Also posted on www.199Overall.com
Position overview - early look October 2008
Randy Moss - 32 years, signed through 2010
Wes Welker - 28 years, signed through 2011
Jabar Gaffney - 26 years, - free agent after the season
Aiken - 28 years, signed through 2009
Washington - 30 years, signed through 2011
And depending how you look at it these guys may be backups at WR:
Ventone - 26 years, - free agent after the season
Slater - 24 years, signed through 2011
- age is projected as of the start of the 2009 season
One of the best units in the league, top deep threat (Moss), top slot receiver (Welker) and good overall depth although the is a huge drop-off after the top two. That will happen when the top players are pro-bowl caliber. Aiken & Washington are solid special teamers and I have a little bit of confidence that Aiken may be able to contribute as a 4th WR.
Potential Free agents
Strong FA class in 2009, led by Roy Williams (Detroit) and Houshmandzadeh. I don’t expect the Patriots to be strong players in the free agent market, there is the possibility they add a veteran JAG. There is some chance that Gaffney returns but I expect them to try and get a little younger by drafting a WR is rounds 4-6. The draft pick would compete for the 3rd WR spot.
4 out the top 5 Wrs are signed going into 2009. If Aiken can some promise as a #4 WR then they may draft someone to compete with Aiken for the #3 / #4 slot. If Aiken is strictly special teams then they will likely draft someone pretty high, round 3 or 4 to assume the #3 role.
College Players to watch
No one in the class I would call ‘special’ but juniors Harvin (Florida) and Heyward-Bey (Maryland) are pretty impressive. Given the Patriots shaky track records with I would prefer they re-sign Gaffney or some other serviceable vet.
College Wrs are so hard to scout, the spread offense makes everyone look like Jerry Rice. I would think they would want someone to play the outside opposite Moss, but the Pats also value versatility. Someone with position flexibility (inside WR, slot or outside) plus special teams ability (returner or in coverage). Basically someone like David Givens but a little faster. 5’11 - 6’2, 190 - 210., 4.4 - 4.5.