Pats, B's, Sox
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Sacshe, TX (by way of Salem,NH)
Patriots Off-Season Review - Draft Edition - Defense
Patriots Defense Draft Preview.
NT –Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright, Titus Adams– Wilfork played very well this year. Adams spent the year on the practice squad. Wilfork is a UFA next season and the Pats need to prepare for the potential that he’ll be gone. Drafting a NT this year seems to be a given.
Draftee Potentials: Ron Brace, Sammie Lee Hill, Chris Baker, Terrence Knighton
DE – Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Jarvis Green, LeKevan Smith
Seymour and Green will be UFA after this year. Smith will be an RFA. Warrren signed a long term extension prior to the start of the 2007 season. Drafting a DE, possibly in the first round, seems very likely. Adding another via the draft or off-season also seems very likely.
Draftee Potentials: Evander Hood, Alex Magee, Dorell Scott, Ricky Jean-Francois, Jarron Gilbert, Evander Pedescleaux, Tyson Jackson
ILB/OLB –Adalius Thomas, Shawn Crable, Tedy Bruschi, Jerod Mayo, Vince Redd, Gary Guyton, Bo Ruud, Tully Banta-Cain, Angelo Craig, Eric Alexander, Pierre Woods
The Pats brought in a LOT of youth last year with the crown jewel being Jerod Mayo, who was voted Defensive Rookie of the Year. Gary Guyton was the steal of the UDFAs, coming in and being a factor in the nickel sub-packages coming out of camp. Crable and Ruud were injured and never developed. Vince Redd got promoted to the team when Thomas was hurt after earning a black practice jersey 4 times in 9 weeks.
The Pats pass rush just wasn’t happening from the LBers. They weren’t able to get consistent pressure from the 4 positions like they normally have. This could be because Vrabel played the year hurt and Bruschi was spending more time back helping Mayo out. The Patriots also didn’t have Mayo rush the QB much, instead, having him focus on his run-stopping and coverage assignments.
Only the Patriots coaching staff knows what it has in Woods, Craig, Redd and Crable, but we are going to find out very soon because one of them is going to be lining up across from Thomas with Vrabel gone to KC. Vince Redd and Angelo Craig were both very good pass rushers in college. Crable was a very good, all around, LBer who could rush the passer when needed. The Pats answer to their Pass rushing woes could already be on the team. We, as fans, just don’t know.
That being said, this stands to be the strongest LBer class in the last 15 years of the draft. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see the Patriots add 2 or 3 LBers so that the corp is fully replenished.
Draftee Potentials: Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, Ray Maualuga, James Laurinitus, Conner Barwin, Paul Kruger, Lawrence Sidbury, Michael Johnson, Robert Ayers, Aaron Maybin, Jasper Brinkley, Gerald McBath, Dannell Ellerbe, Scott McKillop, Franz Joseph, Worrell Williams, Larry English, Clint Simtin, Cody Brown, Jason Williams,
CB - Ellis Hobbs, Leigh Bodden, Shawn Springs, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, Mike Richardson
The Fernando Bryant era in New England died in pre-season. The Deltha O’Neal experiment was a flop. Jason Webster was signed, cut, brought back and then left again with an injury. Terence Wheatley broke his LEFT wrist after he went arse over elbows deflecting a pass and landing with all his weight on it. Wilhite and Richardson had the normal rookie troubles, but played solid.
The Patriots signed Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs to help out at CB. Bodden is on a "prove it" contract while Spring is here for a few years and will probably see time at safety as well as corner. He proved, last year, that he still has what it takes.
With that said, I wouldn't be surprised to see another draft pick by the Pats here.
Potential Draftees: Sean Smith, Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, Alphonso Smith, D.J. Moore, Kevin Barners, Sherrod Martin, Joe Burnett, Bruce Johnson, [/FONT][FONT="]
Safety -James Sanders, Tank Williams, Ray Ventrone, Brandon Meriweather, Matt Slater, Antwain Spann-
Meriweather played great, really stepping it up by the end of the year. Ventrone broke his jaw late in the season, but should be ready come TC. Slater had his good and bad moments. Spann was cut and then brought back off the Practice Squad
The Pats re-signed Sanders and Tank Williams, giving Sanders starting safety money. Harrison is still re-habbing and could be ready for TC if he decides to return to the Pats. Shawn Springs can help solidify this unit as well.
Potential Draftees: Sean Smith, William Moore, Patrick Chung, Louis Delmas, Rashad Johnson, Darcel McBath, David Bruton, Stephen Hodges, Jonathan Casillas, Keith Ellison, Chip Vaughan
Kicker – Stephen Gostkowski -
Stephen Gostkowski became the Patriots single season leading scorer this year. He did extremely well on improving his kicks, though he still had a mistake or two. Gost is someone I hope the Patriots will keep for a long time.
Punter –Chris Hanson,Tom Malone - Chris Hanson had a decent season. But it can be improved upon. The Pats have relied on UDFA or UFA punters since BB got here.
Graham Gano is intriguing because he is a punter and a kicker. And Gano could be protection against Gostkowski leaving if the CBA issues are cleared up prior to next season.
Potential Draftees: Kevin Huber, Graham Gano
Long-Snapper - Nathan Hodel, Russ Hochstein, David Thomas– Lonie Paxton is gone to Denver. The Pats signed Hodel, who'd been snapping for Arizona. Hochstein and Thomas are the emergencies.