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A fresh pass at needs analysis

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by patchick, Dec 30, 2008.

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  1. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Following DaBruinz' lead, I've attempted to tackle the question of "what holes do the Patriots most need to fill?" What's the state of the roster?

    To clarify: this is NOT the same as assessing draft and FA "priorities", which are shaped strongly by market forces. (E.g. the Pats have a gaping hole at fullback, but fullback won't be a high "priority" because the position is severely devalued in the marketplace.)

    My goal was to come up with a transparent way of weighting position importance, current need and projected need. I whipped up a 20-point scale, comprised of 3 scores. It may look arcane but it's actually pretty simple and quick to tally:

    2009GapPoints (0-9)
    How far is the current Patriots roster from filling this position at a high level? E.g. Kicker scores a 0 because a Pro-Bowler is under contract; FB scores a 9 because the position is empty.

    2010GapPoints (0-4)
    Same as above but looking ahead to 2010.

    PositionQualityValuePoints (0-7)
    How much does the quality of the player at this position affect the team's chances of winning? (Note that you must assign the full 0-7 range; a 0 doesn't mean the position is worthless, just that it doesn't earn any position value points.)

    I took a stab at scoring 38 individual positions, including starters, specialists, and primary subs. Here's the needs ranking I ended up with:

    1. Strong Safety
    2. Backup Nose Tackle
    3. Punter
    4. Fullback
    5. Tight End A
    6. Long Snapper
    7. Swing Tackle
    8. Rush OLB
    9. 3rd ILB

    Notes:

    * Some of those positions had a second similar position that also scored in double digits: OT, TE, NT, and S. So those four position areas look to me like the primary, concentrated need areas.

    * OG and DE are notable for having multiple gaps to plan for in 2010.

    * CB & RB are notable for having multiple filled but "upgradable" slots for 2009.

    Or not. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  2. KevinFaulk-33

    KevinFaulk-33 On the Game Day Roster

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    Interesting thread, definitely worth a look at your toughts.

    I'll make an analysis too!
     
  3. BradyManny

    BradyManny Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Interesting way of doing it with the point system, thats a good way of doing it. I think your results look good to me, though I would point out (as BOR pointed out to me) that Meriweather has been playing the SS role a lot. Which would mean FS would be the need, but I imagine they'd be OK taking another guy like Meriweather who is good in coverage and in run support and can play either FS or SS.

    I would personally have CB higher, Hobbs is hitting free agency in a year and Wheatley & Wilhite are still a bit unknown, although they both looked pretty good in limited action.

    Some self promotion, here's a couple of threads on individual positions that sparked some good responses:

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/13/196546-needs-analysis-tight-end.html
    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/13/188714-needs-analysis-safety.html
    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/13/178769-needs-analysis-linebacker.html
    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england.../13/182298-needs-analysis-offensive-line.html
    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england...d/13/185238-needs-analysis-wide-receiver.html
    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england.../13/177122-needs-analysis-defensive-line.html

    I agree its time to have one consolidated needs thread as we are officially in the offseason.
     
  4. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'll post later, but first I will analyze your analysis. Let us suppose that we meet ALL your needs and see where we are. I think it reasonable to find the nine contributers you seek.

    WHERE ARE WE IN 2008
    DL: We've replaced Mike Wright with a backup NT, presumably a draftee. This is not likely to be an upgrade.
    OLB: You add a rush OLB to compete with or replace Vrabel, Thomas, Woods, Crable and/or Redd. This should be an upgrade, but I would do it.
    ILB: This person could/should be Thomas for this year. I do agree that we should draft one.
    CB: Wheatley better be good. I guess this is even with this year. Bring in the JAG's again.
    S: As was pointed out, we could pick up a free safety instead of a strong safety
    OL: Connolly replaces Hochstein, a loss.
    TE : A pickup is an improvement
    RB/FB: should be the same (excellent)
    QB: improved
    WR: Washington and Aiken will compete for the #3 spot, a loss.

