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New England Patriots Links 7/18/09 - "Sign the rookies" edition

Yes, Patriots fans, a bunch has happened in the past few days.  I was lazy yesterday and didn't provide you with your daily dose of morning links.  Instead, us AFC East writers decided to Rate the Defensive Tackles.  Yes, I put Kris Jenkins above our Vince Wilfork, but the difference between these two is so narrow that it was a tough decision.  That and I don't want to appear like TOO much of a homer.

Anyway, Thursday and Friday were busy days for the Patriots.  There were a number of important signings and, in my opinion, the most important one was DT Ron Brace.  I don't want to say that Vince Wilfork is on the verge of holding out or being jetisoned by the Patriots - far from it.  That would put Kraft and Belichick in the "this is your brain on drugs" category.  But the signing of Ron Brace does what all great coaches and organizations do: they strengthen the pipeline.

More after the jump.

  • Defensive Tackle Ron Brace - I consider this one of the most important signings to date given Wilfork's situation.
  • Wide Receiver Julian Edelman - I think WR is where the Patriots will most likely use Edelman, but in OTAs and mini-camps, he's taken snaps at QB, kickoff returns, and let's not forget he led Kent State as a running back.  This guy has versatility written all over him.  It's only a matter of time before he's playing CB.  Troy Brown, anyone?
  • Wide Receiver Brandon Tate - Tate's on ice while he heals from an ACL/MCL tear in his right knee.  He will, most likely, sit out the entire 2009 season.  A barn burner at North Carolina, he set a ridiculous number of NCAA records, but tripped up after a positive drug test at the combine.  Don't be stupid, Brandon.  Stay clean and you'll have an incredible career with the Patriots.
  • Left Tackle Sebastian Vollmer - This is a good signing.  The Patriots needed youth in their offensive line and they get it with Sebastian.  Left tackle is one of the most difficult positions to play on the line (protecting a right-handed quarterback's blind side), so let's hope Vollmer is up to the challenge.
  • Offensive Lineman George Bussey - Bussey is a good value pick and can play tackle as well as guard.  I see him as adding youth and depth to our somewhat aging offensive line.  Load up on 300 pounders (I'm learning JHR!! ;-))
  • Defensive Lineman Darryl Richard - Apparently, this guy's an absolute brain, completing his Bachelor's in three years then diving in for a Master's in one and a half years.  Let's hope all that grey matter translates on the grid iron.


I like statistics, but only when they help to gain insight, to FURTHER a discussion, not BE the discussion.  At any rate, the Boston Globe's Mike Reiss put together a series with Football Outsiders's Doug Farrar.  Doug Farrar was responsible for penning the New England Patriots section of the Football Outsiders Almanac 2009 and Mike asked him to comment on the Patriots.  We're only at Part 4 out of 5, but I thought I'd give you the links anyway.