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Putting the pieces in place before the draft, once again

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by betterthanthealternative, Mar 15, 2012.

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  1. betterthanthealternative

    betterthanthealternative Rookie

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    So the strategy unfolds again: get servicable players into each position on the team so when the draft comes around there is no need or temptation to fill needs. Instead the team is free to draft the best player available or, if there isn't one worthy of the pick, trade down or up into next year.

    So far we've signed a center, safety, versatile dl, and our special teams aces.
    Being talked to are an OLB and WR. The other strong need is at guard, and they are probably waiting on Waters (which would be great).

    QB, RB, TE, slot receiver, OT, ILB, and CB are all workable with the current players (assuming Dowling comes back and plays well).

    So while some positions are stronger than others, there are no glaring holes going into the draft.

    All while the other bottom feeding teams keep the ESPNdustry alive with big signings of superstars, thus keeping the revenue from fans with no impulse control flowing into the league and making all of this possible.
  2. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We need a 3rd TE that needs to be addressed, WR (2 players (Lloyd + Draft pick?), 1 RB (BJGE or other) of course the OL will be set IF IF IF Light and Waters are coming back.

    The work on the D has started.
  3. BlueThunder

    BlueThunder PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I always liked BB's slow methodical approach to building and filling his holes. He'll have plenty of camp competition for positions.

    Making a pretty good team even better for the coming season...

    Can't argue with success :eek:
  4. TealSox

    TealSox Guest

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    Looks are if the Patriots are, as they always do, building a solid foundation of quality veterans before going into the draft. We saw this when Belichick first came to the Patriots... signing Bobby Hamilton, Otis Smith and Joe Andruzzi and then followed it up in 2001 by signing Mike Vrabel, Anthony Pleasant, Antowain Smith, Roman Phifer, Larry Izzo and David Patten.

    Free agency is already two days in and the Patriots have locked up Steve Gregory and Jonathan Fanene.

    Gregory played out of position for the Charges, playing strong safety with Weddle taking the reps at free. At worst, Gregory comes into the Foxboro to add depth to the free safety position. At best, Gregory is the starter and blossoms in his more natural position.

    Fanene was productive in 2011 after coming off a injury shortened 2012. Mentioned as being a run-stopper, Fanene may be a three down DE with the size that the Patriots need either off the bench or as a starter. This may be a sign that one or both Mark Anderson and Andre Carter aren't coming back. Or it could mean that, despite expecting to get Carter back, they aren't sure when he will be ready to go.

    I love both signings and I'm looking forward to locking up both Brandon Lloyd and Trevor Scott. At that point, the Patriots can let the market dwindle down and take their pick of quality free agents.

    And for those fans that wanted a big names, you got Chad Johnson and Albert Haynesworth in trades last year. Before that, you got Adalius Thomas as a free agent. Keep your head up and let the front office do what they have been able to do for over a decade... win.
  5. Triumph

    Triumph Rookie

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    WR is a need and hole IMO

    Branch and Welker. Thats it. And, how much does Branch have left?

    CB too.

    Is McCourty moving to Saftey permanently? Dowling is an unknown.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  6. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Patriots just signed Gregory and are still pursuing Landry. That doesn't seem as if McCourty is going to be a safety.
  7. rookBoston

    rookBoston Rookie

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    OP is spot on. We've seen this pattern before. Filling all the roster gaps with credible vets, but rarely anyone famous.

    Shortly after the SB, to get my mind off it, I put together a list of free agent losses and the resulting gaps on the 53-man, not filled by anyone already on the roster.

