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The interior defensive line of the Patriots has been under siege after injuries decimated their ranks early in the season.
The Patriots should have Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly back from injuries next year and Sealver Siliga has played well in limited action so far. Armond Armstead, who has missed this season due to illness, is another option that the Patriots could have in 2014.
That said, look for them to add depth at the position this offseason.
Free Agent to Look For
Top defensive tackles don't often hit the open market, and when they do, they are often out of the Patriots' price range. Linval Joseph—currently with the Giants—is a player who might help New England without breaking the bank.
Draft Prospects to Watch
Ra'Shede Hageman (DL, Minnesota) is a versatile prospect who he can play either the one, 3- or 5-technique positions and reminds me of former Patriot Richard Seymour at times.
Greg Gabriel from the National Football Post gives you his take on Hageman:
He shows good initial quickness, and when he stays low, he can be explosive. He has good instincts and awareness on the field and finds the ball. He doesn’t have top hand use and can be slow to shed at times, but because of his strength, he can also be tough to move. His play is average when taking on double team blocks. It's frustrating watching him as there are plays when he gets off the ball, sheds a block quickly, and makes the play, but then, other plays, he is a non-factor. You don’t see down after down consistency.
He flashes pursuit ability and takes good angles but, again, not on a consistent basis. As a pass rusher, he can be a very good bull rusher when he wants to. I have seen plays where he jolts his opponent with a hand punch and drives him back to the QB. He also flashes quick hands and counter moves. The problem is there are too many plays where he is stuck at the line of scrimmage.
Hageman—a likely top-100 pick in the 2014 NFL draft—would be a replacement for athletic tackles like Kelly and Armstead. He doesn't have the build to take over for Wilfork.
If you want to add depth to Wilfork's position, Ryan Carrethers (DL, Arkansas State) deserves a look. At 6'2" and 330 pounds, he has the frame and strength to take on double-teams and keep blockers away from linebackers.
If the Patriots don't want to invest a high pick on a player like Notre Dame's Louis Nix III, Carrethers is a nice option who could be available on Day 3 of the draft.