    WHERE WE ARE IN 2010
    Turn out the lights, the party's over unless there is no CBA and we can pay for all our holes.
    We will have no guards, Warren and your draftee on the DL, Faulk and Hobbs gone, and we will depend on your draftee as the only 2010 tight end.



     
  5. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #12 Jersey

    Even though it is way too early to think about 2010, I can not see BB loading up for a 2009 run without laying some pipe for future years as well?????

    Unless 2009 is BB's swansong!!!! Do we know BB's contract status?
     
  6. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #3 Jersey

    According to the reports leaked in the immediate wake of :deadhorse:, he's signed through 2013.
     
  7. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Mgteich, this is a little odd. I don't think you really "analyzed my analysis"; instead you asked "what would happen if we only filled the 9 positions that came out highest in her raw scoring, ignoring all comments before and after?" An interesting exercise, but hardly a path I was recommending. It would obviously be absurd to suggest that any team should only add 9 players between now and 2010.

    As for 2010, I looked at the initial scoring and concluded as you did, that future needs were probably underweighted. That's why I wrote things like "OG and DE are notable for having multiple gaps to plan for in 2010."

    If/when I do the exercise again, I think a key addition would be an extra factor that kicks in for multiple weaknesses at a single position category at a given time. (Also, as an aside, isn't Mankins scheduled to be an RFA not UFA in 2010 under the current CBA?)
     
  8. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Sorry MG. But this has to rank right up there with one of your worst thought out comments ever.

    1) If there is a new CBA, the Patriots will have plenty of money to sign players and, like previously, there will be an extended time frame to sign your own players first. And do you really think that the Patriots are the ONLY team in this situation? No. They aren't. Every team is.

    2) If there isn't a new CBA, the Patriots will have plenty of money to sign players and there are numerous players who are under contract OR would be restricted free agents. Not to mention that EVERY TEAM in the league would be in the same predicament as the Patriots.

    One of the things that people have forgotten is that the owners can choose to lock the players out and keep the 2009 season from starting until new CBA is done. That way, the uncapped year isn't triggered.

    The players to be worried about beyond the 2009 season are Mankins, Hobbs, Kaczur, Wilfork, Gostkowski. The rest are either RFA or will be well beyond the 30 year old mark.

    And is 2010 really any worse than 2009. In 2009, the Patriots have 17 UFA and 4 RFA. In 2010, with it uncapped, they'd have 11 UFA and 12 RFA ( I removed Spach from the list since he's with AZ).

    There are players who are loyal to this team because the team gave them more than they expected. Kevin Faulk is a perfect example. He's Troy Brown all over again. I don't see Faulk donning another uniform. Same with Bruschi.

    The Pats who are available after the 2009 season as UFA from the Pats are:
    Stephen Neal - He'll be 33 going into free agency and has a history of health issues. I fully expect the Pats to draft/sign his replacement prior to the start of the 2009 season.

    Kevin Faulk - He'll be 33 at the end of next season, and he showed, this season, he still has a lot of game left. I expect the Pats to be able to re-sign him easily or bring in a replacement.

    Matt Light
    - Matt has manned the LT position since game 2 or 3 of his rookie year. He been very solid and had issues with some of the best pass rushers in the league. He'll be 31. He's probably got a few more years left in him. The question will be whether the Pats want him back.

    Vince Wilfork
    - Probably the biggest signing that needs to occur. They need to get big Vince singed to a 5-6 year deal and done prior to the 2009 season starting.

    Richard Seymour
    - 2009 needs to be a career year for Seymour. Its the only way he's going to get a top contract offer. If he has a season similar to 2006 or 2007, Seymour isn't likely to get the kind of offer he expects. Seymour will be the big 30 during the 2009 season.

    Sam AIken - Special teamer. Will be turn 29 during the 2009 season

    Tedy Bruschi
    - Bruschi has heart, but he's lost a step. He wasn't the force the Pats needed him to be. He'll be 36 at the end of the 2009 season and I wouldn't be surprised to see him hang them up.

