New England Patriots Offseason Needs
The New England Patriots put together another solid regular season at 12-4 in 2012. However, they once again choked in the playoffs, bowing out to the Baltimore Ravens at home in the divisional round. They are starting to form a very troubling trend of not playing their best football in the postseason.
The Patriots have already made a ton of moves this offseason to try and improve their team. I’ll go over their additions and losses, while also listing their top 5 needs heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.
WR Danny Amendola
S Adrian Wilson
DT Tommy Kelly
WR Michael Jenkins
OT Will Svitek
WR Donald Jones
KR/RB Leon Washington
DT Armond Armstead
WR Wes Welker
WR Brandon Lloyd
FB Spencer Larsen
G Donald Thomas
S Patrick Chung
RB Danny Woodhead
Top 5 Needs
1. Wide Receiver – Wes Welker has left for Denver in one of the most shocking moves this offseason. Sure, the Patriots went out and nabbed Danny Amendola to replace him, but he’s had injury problems throughout his career. You simply cannot replace Welker. A starting receiver is also needed across from Brandon Lloyd, who has been cut. The signings of Amendola, Donald Jones and Michael Jenkins this offseason haven’t fully addressed the team’s need for another game-changer at receiver.
2. Cornerback – Aqib Talib proved to be a great mid-season acquisition last year. However, the Patriots’ secondary was exposed in the AFC Championship Game. The team managed to re-sign Talib and Kyle Arrington, but Alfonzo Dennard was found guilty of third-degree felony assault and now faces up to six years in prison. Injury issues have followed 2011 second-rounder Ras-I Dowling to the NFL.
3. Defensive Line – The Patriots need another pass-rusher up front. They did a good job of going out and signing Tommy Kelly and Armond Amrstead, who will try and compliment Vince Wilfork at defensive tackle. Rookie DE Chandler Jones had a solid season, but Jermaine Cunningham continues to be a bust. Third-round rookie Jake Bequette barely saw the field.
4. Offensive Line – While I don’t expect Bill Belichick to use an early pick on the interior O-line, I do look for him to add some depth behind Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell. The Patriots re-signed tackle Sebastian Vollmer, but his injury history is a concern. Marcus Cannon struggled when forced into action.
5. Safety – Devin McCourty was awesome in his switch from cornerback to free safety last season. Tavon Wilson showed promise, but there’s very little depth behind those two with Patrick Chung gone to Philadelphia in free agency. The Patriots signed veteran SS Adrian Wilson this offseason, but his best years are behind him. This position becomes and even bigger need if McCourty were to be moved back to corner.
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