    Pos (2011 incumbent FA) << 2012 solution

    WR1 (Welker) << Welker franchised
    WR2 (Branch)
    WR5 (Underwood)
    WR6/ST (Slater) << re-signed
    OC1 (Koppen) << signed Connolly
    OC2 (Connolly)
    RG1 (Waters)
    DT2 (GWarren) << signed Fanene
    DE1 (Carter)
    DE2 (Anderson)
    ILB4 (White) << re-signed
    CB4 (Moore)
    CB5 (Moulden)
    FS (no one) << signed Gregory
    SS2 (Ihedibo) << Landry coming to visit
    QB3 (Hoyer) << tender to Hoyer

    What needs are we left with?
    - Some softness at WR, although I bet Branch comes back and Chad gets cut. Lloyd is an option. Plus, this draft class has excellent quality WR prospects available well into the 4th round. Prediction: Welker, Lloyd (Rams), Branch, Edelman, Mohamed Sanu (Rutgers #63)

    - Gaps in the secondary to replace a handful of jags. Prediction: Arrington, McCourty, Dowling with Chung and Gregory, not a bad start. Add Barrett, Moore, Mark Barron (Alabama #27)

    - Need depth at the interior OL. Losing Waters would be a shame, but Cannon offers depth with a high ceiling. Prediction: Mankins, Cannon, Connolly, Wendell, Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin #31)

    - A few outside pass rushers, who can drop into coverage in a pinch. I'm really hoping to see Andre Carter come back. Prediction: Carter, Anderson, Ninkovich, Cunningham, Shae McClellin (Boise #48)
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  8. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    1) I generally agree with your analysis.

    2) Your analysis shows that we have had a good start. In your analysis, we still need to sign Lloyd, Branch, Carter, Anderson, Landry and draft several players who would be useful in 2012..

    BOTTOM LINE
    Our strategy and tactics are fine.
    We've had a good start.

  9. Boomer B

    Boomer B Rookie

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    I'm not one to say the sky is falling because we didn't get a big name free agent but we do have some big holes to fill.

    I hope to God our secondary looks a lot different this year. We picked up Gregory who adds some depth at safety and who has to be better then Sergio Brown, but I still think we add Laundry or pick a safety in the draft. We should also use one of our picks in the 1st few rounds for a CB. I'm not as comfortable as most with our current corners. Dowling we don't know enough about, McCourty regressed a lot last year and had to be moved to safety. Arrington is at best a nickel, and the others shouldnt see the field unless we have a lot of injuries.

    We need to add an outside WR who can stretch the field. I'd be happy with Wallace or Lloyd, but if the Pats don't want to spend a lot on a 4th option then I think we go after B. Edwards on a cheap deal, as long as he's healthy. If we don't get a FA then we need to address WR with one of our top picks.

    Finally, another year and we are still looking for an Outside LB who can pass rush. I would say draft one but I highly doubt we will.

    I won't panic if we don't address some of these needs in FA 'cause we still have the draft and other teams will be letting some of their players go. I just hope by training camp though that we have filled our holes with good players. Our road to the Super Bowl wasn't that hard last year, things fell in place nicely for us. It will probably be tougher in the coming years and hopefully we'll have the pieces in place to make another run or 2.
  10. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    The New England Patriots pass defense is collectively one glaring hole. I certainly hope the New England Patriots organization emphasizes defense in the 2012 NFL Draft:

    3-4 Defensive End
    3-4 Outside Linebacker (collegiate 4-3 defensive end conversion)
    Strong Safety
    Free Safety
    Cornerback
  11. Ivan

    Ivan On the Roster

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    Yep. Most, myself included, want the big splash and potential difference maker, but the reality is that those players are usually paid off the charts and rarely end up the difference. And after the gold rush the market always settles and players get deals commensurate with their real value. Long ways to go and by the team camp hits this should be a really good team all the way through.
  12. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm thinking that they only target 2, maybe 3 of those 5 positions; although they could take one than one player at the specific desired position.

    I don't think there's any way that they draft players at 3 different positions in the secondary, but I can see and understand your desire to want to see this.

    With Dowling, McCourty, Moore, Arrington, even Malcolm Williams (5) at CB
    Chung, Gregory, and likely ONE of either Ihedigbo, Barrett, Brown, FA signing (3) I think Belichick may not want to draft 3 players in the secondary. I understand your thinking, and it certainly makes sense, but I am questioning whether or not BB would see the same need as we do..especially with 3 different drafted players.
  13. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    I am hoping for major upgrades in the defensive secondary, and not just maintaining the status quo with Ihedigbo, Barrett, Brown at the safety position.

