mike Wright for the season in December and I think it showed on special teams and late in the season against the Giants where the Pats weren’t able to spell Wilfork effectively.
This is an area that I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pats address in the mid rounds of the draft.
Possible draftees include: Red Bryant, Trevor Laws, Ahtyba Rubin
Free Agents: Rashad Moore (UFA), Mike Wright (RFA- 2nd round tendered)
DE – Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Jarvis Green, LeKevan Smith - Last year, in my pre-draft review, I called Marquis Hill a bust. Then, in a tragic accident, Marquis Hill lost his life while saving that of a friend. It came out afterwards that Hill was a huge contributor in practice and helped make guys like Light, Mankins and Koppen better. Marquis, I am sorry for doubting you.
LeKevan Smith made huge strides last year in my opinion. But at DE and not at NT, where he was drafted. That seems to be the case for a lot of DTs the Pats draft.
Seymour missed the first 6 games of the year while recovering from injuries that had plagued him the previous 2 years. The play of Jarvis Green improved greatly as Green proved that he was more than adequate at being able to stop the run as well as rushing the passer. Teamed with Colvin, they freed up Vrabel on the other side to help Vrabel become the 1st Patriots in years to get more than 10 sacks.
However, with Seymour out, Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork were drawing the double teams. And that showed, a lot. Teams were running away from the the right side and towards Green and Colvin.
I don’t see the Pats adding anyone here.
OLB –Mike Vrabel, Adalius Thomas, Pierre Woods – Rosie gave the Pats 4 good years. However, his career here ended the way it started. With him on the IR. In a cost cutting move, the Pats let Rosie go, saving themselves over 5 million. I will admit that this blew me away because I really thought they’d restructure his contract with the lack of 3-4 talent on the market.
This position is very thin right now for the Pats with only Vrabel, Thomas (who was signed to play at ILB) and Pierre Woods.
Free Agents available include: Victor Hobson and Clark Haggans,
Draft Options include Chris Long, Vernon Gholston, Quentin Groves, Cliff Avril, Bruce Davis, Ezra Butler, Bryan Kehl, Darrell Robertson.
Free Agents: Rosie Colvin (UFA), Pierre Woods (ERFA)
ILB - Tedy Bruschi, Adalius Thomas, Eric Alexander, T.J. Slaughter – Another off-season and another time for us to say that the Pats are WOEFULLY thin here. What makes matters worse is that Eric Alexander (imho) proved that he’s not up to the task of going against the better TEs in the league. Tedy decided to forego retirement and is here for another year or two.
The Pats made a huge splash in free agency last year by bringing in Thomas. He was very good in the middle as he learned the position (contrary to some people’s beliefs).
Bringing Seau back is a definite option as the defense was great against the run with him in there. But he and Bruschi are really only part time players at this point.
Oscar Lua was thought to be an answer, but he was injured in training camp and then cut just after the end of the season. Justin Rogers was claimed by the Cowboys prior to the start of last season when the Pats tried to sneak him onto the practice squad.
The Pats NEED some youth and, unfortunately, this year’s draft isn’t stacked at ILB like last year’s was.
Draft options could include : Johnathan Goff, Beau Bell, Jerrod Mayo, Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden
Free Agent Options include: Junior Seau, Victor Hobson, Chaun Thompson
Free Agents: Larry Izzo (UFA – re-signed), Junior Seau (UFA), Eric Alexander (ERFA)
CB - Ellis Hobbs, Antwain Spann, Jason Webster, Tim Mixon, Mike Richardson - Well, last year, Samuel and Gay were kind of forced to stay with the Pats with the franchise and RFA tenders respectively. Both are now gone to the Eagles and Saints respectively. That leaves a huge hole for the Pats to fill. Luckily for the Pats, this is a very strong CB draft.
Jason Webster, a 9 year vet, has been brought in to see if he can earn a spot. Mike Richardson was lining up opposite Randy Moss in camp last year and held his own prior to his injury. That says a lot, but it will remain to be seen if he actually EARNS a spot.
Tim Mixon is a dark-horse to make the team and could spend another year on the practice squad.
Antwain Spann was cut and then brought back during the season. He’ll be competing for special teams and play at the dime position.
Free Agents include: Ty Law
Draft possibilities include: Michael Jenkins, Aqib Talib, Antoine Cason, Patrick Lee, Leodis McKelvin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Brandon Flowers, Tracy Porter, Antwan Molden, Tyvon Branch (just to name a few)
Free Agents: Asante Samuel (UFA- Eagles), Randall Gay (UFA- Saints), Chad Scott (UFA)
Safety - Rodney Harrison, James Sanders, Willie Andrews, Ray Ventrone, Brandon Meriweather-
Eugene Wilson started off the season as a starter and ended it on the bench. Eugene has just never been the same since he got injured in two straight Super Bowls. And its too bad because he had such a bright future ahead of him.
Rodney missed 4 games because of using HGH to come back from injury and James Sanders filled in admirably. He’s not Rodney, but he’s very solid.
Brandon Meriweather was the teams 1st round pick last year and the starting free safety spot is his to lose. But he’ll have tough competition with James Sanders starting opposite Rodney.
Willie Andrews is a very good special teams guy. However, his status with the team is up in the air as he has drug distribution charges pending against him.
Ray Ventrone came back for purgatory (the Jets) and played well on special teams.
I would expect the Pats to look for at least one more safety who could develop as either a SS or a FS.
Free Agent possibilities are: Ty Law,
Draft Possibilities include: Tom Zbikowski, Wesley Woodyard, Quentin Demps, Thomas DeCoud, Tyrell, Johnson, Kenny Phillips, David Roach
Free Agents: Mel Mitchell (UFA), Eugene Wilson (UFA), Ray Ventrone (ERFA)