In the preliminary stages of the 2014 NFL offseason, it appears the New England Patriots are well-positioned to be Super Bowl contenders once again next season. While far from a perfect team, the Patriots do not currently possess any potentially crippling weaknesses, and they look like one of the league's most complete teams.
Consequently, New England can approach the draft through a long-term lens. The Patriots do not necessarily need any rookies to play significant roles next season, though some surely will—either as a result of injury or based upon their own merits.
When crafting ideal draft scenarios for the Pats, it's important to keep in mind the balance between long-term upside and short-term readiness. The Patriots can afford to lean more toward the former outlook—though, by definition, any prospect with a high ceiling might cash in and surprise people in 2014.
New England's roster flexibility puts them in the enviable position of truly being able to select the best available player rather than pigeonholing themselves into a certain position. Yes, the Pats have needs, but none of them are glaring enough to warrant an immovable early-round commitment.
With that in mind, here are a few realistic draft-day scenarios that would represent fortunate breaks for the Patriots.
All height and weight information courtesy of NFL.com.