    As for the cornerback position, there remains lingering questions.

    Will Ras-I Dowling be a major upgrade at the right cornerback position to Kyle Arrington?

    Will Devin McCourty return to his rookie form at the left cornerback position?

    Is Sterling Moore the long term solution at the left cornerback position?
  14. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    All valid questions, Tip.

    I sincerely doubt that they'd keep more than one of Barrett, Brown, or Ihedigbo, unless it was for a very deep spot on the depth chart. I think in a worst case scenario, they keep:

    Chung
    Gregory
    Higher round draft pick (Barron, Smith, Martin, etc)
    Team cut, or lower level FA signing, unless it's a guy like Landry etc
    Ihedigbo--not sure but I just have a gut feeling he may be back
    Then a competition between Brown, Barrett, and low level addition

    That's 6 total, and they usually only keep 5 IIRC.

    Any combination of those 5 would work, with the obvious choice being:

    Chung
    High draft pick
    Landry or equal in some regard
    Gregory
    Battle between Ihedigbo, Barrett, Brown, and a couple/few team cuts

    I think there's a good improvement, but I don't know if I'm going to hold out too much hope that it will be a highly lauded move. I think the above depth chart of 5 (not necessarily in order) would be just fine; especially when you consider the emergency situation we'd have at the possibility of one of the CB's.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  15. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    I suspect Laron Landry will be looking for top dollar and a long term contract. From a remaining cap perspective, a wide receiver is a more glaring need especially with the signing of Gregory.

    I would hope the New England Patriots draft either Mark Barron or Harrison Smith.

    NFL Draft - 2012 NFL Draft Prospects - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com

    Either draft selection could participate on special teams. Patrick Chung will also be an unrestricted free agent in 2013, so one has to wonder about his long term future.

    Gregory also participates on special teams.

    Strong Safety
    Chung
    Mark Barron (31st overall) or Harrison Smith (48th overall)

    Free Safety
    Gregory
    Second (63rd overall) or Third Round Draft Pick

    Special Teams
    One of either Barrett or Brown or Malcolm Williams or 2012 Undrafted Free Agent
  16. Beecke

    Beecke PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I´d have to agree with the OP. Not only that, but I just don´t see where the sky is falling crowd is coming from.

    As far as I can tell FA is not over yet, the Draft hasn´t happened yet either. And even then there is a good possibility that the roster will see changes. So I would like to believe that BB has a plan for this team that does not only cover the first 72 hours of FA, but rather has a lot of options in his head all the way to September, and even beyond.

    I, too, have my preferences but I don´t know 1% of what BB and the FO knows and everything they do will make sense for them, and you can´t argue with their record.

    Also we are not the only team in the NFL trying to win.
  17. Leemo

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    We still need quite a bit but I'm happy with the Gregory and Fanene coming in. Don't really want Trevor Scott but he'll be cheap. IMO we still need to look at quite a few positions whether its via FA or the draft..

    WR:
    CB:
    S:
    OLB:
    G:
    TE:
    RB:
    DE:

    If we mix up these positions then I'll be happy
  18. Triumph

    Triumph Rookie

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    And, what happens if McCourty has another season at CB like 2011?

    Are you saying there is no way that he will play Safety for NE again? Up till now, Gregory has been depth.
  19. Sean Pa Patriot

    Sean Pa Patriot Rookie

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    i would love brandon lloyd and michael floyd...
  20. DarrylS

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    One of the issues in last years season was the lack of experience and lack of communication in the secondary, so relying on the draft to fill those holes may impede the maturational process of the secondary and not make it better, losing Bodden was a huge blow to this team.

    Perhaps 1 dreaftee could be absorbed, but there are still some guys on the board and June cuts are about 3 months away.. this is a work in progress.
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