I don't know whether anybody has done a careful study of the Pats' real LB needs, but as I see it they use LBs more or less as follows: 1. Generic 4-LB sets, with 2 each OLBs and ILBs. 2. Nickel/dime sets. 2-4 OLBs can be used, some with their hands down at DE. 0-1 ILBs are used. 3. Short yardage. Even though there are extra DL -- the more fast, strong LBs, the better. 4. True 4-3. If the Pats really go with 4 DL, then the 3 LBs need to have good range on pass coverage. Ditto in a 3-4 when the guy who puts his hand down at DE is dead-certain to actually rush. 5. Special teams. Lots of use of LBs on STs. FBs and TEs are partial substitutes. So where does that leave us? Vrabel, Colvin, and Thomas are all excellent OLBs, in or still near their primes. Colvin's run-stopping is so-so; Vrabel's overall decline may be coming soon; still, this is an outstanding core group. Bruschi's play at ILB is now controversial, but most would consider him at least a capable starter. It also seems near-certain that Thomas can play inside effectively. Still, with Bruschi, Vrabel, and Thomas all having big ST roles, there's a need for at least one more LB to take significant reps even when everybody's healthy, and a need for one-two more who are rep-worthy given the constant likelihood of injury. Also, despite Morris, Evans, Mills, and the three starters who are strong on STs, there's a need for major ST contributions from several more LBs. What we have to fill those slots is (not TBC, as he'll get good bucks elsewhere), Alexander, Woods, Mays, Izzo, Davis, and Gardner. They won't get it done, so we need some replacements; I say "replacements" because there are probably at most 6 LB jobs available beyond the 4 stud starters, and I just listed 6 guys. I think among the replacements need to be at least one no-apologies ILB run-stuffer (Seau would be just fine) and at least one guy who's not a liability in deep pass coverage. The latter is the problem; Bruschi is still very good in short-yardage coverage, but he's never been a stride-for-stride cover guy. Alexander was exposed in Indianapolis, although he's young enough that of course there's hope for improvement. And I don't think anybody has confidence in Seau in coverage over the course of a season, his occasional excellent play in that regard notwithstanding. One option would be: Seau Edwards 1 of Izzo/Davis/Gardner 2 of Woods/Alexander/Mays 1 new young guy Does anybody have better ideas than that?