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Realistic talent evaluation - positions Pats can improve on for 2011

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  1. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    I'm no scout, likely neither are you. However, we need to evaluate for the future, what we have and where we can improve.

    No binkies here. If a player makes the team from nowhere and becomes a lock, that's rare. Most players need to make the team every year, at least a young team like ours.

    You're realistic assessment of where we can offer "competition" to players next year.

    Brady's good. Not talking about backups here.

    RB

    BJGE - great effort and character. I see at least two new RBs and Taylor gone and Morris too perhaps. I doubt we end up with BJ as a starter, but if he wins the job, more power to him. I would really work on my agility and pass catching if I were him.

    Woodhead can start as a 3rd down back IMO. As Faulk showed, it's a matter of reliability if you can be a change of pace guy and pass catcher and Woody can. Not a hard position to fill talent wise, since these undersized smurfs don't have a lot of options.

    TE

    Beat these guys out, I dare you. 2 future stars and a great blocking TE with a lot of tread on the tires. Crumpler is a great option as a possession guy in a pinch, not so much when has to move.

    WR

    Or slot or whatever. Welker will hopefully bounce back in year two flexibility wise. Branch is fine, but not in his prime. Tate needs to win a job from the draftees and Price. We need a Branch of old type, in my opinion. Those quick and fast route runners excel here. the big long striders, not so much. Edelman needs to win a job. Probably at least two serious contenders from FA or draft.

    OL

    Need to stock the pond here. My choice would be Vollmer at LT with RT and guard/center options in the
    draft. Whatever business occurs with Mankins dictates that.

    DL

    Wilfork is gold, the rest need to win jobs. I see no sacred cows here. Hope Brace proves solid and Gerard Warren make it barring some spectacular rookies. If Ty comes back strong, their's a real squeeze. Our top pick, or picks goes to a DE if available.

    Great effort by this group and i love them dearly, but it's a bidness.

    ILB

    Barring character issues (hello Brandon) we seem to have the right rotation of the right players in the right place. Guyton's affordable and in the role he's best suited for. Don't see any openings in this group.

    OLB/DE

    I think a premier DE and other D Line improvements helps this group, but i just don't know. Apparently overall improvement has been made, but i would like to see somebody pick up an O lineman and throw him at the QB for a change. Don't really know if it's a talent, scheme or experience issue here, so I'll just say a dominating pass rusher from within or without.

    Safety Good, deep group. Is Chung badly injured, or did he just disappear? Is Meriweather a head case? We've seemed to have good talent here, but never quite delivered solid consistent play. except for sanders, the guy everyone hates?:D

    Good young group, but some more competition or moves isn't out of the question.

    CB sure looks good with McCourty and Bodden. some competition for backups, but damn, that Arrington is the definition of winning a job! Unfortunately, it will be a backup job, but i don't think you could keep him off the team with a sledgehammer.

    The rest is ifs and buts, candy and nuts. Some talent, some experience, but backup jobs could be won.

    Obviously, some players won jobs on special teams and we need to keep on improving there. Wondering if the coaching is up to par. Could be something to watch. Of course Gost kicking it into the stands will help.

    Your thoughts on needs?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2011
  2. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    QB - We will bring in a quarterback and a 4th for camp. We always do. My personal choice is a veteran free agent. A 3rd QB will be make more sense with an additional 3 rosters spots which seems likely.

    RB - I agree with you comments. We will keep at most one of Taylor, Morris and Faulk.

    TE - The best in the league.

    WR - We had the best passing game in the nfl, and yet we have a weakness at wide receiver. We need at least one. However, I would add that Price and Tate are there to compete for the out positions. This is the second place I see an extra position with the expanded roster.

    I disagree with regard to the slot. I think that we're fine with Welker and Edelman.

    OL - I like the OL much more than you do. That being said, we certainly need at least one interior lineman as well as an OT (if we don't extend Light). I would extend Light if we could. I would also not be surprised to see us extend Koppen. As you say, Mankins is the key. If he is not re-signed, OG is our #1 priority by far (although value for DE may very well be at 17). Certainly, we would be looking at guard in the last first.

    DL - I agree: Wilfork and the rest, with only 2 guaranteed jobs: Wilfork and the top draftee
    I too would bring back Gerard Warren to compete in camp. The really good news is that we have lots of players who could be solid players or starters. We have a very young line (another reason to keep the experience of G Warren). Here is the 3rd spot I see using the extra roster position.

