Taking a Look At the Patriots' Short Term and Long Term Draft Needs

Jimmy Garoppolo: walking in the footsteps of a legend. - Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Now this has been discussed a lot, and there have been polls on this site about what the Patriots biggest needs are. So what's the point of this FanPost you say? Well in conjunction with the actual needs, I'm going to look at whether they are actually fill able with the draft or not, who we could will them with, and what kind of needs are they? Future or Present, depth or starter? The only need I will not go over is future depth as you usually don't fill depth in advance. I'm going to go through every position, say if we need depth or if we need a starter and if the need is for the future or the present.

QB: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Garrett Gilbert

Need For a starter now?: No

Need For a starter in the future?:No

Need for depth now?: No

We have the best QB in the history of the game who might still be the best in the NFL. He is 38 years old but last year we picked Jimmy G who still has many more years under his rookie contract and looked good in his rookie year. The QB class is also terrible after Winston and Mariota so even if we needed one, we wouldn't be able to get one. Good thing we don't need one this year!

Possible Draft Picks: None, maybe Blake Sims or Nick Marshall if BB likes them at other positions

RB: LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, James White, Travaris Cadet, Brandon Bolden, James Develin (FB), Tyler Gaffney, Dion Lewis

Need for a starter now?: No, but could possibly be upgraded

Need for a starter in the future: Possibly, but position is very fungible and easy to find upgrades at

Need for depth now?: No

At Running Back we have a solid group of both between the tackles runners (Blount, Gray, Gaffney) and third down backs (White, Cadet, Lewis), Bolden can do a little bit of both but neither exceptionally well and he is mostly on the roster for his excellent special teams play. However, none of these running backs are excellent. If we have Todd Gurley far above everyone else on our board, and he is there in the first round at 32 we should take him, but we don't need depth and the position is so easy to fill that you don't really need to draft a future RB.

Possible Draft Picks: Todd Gurley

WR: Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Brandon Gibson, Brian Tyms, Matthew Slater, Kevin Dorsey, Jonathan Krause, Greg Orton

Need for a starter now?: Not really,but could be upgraded

Need for a starter in the future?:Not really, but could be upgraded

Need for depth now?: No.

We have a very solid group of Wide Receivers who are under contract for a decent amount of time. Wide Receiver is not a need at all. However, our Wide Receiver's are not all elite or anything so if the BPA is a WR, we should take him if he would start for us.

Possible Draft Picks: Dorial Green-Beckham, Jaelen Strong, Justin Hardy, Tre McBride, Sammy Coates, Devin Smith, Phillip Dorsett (all depends on who BB likes)

TE: Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, Tim Wright, Michael Hoomanawanui

Need for a starter now?: No.

Need for a starter in the future?: No.

Need for depth now?: No.

We have the best TE in the game and exceptional depth at this position and a very solid second TE in Chandler for the 2 TE offense. There is absolutely 0 need at this position. If the BPA is a TE I would try to trade down, if I couldn't I would pick someone else. We absolutely do not need anyone at this position.

Possible Draft Picks: None.

OT: Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming, Caylin Hauptmann (No idea who this is)

Need for a starter now?: No.

Need for a starter in the future?: Possibly.

Need for depth now? No.

For 2015 the Patriots are all set at this position with Solder as a solid LT who is much better than people think he is because he has almost always played with a terrible pass blocking left guard as Logan Mankins was a great run blocker but not a very good pass blocker after his ACL injuries and Dan Connolly was one of the worst starting guards in the league last year and Solder played amazingly when he was in the game. Solder only played badly when the guard next to him was even worse than Connolly. Solder is only under contract for a year but it's very hard to find a Left Tackle at 32 and I think they will get him for below his actual value if they extend him now because of the bad guards he's played next to. If they think they can't extend him, Jake Fisher and Ereck Flowers are the only guys I could see as a LT who could possibly be available at 32 and Flowers is very unlikely to be there. Vollmer is an elite RT and while 30 years old, OL tend to play a long time and Cannon could be a solid RT I think. Cannon and Fleming are good backups so there's no need for depth.

Possible Draft Picks: Ereck Flowers, Jake Fisher

OG: Ryan Wendell, Josh Kline, Jordan Devey, Chris Barker

Need for a starter now?: Yes, at LG, not really at RG

Need for a starter in the future?: Yes at LG, probably at RG

Need for depth now? Yes

The Patriots definitely need some guards. Josh Kline is their only real left guard currently on the roster and he is definitely not a backup, not a starter. At RG, Ryan Wendell is fine for this year but he's 29 years old and while serviceable, not fantastic, so we probably need a LG for now and the future and a right guard for the future. There are some scenarios I can see where we don't need a guard although they are rare. The Patriots have been meeting with Stefen Wisinewski and if we sign him, he will be our long term LG as he's only 26. At RG we probably need a long term project, the only exception being if the team thinks Cameron Fleming can be a long term starter at RG in which case we need a depth tackle instead. We are likely going to spend a pick in the first 3 rounds on a LG and probably a pick in round 3-4 on a RG project unless we think Fleming can be a long term RG. I would like to see Devey off the roster and Chris Barker is just a camp body/practice squad player

Possible Draft Picks: At LG: Cameron Erving, Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith, Cedric Ogbuehi At RG: B.J. Finney, Tre Jackson, Jarvis Harrison

C: Bryan Stork

Need for a starter now?: No.

Need for a starter in the future?: No.

Need for depth?: Not really

Bryan Stork is a stud and will be our starter for a long time. Ryan Wendell can slide over to C as a backup but they did work out C David Andrews so it's possible they wanted him.

