The New England Patriots were yet again one of the top teams in the NFL last season before faltering in the playoffs. As long as Bill Bellichick and Tom Brady are leading the team, the Patriots will be in contention. The Patriots have a good mix of veterans and younger players, and with so many picks in this year’s draft, the Pats can improve this team while still getting younger.
Tom Brady is an excellent team leader and he is still one of, if not, the best quarterbacks in the league. He is still playing at a high level and there are no signs of slowing down. The Patriots haven’t really had a dominant running back in the past decade, but the tandem of Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green Ellis worked out pretty well last season. Fred Taylor and Kevin Faulk provide depth, but neither of them will be around much longer.
The Patriots traded Randy Moss last season, but that left them without a serious deep threat at receiver. Wes Welker and Deion Branch played well last year, and Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate have potential. The two rookie tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, were huge successes for the Pats last year and they give the Patriots one of the best tight end tandems in the league.
The offensive line is starting to age, and both Matt Light and Logan Mankins might not be back next year. Throw in the fact that Sebastian Vollmer and Nick Kaczur were underwhelming at right tackle, and you can see that the Patriots may need to focus on this unit in the draft.
Ty Warren didn’t play last year due to injury, but he should be back at one defensive end spots, while Pro-Bowler Vince Wilfork will hold down the fort in the middle. The Patriots other defensive end spot is unsettled, but they have some underrated talent that could challenge for playing time.
The linebackers are led by Jerod Mayo, who is one of the top inside linebackers in the game. Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham played pretty well, and I think that they will get the opportunity to start next season. The other linebacker spot is a need, as Tully Banta Cain hasn’t been overly impressive.
The secondary is young, but very talented. Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung are a very solid safety combo, while Devin McCourty and Darius Butler have a lot of talent and potential at cornerback.