    OLB - Sure everyone here (and every team) would like to add a stud playmaker. The reality is that the OLB's played very well. An improved DL will help lots. Belichick may pick an OLB early, or not. Of course, much depends on what free agents we extend or sign before the draft.

    CB - I agree with your assessment. We are fine, but Belichick will always being in competition, perhaps from the draft, but almost surely from the free agent pool.

    S - For years, folks wanted to dump Sanders. Now the target is probowler Meriweather. I don't get it. Belichick had Meriweather play 88% of the defensive snaps. He is going nowhere in 2011. We are all set for 2011 with Sanders, Chung, and Meriweather. That being said, we need to develop a safety for 2012. It takes a year (at least), and it seem unlikely that both Meriweather and Sanders will be counted on for over 50% of the reps in 2012. Also, Page or/and McGowan should be in camp competing for a roster spot.

    REVIEW - BOTTOM LINE
    1) Let's see if we re-sign Mankins and Light (and Warren and Page and Faulk).
    2) Let's see who we pick up in free agency (I expect a RB and WR).
    As of now, presuming that either Light or Mankins is back:

    I would draft DE, OL and BNPA (best needed player available; hopefully an OLB) with our first three picks. After that, the red-chippers are gone, and Belichick will draft BNPA with every pick.

    Belichick doesn't go into draft with more than one need that MUST be met in this draft. Last year that need was TE. This year, the need is likely to be OL. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't draft a DE at 17, just as we didn't draft Gronk with our first pick. I think that Belichick is always ready to play without rookie contributions, except at this one position. He is always willing to give a draftee at least a year to develop as he did for example Chung.

     
  3. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    Nice breakdown Ray

    I see the last phase of our rebuilding this offseson in addressing the OL, prioritizng on the interior and a developmental tackle while signing Light to a short term deal. Definitely hope Mankins is locked up, I'm not sold on Connolly and Neal will either retire or get injured again. C needs addressed. I'd like a higher pick here or 2, especially if Mankins isn't kept.

    The other priorities are DE and OLB. The defense is well on its way, just need to hopefully find a couple guys who are stout vs. the run and make an impact getting to the QB. If they land one at each position that's amazing, if not depth is still needed here and I think the defense will continue to improve regardless.

    Secondary needs:
    RB - Some depth behind BJGE/Woodhead. I'm fine with them carrying the load so wouldn't put RB as a priority, but replacements for the older guys as backups, and I have no idea where/if Clayton fits in our plans. And maybe a WR to compete with Price/Tate/Edelman for the final 3 spots, though I see the 3 of them in our plans for next season. Perhaps a safety with Merriweather entering the final year of his contract.

    I feel as usual the draft and bargain FA"s are sufficient for our needs. Another season under the youngsters' belt plus hopeful return of Bodden/Warren should already provide improvement for the team. A good draft and sky's the limit
     
  4. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Pro Bowl Player

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    I noticed no mention of Faulk who I think has a good chance to decide to retire or maybe the team finally goes elsewhere like with Bruschi.

    I would look for a power fullback if Kevin does go...2 more RBs is what I expect to fill the roster and one of them to get the #1 starting job,BJGE was a great story in 2010,but I would be surprised to see him stay on top.

    As far as corners are concerned,Butler is going to be here and will probably be the #3 on the depth charts despite losing his job this year.
     
  5. Manning's Pick 6

    Manning's Pick 6 Rookie

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    We NEED a fullback. The spread offense has not worked in the playoffs and it is no coincidence that the 3 teams who beat us (Giants, Ravens, Jets) were all run-oriented teams with good defences.

    The Pats need to be able to pound the ball in the playoffs which will open up play-action. We got the great tight end now in Gronk, we need a fullback and possibly another talented power RB. Go back to the '04 offense.
     
  6. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    A major upgrade to Morris at FB would be nice, but I'm not sure it's worth the roster slot, as per the fullback-specific thread.
     
  7. Deus Irae

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    1.) The team must re-sign Mankins

    2.) After that, DE and OLB are the team's two biggest needs (assuming Neal returns). Outside of Ty and Vince, there's nothing on the line worth worrying about for opponents. Further development by Brace could help here, but that's not enough. As for OLB, they were lousy as starters this year, and pretty bad even as backups. The team could replace every one of them except Cunningham, and it wouldn't shock me.