    Jarvis Green
    - Jarvis would be seeing starting time as a 4-3 DE on many teams in this league. He'll only be 30 years old at the end of next season. He's on that I believe will stay with the Pats out of loyalty.

    Kelley Washington - Has been a stand-out special teamer for the Pats. His loss would not be devestating.

    Ben Watson
    - Ben never lived up to the extremely high expectations that Fans put on him for being a 1st round pick. He's a solid blocker and his hands are good when he stays focused. But that is the issue. Him staying focused.

    Mike Vrabel - Vrabel will be 35 before the start of the 2010 season. While to start off the season, he was playing well at the ROLB position, he clearly wasn't comfortable there and it hurt his game performance. By the end of this year, he looked like he had lost a step. I see Mike calling it quits after 2009.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  9. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Good list, Patchick. The only thing I question is that you list the 3rd ILB position but not the 2nd. I can see Guyton being the 3rd, but he's not showed enough yet to say he should be starting at the SILB position next to Mayo.

    Other than that, I see no glaring things to take issue with.
     
  10. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Reiss had some thoughts of his own:

    Patriots: No playoffs on table, time for a check - The Boston Globe

    One point Mike touches on applies to Db's note on Seymour:
     
  11. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I take it these are your 9 highest position scores? I ask since you assessed 38 "individual" positions and establishing a needs list with 9 shopping items for a 53 man roster (not to mention camp competition and Practice Squad development) seems rather abbreviated.

    I disagree with Ochmed's position to postpone consideration of the 2010 team, in particular DL, OLB, and WR are areas that develop more slowly than others. Did your scoring account for development time? For example: a reserve NT is needed in 2009 - but with Vince under contract he can be a rookie - prior to extending Sey or Green or Smith (2010), the Pats should bring in a DE for a year of development (or extend Wright).
     
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If you believe that the potential losses in 2010 are not more serious than in 2009, then you are certainly entitled to your position. I STRONGLY DISAGREE. That's fine. We often do, even if one poster thought we are the same person.

    The potential losses in 2009 are minimal. Our most serious potential losses this year are a backup DL, a backup QB, a backup OG, a #3 WR, a fullback, a deep snapper, a punter and a safety who should be a backup. I guess I should add the veteran free agents signed for this year or for part of this year. This list could ALL be met with minimum or almost minimum priced veterans, if we needed to do so.

    In 2010, unless something is done, we will be without 4 of our 6 DL's, our two starting guards and our backup guard/center and our two top TE's. Did I forget to mention Vrabel, Bruschi and Faulk?

    Personally, I do believe that the organization is the best there is, and one of the best ever. The patriots understand the cap and the CBA better than anyone. However, putting our heads in the sand is not the answer. The time to develop replacements for those who MIGHT leave is now. The time to try to extend, if we can, is now! The time to consider what do about Seymour is now.

     
  13. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Thanks for the info, Box.

    If the Pats could sign Seymour to an 3-4 year extension for good, but not outrageous, money, then they could turn around and sign Wilfork to an extension.

    The problem, right now, is that I don't believe either side wants to sign extensions. If a player who is going to be a UFA signs an extension and the CBA is extended, he is probably thinking he'll miss out on some money. On one hand, Management wants to get players signed to extensions because they might get some players below market value. On the other hand, Management won't want to sign players to extensions if it means that they will have salary cap issues in 2010 if a deal is hashed out.
     
  14. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    MG - You need to go back and review because you are incorrect on your assement.

    1) Mankins, Smith, David Thomas, Kaczur, Gostkowski, Britt, Alexander, Hobbs, O'Callaghan, Woods, Ventrone and Yates are all RFA. I can guarantee you that Mankins, Gostkowski, and Hobbs would all get the highest tender the Pats can put on them. So, there is a guard, defensive end, OT, and TE you were so worried about.

    2) As I pointed out, Neal, Vrabel and Bruschi are probably on the outside looking in.

    3) I am amazed that you rate Yates so highly. Especially after he was benched after Neal was fully healthy. G/C is on this years list of needs, though they have Connolly and Wendell. Both of whom will have yet another year of experience under their belts.