Possible Draft Picks: David Andrews

DT: Dominique Easley, Alan Branch, Sealver Siliga, Antonio Johnson, Chris Jones, Joe Vellano

Need for a starter now?: Not really, but an upgrade would be nice.

Need for a starter in the future?: Yes.

Need for depth now ?: Yes.

Dominique Easley should be a long term starter for us at the 3-tech if injuries don't derail his career. At the 1-tech though, we need a long term starter to play next to Easley. Unfortunately, I only see two guys who will be able to 2 gap on a consistent basis and both will probably be gone before our pick at 32. This means we could either forego the hybrid gap system we're running now completely and just move to a 1 gap system but I'm not in favor of this as we have two solid options in Branch and Siliga who will allow us to play the hybrid gap system this year while looking for a long term 2 gapping DT. I do see a need at 3 tech DT though for depth. I want Chris Jones in Joe Vellano's spot and Joe Vellano off the roster. This is especially important because Easley is injury prone. I could see us addressing this need in rounds 3-5. If Goldman falls to us or Shelton falls to a spot where he's 10 spots below where our big board has him, we should get them, but otherwise, I'd take a 3-tech DT in rounds 3-5 and try to find a future 2 gap DT next year.

Possible Draft Picks: Long Term 2 Gap DT: Danny Shelton, Malcolm Brown, Eddie Goldman; 3-Tech depth: Xavier Cooper, Marcus Hardison, Grady Jarrett, Christian Covington, Xavier Williams,

DE: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Zach Moore, Michael Buchanan, Jake Bequette, Rufus Johnson (who?)

Need for a starter now?: No.

Need for a starter long term?: Maybe if BPA is a DE

Need for depth now?: No.

We are pretty good at DE after signing Sheard. Chandler, Nink and Sheard gives us a very solid rotation, while Moore, Buchanan, and Bequette are interesting projects.

Possible Draft Picks: Anyone if they're BPA and better than our current projects

LB: Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower, Jerod Mayo, Deontae Skinner, Darius Fleming, Chris White, James Morris, Jonathan Freeny, Cameron Gordon, Eric Martin

Need for a starter now?: No.

Need for a starter long term?: No.

Need for depth now? Yes.

We have 3 fantastic linebackers and 2 of them are very young but Hightower and Mayo are both injured and we are thin in terms of depth. White, Fleming and Freeny are good special teamers, but their role is mostly special teams while I wouldn't be comfortable at all with anyone else playing. There is a major need for depth. I commented this somewhere else but I said if I had to guess anyone the Patriots would pick this year, I would guess Taiwan Jones out of Michigan State. He can be had in rounds 3-5 so it's not a reach at all for depth and we have plenty of picks in those rounds. He also fits what the Patriots like for in a LB perfectly. The Patriots tend to like big guys who are good in coverage. Jones fits that.

Possible Draft Picks: Taiwan Jones, Paul Dawson, Ben Heeney

CB: Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler, Alfonzo Dennard, Bradley Fletcher, Robert McClain, Chimdi Chekwa, Justin Green

Need for a starter now?: Depends on who is available and what we think of them

Need for a starter long term?: Yes.

Need for depth now?: No.

At CB we have plenty of good CB2s and nickel corners who would start on many teams. Our problem is the lack of a true shutdown corner. The problem with that is it's rare you can find a shutdown corner at 32. There will probably be none available in the draft. The guy I think the Patriots will pick in the first round is Byron Jones as he has all the physical tools to be a shutdown corner and has the ceiling of a #1. I could also see the Patriots thinking Marcus Peters, Kevin Johnson or Ronald Darby having a ceiling of a #1 and if they're extremely high on one of them or Jones they could think they're a #1 now in which case we should try to get them at all costs but that's pretty unlikely. I don't see a point of taking a #2 CB like PJ Williams or Jalen Collins or Ifo whatever his name is because we already have a bunch of solid CB2s. My guess of what will happen is one of two things: 1. The Patriots think Malcolm Butler is good enough to be left on an island vs #2s since they've been raving about him and we can put Fletcher or Dennard on the other side with heavy safety help while developing a CB#1 of the future. 2. The Patriots don't think anyone can be left on an island and have to go back to zone while developing a CB#1 of the future so we can go back to man in the future. There's also the chance the Patriots think no one has the ceiling of a CB1 in this draft in which case they probably won't take a CB.

Possible Draft Picks: Byron Jones, Marcus Peters, Ronald Darby, Kevin Johnson, Eric Rowe

S: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner

Need for a starter now?: No, but possibly upgradeable

Need for a starter in the future?: No, but possibly upgradeable

Need for depth now?: No.

Devin McCourty is fantastic and Patrick Chung is very good in a man scheme while Harmon is very good in a zone scheme so we're covered. If Landon Collins is available at 32, which is doubtful, and he's the best player on our board we should take him as he would probably be an upgrade over Chung or Harmon but other than that the safety class is terrible so I don't see us taking anyone.

Possible Draft Picks: Landon Collins

K: Stephen Gostkowski

Need For a starter now?: No.

Need for a starter in the future?: Maybe.

Need for depth now?: no.

Gostkowski is fantastic, maybe in the future we won't want to pay him a big price tag but we just franchised him and the kickers in this draft are bad so I don't see us picking a kicker this year. Maybe we pick one next year and let Gostkowski go for salary reasons, but not this year.

Possible Draft Picks: None.

P: Ryan Allen

Need For a starter now?: No.

Need for a starter in the future?: No.

Need for depth now?: No.

Allen is fine.

Possible Draft Picks: None.

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

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