    3.) After DE and OLB (or before, if Neal retires), RG is a definite need. Whether it's for someone to compete with Neal, or for someone to replace Connolly as the starter, this position needs to be fixed, and it needs to be a priority. Finding a center to groom is also something that should be looked at in the mid-late rounds.

    4.) RB and WR are next in line. The team needs a deep/speed receiver who can threaten the safeties and keep the defenses honest. All the tight ends in the world can't do that.

    5.) After that, you're looking at depth spots and development players. CB is always a position to look at, given how often they go down in Belichick's system. If the team isn't planning on keeping Meriweather long-term, safety becomes a position of interest. Light should be re-signed, but the team will need to look for a future starter at either right or left tackle.
     
  8. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    Don't think they'll be much disagreement here on the fortification of the lines, and to a lesser extent, an OLB.

    What I think will be interesting, and go a long way to showing how they really feel about Price, is what happens at WR. If we don't see a high-profile FA signing and/or high pick, I think that will indicate they're pretty high on him. Similar deal at RB.
     
  9. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    Even if Neal "comes back", we cannot count on him for a full season. If your not happy with Connolly, Wendell and Ohrnberger, I suggest that we need help at OG. But this is nitpicking. We agree that OG is a major need.

     
  10. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Pro Bowl Player

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    Not worth drafting a running back until the fourth round. Undrafted free agent running backs have made impacts across a number of NFL rosters.

    Not worth expending a draft pick on a tight end whatsoever.

    It normally takes two to three seasons to develop a wide receiver straight from the collegiate ranks. Furthermore, since 2002 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots have not selected a wide receiver that has developed to be a dependable offensive option. Go the free agency route!


    One of the top three draft priorities for the New England Patriots in the 2011 NFL Draft is the replacement of Stephen Neal as the starting offensive right guard. No later than the 28th selection overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots need to select the next starting offensive right guard (for example, Mike Pouncey from Florida). Furthermore, in rounds 4 - 6 a backup offensive guard needs to be selected in order to permanently replace Dan Connolly (it's called removing the trash from the Patriots roster). Since Matt Light will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2010 NFL season and Nick Kaczur will be returning from back surgery, a backup offensive tackle needs to be selected no later than the third round.

    Ty Warren is not a sacred cow? Sheer heresy! One of the top three priorities for the New England Patriots in the 2011 NFL Draft is the selection of a five technique defensive lineman to play right defensive end in the New England Patriots 3-4 defensive scheme. Either the #17th or #33rd overall selection should be utilized on a 5 technique defensive lineman who has shown in the collegiate ranks the ability to rush the passer or consistently draw double teams yet be stout against the run. As for the definition of value, if Marcel Dareus from Alabama would fall to #17 ...... :eek:

    Not worth expending a draft pick on an inside linebacker whatsoever.

    One of the top three priorities for the New England Patriots in the 2011 NFL Draft is the selection of a 3-4 outside linebacker who is stout against the run yet able to rush the quarterback. Either the #17th or #33rd overall selection should be utilized on a 3-4 outside linebacker and in addition a late second round or third round selection should be utilized on another 3-4 outside linebacker. Wave bye-bye to Tully Banta-Cain and Eric Moore.

    Not worth expending a draft pick until the 5th or 6th round, if at all.

    Not worth expending a draft pick until the 5th or 6th round, if at all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  11. Deus Irae

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    My only point on OG is the slotting of the priority, because I think it's a top 3-4 need with the current personnel. If Neal's coming back, it's:

    Mankins
    DE
    OLB
    OG
    WR/RB


    If Neal's not coming back, it's

    Mankins
    OG
    DE
    OLB
    WR/RB

    Of course, the wild card is unknown, and that's the question of how well Kaczur was adapting to the guard position prior to his injury. If the team feels that he's a viable player at the position, and an upgrade over Connolly, I'd put OG below DE and OLB even without Neal.
     
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    Since you don't put the re-signing of Light as a high priority, I would presume the Nick will be playing OT rather than OG. If Light is re-signed, I agree with your analysis. Personally, I presume that either Light is re-signed or Kaczur is back to start at OT. With LeVoir as a backup, I think that we are fine in either case.