    4) I rated DE being very high because of the potential of losing Seymour, and Green. Smith's status also weighed in on it.

    5) Mentioning Vrabel and Bruschi is moot since they are probably on their way out anyways. Faulk may or may not be a loss.

    This garbage you are spouting about people putting their heads in the sand is showing you aren't bothering to actually read what others are posting. Because neither myself nor Patschick are doing so. You, on the other hand, do seem to be running around like Chicken Little while totally ignoring that the Patriots are just one of 32 teams in the exact same predicament.

    MG, please stop and take the time to read the posts. Your response says that you didn't and it only detracts from you as a poster. Especially when you are usually much more balanced than your reactions here. I mean, hell, you totally ignored the rundown of the 12 UFAs that the Pats would have available after the 2009 season. And it addresses many of your concerns.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  15. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Certainly a Seymour or a Wilfork who can command top dollar will have to weigh the potential of an uncapped year, but there's also something to be said for signing an extension this season.

    Sey has been injured enough to know he could lose his earnings potential rather suddenly, if the Pats approached him with an extension offer that lowered his cap hit in 2009, it's worth considering.

    Vince has been more durable, but he's also been dinged up a little and had enough people diving at his knees to know re-doing the last year of his rookie deal may be smarter than waiting into 2010 - the Pats may actually be the ones who wish to postpone signing him because of the cost in 2009.
     
  16. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Sorry, I should have made that more clear. I only listed the top 9 scores because because starting at #10 there was a logjam -- a ton of positions with a middling level of need. That's why an extra factor for multiple needs at the same position would help so much. (If 6 jobs are tied at #10 and 2-3 of them are DEs, that position needs attention.)

    Urgency of 2010 needs is incredibly complicated to figure, and not just because of the CBA uncertainty. It also varies a ton by position. E.g., K and RB are positions where rookies and FAs can typically step right in and contribute; OLB et all take more time to integrate. WR has become a position for veteran FAs on this team, so I wouldn't worry much about drafting a WR in 2009 to get him ready for 2010. Etc., etc.
     
  17. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    1. Can't disagree with that. I think Rodney is gone and SS is going to be a huge need. Whether we fill it through the draft or free agency is yet unknown but there appear to be several good safeties available in the 2009 draft.

    2. If Mike Wright is healthy, is that really a big need? The only way I'd see this need that high is if Wilfork makes overtures that he isn't signing unless he gets big bucks.

    3. Yes our current punter is terrible. I think the Pats have been trying to address this for a while now. But nobody seems to be able to beat out Hanson... Weird.

    4. Isn't Heath Evans already our fullback? Nobody's going to mistake him for an all-pro, knocks em on their ass every play FB, but I think he does a decent job. He also works as an emergency 4th/big RB. Fullback doesn't seem to be a big need to me. Did you have your eye out for someone in particular?

    5. Watson is decent, though makes bonehead plays at times. He'll probably grow out of it if he turns out anything like Faulk did. Thomas hasn't had a chance to show much because of his injuries. I'd say a 3rd TE would be nice to have but I hope it doesn't cost a 1st day pick. It might even be adequately addressed in free agency. I'd give this a middle priority as I know BB just loves him some tight ends.

    6. Longsnapper. Just pay Paxton his money. I don't think Longsnappers command a lot of cash. Honestly even using up a roster spot for this position irritates me, however I guess it's pretty specialized and if it ain't broke (Paxton), why fix it?

    7. Swing Tackle. I'd say G/T is what we'd be looking for. Insurance against having to put anybody named Yates into play. An upgrade would be nice insurance against yet another Neal injury, but this can certainly be developed in later rounds. If Kaczur or Neal suddenly start looking broken down, the priority might rise. Line play looked fairly strong the last two games of the season. I suppose it all looks better when you blowout your opponents but strong trench play generally leads to blowouts. I will place one caveat - if we can get a stud LT that can move Light over to RT, I could see us splurging for that position even if it isn't high on the need list. A guy like Oher or whatnot that can be the cornerstone of the line for the next 10 years would make me think long and hard if they lasted to our pick.

