The needs are there. It is a matter of choosing how to solve the needs. I don't think we can just assume that everyone will be extended. I do think it reasonable to presume that Wilfork will be extended or franchised, and that eithe Seymour or Green will be extended.
I think that we have to fill what we can in free agency. For example, I don't think it is difficult to find players in free agency to fill holes at deep snapper, punter, fullback, backup an backup guard. We also have no problem finding defensive backfield folks every year.
Let's address your stated needs/
We are not losing Mayo or Thomas. Vrabel will almost assuredly be extended into 2009. Crable are expected to be part of the future, and perhaps Redd or Robertson will be too. Woods is an RFA and can be kept this year. There is no dire need, but I would like to add a linebacker. This is a WANT, not a need.
ILB (not mentioned by you)
This is more of a NEED with Bruschi expected to retire after this season, and have a reduced number of reps this year.
Free agent backups and are a dime a dozen. Three backups could easily met the need. We've signed several off the street, even dutring the season.
I do believe that we need to draft an OG. HOWEVER, there is a lot to be said for waiting. We have started rookies, free agents and street guards with success.
Hotshot rookies? You make my point. The draft is NOT the place for the patriots to find a wide receiver or two. Trades or free agency are the way to go.
The hardest positions for the patriots to fill in free agency or with street free agents are corners and defensive ends. Do you disagree? The quaility of the linebackers will likely suggest drafting a linebacker early.
Originally Posted by patchick
Clearly the situation would be severe in the extremely unlikely event that we don't sign or draft anyone. BUT...you've been framing the call for drafting 2-3 DL's in the 1st 100 picks as a pure matter of need, and I don't think it's that simple. After all, the Pats are also scheduled to lose all four OGs, 2 out of 3 proven OLBs, both significant TEs, etc., plus safety is depleted already. And DL isn't the only position that has historically taken time to learn. (Seen any hotshot rookie WRs on this team lately?) So perhaps what this really is is part statement of need, part statement of team-building priorities?