     
  13. Deus Irae

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    I've stated in numerous threads that I see Light back, and Vollmer remaining at tackle. I assumed it as a given in my posts in this thread, so my apologies for not being more clear. I'm not down on Kaczur the way so many here have been, but the idea of a Connolly/Kaczur right side fills me with something less than full confidence.

    To break it down positionally:

    Brady
    New RB1
    Gronkowski/Hernandez/Crumpler
    Light
    Mankins
    Koppen
    Neal/ New RG
    Vollmer
    Welker/Branch
    New WR


    Ty Warren
    Wilfork
    New RDE
    New OLB
    Spikes/Guyton
    Mayo
    Cunningham
    McCourty
    Bodden
    Butler/Arrington/Wilhite
    Meriweather
    Chung/Sanders
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    Sign me up! Personally, I think that this is easily doable if we re-sign Mankins.

    1) Re-sign Mankins, the linchpin
    2) Re-sign Light or expect to start Kaczur at OT
    3) Find a RB1 - from free agency I presume (someone to share reps would work)
    4) Find a #3 WR - this is the annual search in free agency (or Price)
    5) Draft a new RG (not a problem, especially with Kaczur and Connolly in place)
    6) Find a STARTING DE - this MAY be possible at 17
    7) Find a STARTING OLB - using 28 and/or 33 is fine, but he could take a year to develop


     
  15. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation


    Poor wording on my part. I expect Welker to be a darting waterbug again 2nd year recovery = flexibility and spring. I just wanted to call the category WR and didn't want someone nitpicking that Welker was a slot receiver.

    With that said, I don't think slot is a position with a full time backup. Edelman will have to compete to carve out a role.

    Either way, we need a prime Branch/Troy Brown type, maybe more of a deep threat. But definitely a quick route runner, that seems to spell success in our system. Branch stays, but he's not what he was. Everyone but Branch and Welker need to re-earn a spot IMO.
    My position on Meriweather. 1. insubordinate...wants to try stuff, freelance. Benched early when he should have been a leader.

    2. gone to his second prob bowl with a year on his contract. It's a risk/reward thing. BB will take a chance on getting value, especially for a player whose commitment is not 100% certain.

    3. We've got 3 decent safeties plus Sergio. Get a good pick for Meriweather, get ahead of his contract year (I can see an Asante Samuel type deal here, trust me Mgteich, I can smell it) and get a quality FS type with his head screwed on straight to go with Chung and Sanders et al.

    .....OL has so many shifts in position, I can't really guess how they stock up, but i have a feeling Light tests free agency and Vollmer is the LT of the future. He is just born to be a LT, in my opinion.

    We have great depth, but need Mankins plus 1 or 2...or more, if not, a high pick plus competition for guard, C and RT.. I didn't care for Kaczur when he was healthy, if he is, let him carve out a spot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  16. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    We just don't use a fullback. One of those old time big power backs (called a fullback when i was a kid) that can block occasionally is another story. short yardage 240 pounder.

    Still, we like multiple tight end and receiver sets. I can't see us lining up with two guys behind the QB very much.
     
  17. ATippett56

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    At the offensive line position?
     
  18. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    I think they will resign Mankins. Everything i've seen from his play, to coming back early, to the good vibes from management says reconciliation.

    Money is just figures, it's amazing how an insult, or an outrage can be minimized when both sides see their best interest.
     
  19. mb6592

    mb6592 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation



    Not sure where the blame goes but the major theme for at least two of the last three playoff failures has been pressure - the patriots lack of on defense & Brady receiving too much on offense. I'm not sure that this offensive line is not somewhat overrated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  20. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Re: Realistic talent evaluation

    Look around the league at what you get when 1 or 2 guys are injured. Teams end up with raw rookies from nowhere or F.A.s other teams were glad to get rid of. It's a position where teams save money. I'm assuming we bring in some talent to compete for starting slots at guard (hopefully opposite Mankins) RT and future C. That leaves a bench of proven NFL players in Connolly, Wendell, Levoir, Kasczur Onnikcantspellhisname, our 4th and 5th picks still bouncing around etc.

    Remember, we're talking about bench depth at a position where many teams have none. I'm assuming we acquire a couple starter potential players in that mix.
     
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