    8. Rush OLB. This is way too low on the list imo. Yes the Pats have some guys in the pipe for OLB but they haven't shown the ability to apply consistent pressure. We had to sign retread Colvin midseason just to get a warm body out there. Vrabel is starting to show his age, and Thomas although solid when healthy hasn't had the impact terrorizing QBs or playing the elephant that we envisioned. In an ideal world Thomas will come back fully healthy and we can put a stud pass rusher opposite Thomas. Is that guy Crable or Woods? I have my doubts. And there's no guarantee on Thomas' health either. I really hope he doesn't turn into Colvin the 2nd. When you can't get off the field on 3rd downs as the Pats couldn't in 2008, this is a primo need for 2009. At least a top 3 need.

    9. 3rd ILB. Agreed. This can be solved with a mid round pick or a free agent pickup. I know Spikes sounds like a real good player, and others have the hots for Maualuga, but is that the biggest need when you've got two young players that have shown they can play the position and two vet backups in Seau/Bruschi?
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  18. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I think safety will be addressed. Its just a difference of opinion on when it will be addressed.

    Mike Wright is a UFA and hasn't signed an extension with the Pats yet

    Hanson isn't terrible and its foolish for you to make comments that can be torn apart by the facts..

    Heath Evans is a UFA. I think the Patriots will look at better blocking options before they decide on bringing Evans back.

    Hmm.. Paxton is a UFA. He may not want to stay here.

    Mark Lavoir is the new swing tackle. A bigger nead would be OG/C who is as nasty as Neal and can develop to replace him next year when Neal is 33 and is a UFA would be great. A 5th tackle isn't much of a priority, though getting someone who is better than O'Callaghan and who could be a starter in 2010 would be nice.

    I have to disagree that a "RUSH" Linebacker is a need. When people use the term "RUSH" LB, you are talking about a sack specialst. The Patriots defense has never had one. Not McGinest. Not Vrabel. Not Colvin. Not THomas. The Pats defense is at its strongest when it can rush from any of the 4 LBer positions. The problem is that it could only rush from 2 of them this year. The 2 outside ones. And that made it easier on the offenses. It was only at the end of the year that Mayo started to rush, but even then, not really.

    Another "Mayo" type ILB would be awesome. A guy to come in and who could do the same things that Mayo did. Coverage, good against the run.. And rush the Passer. You do that and the Pats Pass rush will live again...
     
  19. patsfan55

    patsfan55 In the Starting Line-Up

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    #95 Jersey

    Agreed 100%, I think this is priority number 1 this offseason.

    Agreed again here, which is why I wouldn't be surprised to see a 3-4 de drafted day one this draft.

    Let me preface this by saying I was extremely upset when we drafted Andy Katzenmoyer for two reasons: 1 because I wanted to draft Jon Jansen, 2 because I truly felt Bruschi was ready to be a starter when Todd Collins left via free agency (just trying to prove how early I jumped on Bru's bandwagon). However, I think he should hang it up NOW, he has very very little left at this point.

    I love when other fans get what's wrong with him. So many fans don't understand how important focus and determination are for a wr/te catching the ball. You can't just have the speed, athleticism, hands, separation ability, route running, strength, leaping ability...you also have to want to go up there and come down with it, and that determination/focus is what separates the great ones from the decent ones.


    Wow, feels weird to agree with DB so much. He did look very uncomfortable, and at this point is no better than a solid option on the outside, which is why I'm so adamant about adding a playmaker on the outside somewhere somehow.
     
  20. billdog3484

    billdog3484 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    why has acquiring a long snapper been so high on people's lists? there is no question that having a good long snapper is great, but to consider that over some other needs is strange. you need an adequate long snapper, i know this, but there are so many out there that are better than adequate. i cant imagine paxton going anywhere anyways, but even if he does, that role can be filled in a minute at a cheap price. having a great long snapper is a luxury, NOT a necessity
     
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