Patriots off-season information:
Free Agents if no one is signed
Kevin Faulk (RB)
Jarvis Green (DE)
Stephen Neal (RG)
Vince Wilfork (NT)
Leigh Bodden (CB)
Logan Mankins* (LG)
Derrick Burgess (OLB/DE)
Pierre Woods* (OLB)
Ben Watson (TE)
Stephen Gostkowksi* (K)
Chris Hanson (P)
Gary Guyton* (ILB)
* means RFA
(List provided by http://patscap.com
, RFA listings are by me. I could have them wrong though.)
Ben Watson (???)
Stephen Neal (who said he may retire)
Leigh Bodden* (our best corner, for now)
* = may be hard to resign.
Pierre Woods (Special teamer who can't rush the passer.)
Chris Hanson (Old, can't really punt that well...)
(assuming zero signings):
QB: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer
RB: Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, Benjarvus Green-Ellis
TE: Chris Baker
WR: Randy Moss, Wes Welker*, Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate, Sam Aiken
OT: Matt Light, Sebastian Vollmer, Nick Kaczur, Mark LeVoir
OG: Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Rich Ohrnberger
OC: Dan Koppen
DL: Ty Warren, Mike Wright, Myron Pryor, Ron Brace
OLB: Tully Banta-Cain, Rob Ninkovich, Adalius Thomas, Derrick Burgess
ILB: Jerod Mayo, Eric Alexander, Junior Seau
CB: Leigh Bodden, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, Shawn Springs, Darius Butler
S: Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Brandon McGowan, Pat Chung
KR: Matthew Slater, Laurence Maroney
PR: Wes Welker*
LS: Jake Ingram
QB: Tom Brady is elite, Brian Hoyer needs someone to push him for the second spot. While this could be a free agent acquisition, a late round QB flier would be nice. Tim Tebow rumors are brewing up big time for the Patriots, though.
RB: Laurence Maroney is up and down. Sammy Morris isn't a starter. Fred Taylor, when healthy, is the best running back on this team. Clearly, running back is a need. Benjarvus Green-Ellis is basically a fullback for now. Kevin Faulk is a 3rd down running back, but has the best attitude of all of the players.
TE: Ben Watson needs a set of hands. Chris Baker looked good during the pre-season but hardly played in the regular season. The patriots need a big target. The blocking aspect seemed fine to me.
WR: Randy Moss is slipping into a #2 (speed, but not elite). Welker may not play in 2010 (:(). Brandon Tate is an unknown. Julian Edelman has looked good, but looks more like a slot WR than a #2. Sam Aiken is a special teamer.
OT: Matt Light is on his last leg, Sebastian Vollmer can take over for him but That leaves a hole at RT. Matt Light isn't a very good RT. Nick Kaczur is worse. Mark LeVoir is a backup at best right now. A RT is a need at minimum. Maybe a left tackle if the value is good since Vollmer can play RT.
OG: Logan Mankins is the LG. If Stephen Neal retires, I don't really know how the RG spot will look. I'd say not good.
OC: Dan Koppen is in his last few seasons. A center could be a nice target, but guard and tackle are much higher priorities.
DE: The defensive line in general is not a bright spot. While Ty Warren and Jarvis Green (if resigned) are good defensive ends, the backups are Mike Wright and Myron Pryor, the backups at NT as well. A DE that can take over for Jarvis Green would be a decent need and would allow Pryor or Wright to be more of a NT.
NT: Vince Wilfork being franchised is the only option. The Patriots can not go all season with Myron Pryor or Mike Wright manning the nose.
OLB: Tully Banta-Cain is the best pass rusher. Derrick Burgess is the best run stopper. Adalius Thomas is malcontent. Rob Ninkovich plays both inside and outside, but neither extremely well. Easily the biggest sore spot.
ILB: Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton do a sufficient job manning the middle when someone like Wilfork is in the middle at NT. Tyrone McKenzie could be in the rotation next year. Someone to replace Junior Seau would be nice though.
CB: If Leigh Bodden isn't resigned, then Darius Butler and Jonathan Wilhite will be the starters with Terrence Wheatley at nickel (who doesn't belong in the NFL).
S: Pat Chung, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, and Brandon McGowan are all good options at safety. This is the only area that does NOT need improving.
K/P: Stephen Gostkowski is a good Pro-Bowl caliber kicker. Chris Hanson is old.
I'm going to assume the Patriots make the moves I have listed above, but sign no free agents. Obviously, they could fix some needs in free agency.
(biggest need to smallest):
1. Outside Linebacker
2. Outside Linebacker
3. Defensive Line (End or Nose)
4. Offensive Line (Tackle or Guard)
5. Tight End
6. Wide Receiver
7. Running Back
8. Cornerback (Nickel)
9. Inside Linebacker
10. Offensive Line (Guard or Tackle)
11. Defensive Line (Nose or End)
12. Offensive Line (Center)
13. Backup QB