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Every year we Pats fans and Draftniks make up a list of weaknesses and holes that the Pats "must" fill. We select players to fill those holes and watch Belichick do something completely different. But it is getting harder and harder for him to ignore us, as most pieces on the next generation Superbowl power, are already in place.
But being a glutton for punishment, what are the Pats 2012 Draft targets?
On Offense, I would say an interior Offensive lineman, and Center. A game breaking WR, a game breaking RB would be acceptable, too.
Koppen is the remaining oldster on the O-Line, and will probably need replacing. Many question whether the interior reserves are talented enough to start. Ted Larsen was cut prior to placing on the PS when Tampa Bay took him and made him a good starter. Are any of of Ryan Wendell or Rich Orhnberger or Dan Connelly really that bad, when they easily beat out Ted Larsen?
We always want a gamebreaker WR and/or RB. But the Team is developing quite a collection of young talent in both positions.
On Defense I would say the annual and usual quest for a Defensive Lineman and Pass Rush OLB conversion candidate.
The Defensive line despite having as many as 10 talented players is another year older. We will have had enough time for our present OLBs to get some experience, and see how they can do. The predictd vet FA acquistion, will have had a year to adapt.
There are simply too many good secondary people to need more, at last, and I would think the same holds true for the ILBs.
So almost by force BB may decide his view of Needs are the same as our wants...
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I feel like it's almost impossible to rule any position out. ILB and OT would be unlikely (and CB). But other positions I feel like there's always a chance that depends on value. Could they take a Safety? I don't see it, but if Meriweather leaves and it's just Sanders and Chung and if Sanders' contract is ending shortly, then they might feel that drafting a safety is fair game. Interior O-Line makes sense in drafting someone to succeed Koppen. With TE, if Crumpler is gone and Lee Smith doesn't work out as well, then they could conceivably draft someone which would continue BB's old obsession with drafting TE's. OLB is always possible. ILB we have good young players, and BB doesn't usually go after linebackers anyway. WR is a possibility (even though we haven't faired that well in drafting them). RB is possible, but less of a need than other positions. The DL is fair game, particularly at NT where we still don't have a quality back-up. Drafting a DL will depend on how Brace, Deaderick, and others work out. QB - Surely they won't take a qb...
These things will depend on how the new CBA shakes out. Maybe there will be no franchise tag, or maybe it takes fewer years to accrue for free agency.
Nate Solder (6'8" 320 lbs)
Seabass (6'8" 320 lbs)
Rob Gronkowski (6'6" 265 lbs)
Jake Ballard (6'6" 275 lbs)
Logan Mankins (6'4" 320 lbs) (100% recovered)
Dan Connolly (6'4" 320 lbs)
Marcus Cannon (6'5" 340 lbs) (Switch to Guard??)
Ted Larsen was cut prior to placing on the PS when Tampa Bay took him and made him a good starter. Are any of of Ryan Wendell or Rich Orhnberger or Dan Connelly really that bad, when they easily beat out Ted Larsen?
Ted Larsen wasn't really a good starter. He was more of a "this is teh only guard we have left healthy" type starter. I actually think hes going to be good, but Connelly was much better last year.