Ignoring what is available in the draft, or Free Agency, and just looking at needs for the Pats here are my opinions. QB. We have the best. We need another backup. Is Cassell a 3 or 2? For my money, we need to bring in a guy who can play decent and allow the other 21 guys to win if he must play. I'd like to see a solid backup brought in. Cassell can have every chance to beat him out if he can. RB. I'm OK with Dillon for 06, a bit concerend for 07, and wouldnt count on him beyond that. Faulk plays a part, but cant be relied on for a full time role, pus age and injuries are making closer to the end of his career than the beginning. Pass short term is a good #3 option. I see 2 choices here. First, bring in the 'RB of the future" now. That doesnt have to be a round 1 pick (would need to be day 1) and let him fit anywhere within those top 3 he is capable of today, and get ready to start by sometime in 07 or 08. Or stay the course, and find the replacement in FA, in 07 if Dillon isnt back to normal in 06 or later if he is the old Dillon. FB. I am increasingly interested in a REAL FB. I dont think the one we need has to be expensive, possibly even a late round rookie. The only role he needs to play is a sledge hammer blocker. He will probably only be on the field 30% of the plays or so, because we want to use 2 TEs, but for those 30% of the plays a strong lead blocker would make a big difference. It seems BB values athleticism and pass catching out of FBs more than blocking, but with Pass, and Watson as really an Hback, we get that. A roster spot for a "Darryl Johnston type" seems warranted to me. WR. My opinion of what a WR corps needs to be: 1) A go to guy 2) A 'complete' if not excellent #2. Can do everything but maybe nothing spectacular. 3) A guy with something special. Either a deep threat or a great route runner who is good on 3rd down 4) A guy who isnt yet but can be 1 or 2 5) Mr. Reliable. Nothing special but reliable. I assume we lock up either Branch or Givens long term, but not both. In house Davis or Bethel could be (3) long term and possibly (4). Many are down on both, but I see potential in both. Troy Brown is the 2nd half of 3, but for 1 yr at best. Maybe its just wishful thinking but I believe if Bethel Johnson can have a healthy off-season, camp and season, he can break out in 06. I would at least like to see him one more year to find out. If we keep both, we cant miss on the other guy in the top 4. We need a major move at this position in one way or another. A Dwight or similar is fine as 5 for me. Bottom line, Resign Givens or replace him retain 2 of Johnson, Davis and Brown, bring back Dwight or a similar guy. I would not object to a high draft pick plus Branch, Johnson, Davis, Dwight/replacement. We can fit that rookie anywhere among the other 4 behind Branch, and be OK, and potentially end up with Branch and a stud for years. TE. We use 2 so often that we need a #3. Graham and Watson are a s good a duo as you can find. I'd like to see a 'project' on day 2, who could fill in for either with a decent upside. I'd look more at receiving skills than blocking, because we have always been comfortable using an OL as the blocking 3rd TE. OL. Light is a SB caliber LT IMO. Hell, we have won it 3 of the 4 years he played. Mankins is going to be very good for a long time, and IMO could play RG, LG, or RT and is an option to slide to LT if needed. Kaczur has a future, I'd forget all else we have today and make a decision on the best postions long term for these guys, potentially that being the right side of the OL for the next 10 years. I'm OK with Koppen but dont see him here long term, first because he may choose to leave as a FA, but second because I see him as a pretty good player, but not exceptional, and those guys don't stay Pats in their FA year. There are building blocks here for an outstanding OL. I would use a #1, or at least #2 or a big FA signing to round out this group. A 'pro-bowl quality' OL added to what we have would give us one of the best OLs in the NFL. Neal isnt the guy IMO. For depth we have the 'graduates of the developmetal program'. Gorin is a fine backup, because he can be an effective starter. With Mankins and Kaczur also able to step in at LT, the 4th T should be a devolopmental guy. Britt seems a good choice. Hochstein is a fine backup inside. I think we just need to choose among Yates and the other youngsters (Mruc for