FanPost

The Patriots Players – how did they get here?

With the draft coming up, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the current roster and try to figure out, how the players presently signed got here.

 

I focus on the latest acquisition, so Banta-Cain and Stephen Neal are both counted as free agents, even though they were originally drafted and signed as undrafted free agents by the Patriots. Lots of players are released more than once or they go on and off the practice squad, so I distinguish between undrafted rookie free agents (URF) and free agents (FA) by whether they have only been signed by the Patriots – like Matt Guiterrez - or whether they were actually signed by another team at some point – like Neal. So here goes:

 

Postition

Draft

URF

FA

Trade

Waivers

Total

QB

2

1

 

 

 

3

RB

2

1

2

 

 

5

WR

1

 

2

3

 

6

TE

2

1

2

 

 

5

OL

5

1

7

 

1

14

K

1

 

 

 

 

1

P

 

 

2

 

 

2

LS

 

 

1

 

 

1

DB

5

 

5

 

 

10

LB

4

4

3

 

 

11

DL

5

1

1

 

 

7

Total

27

9

25

3

1

65

 

So, what are the trends? First, it is obvious that the Patriots work all sides of the personal business. The draft and free agency are the most important areas, but players are also brought in as undrafted rookie free agents, by trade and sometimes on waivers. Secondly, there are some positional trends. An undrafted free agent better be a linebacker if he wants to stick with the team, but most positions are covered by various means.

 

There are two exceptions: Defensive linemen are almost exclusively found in the draft. This reflects a) that Belichick considers the D-line extremely important and b) that players suited for the D-line are really difficult to find. In a comment to another post I argued we should trade up for a linebacker rather than a defensive lineman. This at least suggests, that the Patriots are more likely to target a D-lineman there - and perhaps they should be.

 

The other major exception is wide receiver. After major busts (Bethell Johnson, Chad Jackson) the Patriots have apparently given up on drafting them, and I don’t think it is a coincidence that they have not even relied on free agents but have actually pursued players through trade. On the one hand projecting wide receivers from college to the pros is notoriously difficult, and on the other hand only second-layer receivers make it to the open market, so the front office has realized it has to pony up with draft picks to other teams for developing receivers.

 

Obviously not all these players will play the same amount of snaps – actually, not all of them will even make the season-opening roster – so let’s take a look at the starters. This is tricky to project at this point. I have assumed 3 wr, 1 te, 1 rb on offense and a 3-4 line-up on defence. I have further assumed that Maroney will start over Taylor and Morris, that Watson will start over Baker, that Bruschi will start over Guyton, and that Neal will start over Yates.

 

Postition

Draft

URF

FA

Trade

Waivers

Total

QB

1

 

 

 

 

1

RB

1

 

 

 

 

1

WR

 

 

1

2

 

3

TE

1

 

 

 

 

1

OL

4

 

1

 

 

5

K

1

 

 

 

 

1

P

 

 

1

 

 

1

LS

 

 

1

 

 

1

DB

3

 

1

 

 

4

LB

2

1

1

 

 

4

DL

3

 

 

 

 

3

Total

16

1

6

2

0

25

 

A couple of interesting things can be found here. First, the draft is much more important for filling the starting line-up than for filling the roster. Two thirds of the starters on offense and defence have been drafted by the Patriots and only 1 undrafted rookie makes it. (Pierre Woods) It is also clear that free agents and undrafted rookies are fine for adding depth in the defensive backfield or along the offensive line, but come crunch time the Patriots still rely on the draft. Considering the musical chairs approach and comical amount of players used in the secondary over the last 5 years, this surprised me.

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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