Building an NFL Trade Deadline Wish List for the New England Patriots
After knocking off the New York Jets, the New England Patriots head to London to take on the St. Louis Rams leading the AFC East. Though they lead the division currently, they could clearly get better in some areas.
The team would benefit by adding a player or two by the league's new, later trade deadline of Week 8. There are three particular areas in which I believe the team could benefit by adding a player right now and here is a player in each of those three spots they could realistically make a run at getting.
Brandon Graham, Defensive End, Philadelphia
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When the Philadelphia Eagles made Michigan's Brandon Graham the 13th overall pick in the 2010 draft, they were expecting to get a player who would step right in and let opposing quarterbacks know he was there.
He was never at that level as a rookie, but his rookie campaign ran into its most trouble in December 2010 when he tore his ACL against the Dallas Cowboys. That injury removed him from the equation all the way until November 2011 when he was removed from the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list.
With their other options along the defensive line this season, including newly drafted Vinny Curry, it would not be a shocker to just see Philadelphia unload Graham altogether. With Bill Belichick and Andy Reid's history of trades together, him heading to Foxboro would seem to make sense.
Graham now being back to full health, the Patriots could look to him to see if they can get him to flash the talent that made him so highly sought after just two years ago. They are in desperate need of a pass-rusher opposite Chandler Jones. Rob Ninkovich does chip in, but Jones is depended on far too often to generate the pass-rush all by himself.
Perhaps a change of scenery for Graham can help him reach his potential and become that player they need.
Josh Cribbs, Kick Returner, Cleveland
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The Patriots are badly in need of an answer on kickoff returns. Devin McCourty did, of course, run one back for a touchdown in Sunday's win over the Jets, but also fumbled late in the game. One line of thinking would say that you do not want to risk losing a starting defensive back by putting him out there regardless.
One other option of course is Danny Woodhead. Woodhead generally holds onto the ball, but he is simply not a threat to make an impact return. Meanwhile, Josh Cribbs has proved time and time again that he is one of the best kickoff return men in the National Football League.
Cribbs is in a contract year and has become an afterthought offensively for the Browns, especially with the emergence of their rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon. These factors could make the Browns open to discussing a trade, along with the fact that he has been rumored to be unhappy in Cleveland in the past, which was detailed here by Ohio.com.
The Browns are not going anywhere in 2012 and are unlikely it would seem, to re-sign Cribbs once again. A break up seems like it would not hurt either side.
Travis Daniels, Cornerback, Kansas City
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Travis Daniels is not a name that will excite many people, even if this move did come to fruition and it really shouldn't.
Daniels is not by any means a special talent. What he is, though, is a veteran defensive back with position flexibility to happens to play for a team that Bill Belichick has a strong relationship with as Scott Pioli remains their General Manager.
Daniels has been in the league since 2005, after being a fourth-round pick out of LSU by the Dolphins. He started 14 games as a rookie in Miami and has seen his playing time decrease since. At 30 years old and with six career interceptions, including a career-high two last season, maybe there is a tiny bit of untapped ability Daniels has yet to be able to show.
Everyone knows all about the Patriots woes in the secondary, and Daniels could perhaps give them a veteran to add in the mix at either safety or cornerback, both of which seem to have little quality depth at this point.
The Patriots are likely to keep having to experiment with moving pieces like Devin McCourty around, perhaps to safety again, and adding another piece to the cornerback puzzle like Daniels could not hurt. The asking price would surely be very low, which would obviously be to Belichick's liking as well.