example) or a day 2 pick as the last OL. Bottom line, find a stud to start at LG, RG, or RT and we have one of the best, and just as importantly one of the deepest OLs in the NFL. DE- Seymour is a beast, Warren is probably one of the other top 5-7 guys in the NFL we could have playing DE in OUR system. Jarvis Green is one of the best backup DEs out there. Hill concerns me, but with these 3, why wouldnt we count on him as 4? Also, Wilfork CAN play DE in the 3-4 and do it very well. A depth issue would be having him available to move outside if needed, but getting a good backup for him. DT- Wilfork is becoming a stud, but there is no one behind him. Wright is a jag, his ability to also play DE says he probably gets a roster spot. But we need to get a backup. A strong backup NT solves 2 depth problems, NT, and DE since Wilfork could move out there. OLB- Colvin had a GREAT year. His run D was tremendous, and overlooked. McGinest gets another year, but IMO should be splitting time in a 3man rotation so the next in line is ready for 07. That could mean Vrabel back outside, or a new player brought in who may get 30% of Willies snaps and 10-20 of Colvins, preparing to start in 07. Whether Vrabel is outside or inside determines IMO whether we need an immediate impact guy, or someone who can start getting some real reps in 07. This D will always be fine with jags backing up behind the top 3 OLBs. ILB- Bruschi appears, IMO, to have at least 2-3 good years left and his replacement can be back-burnered right now. The Vrable decision to me indicate whether we need an immediate impact guy at ILB or at OLB, but we need one. Beisel works for me as a backup. Jags and s/ters work behind the top 3 at ILB just as OLB IMO. CB- I like Samuel and think he is a long term fixture. Hobbs may or may not be, but for 2007, I wouldnt want to count on him starting. Gay is the same category, IMO. I am of the belief we didnt see the real Starks this year, and also of the belief he killed our season, faultless or not. My vision of the 4th in this group is exactly what I thought Starks would be.......a capable starter who will be pushed by Hobbs and Gay, possibly being beaten out now, possibly repalced in a year or 2. But at the cap cost it would take, I dont think Starks is the guy. I'd like to see a starting caliber FA corner brought in. Not a super-stud, but a guy we are good with as a starter, but also a guy Hobbs or Gay could beat out if they earn it. I think we keep Chad Scott for depth, and if Hawkins stays he can also play corner if the injuries mount ONCE AGAIN.l S- I think Wilson is also a fixture. Hawkins works for me as a 3rd/4th safety. Harrison, IMO, will be back, but his career doesnt have many years left in it. It seems the right time to bring in a stud in the making safety, in the 2nd or 3rd round, or so. (This would also be a place BB could find an RFA or young UFA becuase he is a good judge of safety potential, IMO). Milloy and Wilson were 2nd round picks who werent counted on to play right away. Both did sooner rather than later. A similar pick is hedged by having Hawkins still here, and gives us the potnetial Harrison replacement, as well as the ability to shift Wilson to corner if injuries kill us ONCE AGAIN. ST- I love AV, but think when I look over this list, that his cap number is too much. I will be fine if he returns and fine if he doesnt. Miller is fine, as is Paxton. As I said, I did this with no thought to available players in the draft or FA, and looked at each position independently. After that exercise, I would use draft and FA as follows: Draft 1) Stud OL 2) Safety 3) RB LB 4) WR DT 5) FB 6) K 7) OL (you can never have enough young guys on the OL) In FA we should be focussed on a backup QB (less raw talent but more experiecne than Cassell) nd a corner who could be beaten out by Hobbs or Gay but be an effective starter if not, and Givens or his replacement. The changes to the key players from 05 to 06 would be: A stud OL in place of Neal Givens back or replaced probably with a small downgrade A 5th LB, ILB or OLB (depending on Vrabels position) A better version of Starks A young future excellent safety to be in the mix And of course, LESS INJURIES When I look at this, I see a team that is ready to compete for SB XLI and a team that has a solid future at virtually every position. Its really amazing how young we have become at key spots from 2002 to today. Thoughts?