The Pats are now building the 2013 Super Bowl team. So when you realize
how close we got last month, appreciate that we need very little to
get there and win.
The OFFENSE is great and has the ability to get better. The O-line,
with Light, Mankins, Waters, Vollmer, Solder and Cannon has room for
only the signing of the free-agent Dan Connelly and a 2nd round rookie
center. If Matt Light actually retires, we need to spend a 3rd or 4th
round pick on a tackle.
In terms of skill positions, we are set at QB, even when Brian Hoyer is
traded for a 2nd or 3rd round pick. We are set at RB with BJGE, Ridley,
Woodhead and Vereen, presuming we re-sign BJGE. With Welker
(franchised), Branch, Gronkowski, & Hernandez we have the
receiver core that got us to the Super Bowl. We do need a back-up tight
end (watch for a free agent pickup), but most of all we need the field
stretching deep threat who forces double coverage on the outside and
frees up Gronk, Welker & Hernandez for single coverage. So let's
welcome Mike Wallace (at the cost of our #31 first round pick) or Robert
Meacham to the fold.
SPECIAL TEAMS for the Pats are fine. We are just fine with Gostkowski,
Mesko, Aiken, Slater, White, Woodhead and Edelman. An upgrade would
consist of finding ourselves a KR in the draft who is a quick, small
WR or DB. This is where a single scouting jewel could make a
Our DEFENSE needs improvement and it will happen in an evolutionary
way. Wolfolk, Love, Mayo, Spikes and Ninkovich give us five solid
pieces to anchor a great front seven - particularly defending against
the run. What is missing is a pass rush. Fletcher, Cunningham, Carter,
Carter, Deaderick, Washington, and Pryor are the extra pieces likely to
stay around. BB learned a long time ago in Cleveland that defensive fronts
and safeties with 5+ years experience make all the difference in great
defenses. My bet is that he brings back as many of the extra pieces above
as he can afford under the cap, and then he uses high draft picks to get the
extra pieces that are ready for next year's playoffs. Don't expect the pass
rush to improve quickly, but appreciate that it was better than we expected
this year and it will get massively better with experience and hitting on
just one top pick.
The defensive backfield needs to improve sharply. The pieces we have at
our core are Chung & McCourty - with Arrington playing the nickel/slot CB.
Beyond the core are Dowling, Ihedigbo, Moore, and Moulton - not one a
certifiable starter. What we need are two other first class players: so
we sign Reggie Nelson from Cincinnati and are set at safety for 5 years,
and then we use our other second round pick on a top corner prospect.
So let's summarize what the Pats do to embrace the Lombardi 11 months from
During free agency in the next 3 weeks, we sign Mike Wallace or Robert
Meacham to be our deep threat at WR & Reggie Nelson to be our free safety.
Then in late April we draft a Center in the 2nd round, an OT in the 3rd
round, a TE in the 4th round, and a KR with the pick we get for Hoyer.
And what do we do with a 1st rounder (#27) or two and the 2nd rounder
that we have left? We wait for the 2 or 3 best available pass rushing OLBs
and DEs to drop into our laps.
Now close your eyes and envision BB & Kraft on the podium hoisting the
Lombardi trophy together....