FanPost

2014: How to evaluate what the Patriots need... and why

The TE position is a hard one to get

a feel for, at least for me. It’s a lot like RB, the best guy usually isn’t the best guy.

I would be hesitant to draft a TE high or get excited about one particular guy, the pats have a lot of needs, and they need to address those 1st. I wouldn’t mind drafting a TE, but 2nd round is a little too high. 3rd and 4th round is where we should pick one, and that seems to be the sweet spot, where you could potentially be getting a really good guy or a guy who’s not much worse than the 1st round talent.

by Chris Kole

First lets look at what the make-up of the 2014 Patriots will be... as it stands now:

BOLD - would COST the team cap space and/or money to cut/release that player

Italic - Final Year of Contract

QB

Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett

TE

Rob Gronkowski, D.J. Williams

RB

Brandon Bolden, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley

OT

Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon

OL

Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Josh Kline, Chris Barker, Markus Zusevics

WR

Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, TJ Moe, Mark Harrison, Josh Boyce, Matt Slater

DT

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Sealver Siliga, Isaac Sopoaga, Joe Vellano, Chris Jones, Cory Grissom

DE

Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette, Michael Buchanan

LB

Jerod Mayo, Donta Hightower, Chris White, Jamie Collins, Steve Beauharnais

CB

Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard

S

Tavon Wilson, Devin McCourty, Adrian Wilson, Nate Ebner, Steve Gregory, Duron Harmon

K/P/LS

Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen

DEAD MONEY CAP HIT - Hernandez, Dowling, Fells, etc. = $8.5

PRACTICE SQUAD -

OL Braxton Cave LB Ja'Gared Davis S Kanorris Davis OT Jordan Devey

OT Patrick Ford DL Marcus Forston DB Justin Green RB Cierre Wood

TOP FREE AGENTS -

Aqib Talib, Julian Edelman, Brandon Spikes, Ryan Wendell

TOP 5 POTENTIAL MONEY SAVING CUTS:

Vince Wilfork -$8 million Savings - $3.6 million hit

Stephen Gostkowski - $3 million Savings - $.8 million hit

Dan Connolly - $3 million Savings - $1 million hit

Isaac Sopoaga - $2.75 million Savings - $1 million hit

Tommy Kelly - $2.5 million Savings - $.5 million hit

Current Cap Expenditures - $124,420,000 (Including Dead Money)

Projected CAP in 2014 - $126,300,000

What to get out of all the information above:

First, the Patriots have little CAP space, so they won't be making any big splashes in FA in 2014.

Second, with the exception of the WR position, half the players on Offense are in Italics... or in the case of TE, there is no depth at all.

Is there any bigger need on the team, any position, when looking at that roster above, that looks weaker?

There shouldn't be, not unless you are under the delusion that Gronk is certain to come back 100% healthy and remain that way throughout the entire season.

So... you may not be able to judge TEs... but you better pray the Patriots can... and they get the right one, the best one, to fit their system, earlier better than late.

The Patriots have the following picks in the 2014 NFL Draft:

1st Round (Assigned) 27+/-

2nd Round (Assigned) 59+/-

3rd Round (Assigned) 91+/-

4th Round (Assigned) 123+/-

6th Round (PHI – Isaac Sopoaga)

6th Round (Assigned)

7th Round (Assigned)

This is not one of their drafts where they have two 1sts and two 2nd round picks and can do whatever they want.

So they have limited cap space to go after FAs, they have limited draft picks to work with, and they have some major needs that they can't ignore (TE clearly and absolutely a must).

Their top two picks should look something like this:

1st Pick - Arthur Lynch 6'5 260 TE

2nd Pick - James Hurst 6'6 305 OT

Whether those are the 27th and 59th picks... or the 31st and 63rd picks... or the 20th and the 40th picks... where-ever they end up, or however they trade... they need to walk away with a top TE and lineman.

There is no debate about DT being a bigger need... the Patriots have SEVEN DTs on contract for next year (at least)... the Patriots really only have one TE on contract, and he is a big ??? to be healthy, or STAY healthy.

Additional must read:

Richard Hill's How to Evaluate a Patriots Draft Prospect

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

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