This is my first post, so try not to be too hard on me.
Looking forward to the draft, I think the Patriots most pressing need is more playmakers, both offensively and defensively. We have no real playmakers at RB, other than beloved, but aging Kevin Faulk. At WR, Moss disappears too much, Welker will likely be out part of the season, and Edelman is still transitioning from college QB. The defense sorely lacks playmakers, (anyone else miss Asante Samuel?) both in the secondary and up front. We have no pass rush to speak of, except the reborn Tully Banta-Cain. Basically, the defense needs help. Everywhere.
Potential draft picks:
Eric Norwood LB, South Carolina: Having attended virtually every Carolina home game in the last 5 years, I have seen the impact of Eric Norwood up close and personal from the day he arrived on campus. He brings intensity on every play, and he has the versatility Belichick craves. He started out as a defensive end, and switched very successfully to linebacker. He would provide the pass rush the Patriots so desperately need (SEC's active sack leader), and is capable of stopping the run. 254 career tackles, 29 career sacks.
CJ Spiller RB, Clemson: Spiller likely won't be around by the time the Patriots 22nd overall selection comes, and I don't think they are going to move up, but i can still hope right? Spiller reminds me of the Titans explosive Chris Johnson, explosion i would love to see in a Patriots uniform. Spiller owns over 7,400 career all purpose yards and 50 TDs, including 3,547 rushing yards and 32 TDs and a sick 5.85 average yards per carry. Spiller would help what was an anemic group of kick returners this year, with an FBS record seven career kick return TDs. He also can catch the ball, with 1,420 career recieving yards. I would love to see someone like Spiller, who is a threat to score everytime he touches the ball, in the backfield with Brady.
Dez Bryant WR, Oklahoma State: At 6'2", 210 lbs, Dez Bryant is a big, physical wide reciever that would be the perfect complement to and eventual replacement for Randy Moss. Bryant doesn't have elite speed, but he is a great possession reciever who would certainly provide an immediate boost to a top heavy recieving corps. Would help Brady out on 3rd down and in the Red Zone.
Brandon Graham DE/OLB, Michigan: With 29.5 career sacks, Graham would certainly help the Patriots pass rush. Also led the nation in tackles for loss. Was first defensive player in Michigan history to be named team MVP twice. Has questions as to whether he can drop back into coverage. Has a motor that never quits, and has impressed at the Senior Bowl.
Jerry Hughes DE/OLB, TCU: Hughes is a freak of an athlete who actually played running back in high school. A 2 time All-American, he recorded 26.5 sacks the last two seasons. Like all the linebackers I have listed, Hughes is smaller than the typical Belichick linebacker. But as the league moves more and more to a passing league, undersized linebackers (Elvis Dumervil, Lamarr Woodley, Clay Matthews) who can get after the quarterback are enjoying tons of success. Jerry Hughes could bring that success to the Patriots.
Toby Gerhart RB, Stanford: Gerhart isn't the fastest back in college football, but his bruising running style was very effective last season (1,871 yds, 27 TDs). Many of us still recall painfully 4th and 2 against the Colts, but if not for a Maroney fumble on the goal line earlier in the game we would likely have had a comfortable lead. Gerhart may not gain a ton of yards, but he could provide a battering ram with a nose for the Endzone that Laurence Maroney has not, and i think will not, become.
Jermaine Gresham TE, Oklahoma: Despite missing his senior season to injury, Gresham is considered one of the top if not the top TE in the draft. Could become the athletic pass catching tight end we envisioned when drafting Ben Watson. Had 66 receptions, 950 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. The Patriots have yet to find a pass catching tight end to rival the other elite AFC teams, (Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, Todd Heap). Gresham could be that guy for the Patriots, but with so many other needs, the Patriots might not want to draft him as high as he may go.
Brandon Ghee CB, Wake Forest: At 6'0" 189, Ghee is big enough to make scouts happy. Ghee is a very good tackler, wouldn't be a liability in run support. He doesn't make many interceptions, only one in his career. However he has a reputation as a fairly consistent cover corner. Had 8 pass deflection in 2009. Ghee may not be a great corner, but I would prefer anyone over Jonathon Wilhite.
Jason Pierre-Paul DE, South Florida: Only one year of major college football for the DE, but has tremendous upside. Very athletic, 6'6", 260 lbs, Pierre-Paul has a unique blend of size strength and athleticism coaches crave at DE. Could fill the hole left when Richard Seymour was traded to Oakland. 6.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss. Could potentially be a great second round pick for the Pats.
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