We talk about draft years and even describe them like fine wine vintages. But we never seem to do that with FA/vet trade annual hauls. Why not? It seems that we should. Is there any doubt that the no-name FA haul of 2001, (along with the Brady/2001 draft) rebuilt the Pats in but a single season? Brady and Seymour, and a cast of thousands of no names or used-to-bes... From last to first, and with a bunch of no name castoffs. But it was a very BIG bunch... Certainly, the 2007 FA/trade haul was extraordinary too. Two HOF players, a good WR, a pro bowl slot WR, and respectable reserve RB, all were a fine addition of gridiron talent. Savor the names: Seau, Moss, Welker, Stallworth, Morris, Eckle. What about the 2008 FA haul? Although it is early, it seems to me, that this will prove to be a fine vintage as well. It appears that we have found a starting LCB, Bryant, a starting ILB, Hobson, and a a starting caliber SS, Williams, all at vet minimum. We have added an above average 4th and slot CB, Webster, and perhaps some experienced ex-starter Oline depth, Ross/Simms? Not bad at all. We fans are not always the most intimate with measuring the athletic ability of players; so looking at where the Team's real draft scouts placed them on the actual day that they were drafted, at least provides an indication of their overall athletic ability, at one time. Their actual talent then took over and proved whether they could play. In this case, they all did, to varying degrees of success. The draft failures did not make this group. The Patriots 2009 FA edition has added: a) a 1 st round corner and b) an other first round corner, c) a second round safety, c) a second round LB, d) a fourth round corner/safety, e) and a fifth round OT. Of these six players, four were steady starters for their original teams. And another was a part time starter. Only one was a spot reserve. If Kevin Jones signs eventually, we will have found an upgrade at reserve RB, and an able third down successor to Kevin Faulk, too. Hmmn... 18-1 and lose Asante, Donte, Randy and Rosey to injury, and replace them with this collection and also Mayo, TWheat, Crable and O'Connell. On net, I think the talent level is higher, than in 2007. What does that portend for the 2008 season ???